Tuesday, 30 October 2012

29 billion dollars the "revolutionaries" got away with

Opposition deputy Carlos Ramos asked the Chávez government for the nth time about where 29 billion dollars from the Fund for Endogenous Development (FONDEN in Spanish) went...and he hasn't got any answer.

People like German deputy Stroebele defended the Chávez government, among other things, because "large groups of the current opposition were involved in corruption and cronyism". Although most people within the German Green Party have been more critical of the Chávez government, Stroebele was one of those who preferred to give the benefit to the 1992 coup monger...it was his love for what he considered a rebel with cause. Most people now remember Stroebele for defending terrorist Baader, so this shouldn't be a surprise. I will talk about Mr Stroebele in more detail in another post.

Carlos Andrés Pérez, one of our former presidents, had to step down from power for the misappropriation of a fraction's fraction of the FONDEN money now unaccounted for. Will we ever see Chávez doing the same?

Millions in Venezuela won't react to anything of the sort...not now. Why? Because they expect to get a Haier washing machine or something similar from the government and they don't see the billions the Chávez regime is pulverizing, billions that could be used for Venezuela's sustainable development.  "Well - people like Stroebele may tell us - "at least they are getting something, aren't they? Why didn't Carlos Andrés Pérez give them washing machines back in 1989 and instead introduced those liberal measures?"

Well, because of this. It's not rocket science, really. Unfortunately, European deputies like Stroebele are not expected to do some basic homework before writing reports about foreign countries. Imagine we, Spanish Americans, were writing such reports about Germany as Stroebele did back in 2004 about Venezuela.

You can read more about FONDEN here and above all here

I am sending this post to Stroebele.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Destruction of the Land of Grace (Barinas chapter)

The National Forest Reserve of Caparo stopped being a natural reserve years ago. This area, of 140 square kilometres, has been largely destroyed since 2004. There is little left there. If you speak Spanish, you can read about it here.
They used to live there, there are very few left now in that area

A little bit of history in a nutshell (but I really recommend you to read the whole article if you read Cervantes' language):

  • Established in 1961
  • Until the eighties the forest was still kept.
  • Between 1982 and 1989 the State allowed the extraction of wood by private and state companies. This was done with less and less control. According to the Universidad de los Andes (ULA), for the year 2000 there was only 49% of the forest left
  • In 2001 the new minister for Environment, Osorio, allowed the "control of forest by the communities", which simply meant that the squatters were allowed to run amok. Between 2002 and 2004 70000 hectares of primaeval forests disappeared.
  • There are now 14000 hectares left, half of them protected by the ULA and half of them isolated pockets bound to disappear very soon.

The ULA has some proposals to try to rescue what is left...but it has hardly any money. Meanwhile, Venezuelans at large haven't got the slightest clue about what is sustainable development. They are destroying their nature at an ever faster pace.

Lastly this video. One thing that calls my attention is how even the university people basically stress above all the fact THEY are losing the wood resources for research. It seems the loss in biodiversity and the purpose of an actual natural reserve are not very much in their priorities. It is also sad that other people from the state of Barinas and Mérida didn't seem have a voice and didn't come with initiatives to stop this destruction before.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Die perfekte Unternehmensführung im 13. Jahr der bolivarischen Revolution

Der Caudillo hat gewonnen. Mit einem Erdölpreis, der seit Jahren viel höher ist, als was die Welt zwischen 1983 und 1998 erfuhr, konnte Chávez Milliarden Dollar in der Form von Darlehen aus China benutzen, um chinesische Kühlschränke, Küchen, Waschmaschinen und Fernseher sowie US-amerikanischen Reis, nicaraguanische Bohnen und argentinisches Fleisch kaufen und in Venezuela sehr preisgünstig verkaufen. Mit staatlichen Mitteln - u.a. fast alle LKWs der staatlichen Erdölgesellschaft - und mit Hilfe fast aller staatlichen Beamten, konnte die militär-PSUV Maschine mehr Leute mobilisieren und Stimmen erzielen als die Opposition.

Das war vor einigen Monaten...seit Jahren nichts Neues

Chaos, thy real name is Venezuela

Der von der Regierung dominierte nationale Wahlrat hat zugelassen, dass eine Partei, die nicht mehr den Oppositionskandidat unterstützte, sein Bild auf dem Wahlzettel benutzen konnte. Dadurch haben zahlreiche Menschen Capriles Gesicht gesehen und das Logo dieser Partei daneben angekreuzt. Damit hat die Opposition etwa 0.4% verloren. Das war nur einer der vielen Tricks. 

Dennoch weiss der Caudillo, dass viele Leute hoch unzufrieden sind mit der Art und Weise, wie das Land regiert wird. Manche seiner Anhänger denken immer noch, dass der Führer das nicht weiss...dass die Leute, die er neben sich hat, ihn belügen. Er muss also zeigen, dass das tatsächlich so ist, dass er wirklich was tut.

Der Caudillo hat beschlossen, ein neues Ministerium zu errichten...er hatte uns schon mit solchen Ministerien wie das Ministerium der Volksmacht für die Energieversorgung und das Ministerium der Volksmaht für die Justizvollzugsanstalt beglückt. Und so schuf er das Ministerium der Volksmacht für die Überwachung der Die neue Ministerin hat prompt ein Twitterkonto kreiert und zwar mit dem Namen @gestionperfecta, perfekte Verwaltung bzw perfekte Unternehmensführung.

Und siehe: es folgen Taten. Der Caudillo hat einen Erlass herausgegeben, um den Notzustand für die Gefängnisse auszurufen...das geschieht am Ende des 13. Jahres der sogenannten Revolution. Es gab keinen Krieg in der Zwischenzeit, es gab kein Erdbeben. Es gab nur Chavismus. Und der Chavismus ruft immer noch den Notzustand aus.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Questions I have

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have a few questions.

  • What happened to the US American citizen who was detained in Venezuela, accused by Hugo I of being a secret agent on a quest to destabilize the country?
  • Why doesn't the opposition demand the appointment of a new comptroller over a year after the last one died?
  • Why did the Universidad Católica team say there are very few corrupted registries at the Venezuelan Electoral Council's database and it assumes the obvious cases already discovered are the only cases there are and there is no point in a proper cleaning-up of electoral registries? Is there some true about infiltration within the MUD or is this the only case in history where infiltration is impossible?
  • Why was really Rocío San Miguel's sister detained a couple of months ago?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

How did Venezuelans vote in Europe? The visual part

Here you see how Venezuelans living in Europe (Turkey included) voted in the 2012 elections. Firstly I put the results according to vote share. As you see, most voters in Belarus, Cyprus and Russia voted for the military caudillo. In all the other countries, the opposition was clear majority.

 The second chart shows the results as total...but with an algorithmic view. Last but not least, you see how the actual count went. Most Venezuelans in Russia and Belarus are embassy employees or a few guys who got a scholarship to study whatever there. There are a couple of dozen Venezuelans in Belarus going to course at the Minsk Warfare Academy. I suspect some of them are actually following the courses for intelligence. I wrote about that here. The others are studying with Fundayacucho like Venezuelans were doing in the seventies and early eighties...only that now the main criteria for selection is ideological, i.e. being absolutely loyal to Chavismo or just jalabola.

Most Venezuelans in Europe live in Spain. A lot of Venezuelans are actually EU citizens as well.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

How did Venezuelans abroad vote?

If you want understand why the Chávez military regime is so nasty towards most Venezuelans abroad and why it makes it so difficult for them to vote, you can go here. In that page you have the results that the government-dominated National Electoral Council doesn't want to upload just yet about the election results abroad. It shows another story: that of Venezuelan professionals leaving the country. Of course, the military regime will tell you those Venezuelans are all wealthy bankers and the like. No, most are not. Most are engineers, economists, artists and just workers who are tired of a murder rate of 70 murders per 100 000 inhabitants and a pathetic personality cult.

Thanks to Brigitte

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Carabobo 2006 and 2012

Very roughly I drew two maps showing roughly the voting preference in the central state of Carabobo. Firstly, you see Carabobo in 2006.

Then you see Carabobo in 2012. Bear in mind that we have only provisional data. The Southern-most parish of Valencia, at the central bottom, has very few voters

Now look at how the opposition grew in different municipios:
There is a long way to go but in spite of it all: the opposition is slowly but clearly gaining terrain...even with record oil prices at the disposal of the caudillo.

Finally, you see the total amount of voters for each municipality this time around. There is a lot of work to be done specially in Southern Valencia, in Puerto Cabello, in Carlos Arvelo and in Los Guayos. The opposition needs to understand: a good national leader is excellent (and we have one or two), but equally important is to have a couple of dozen eloquent, charismatic national representatives who were born not only in Caracas and who may be willing to travel throughout the country from now on at least on an intermitent basis. This is the way it is done elsewhere. Venezuela is a primarily urban country but "urban" means above all Puerto Cabello or Punto Fijo, not Eastern Caracas or Northern Valencia. Capriles understood that. Others have to understand that message as well.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Abstention and political shortsightedness

I find it depressing how even historians joining the wagon of Venezuela analysts tend to select rather limited time frames when they want to measure up the development of anything. Now they mostly choose the period 1998 to 2011, as if everything that came before Chávez could be subsumed under 1998.

In some cases we may do well by comparing literacy levels or murder rates at least for a century. In some cases we may want to try to get key data about industril production for a few decades at the very least.

In the case of abstention, we should look at the time frame 1958 until now.

I just took the data found at the CNE and started to plot it.

Take a look.
Abstention almost seems to evolve inversely proportional to Venezuela's Alpha & Omega, oil prices.

But I will go deeper into this. That is not what it is all about.

Venezuela now

Chavismo won. It used all kinds of tricks but in the end, it would have won even without them. The tricks just optimized results. I had been making very cautious comments at Miguel's blog about the elections, but in the end, yesterday for some minutes I thought we may have a chance. I had expressed my doubts about an oppo victory many times, even if cautiously, even if a part of me wanted the miracle.

As I said before: it now depends on how cool we react and how Venezuela's Alpha and Omega, oil prices, evolve.

More on that soon.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Exit polls

OK, I am sorry, but we are not allowed to say anything about exit polls yet.

Things went fine in Europe, let's say it so. I got feedback from different European countries and Venezuelans went to vote massively. I am not sure yet but it seems Venezuelans went to vote in record numbers in most places with a Venezuelan embassy. 

Now let's relax. Take a porto, some olives and listen to your favourite music.

Venezuelans in Europe's capital voting

I have been told that by 3pm Berlin time 200 Venezuelans had voted in Brussels, Belgium. That's 2 out of 3 of those registered to vote. That is very good and actually a record for Belgium as many people  do not live in Brussels. My contact told me there was a long queue.

The picture here was taken about 1pm. 

Chávez military slow down process in key areas

I get reports all over the place that the military are slowing down the voting process in areas where the opposition has a very wide advantage. They want to discourage people from voting.

I suppose the Carter Centre hasn't got a clue about what is going on and every time they go towards a voting centre the Chavistas inside know about their arrival well beforehand.

Lots of people voting in Europe

I hear from several Venezuelans: lots of people voting, as never before, in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid.

Venezolanische Wahlen auf Deutsch

Ich werde mal probieren, auch auf Deutsch über die Wahlen zu schreiben. Auf Deutsch könnt Ihr zur Zeit u.a. dies bei Spiegel lesen.

For the non-German speakers: I will be posting also a bit in English, but for that check out specially Miguel's and Daniel's blogs

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Venezuela - it's election time!

It's election day in Europe already.

I will go to vote now. If you have interesting pictures or stories to tell about election day, about the place you are voting, send them to desarrollo.sostenible.venezuela at gmail.com.

I will be tweeting at @venezuelaeuropa

Good luck, Venezuela

Some news:

The Venezuelan military closed again the borders with other countries "to prevent violence", apparently...and it did it earlier than it had announced it would do. Why do we need to close borders during election time in a democracy?

Iris Varela, Ministerin der Volksmacht für Justizvollzugsanstalten

Der Zustand der Gefängnisse in Venezuela war immer miserabel. Die Lage wird aber in den letzten Jahren  schlechter. Hier habt Ihr einen kleinen Hinweis dafür:

Darüber hinaus wird die Überbelegung der Gefängnisse dramatischer.

In einem neuen, improvisierten Versuch, der Lage Herr zu werden, beschloss der Militärcaudillo ein neues Ministerium zu errichten: das Ministerium der Volksmacht für Justizvollzugsanstalten. Er hat eine seiner treuesten Gefolgsleute, Iris Varela, zur Ministerin genannt.

Beim letzten Auftritt des Caudillos hat es stark geregnet. In Venezuela sagt man umgangsprachlich "cayó un palo de agua", ein Stock Wasser ist gefallen. 

Vorgestern hat die Ministerin folgendes getweetet:

Auf Deutsch: "Schreit, Minderwertige! Und kauft viel Vaseline für Sonntag, denn der Stock, den wir Euch am 7 reinstecken werden wird nicht gerade aus Wasser sein"

Für "Minderwertige" hat sie das Wort "majunche" benutzt. Hugo Chávez, der Caudillo, den Sahra Wagenknecht (Freiheit statt Kapitalismus!) so sehr lobt, bezeichnet seit einiger Zeit alle Oppositionellen als "majunches". Iris Varela war diejenige, die vor einigen Monaten einer Abgeordneten der Opposition in der Nationalversammlung sagte, sie müsse zuerst Botox zugespritzt haben, um vor den Kameras zu sprechen.

Später werde ich ein bisschen mehr über Frau Wagenknecht sprechen.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Message to the Carter Centre...again

Again I ask the Carter Centre to give an answer.

Please, go to the site of Venezuela's National Electoral Centre (before they modify any data - even if we have sent copies to the international media) and enter the ID number 19777305. Look at the person's name. Now enter 19777306. Look at the person's name. Full names in a Spanish country usually consist of 4 actual words, two given names and two surnames. A repetition is highly unlikely but for a few very common surnames. The current electoral records have about 20000 repetitions. In thousands of cases the "doubles" are in the same centre, in thousands of cases in another one very around the corner. All those cases have the same birth date. They are just the tip of the iceberg: they are obviously not real.

Since we reported that to the CNE there have been thousands of changes...but the changes are about names, not about deletion. They are obviously not kosher. Someone may say "but they are less than 0.1% of the total amount of voters". Indeed, they are, they are less than 40000. Still, they are the most obvious cases. If whoever introduced them also introduced cases with different birthdates, we have no way of knowing unless an independent commission asks a statistically representative amount of people to come forward and identify themselves. Technically, there is nothing more to produce such records if these have been produced already.

What do you have to say about this? Is this part of the best electoral system on Earth, as Mr Carter declared?

Now something else: why does the best electoral system on Earth has a ballot where voting for one of the boxes with the opposition candidate's face leads to a vote against him?
You select that box and the vote is against Capriles

Is the best electoral system on Earth - based on machines with paper trails - going to produce the results much later than such systems as the manual ones in Brazil or Germany?
Permission is herewith given for the use of this image by commons.wikimedia.org, Wikipedia and any open source project
If you read Spanish, take a look at what the poster says. This is a National Guard checkpoint. The National Guard, together with the Army, are the ones coordinating the logistics, guarding and transporting ballot boxes, etc

We are sending this post not only to the BBC but also to Spiegel, Le Monde, Novaja Gazeta, etc, etc.

Thanks for your answer, Carter Centre.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Cherry picking or banana selection? The art of wobbly statistics

The Guardian has some interesting statistics about life under Chávez. Unfortunately, the data seems to have been cherry-picked or perhaps went through some banana republic kind of selection.

Firstly: most initial data refers to 1999. Chávez started to rule 4 February of that year. Things began  deteriorating already in the second half of 1999, as some acute observers will tell you.

Take, for instance, the murder rate. The article talks about 25 murders per 100 000 inhabitants for 1999 against 45,1 in 2010. That's bad enough, but if we expand the time frame we see it is even worse. The murder rate in 1998 was 19 murders per 100 000 inhabitants, so you can see just a few months after Chávez came to power things worsen very rapidly. You can check out the data for 1998 in UNODC's 7th Report. If we were to go further back in time we will see there was a huge hike in the nineties, it stabilize in 1996-1997, dropped a bit in 1998 and went up year after year. In 2011 the murder rate was much higher and 18850 persons were murdered. The murder rate under Gómez in 1910 was very similar to that in 1998. Now it is by far the worst in South America. You can get the data, if you speak German, from here. You just need to find the amount of murders back then and the population.

Now, although the journalist plotted for inflation, she didn't do so for child mortality. She just presents two dots: one saying infant mortality was at 20 in 1998 and another showing it was just 13 in 2011.

But I took the same data, from the Instituto Nacional Electoral and plotted the whole thing.

Look at what you get:

It looks less impressive in this way, doesn't it? It is the same thing with literacy...probably worse, but we do not have very reliable data about it as the current government refuses to let independent evaluators analyse Venezuela's education, unlike what Capriles, the opposition candidate, did with the PISA programme in Miranda.

Finally, although the article shows how oil exports in 2011 are several times what they were in 1999 (she should again have chosen 1998 or at least shown several years before), it does not show why this happened: oil prices sky-rocketed, as you can check out yourself at OPEC's site.

I had actually plotted official OPEC data while contributing to the article on Venezuelan history in German Wikipedia. I put the chart here. It is in German but the data should be clear: $ per barrel and year.

I am not an economist. I am not a statistician. This is not rocket science. This is something your son John or Johan can do at age 11.

Cherry or banana picking?

Are you in Venezuela or Europe? Bist Du in Venezuela oder Europa?

Send me your pictures of the elections in Venezuela or at your Venezuelan embassy with some context information and I will put them up here!

Schick mir Deine Bilder der Wahlen in Venezuela oder in Deiner venezolanischen Botschaft mit Kontextinformationen und ich werde sie hier zeigen!

¡Envíame tus fotos de las elecciones en Venezuela o en tu embajada venezolana junto con información de contexto y las pondré aquí!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

State resources for Chávez campaign

As we mentioned earlier, Jimmy Carter, who honestly thinks he is making a better job as ex president than what he did as president, said Venezuela has the best voting system on Earth.

It's because of the paper trail and the fancy "voting machines".

In the picture above you can see a couple of the hundreds of PDVSA - i.e. state- vehicles that were kept for weeks at the PDVSA petrol distribution centre in Yagua, Carabobo. This picture was taken when state officials were about to distribute those vans all around Carabobo and neighbouring states for general campaigning and above all for the election day, when state employees and the military case will be involved in taking possible Chávez sympathizers to vote.

Although the opposition has repeatedly said the print machines used in Venezuelan elections are not connected to the voting machines proper, many people are not sure about that and fear the government can find out about their voting decision once they put their finger for scanning and go right away to the other machine. This is another obstacle democracy has to face now.

This is the kind of tricks the BBC journalist does not report about because she is basically interviewing people in Caracas, thank you very much.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Capriles und die Uramerikaner, Capriles und die Verteidigung Venezuelas

Capriles ist jetzt im Bundesland Amazonas. Er erklärte, dass er in einem Jahr den Uramerikanern Landbesitz gewährleisten wird. Bis jetzt hatte der Militär Chávez solche Forderungen vermieden. Der Caudillo hatte nur einige kleinen Gebiete an einige indianischen Ethnien gegeben, die meisten kamen aber mit leeren Händen davon.
Endlich mal Land für Dich, Mädel

Capriles sagte auch, dass er zum Verteidigungsminister einen General ernennen wird, der zur Zeit aktiv ist. Die Militärs werden heute und morgen und übermorgen und bis zum 8.10 nicht schlafen können.

Caprile tut's gut.

What Chavez does not want foreigners to know

Jimmy Carter, an old friend of Ceasescu and Iran's Shah, irresponsibly said Venezuela had the best electoral system in the world...basically because it's electronic and it uses paper trail. That's enough for the digital illiterate and for those who are not living in Venezuela.

As we have said, there are many things that are going wrong with the whole electoral process. One of the latest tricks by the government-controlled Electoral Council was to allow a ballot with a position representing a party with the face of opposition candidate Capriles but which, if crossed, would mean votes for someone else.

We asked the Carter Centre about this but the Carter Centre hasn't answered yet. We have sent to different newspapers worldwide information about the Carter Centre's position, so they know the Carter Centre should answer.

In the picture above, taking near Guacara, in Northern Venezuela, you see a checkpoint manned by Venezuela's National Guard. The National Guard is supposed to help in national security and it also plays a role during election time.

Very big you can see a sign stating "Independence and Socialist Fatherland" and Chávez's slogan after he got cancer, "We shall live and we shall overcome". You also see a picture of the caudillo. The National Guard should be, according to our constitution, an apolitical institution. Instead, it is yet another tool of the military elite.

Do you think the National Guard will be cooperative when it comes to a kosher voting process? Do you think they will behave as they should when it comes to keeping an eye on ballot boxes?

We are still waiting for the Carter Centre to take a position on the latest developments in Venezuela. It hasn't said anything yet about the two opposition activists murdered in Barinas by Chávez officials.

We wonder if it is really true that Mr Chávez promised the Carter Centre "support" for some electoral process elsewhere in South America. Have you heard or read something about it?