Saturday, 30 April 2011

Superman acquires the Venezuelan citizenship

We read some days ago how Superman was considering  ending his US-citizenship. Blogger Daniel was rumbling about that.


Let me tell you something: I don't know if Superman has already relinquished his US citizenship, but I can tell you he is, according to our Consejo Electoral Nacional, a Venezuelan citizen.


Superman decided to go to Venezuela because he saw how crime has gone over the top


In case you don't believe me, just go to the CNE site online and type his Venezuelan ID: 4308005.

I have a hunch: Superman is from the opposition, as he was not "randomly" selected to become a member of the local electoral board.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Child mortality in Venezuela: the broader picture


One of the things the Venezuelan government likes to boast the most is how child mortality has gone down since 1999. I am more than happy about that. Still, I wonder: was that not to be expected? I just took the official statistics from the government INE site (2010 is a forecast, I suppose) and plotted them here. In military green you see the Chávez period.
Below you see the reductation rate across the years. From red you se how fast child birth keeps going down.

I let you interpret the numbers. It would be interesting to compare the evolution with other Latin American countries, like I did when we put the Human Development Index in perspective.



Pre-Chávez progress, reduction of child mortality per year
-2.99    -3.09    -3.19    -2.08    -2.12    -2.17    -2.22    -2.27
Chávez's government, reduction of child mortality per year
-3.09    -3.19    -3.3    -3.41    -3.53    -1.94    -1.98    -2.02    -2.06    -2.11    -2.15    -2.2



























Spaniards in Venezuela


EFE says Venezuela is one of the countries with the largest amount of Spanish citizens in the world: some 173456 registered Spaniards. According to the report in the American continent only Argentina has more Spaniards. I suspect the actual number is higher as many Spanish citizens don't bother to register. And I am sure the number was much much much higher a decade ago: since the Boliburguesía rules Venezuela, since the expropiations have skyrocketed and since the murder rate has more than tripled, Spanish citizens and their children have left Venezuela in droves. Many of my school friends whose parents fled from Franco Spain to Venezuela decided to migrate to their parents' homeland in the last few years. This is a tragedy as many of them contributed greatly to the development of Venezuela and many of them are highly skilled. When I mentioned this to some hard-core Chávez supporters they have just replied: "que se vayan, no los necesitamos" (may they go, we don't need them). 

Chávez is obsessed with our native American and African roots...at least he pretends to be (never mind he hasn't granded them the land rights they want, among other things). He does not seem to recognise Venezuelans' background is as much Spanish as anything else.

I hope one day those Spanish Venezuelans who are in Spain will have reasons to go back.



Merkel erhöht die Löhne der Deutschen um mehr als 20%

Schmarrn, das hat sie nicht getan. Stellt es aber Euch mal vor. Stellt Euch vor, über 92% des deutschen Exports Deutschland ist Erdöl und Merkel kann eigenhändig und ohne jegliche Rechenschaft Milliarden in das eine oder andere Projekt umleiten, für dies oder das andere verwenden, wie sie will. Stellt Euch vor, der Beamte, der das alles theoretisch überwachen muss, ist ein Fan von ihr, der seit Jahrzehnten so eine Regierung haben wollte wie ihre Regierung. Stellt Euch vor, die ZDF und die ARD würden Tag für Tag sagen, alles was Merkel tun will, ob sie das tut oder nicht. Stellt Euch vor, 70% der Deutschen können keinen anderen Fernsehsender sehen. Stellt Euch vor, nur 30% der Deutschen haben Internetzugang. Stellt Euch nun vor, ein Drittel der Deutschen haben einen Job beim Staat und sie denken, dass wenn  Merkel die nächsten Wahlen verlieren würde, sie auch arbeitslos werden. Nun denkt mal darüber nach: 50% aller Deutschen arbeiten als Strassenhändler oder illegale Taxifahrer. Da sie wenig verdienen, können sie bei den CDU-Supermärkten super billig kaufen. Stellt Euch vor, Merkel sagt ständig beim Fernsehsender, die Oppositionellen seien Landesverräter. Stellt Euch vor, die Geschichtsbücher werden umgeschrieben, um Merkel und ihre Partei als das Beste darzustellen, was Deutschland in 500 Jahren hervorgebracht hätte.

OK. Das ist mein Land, Venezuela.

Der Militärführer, der seit 1999 mein Land regiert, hat in seinem Twitterkonto @chavezcandanga folgendes geschrieben: 

Nur in Lohn- und Pensionerhöhungen habe ich in den letzten Tagen etwa $3 Milliarden bewilligt!#wirsiegen2012!!

Stellt Euch vor, die Merkel darf das so tun.

Ps. die Inflationsrate beträgt aber mittlerweile über 30%, die höchste Inflationsrate Amerikas.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

La conquista de Falcón

Falcón: cada punto representa aprox. a mil electores que no votaron en 2010

Falcón tiene como gobernadora una chavista cuyos familiares son militares que participaron en el golpe de estado del 92. Falcón tiene un par de refinerias y mucha gente depende de PDVSA. Aparte de eso, Falcón tiene una importante cantidad de descendientes de esclavos que fueron olvidados durante mucho tiempo por el poder central...y aun lo son, pero el poder central sabe aparentar que ahora sí son oídos. Los milicos saben, si llegan al centro de Falcón, hablar sobre Chirinos y una de las primeras sublevaciones de esclavos. Los milicos se hacen pasar por la continuación de una revolución eterna y no por un nuevo gobierno militar cleptocrático. Me pregunto: ¿pueden las fuerzas democráticas ofrecer una posibilidad más atractiva en 2012?

En Falcón unas 210 mil personas no votaron en 2010. La mayoría de ellos viven en dos municipios: el de Santa Ana, donde está Coro, y el de Carirubana, donde está Punto Fijo. En Punto Fijo hay una mayor cantidad de chavistas y una mayor densidad de personas que no votan. Depende de las fuerzas alternativas analizar su situación y ofrecer un mejor concepto - pese a la demagogia y las solucions a corto plazo que presenten los militares a base de petrodólar.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Die rote Korruptionsmaschine der venezolanischen Militärs

Schon wieder ein Dekret während der Ferien

Blogger Miguel hat schon darüber geschrieben: Chávez hat schon wieder gegen alle Gesetze regiert und ankündigt, wie er Staatsresourcen ohne jegliche Kontrolle, ohne Überwachungsmechanismus benutzen wird...als ob es sich um sein eigenes Taschengeld handeln würde.

Der Putschist von 1992 hat ein Dekret verabschiedet, um noch mehr Petrodollars nach eigenen Gutdünken benutzen zu können. Er tut das immer wieder, wenn die meisten Menschen im Urlaub sind, damit die Proteste weniger werden. 

Für jedes Fass Öl werden seit vielen Jahrzehnten Steuer erhoben. Das ist ganz normal. Jetzt hat Chávez aber viel mehr Geld und noch weniger Kontrollen nötig. Wenn der Preis eines Fasses jetzt zwischen $70 und $90 schwankt, wird 80% des zusätzlichen Geldes einem neuen Fond zufliessen. Wenn der Preis zwischen $90 und $100 liegt, wird nun 90% des zusätzlichen Geldstroms als Zusatzsteuer diesem Fond gehören. Wenn der Preis über 100 kommt, wird 95% zum Fonds gehen.

Es wäre schön, wenn so ein Fonds transparent und im Rahmen einer pluralistischen Diskussion eingesetzt werden könnte. Der Skandal ist aber, dass nur der venezolanische Militärführer die Kontrolle hat und keine Rechenschaft ablegen wird. Theoretisch könnte der berüchtigte Contralor General Clodosbaldo Russián die Rechnungen überprüfen. Er und seine Beamten sind aber alle pro-Chávez. Russián ist vor allem bekannt geworden, weil er alle Gegner des Militärführers, die Konkurrenz darstellen können, einem Amtsverbot auferlegt. Chávez denkt, dieses verfassungswidrige Dekret sei ganz koscher, weil die vorige Nationalversammlung kurz vor ihrer Ablösung ein Ermächtigungsgesetz für ihn vorbereitet hat, um allerlei Dekrete zu verabschieden.

Der Militärführer sagte, mit diesem Dekret wird das Geld direkt "an die Leute gehen". Natürlich entscheidet er allein, welche Menschen was wie wann bekommen. Blogger Miguel errechnet, Chávez wird US$ 11.5 Milliarden extra haben, wenn der Erdölpreis dieses Jahr bei $105 pro Fass bleibt. Das wäre mehr als genug, um viele Geschenke vor den 2012-Wahlen zu kaufen.

Von nachhaltiger Entwicklung und Transparenz werden wir nichts sehen.

Clownish revolution: how to reinvent history

One of the things that puzzles me is the way the Chávez regime can reinvent history. Basically, the vast majority of Chávez's honchos are either military coup mongers or former AD politicians who now wear red shirts and a group of extreme lefties who were supposed to be the foes of the military who are now in power. So now you have in power people like Rodriguez Chacín, one of Chávez's former ministers, who was killing people in the IV Republic in his special commando against the left winged guerrilla and you also have people like Soto, who was a guerrillero and is now president of the National Assembly.

Now take this: Monagas state. Monagas is in the Eastern Llanos. The state used to depend on agriculture, but now most good jobs go to the oil industry. The state is called after two very corrupt and shameless Venezuelan caudillos of the XIX century. The current governor is José Gregorio Briceño. He was a former AD politician but was expelled in the late eighties. He became the mayor of the Cedeño municipality from 1993 to 1999.

He has been governor of Monagas since 2004. His brother, Pedro, has been mayor of the Cedeño Municipality since 2004. 

Here you can read in Spanish a tacky article about how Pedro Briceño used some of the petrodollars to refurbish a school that badly needed it. He is described as a big patron:

"In the event...school director Alejandro Cabezas...thanked the local mayor for the work...specially for the water service, which was working only partially for over 30 years now...now, thanks to the mayor...Cabezas defended the Briceño administration..."

Now, let's see: 30 years ago was 1982. Cedeño's brother was the mayor of that region from 1993 to 99, he has been governor of the state for 8 years. Pedro has been mayor there for 10 years already.

And that municipality is one of the most pro-Chávez in Monagas.  Isn't that mental?



municipio Cedeño
estado Monagas
1982


1983


1984


1985


1986


1987


1988


1989


1990


1991


1992


1993
José Gregorio Briceño

1994
José Gregorio Briceño

1995
José Gregorio Briceño

1996
José Gregorio Briceño

1997
José Gregorio Briceño

1998
José Gregorio Briceño

1999
José Gregorio Briceño

2000


2001


2002


2003


2004
Pedro Briceño
José Gregorio Briceño
2005
Pedro Briceño
José Gregorio Briceño
2006
Pedro Briceño
José Gregorio Briceño
2007
Pedro Briceño
José Gregorio Briceño
2008
Pedro Briceño
José Gregorio Briceño
2009
Pedro Briceño
José Gregorio Briceño
2010
Pedro Briceño
José Gregorio Briceño
2011
Pedro Briceño
José Gregorio Briceño

Venezuela's historical humunculus

Neurologists have found out how perception and feeling for different body areas are mapped in our brains. They came up with a funny humunculus that show how some parts take a bigger chunk of the brain's resources than what one would initially expect.

It would be interesting to do research on the Venezuelan average brain, even if figuratively speaking. How much attention do we pay to such things as planning or to beach? 

It would also be interesting to know how our historical records are structured and how they differ to those of Mexicans, Chileans or Europeans. Of course: that is not possible.

History and historical manipulation have been used over and over again to direct and manipulate complete nations. That was the case in the Fertile Crescent. That was the case when the English Americans started to invade native American areas in they saw as their "Manifest Destiny". That was the case in Russia and Venezuela.

Humboldt wrote in the first half of the XIX century only two main events seemed to be part of the Venezuelan's historical memory: the Conquista and the Independence war. He also wrote Venezuelans did not feel a very strong link to the history of their ancestors from Europe or from the original America. I would add they did not feel much link to their African ancestors either. 

And that is one of the reasons why the military caste in Venezuela, starting with Bolívar, and then our politicians, have managed to manipulate Venezuelans with particular success. They have transformed Bolívar and some "heroes" into some weird "Gods" and they have declared themselves the priests who do what the Gods wants.

If you ask 10 Venezuelans in what century - more or less - the Spaniards arrived to Venezuela, most of them would not know. If you ask them how their mother tongue, Spanish, came to be, from what language it derives, you will be surprised at the answers. If you ask them a little bit about what social systems native Americans had, you will often hear quite a lot of amazing myths. That is the reason why Chávez can say in an Aló Presidente that native Americans were socialist, did not have kings or slaves and were 2 meters tall. That the reason why a third of our 300+ municipalities are called after a military caudillo.

Every Venezuelan knows the date when Bolívar was born and the day he died. That's not so hard, anyway: those are holidays in Venezuela.

Most Venezuelan books about history suck. They suck big time. The pathos, the kitsch you find is incredible. The very few foreign books about  Venezuelan history you will find are not very different, with some exceptions. The Bolívar cult is promoted, other aspects of Venezuela's development are completely forgotten or just glossed over in an incredible manner.

That is why I am trying to write a little bit more about Venezuelan history beyond myths in Wikipedia.

I wish Venezuelan historians - the real ones - would start to become more prominent. If they do, they will have two big enemies: the government and the military.

I wonder what happened to the ideas the Academy of History announced.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

What do you want to read?

Here you see the feedback I have got so far about what readers want to see in this blog. Please, send me an email or a message if you have more concrete suggestions. Thanks!

posts in German about Venezuela
  18 (30%)
ideas for Venezuela
  17 (28%)
what Chavismo is doing
  17 (28%)
what the alternative forces is doing
  18 (30%)
attacks against democracy
  12 (20%)
Venezuelan history
  10 (16%)
Venezuelan economics
  26 (44%)
Venezuela's nature
  12 (20%)
Venezuela's culture
  15 (25%)
Venezuela-Europe relations
  14 (23%)
Estimates about what's going to come in Venezuela
  20 (33%)
background (mindmaps) about Chavismo
  12 (20%)
background (mindmaps) about alternative forces
  9 (15%)
data on politics outside Caracas
  10 (16%)
science & technology in Venezuela (I know there is almost nothing, but I could try)
  7 (11%)

Votes so far: 59

Killing Venezuelan campesinos 12 years into Chávez's rule

Journalist Setty sent me an interesting article (in English) published in Venezuela Analysis some time ago about the killings of Venezuelan rural activists and the lack of response from the government. 

Venezuela Analysis is a site maintained by foreign lefties who are very much pro-Chávez. Lenin would have had a term for them.  Now: in spite of the site being pro-Chávez, some of the people writing there are idealists. Even if they very often just churn out articles based on propaganda feeds from Chavismo, they also get useful information from low level groups - not from the  powers that be -.

About 250 Venezuelan rural activists have been killed in the last few years and no one has payed for that. The article is about two of the last cases. Farmers link the security forces, the military, to the killers..."people from the IV Republic"...and the big landowners. This is year 12 of the so-called revolution. And which landowners are these? Are they all anti-Chávez or pro-Chávez or it's the same to them? I remember Chávez pal Rodríguez Chacín had a hacienda that is thousands of hectares big. Is he a landowner too? Is the owner of La Malagueña -whoever that is- a landowner? What is really happening with the land reform? How many farmers have their own land now and how are they using it?

In Monagas the governor,  a former AD politician who is now, as many others, a PSUV-man, and his brother, who is a mayor of one of Cedeño municipality, have been repeatedly associated with big landowners who have been attacking farmers. The ones saying that are farmers and low-key political activists.

Land tenancy in Venezuela is still, after several "land reform processes" through the decades, in a feudal state. It is time for the alternative forces to develop solutions to this problem and approach the hundreds of thousands of people who for so long believed Chávez could deliver.



I wonder who is up to the job...bringing about justice and sustainable development in those regions won't be an easy task.

Terrorist you, you, you you



The Venezuelan ambassador in Belarus (in Belarussian here) condemned the terrorist attacks in Minsk on the 14.4.11. That's correct, who would not? Now: who did it?

Comrade Américo Díaz Núñez said the following: when I first went to Belarus...everybody told me I was going to the most peaceful and stable country in the world. It is obvious such action...are aimed at destabilizing the situation of the country".

Wao...that's how insightful a pro-Chávez mind can be. What else are terrorist acts aimed at? The question would be: who did it? Who benefits the most? I frankly don't know. Was it a group who is against Lukashenko? Or was it the Belorussian KGB or someone next to them? Let's see.  Then came the pearl: Mr Díaz said "the West" is carrying out media terrorism by letting the news about the terrorist attack in Minsk be so short and disappear so soon.

I wonder: what is the Chávez military regime doing by supporting the Gaddafi regime until now and by completely silencing any information about the hundred of people murdered by the Syrian regime in the last weeks? If you speak Spanish, you can browse through the kind of news the Venezolana de Televisión has on Syria.



Detail on the side: a decent diplomat should know Belarus was indeed stable and relatively peaceful - the murder rate is higher than in Western Europe but it is definitely much much much lower than in Venezuela. He should not be told that. It seems he need people to tell him that when he was going there years earlier. 
Second detail on the side: in this Spanish article you can read some rumblings from that ambassador about Colombia. The only thing I wanted to call your attention to is the last sentence:

"May Bolívar enlighten us to get out of this labyrinth created by the imperialist government of Mr Bush!"


The sentence is as kitsch as it can be. Caudillo Bolívar is definitely a God for these people and they will act as irrationaly as anyone who is into a cult, never mind what Bolívar would have said or not about it.



Thursday, 21 April 2011

Tarantula blues


This tarantula, the Chromatopelma, is endemic to Venezuela. You can find it - if you are very very lucky or unlucky - in the North, in the Paraguana region.



Was Jesus Christ a Trotskyist, a Maoist or a Chavista? A banana republic discusses

Had they been Venezuelans, they may have voted for Chávez

There is a bizarre discussion right now in Venezuela, as usual.

Venezuelans tend to be religious or, at least, superstitious. They do not usually go for religious extremism, but they are more religious than, say, the Belgians or the Argentines.

They don't like much the celibacy part of catholicism, so they used to import nuns from Colombia and priests from Spain. Now that last part is rather difficult as Spain is short of religious people, specially those who have to live in celibacy.  Still: churches are still much more visited than anywhere in Western Europe.

Theoretically, all religious groups claim to be outside politics. Reality is a bit different. 

In the last decades US American groups have penetrated a lot particularly in middle-class to low class areas. They have gone to the native American areas, specially with the New Tribes, until those New Tribes were expelled by Chávez a couple of years ago.  All kind of churches have found their way in Venezuela. Most of those groups behave very independently. In general we can say: pentecostals and other groups that go very much into the emotional ("speaking in tongues", getting in trance, etc) tend to be pro-Chávez. Baptists tend to be anti-Chávez or at least rather critical of his government. This is, of course, a generalization. There are a myriad of churches and most depend on what their leaders say.

The Catholic church has been critical of Chávez. It has also played a big role in social programmes in Venezuela, so that Chávez sees it as some form of competition. Although I am not a Catholic myself, I have to own up the Catholic church in Venezuela has been more down to earth in Venezuela than in many places I have been to. They still have been very reticent about birth control, which is a real shame seeing how things are in Venezuela. They are usually conservative and yet they have been less conservative than in other places. And they have played a vital role in some of the few programmes for helping drug abusers, prostitutes and other groups.

I remember once as a student I was looking for a church in Caracas. I was just looking for any church, just to see. My take in religion is rather non-conservative. I grew up with books about evolution and discussions at the table about archaeology and religion, history and evolution of religious beliefs, the importance of analytical thinking and questioning everything.

I got into a church and it turned out to be a Pentecostal one. I sat and listened. Suddendly, the priest told people to pray for what they wanted most. They all started to pray loud, each one with his or her own message. And there was this girl next to me who started to thank God very loudly for bringing her someone like me. Suffice it to say I got up right away and vanished as soon as I could. These are the groups that are the closest to Chávez.

Anyway: Pentecostals tend to approach the poorest and the most superstitious, whereas the Baptists are more diverse. Professionals tend to go for Baptists or other groups or simply keep up with Catholicism. Baptists tend to be rather very pro-US, whatever it is.

It's amazing how superstition can play a role in politics. In my own family I had a couple of pro-Chavez aunts and cousins (there is still one). We had a very similar background. One of the few differences between them and the rest of us was - curiously- that those who would turn -at least for some years- into Chavistas also believed in the "mal de ojo", in the Evil Eye. The only one who was also pro-Chavez and did not believe in the Evil Eye was a formerly Marxist uncle who was a resolute atheist and was very adamant about rejecting anything to do with religion.

So it seems to me people going for the absolute extremes tend to have an issue. 

Now let's go to what is happening now. Chávez is a very superstitious man and he also knows showing some form of religiosity pays. He has often said Jesus Christ was a socialist.

The Catholic bishop Urosa was pissed off with this and he said just a few days ago that Jesus was not a socialist. And of course, the national TV channel, which - unlike Globovisión- can be watched by 100% of Venezuelans- showed an evangelical priest saying Jesus was a socialist and a revolutionary. If you speak Spanish, just read what the pro-Chavez priest says.

We all know what -according to the Bible- Jesus said about "blessed the poor". Still, this whole discussion is not about religion at all. It is about Chávez and his regime: whether he and his boliburguesía are the representatives of the poor and of Venezuelans in general. Expect that pro-Chavez priest to get some more dosh for his social programmes. Expect the Catholic church to get less.


Ps. journalist Setty sends me a link from the official National Assembly site -mind: not the PSUV, but the theoretically pluralistic National Assembly site-. It is about how "the revolution resurrected on the third day...talking about the "revolution".


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Venezuelas Durschnittsbezirk, Durschnittsstadt, Durschnittsvenezolaner

Über 90% der Bevölkerung Venezuelas wohnt in einer Stadt. Diese einfache Tatsache führt seltsamerweise zu einer falschen Einschätzung der Lage bei vielen Venezolanern. Viele sind nämlich der Meinung, eine Stadt ist ein Ort mit über 1 Million Einwohner. Alles darunter sei ein Dorf. Natürlich sagen das die Leute in Caracas, Maracaibo und Valencia. Leider sind die meisten Führer aller Parteien aus diesen Regionen. 

Findet Ihr das bescheuert? Ich auch, Venezuela ist leider so.  Einerseits haben die verschiedenen Regionen ihren eigenen Charakter; anderseits hat der Zentralismus seit dem sechzehten Jahrhundertt eine sehr starke Rolle gespielt und immer wieder aus Angst vor Zersplitterung aber auch wegen absolutistischen Ideen die Entwicklung anderer Regionen  verhindert. Darum haben sich diese Regionen sozial und wirtschaftlich kaum entwickelt und darum denken die Leute so. 

Wir durften unsere Gouverneure und Bürgermeister erstmals seit 1988 wählen und die Chávez-Regierung, wie früher andere Caudillos, ist seit Jahren dabei, die Selbständigkeit der Regionen wieder zu reduzieren.

Die Parteiführer der neuen Parteien - vorwiegend die Leute von Primero Justicia und UNT - stammen meistens aus Caracas, Maracaibo oder Valencia. Andere kommen aus Barquisimeto oder Maracay. Leider sehen sie ihre Städte immer noch als Mass aller Dinge.

Die durschnittliche Stadt ist eine Stadt wie Guacara oder Guarenas, Calabozo oder selbst Maturín. Die meisten Leute in Caracas denken, das seien Dörfer. Erst wenn der ganze Top von PJ und UNT, von Podemos und Causa R mehr Zeit in Städten wie Guacara und Maturí verbringt und weniger in Caracas oder Maracaibo, werden wir eine Chance haben.

Der durschnittliche Bezirk ist nicht Petare oder Valencia. Der durschnittliche Bezirk ist San Diego, in Carabobo, Libertador in Aragua, Los Salias in Miranda, Baralt in Zulia, Junín in Táchira oder Rosario de Perijá in Zulia.

Und wie sehen diese Bezirke politisch aus?

San Diego, ein Bezirk in der Nähe von Valencia, ist von einem guten Bürgermeister regiert. Die Leute in diesem Bezirk sind nicht reich, sie sind sehr durschnittlich und sehr gegen Chávez.  Etwa 78.88% von ihnen haben die alternativen Kräfte bei den Wahlen für die Nationalversammlung von 2010 gewählt. Da müssen wir nicht viel tun.

Libertador in Aragua ist ein Bezirk, der stark pro-Chávez ist. 57,71 % wählten Kandidaten der PSUV. Allerdings war der Anteil der Nichtwähler viel grösser. Da müssen wir viel unternehmen.

Los Salias ist ein Bezirk in Zulia. Wie fast überall in Zulia wählen die Leute eine Partei der Region und die ist die Partei der Sozialdemokraten UNT (wir haben ungefähr 10 Parteien, die sich als Sozialdemokraten bezeichnen). 77,85% der Wähler haben sich in 2010 für die UNT entschieden. Da ist die Arbeit schon getan.

Baralt ein ein anderes Bezirk in Zulia. Da ist die Partei der Militärs aber stärker: 56,49% der Menschen wählten die Liste der PSUV. Rosario de Perija, auch in Zulia, kann auch als ein durschnittlicher Bezirk angesehen werden. Da war UNT wieder stärkere Partei mit 52.8% der Stimmen.

Die alternativen Kräfte müssen nun vor allem zu den wichtigsten sekundären Städten gehen, Städte und dann zu allen Bezirken, die eine durschnittliche oder überdurschnittliche Bevölkerung haben und noch nicht mehrheitlich für demokratische Parteien wählen.

Venezuelas Wahlen sind trotz Carter-Aussagen von 2004 nicht koscher. Das kann man aus diesem Bericht eines EU-Beobachters von 2006 entnehmen (das war mittlerweile lange her). Die Demokraten müssen eine überwältigende Mehrheit haben, um überhaupt zu einer knappen Mehrheit zu gelangen.

Sie müssen begreifen, wo das Zentrum, aber auch wo der Schwerpunkt der Republik sind. Noch was: der Durschnittsvenezolaner hat keinen Internetzugang, liest keine kritische Zeitungen, hat keinen Kabelfernseher und kann keine regierungskritischen Sender sehen. Das wissen ausländische useful idiots, die in Hotels übernachten, leider nicht. Wir aber schon.

Maturín wartet auf uns

Monday, 18 April 2011

Weird: who cares?


Here you have the abstention levels for the 2010 parliamentary elections in Venezuela per municipality. I based it on information here, which comes from the National Electoral Council and some other sources.

Most of the areas where more than half the population did not show up are very remote, like in the jungle in Guayana. Still, if you know a bit about Venezuela's geography, you will realise things are not that simple. Alto Orinoco is much more remote than Gran Sabana, for instance. And even if Guajira is remote, most of it is less remote than some areas of the Amazonas state where abstention was rather low but for Río Negro. Guajira is a place the alternative forces should mind a bit more: it is rather highly populated and yet it is very forgotten.

You can also see people in Sucre state are lazy bastards. And you can also see most people close to the Morrocoy National Park couldn't care to vote. Trujillo seems like a place on its own. Once I asked a Trujillo-born friend if he would consider Trujillo people a bit like hobbits. He said they are more like Orcs. Is it so? I don't know, but they definitely stand out in the Andean region.

Some of the municipalities with the highest participation levels are in Zulia, in Táchira and there is one special case in well-organised San Diego, in Carabobo. 
And then there is Antonio Díaz, in Delta Amacuro. It's very hard to move around there and yet that is the municipality with the lowest abstention level in Venezuela.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Venezuela, the Conquest of


What you see in red are the Venezuelan municipalities with the largest amount of voters. They account for 30% of all voters. Those in red and pink account for 50%. Those in red, pink and yellow account for 60%. Those in red, pink, yellow and blue account for 70% in total.

If the democratic forces want to win in 2012, they need to act as a National Front and the top ten leaders - not just a candidate or a precandidate, but the leaders as a general team for each of the main parties- should start visiting absolutely all those municipios - at the very least - before the end of 2011.

Will they do that? If they don't, we will have a hard time. If they do, Hugo is going to go bananas.

The only politician from the opposition who has been going to those places in a very systematic way is Leopoldo López. The others haven't done that because they think they need to choose their candidate firstly. That is NOT the way to go.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

State of Democracy in Venezuela

If you want to have a feeling about the state of democracy in Venezuela and you speak Spanish, just read the official messages from the Venezuelan National Assembly.

That account has links to official government sites.
"Public institutions meet to make justice to the victims of the IV Republic" (i.e. the democracy before military coupster Chávez got democratically elected)
"People from Miranda state protest (opposition) Capriles because of insecurity" (never mind the murder rate has more than tripled since the military coupster Chávez came to power
"72% of Venezuelans think the role of the right (i.e. those who are not part of the military regim) is bad or mediocre"
"Soto Rojas (president of National Assembly, ex guerilla): Venezuela is a completely democratic country" (what democratic country has its leaders repeating that ad nauseam?)


And now for those useful idiots who talk about the private TV channels's power: less than 30% of Venezuelans can watch TV that is critical of Chávez. Unfortunately, useful idiots from abroad never travel around Venezuela. They just watch reality from hotel rooms or Potemkin villages or Caracas.

Like father, like son

Or do you think he looks more like his mother?

This family are burrowing owls, a species that can be found in many American countries. The particular sub-species you see here is probably a Athene cunelaria brachyptera, found in Apure, in the Venezuelan Llanos.

Looking into Venezuela's future









Here we go again, trying to predict what's going to happen in Venezuela.
Let's look at what is happening:
The Indians had the Kshatriya or warrior caste. Venezuelans now have the Bolivarian military

1) the Venezuelan regime is increasingly making big efforts in making Venezuelans used to the idea that the military caste are a special class. The regime wants to make it clear they are a special profession, a group of people that needs more attention than mathematicians, biologists, street cleaners, nurses, chemists, teachers, construction workers or the rest. The new law for military training at school level is designed to prepare the new generation of those who will help keep up the military in power in the future. You already read about the new "military areas of development". Now you can read (in Spanish) about how the military in Carabobo are using most of their former ally, drug dealer Makled, to expand their already heavy presence in that region: you can see rising star general Alcalá kissing babies and talking about how the military are giving 2 hectares of the expropiated land for housing - that's 1.3% of the total - and some other for a school and mentions how they are taking at least 80 hectares -that is 53.3%  of that land - to build new barracks for the military caste in Carabobo.

2) The Partido Comunista de Venezuela knows it doesn't have a chance without Chávez and his military, so it agrees with the militarization process and says the military training for children is good for "patriotism" (check out the article at one of the government's papers, paid with the State's money).

3) Nobody is saying anything about the horribly low standards of public primary and secondary school in Venezuela:

University students are too busy with defending university rights without looking at the broader picture - something they could do in Germany or Sweden but not in Venezuela today, in view of the social tensions, the government's propaganda machine and simple common sense- . Chavistas, on their side, believe they will solve the education problem and above all their lack of clout at university level by eliminating university autonomy and by sending more pro-Chavez people to universities even if those persons are virtually illiterate and should firstly get a real primary education. 
 
Watch leader Diego Scharifker in this old video here (English). He has valid points, but he - like most Venezuelans - forget something very fundamental about the re-election possibility: in Europe there is only indefinite reelection in countries with parliamentarian as opposed to presidential system. This is a big difference and this is something I have never ever ever heard in Venezuela. Not even so-called political scientists from Europe (pro or against Chávez) seem to notice this huge difference, which should be the decisive point to oppose indefinite-reelection: we have a presidential system, stupid! It is not just about traditions or "cultures".

Watch Diego Scharifker here as well (Spanish) talking about the budget for universities. He has a right to talk about university budgets, but he simply has no chance as long as he does not address the fact that 1) hundreds of thousands of students get their entry because they are the children of university workers or teachers or because the students' councils have sold the entries to them (student councils legally get a certain amount of "entries" they can distribute)- this is like letting illiterate people get to university for political reasons-, 2) there is a huge amount of "workers" who don't work and are on the pay list of universities, 3) universities in Venezuela have a much higher proportion of the education budget than in any other Latin American country in a country where the education budget gets -  in theory - a bigger chunk of the total budget than in many other countries. 

As long as he does not address these issues, he and students in general who are not followers of Chávez will have a hard time in order to gain the hearts and souls of most Venezuelans (those who send children to public schools, etc).

Scharifker perhaps does not know public schools could be good. He probably has the experience of the US and Venezuelan models only, so he does not even consider this point. Or perhaps he thinks he should focus on universities as schools should be defended by other people. If he thinks so, he can wait until the end of times.

Chavistas are already spreading anti-Semite statements about Scharifker. Why? Simply because Scharifker's family is of Jewish background. One example: Kalim Delia, member of the new generation of pro-Chávez "scientists" at IVIC, Venezuela's main research institution. One

4) Oil prices are over 700% higher than when the military caudillo was first elected and most Venezuelans have no idea about what this has meant for Venezuela. In fact, even foreign historians and sociologists do not seem to fully grasp how empty and unstable any regime can be if it is based on this (if you read German, check Zeuske's interview here).


So: what's next?

  1. As I said earlier, the Chávez Sturmtruppen will increase attacks on any leader of the opposition forces that dares to go to what most Venezuelans have wrongly labelled as "rural": cities outside the 3 main urban centres. Already the Henrique Capriles team was attacked by Chávez mobs in San Carlos. Expect much more of this in the months to come.
  2. Even if Venezuela is getting petrodollars as never before, Chávez's mismanagement and widespread corruption are forcing the government to bet on Chinese financing. The Chinese, who pretend to be "non-interventionists" but who simply have more subtile methods than US Americans, will make sure they will see a return for their investment. They already provide the Venezuelan government with a lot of the technology it needs to spy on the emails and telephone conversations of the alternative forces. They will give enough goodies to the Venezuelan government to distribute before election time. As Venezuelans only think about the hic and nunc, they won't mind receiving refrigerators today even if that means their government will get less dollars for each barrel for the next 20 years and Venezuelans are less productive today than decades ago.
  3. The alternative forces may waste a lot of time because the AD and COPEI and Proyecto Venezuela parties, but probably also UNT and PJ and all the rest, keep their party interests before return to democracy. Unity is seen at most as "getting before election time one candidate". Unity means more, even if parties have different ideologies (in reality Venezuelans are mostly discussing about caudillos, not about ideologies and much less about concrete plans for development). Expect endless discussions about when the primaries will take place. Expect also the Chávez groups infiltrating and voting to choose the best opposition candidate for Chávez.
 To be continued...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

In Spanish, about pluralism and more


I wrote a post in Spanish about some of the questions people should ask to the military in power in the Land of Grace.

It's time for the democratic forces in Venezuela to start asking very fundamental questions to the military and boliburgueses in power.


Saturday, 2 April 2011

Der Caudillo Chávez und Prof. Michael Zeuske


Ich lese in Amerika21 einen Artikel vom Prof. Zeuske aus dem Jahr 2009. Prof. Zeuske hatte vor vielen Jahren ein interessantes Buch über Miranda geschrieben. Er hat auch u.a. Eine Kleine Geschichte Venezuelas und Von Bolívar zu Chávez geschrieben. Ich werde später darüber schreiben. Hier will ich etwas über den Artikel bei Amerika21 kommentieren. 

Meine Enttäuschung ist schon gross. Ich hätte eine  Analyse erwartet, die auch die  sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Daten seit 1958 aus primären Quellen und nicht die durchgekauerte Interpretation gemäss einer bestimmten politischen Gruppe berücksichtigt.

Laut Herr Zeuske ist Chávez kein Caudillo. Anscheinend denkt Herr Zeuske, den Begriff "caudillo" lasse sich ganz säuberlich nach irgendeinem Geschichtsbuch definieren.  Zuallererst: Caudillo ist nicht ein DIN- oder ISO-Begriff. Es ist auch nicht mal ein Begriff, der von den Historikern einheitlich definiert wird. Das sollte Herr Zeuske selbst wissen, er ist Historiker.  

Argumentation?

"Er war Offiziersschüler einer Akademie; er hat die Universität abgeschlossen."

Hallo? Also ist jemand kein Caudillo, weil dieser jemand an einer Militärakademie war? Wieso denn nicht? Jeder Militär in Venezuela muss seit fast 100 Jahren die Militärakademie besuchen. Ist jemand weniger Caudillo, wenn er die Universität abgeschlossen hat? Hier haben wir anscheinend einen Uni-Fetischismus. Chávez hat seinen "máster" an der Universidad Simón Bolívar nicht abgeschlossen. Sein Abschluss bei der Academia Militar würde eher dem Abschluss entsprechen, den der Caudillo Francisco Franco erzielt hat. Und auch wenn Chávez an der MIT sein Studium abgeschlossen hätte und auch wenn er nicht glauben würde, dass die Menschheit "vor 20-25 Jahrhunderten" entstanden ist -etwas, was selbst der schlimmste Bachiller der schlechtesten Barinas-Schule wissen sollte-, wäre er ein Caudillo. Ein Caudillo ist vor allem ein Militär, der sich als Leiter der Nation definiert.  Chávez selbst definiert sich so. Ein Caudillo ist jemand, der darüber hinaus keine Gewaltteilung respektiert, der den Pluralismus verabscheut und nie eine echte - echte - Debatte akzeptieren wird. Ein Caudillo ist ein Militär, der sich als "der Führer des Landes bezeichnet".

"Chávez hat eine Vielzahl sauberer Wahlen und Referenden gewonnen..." 

Ja, so sauber wie Lukaschenko in Weissrussland. Eigentlich hat Lukaschenko - der von der EU seit langem als Diktator angesehen wird - eine weit grössere Popularität als Chávez. Der Hauptunterschied bei der EU besteht vorwiegend darin, dass die EU ihre "EU-Wahlkommission" in Venezuela im Jahre 2006 vorwiegend aus einem Caracashotel arbeiten liess und sie in Weissrussland einen besseren Job tut- nicht nur in der Hauptstadt, Minsk. Chávez hat tatsächlich Wahlen gewonnen und die Mehrheit der Stimmen bekommen - wie Lukaschenko. Diese Wahlen waren aber alles andere als koscher. Dazu habe ich viel geschrieben.

"Die privaten Medien sind mehrheitlich gegen Chávez und existieren mehrheitlich trotzdem."

Ich würde gern wissen, welche private Medien Herr Zeuske in Calabozo und in Maturín, in Puerto Cabello und in Acarigua gesehen hat. 70% der Bevölkerung hat keinen Zugang zu regierungskritischen Fernsehsendern und weniger haben die Gewohnheit, Zeitungen zu lesen. Ich würde gern wissen, wie leicht Herr Zeuske El Nacional oder El Universal ausserhalb von den drei wichtigsten Städten finden kann. Leichter als Novaja Gazeta in Russland?

Herr Zeuske sagt, der Chavismus sei keine normale Revolution, sondern eine Reformrevolution, die versucht, "mit zentralstaatlichen Mitteln und Neuorganisation des Politischen den Problemen...beizukommen: Gesundheit, Hunger, Wasser, Bildung, Armut, Lebensbedingungen, Arbeit, Gewaltenkontrolle - alles Aufgaben eines modernen Staates."

Ich würde gern wissen, wie sich das davon unterscheidet, von was die sehr korrupten AD und COPEI-Regierungen zwischen 1960 und 1998 getan haben. Hat die Chávez-Regierung weniger gestohlen? Wirklich? PUDREVAL? Plan Bolívar 2000? Haciendas vom Militär Chacín?

Ich würde darüber hinaus gern wissen, ob Herr Zeuske sich gründlich - wie ein Historiker halt- mit den ökonomischen Zuständen vor Chávez auseinandergesetzt hat und uns sagen kann, ob Chávez besser als die anderen abschneiden würde, wenn der Erdölpreis jetzt so niedrig wäre wie zwischen 1983 und 1998. In Wirklichkeit hat Chávez weniger für jeden Petrodollar geliefert, als die sehr korrupten Regierungen vor ihm. Hat Herr Zeuske durchgerechnet, was Chávez extra bekommen hat wegen der viel höheren Erdölpreise?

Herr Zeuske sagt, Chávez steht eher in der "Bolívar-Tradition". Ich bin baff. Bolívar war auch ein Caudillo, auch wenn er frühzeitig starb und gute Vorsätze - viel bessere als Chávez- hatte. Mehrere andere Caudillos- der von Chávez so gehasste Páez, aber auch Guzmán Blanco, Castro und Gómez behaupteten, in der Bolívar-Tradition zu sein. Zuallererst müssen wir einen Unterschied zwischen Diskurs und Realität machen. Wir müssen auch endlich begreiffen, dass Bolívar nicht die halbgöttliche Figur war, die Bolívar selbst verkaufen wollte. Bolívar wollte als Präsident fürs Leben regieren und hat nur dann aufgegeben, wenn er sah, was für ein Wiederstand das hervorrief. 

Chávez ist schon ein Caudillo. Und was den Sozialismus des 21. Jahrhunderts anbelangt: das ist Heinz Dieterich's wet dream für Chávez. Von Sozialismus haben wir bis jetzt nichts. Wir haben nur Petropopulismus zu $100 pro Fass.

Frage an Herrn Zeuske: wie würde ein lateinamerikanischer Caudillo sonst im 21. Jahrhundert aussehen, wenn nicht wie Chávez? Muss er auf Wahlen verzichten? Oder Wahlen wie in Nicaragua veranstalten? Oder muss er kein Militärakademieastudium haben? Oder ohne Twitter-Account?

De Rojas, ein anderer Caudillo