Monday, 28 December 2015

Murder and censorship in Venezuela (I)

Throughout the years I have written a lot about the murder problem in Venezuela. I published regularly statistics about murder, in particular in the central state of Carabobo. There has been a lot of discussion about what the real figures are: the NGO OVV says something, Dorothy Kronick says something else and the regime still another.

The numbers I have seen seem to indicate the murder rate stabilized a bit after 2009 but there hasn't been much of a drop. Venezuela's murder rate more than tripled since Chavismo came to power and the rate is just lingering around 65 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. We have by far the highest murder rate in South America and one of the highest in the world.

And now the higher powers in Carabobo have ordered not to give the information to journalists.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

¡Feliz Navidad!


I want to wish you all a very happy Christmas, a moment of peace and reunion.

Madonna della Seggiola

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Politische Gefangene in Venezuela: Ledezma

Seit Februar 2015 ist der Bürgermeister von Caracas, der Oppositionelle Antonio Ledezma, ein politischer Gefangener der Regierung Maduros.

Die erste Anhörung beim Gericht ist schon neunmal verschoben worden. Das ist gang und gäbe im "Sozialismus des 21. Jahrhunderts".

Amnesty International kritisiert das ganze Verfahren.

Die deutsche extremlinke Partei Die Linke unterstützt das chavistische Regime weiterhin.

Politischer Gefangener - einer unter vielen - in Venezuela

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Cuando la oposición se convierte en una amplia mayoría

Ratio opositor por chavista para algunos estados venezolanos en las elecciones de abril del 2012, abril del 2013 y diciembre del 2015
Si Ud. camina ahora por San Cristóbal, en la Venezuela andina, al menos dos de cada tres personas que vea y que hayan votado en diciembre serán opositoras al régimen. En los estados centrales de Miranda o Carabobo, tres de cada cinco votantes son opositores. La proporción de opositores es algo mayor en el estado noroccidental de Zulia. Actualmente son muy pocos los estados donde aun hay algo más de chavistas que opositores y estos tienen poca población. El desarrollo se viene perfilando desde hace mucho tiempo: la oposición se expande desde zonas urbanas...y Venezuela es un país altamente urbanizado.

Esperábamos una mayoría para la oposición en Venezuela. Aun así, nos costaba creer que podíamos obtener una mayoría absoluta. La principal razón de esta timidez se debía a la absoluta parcialidad del Consejo Nacional Electoral, dominado por chavistas, y al uso de recursos de Estado por parte del grupo que gobierna Venezuela desde 1999.

Realmente el desarrollo que tuvimos no es sorprendente. No solo la crisis económica se hace cada vez más dolorosa e impulsa a los chavistas a abandonar el barco de la mal llamada revolución. El creciente número de opositores hace más fácil ejercer presión para que los grupos armados que apoyan al gobierno no cometan fraude. Hemos alcanzado la masa crítica.

Entre las elecciones presidenciales de 2012 y 2013 transcurrieron apenas 6 meses. Las elecciones regionales de 2014 difícilmente pueden compararse con elecciones presidenciales o con las de la Asamblea Nacional, que se asemejan más a un plebiscito presidencial. Entre las elecciones de 2013 y 2015 hay más de 3 veces el tiempo transcurrido entre las elecciones del 2012 y del 2013. Si calculásemos las pendientes que resultan de la proporción de opositores entre los dos períodos de 2012 a 2013 y del 2013 al 2015 y tenemos en cuenta la cantidad de meses pasados, veríamos que en realidad la "deschavetización" de la sociedad transcurre a un nivel menos acelerado. Podemos ver, incluso, que en estados como Miranda o Lara el número de opositores creció ahora a un ritmo mucho menor. Valdría la pena investigar porqué no han caído aun más los números de chavistas. Hay varias causas posibles.



Monday, 7 December 2015

Russian interests in Venezuela

It is funny that today, of all days, Russian newspaper Kommersant decided to publish a little article about Russian economic interests in Venezuela.
I wonder if the parents of those kids voted now for the opposition

They say Venezuela takes position 5 when it comes to Russian weapons (6% of all sales). My country spent $3.2b only in 2012-2015 (much more between 2004 and 2012 - my comment-). There are outstanding credits for around $6 billion.

Where did my underdeveloped country spend the money? It went for 30 Sukhoi, 34 helicopters Mi-17V-5, 10 helicopters Mi-35M, 3 Mi-26T, 3 Mi-172 and 2 Mi-172VIP, defence systems PVO TOr-M1 and Pechora-2M, 100000 Kalashnikovs, PZRK Igla, 92 tanks T-72 and some other similar soldiers' toys.

There is now  a company for producing AK-103 called CEMAREH. Those are the AKs you will see in the next robberies in Venezuela.

The Russians also have 40% of Petromiranda. There is a bank created in 2009. There are a few other projects as well - just go to the page and if you don't speak Russian, use machine translation or ask your nearest Russian friend- and last but definitely least, there is the Empresa Mita Ruso-Venezolana Orquídea S.A. to sell orchids in Moscow. I wonder if Miguel likes that one. Perhaps not.

Carabobo, provisional results




The map you see here is based on the preliminary results (at this very moment no longer accessible) for Carabobo according to the National Electoral Council. Things are bound to change. So far, about 58.61% of votes went to the opposition and 39.87% to Chavismo in this state.

I think we have to clarify something: traditionally people have had a very simplistic view of what urban versus rural is in Venezuela. The extreme case is those who see anything but Caracas as rural. There are others who consider urban Venezuela is made up of cities with a population higher than one million people or the like. In other countries there are also lots of definitions about what is rural or urban but generally, places with high population density and city-style land use are considered urban. 

Carabobo is one of the most densely populated areas of Venezuela. Most of what is not populated is to be found on the mountain range in the North and West, but there is also a fringe of thinly populated regions in the South and in the low mountains in the South-East.

The opposition won in almost all urban areas but for some shanty towns of Puerto Cabello in the Democracia parish and in semi-rural Borburata, where we have a very strong African American component. It still lost in the mostly rural Juan José Mora, including the very poor city of  Morón, which also has a relatively high percentage of people with black ancestors. It lost in the semi-rural areas of Diego Ibarra, in the shanty towns of Tacarigua and in the more rural areas of Libertador, Negro Primero (part of the Valencia Municipality but very thinly populated) and very rural Güigüe and Belén.

Most areas where there are shanty towns went to the opposition now, including most of Valencia's slums, those of very poor Los Guayos, where I went to school, rural areas of San Joaquín and rural areas of Guacara (and, of course, the city of Guacara).

Bear in mind there were still areas where we hardly had any witness...and they happen to be the areas where Chavismo scored the best.


Now let's take a moment to enjoy this tweet of military strongman Diosdado Cabello...today a little bit less strong:

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Venezuelas Opposition gewinnt zumindest 99 Sitze gegen 46


Die ersten Ergebnisse kommen...langsam aber sicher: wir haben einen Sieg gegen das Regime erreicht. Es gibt noch 22 Sitze zu verteilen.

Und hier einiges auf Deutsch:

Süddeutsche Zeitung
Spiegel
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung



The Chavista strategy


It's now past 6pm and by law all voting centres where no one is queuing up should be closed. The puppet National Electoral Council decided to break the law and extend the time for voting. They said there are people queuing up but they say that time after time when it is plain for all to see no one is waiting to vote. Why does the government do this?

Because it becomes very dark after 6 pm and a lot of people, particularly the great majority without cars, is scared to death to stay in centres where the military and Chavista thugs can threaten them. Now even some "motorizados" are demanding the closure of centres to prevent fraud.


That is what is happening right now in Venezuela.



And now in Greater Valencia (II)

Different sources - including friends of mine - are reporting many red buses that were supposed to be used for general public transport are being used right now to bring committed Chavistas to vote in Greater Valencia. The government had imported over 200 of those buses at the beginning of this year and they were mostly stored without being used. People were protesting about that. Well: now Chavistas can use them to vote.

Public, for the extreme left, like for the extreme right, are only they. The others are Untermenschen or, as the late caudillo Chávez used to call us, escuálidos.

Venezuela's elections, another look


This is a Russian BTR-80 APC in front of Telesur, the propaganda TV for international consumption. Russians started using such vehicles in places such as Afghanistan. They are not for riots, they are for war - to transport soldiers- or for intimidation, as in Venezuela's elections.

Wikipedia says "by convention, they are not intended to take part in direct-fire battle, but are armed for self-defence and armoured to provide protection from shrapnel and small arms fire."

Still, they are an overkill. Not even during the highest terror alarm level in Brussels were there such combact vehicles. The Belgians put some Dingos in front of a few governmental offices and the central station, not in front of state TV stations.
Here you can watch how Adan Chávez, the late caudillo's eldest brother, is booed in the very school Chávez attended as a child.

In almost every single voting centre - except a few where a couple of useful idiots are taken - you see posters like this, just in case you forgot for whom to vote:


The Mood in Greater Valencia

Let's remember: the opposition needs to get as many votes as possible even if 1) the regime is going to cheat and 2) the regime will emasculate the new National Assembly. This is about showing the military they are only favouring an utterly corrupt, incompetent minority.

For the first time in more than a decade people in Northern Valencia - traditionally opposition area- but also in many places such as Los Guayos - formerly Chavista areas- do not seem to have heard any "toque de diana", the noise generated by radical Chavistas to wake up everyone on election day. The toque de diana was heard in parts of Caracas, though. There is talk Chavistas want to take their people to vote at the very end.They might probably want to "use" the vote of those who haven't gone to vote yet. How could they do that? Admittedly, it won't be possible as long as there are oppo witnesses in the rooms. That's the thing.

There are reports from Guacara that at 9:30, 3 and a half hours after official start, the voting hasn't taken place due to "Internet problems".


In another part of Guacara, opposition witnesses are not allowed to get to the voting centre, only PSUV members:

I will be updating this post.

To be continued...

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Venezuelas Wahlen 2015 (1)


In mehreren venezolanischen Bundesstaaten gibt es seit einigen Stunden Internetausfall. Man fragt sich, ob das eine Übung ist.

Venezolaner kaufen die Lebensmitteln, die sie finden können...für den Notfall im Notfall.

Der Nationale Wahlrat erklärt, dass die Stimmen für MIN Unidad der Regierungspartei gelten. MIN Unidad ist eine Partei, die von den Chavistas errichtet wurde, um Stimmen der MUD Unidad wegzunehmen. Die Logos sind sehr ähnlich und die MIN  Unidad hat seinen Platz neben dem der Opposition. Bis jetzt hatte die MIN Unidad behauptet, sie sei ein Teil der Opposition.


Revolutions and coups are not so much about freedom but about money

This chart shows the GDP growth of five Latin American countries and Norway since 1962. Notice a couple of things:


  • Costa Rica and Norway seem to be the countries that have a steadier growth and no big drops
  • Venezuela has the most dramatic rises and drops
  • Argentina follows with regards to variation



Now let's consider political turmoil.

Chile: Pinochet carried out his coup in 1973, when the GDP growth of Chile was of less than -4.

Argentina: there were coups in 66 and 76. The GDP growth of 66 was -0.66 and that of 76 -2.02.

Venezuela: there were two coups in 1992 and the coupster arrived to power in late 1998. There was a short-lived coup against him in 2002.

We don't have real figures about Venezuela's GDP growth for this year, only conjectures as the government stopped publishing most economic data since last year. Last year's GDP rate was -4% or worse and the one of this year is bound to be much worse than that. We don't know exactly how much but we know how desperate people are.

Will there be a coup? Unlikely. The military echelons have gone through several purges since 2002. A lot of the military personnel now, not only at the very top, are deeply involved in gangster activities. There can't be a coup as coups used to come. Still: the Chavista regime is aflutter. Tomorrow Venezuela has elections. The National Electoral Council has done and will continue doing anything it can to help the government and reduce the number of votes and, above all, of seats, the opposition can get. Still...



Saturday, 28 November 2015

News from Greater Valencia: no petrol, again


El Palito Refinery seems to have technical problems. Some tankers with petrol off Puerto Cabello haven't docked because the Venezuelan government hasn't paid for the deliveries.

There are huge queues to tank from Puerto Cabello to Valencia and around.

When I was a child the refinery you see in the picture (El Palito) was one of the prides of Venezuela. Now it is falling apart...but it is "roja rojita".


Friday, 27 November 2015

Mord in Altagracia und die Ethik venezolanischer Politik


Luis Manuel Díaz, ein lokaler Oppositionspolitiker, wurde am 25.11.2015 in der Kleinstadt Altagracia de Orituco, in den venezolanischen Ebenen, während einer politischen Rallye erschossen. Tintori, Frau des inhaftierten Oppositionspolitiker Leopoldo López, hatte kurz davor neben ihm geredet.


Nicolás Maduro sagte, dass der Mord womöglich eine Abrechnung zwischen Kriminellen war. Dasselbe sagte der "Bürgerbeauftragter der Nation", Tarek Saab, der ein bekannter PSUV-Politiker ist, der Gedichte über Chávez schon schrieb, als dieser noch lebte. Der Chavista Fernsehsender Telesur sagte, Luis Manuel Díaz war seit 2010 wegen Mordes untersucht und erklärte, womöglich hätte ein Gangster ihn aus Rache ermordet. Tatsächlich zeigt die Seite von Telesur sein Foto nachdem er festgenommen wurde. Bis jetzt habe ich im Netz nichts über diesen Mann (Jahrgang 1971) vor seinem Mord gefunden. Auch wenn Altagracia ein Kaff ist: das ist schon bemerkenswert. Eine Frage stellt sich aber auch: warum wurde er freigelassen? Was ist aus dieser  Untersuchung in den letzten 5 Jahren geschehen? 

Amnesty International und die Organisation Amerikanischer Staaten forderten die "Einsetzung unabhängiger Ermittlungsbehörden", um eine Untersuchung einzuleiten.

Die einzigen unabhängigen Organisationen in Venezuela sind die Moskitoschwärme.

Es ist schon mehrmals im Laufe dieser Wahlzeit zu Gewalt gekommen: die Oppositionspolitiker Richard Blanco und Miguel Pizarro sind von bewaffneten Gruppen angegriffen worden. Bis jetzt hat die Regierung nicht gesagt, dass diese lauter Abrechnungen wären.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

How mental is Chavismo? Economics of an egg



It is hard to convey how screwed up Venezuela's economy is. Take the case of eggs...just conventional chicken eggs, not those of an ostrich.

Since 12 November the "fair price" for an egg is 14 Bolivars, which is equivalent to 2 euros at the official exchange rate. If you think that rate is not quite suitable because it does not reflect the real purchasing power, consider how many dozens of eggs the average school teacher in Venezuela can buy: 33.58 dozens or about 403 eggs. In reality, unless you spending hours every week queuing up for eggs, you are bound to find them at a much higher price. I could tell you stories of despair from my relatives and friends queuing up. Useful idiots in Venezuela and abroad still say the shortage economy has to do with capitalism and an economic war.

The video you see above is heart-breaking. it shows a chicken farm. The owners cannot find chicken food, which is imported, so they have to let the chicken run around the farm and find whatever they can. The chicken are desperate for grain, for anything. You cannot feed them nowadays like you use to do a hundred years ago...not if you need to feed a very urbanized nation.

At the same time as this is happening, Chavismo is 

1- importing massively chicken and other products from other South American nations - the ones with governments supporting the Chavista regime
2- still maintaining a currency control system whereby middle to upper middle class Venezuelans can buy a quota of highly subsidized foreign currency in order to spend it abroad. An expression of 21 Century Socialism is "raspar el cupo". That means: people who have credit cards and can afford that go abroad, buy some stuff but also simply get the cash in dollars or euros and then deposit it abroad. This is simply state-sponsored theft from the poor.

You can fairly say there is no one with lofty values running the so-called revolution nowadays. The people are taking umbrage and no matter how much the regime will try to cheat 6 December, things will become very hard for officialdom.

Hats off to Setty and Daniel for the video.















Thursday, 12 November 2015

Preparing for something?

Today a couple of our readers saw these APCs on the road from Valencia to Caracas. The National Guard uses these vehicles to contain protests.


Everyone else is talking about the first lady's relatives caught by the US American DEA in Haiti in a sting operation against cocaine dealers. I will write about them when I get some extra information.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Der Weg zu den Wahlen: Venezuela, November 2015


Ein paar stinknormale Schuhe kostet in Venezuela jetzt etwa 30000 Bs. Das ist mehr als was Schullehrer und die meisten Dozenten an der Uni verdienen. Diese Dozenten müssten drei Monate Gehalt ausgeben, um einen Monat lang eine Einzimmerwohnung in einem armen Viertel zu bezahlen. Es liegt auf der Hand, dass die grösste Mehrheit der Venezolaner, die vor langen Zeit keine Wohnung gekauft hat, jetzt bei Verwandten oder einfach in Slums wohnt.

Das Regime und seine bedingungslosen Verteidiger in Europa - die kommunistische S. Wagenknecht ist ein Beispiel von denen- sprechen über einen Wirtschaftskrieg. Der Kapitalismus ist ja immer schuld.

Der Vorsitzende der Organisation Amerikanischer Staaten hat gestern einen langen Brief an die Vorsitzende des venezolanischen Wahlrates geschrieben, wo er sich über die venezolanischen Behörden beschwert, die ihre Macht missbrauchen, um der Regierungspartei allerlei Vorteile für die Wahlen zu verschaffen.

Der Wahlrat hat u.a. die Zahl der Abgeordneten in Bezirken reduziert, wo die Opposition in der Vergangenheit ganz sicher gewann und dafür behauptet, dass die Einwohnerzahl dort abnimmt, was völlig falsch ist. Der Wahlrat hat auch zugelassen, dass plötzlich im Stimmzettel neben einer Oppositionspartei eine andere Partei erscheint, die fast denselben Namen hat...und mit einem völlig unbekannten Kandidat, der denselben Namen wie der Leiter der Oppositionspartei aufweist.

Es gibt immer weniger Zeitungen, Radio- und Fernsehsehnder, die das Regime kritisieren dürfen. Internetzugang hinkt in Venezuela hinter dem Rest Südamerikas. Es ist so langsam, dass wenige Menschen im Internet Stream-TV aus dem Ausland sehen können...vor allem da, wo die Journalisten nicht hingehen...da, wo die Mehrheit der Venezolaner lebt. Dies ist etwas, was viele ausländischen Journalisten in Caracas noch nicht verstehen oder bekannt gegeben: Venezuela ist zwar ein sehr urbanes Land, die meisten Menschen leben aber nicht in den drei grössten Städten Venezuelas, sondern in den Ballungsräumen und in vielen mittelgroßen Städten, wo ausländische Journalisten und Diplomaten so gut wie nie sind.

Die Regierung Maduros ist aber sehr nervös, denn alle Umfragen zeigen, dass die Opposition die große Mehrheit hat. Die Regierung will alles tun, um einen Gewinn der Opposition zuzulassen. Wenn die Opposition gewinnt, wird die jetzige Mehrheit in der Nationalversammlung die eigene Institution entmachten und an Maduro geben.




Thursday, 29 October 2015

Priorities for Venezuela's socialist regime


The Venezuelan regime knows where its priorities are. That's why it is spending $480,000,000 in maintenance for its Russian war planes. It will also spend Bs 6,000,000,000 in goodies for the military caste. That is equivalent to $944,000,000 or $7,600,000, depending on what exchange rate you use (I know how mental the range is).

In my city a huge amount of public schools similar to where I was as a child do not have teachers and pupils are getting their time wasted. A teacher in Venezuela doesn't earn enough to buy food for a family, much less to rent a tiny flat in a poor neighbourhood.

If this is not criminal, I do not know what is.

Bear in mind the military caste is the key element in logistics for the upcoming elections.

No wonder the regime does not want independent international observers.


Friday, 23 October 2015

Dying on Venezuela's roads

A few days back a relative of mine was murdered on the road. Some criminals threw stones to his car from a bridge. He crashed, they robbed the car. They were not found and it is highly unlikely they will be found. That bridge is well known for that kind of crimes. Many other times people die because they driving while drunk, because they drive too fast, because they do not know how to drive, because the cars are breaking apart, because the roads are full of holes.

In any case, Venezuela registered the second highest rate of traffic fatalities on Earth a few years back. What about now?

Well, now the regime has simply decided not to provide the data. This year Venezuela is, together with Ukraine and South Sudan, one of the few countries that did not report how many people die on the road.

Now, if you go to the previous report of 2013, where Venezuela still appeared, you will see Venezuela's enforcement of seat belt was among the lowest reported: 2 out of 10 times. Also, 3/4 of all fatality types are classified as "other", as opposed to "pedestrians, drivers" or the like, a figure that is usually less than 15% for other countries. It seems as if Venezuelan authorities didn't have a clue about who died why. Venezuelans do not like rules, they do not calculate risks.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

This is not a joke: ministry of trade in Venezuela


Since Maduro has been in power - since early 2013 - Venezuela has had five ministers of trade:


  • Alejandro Fleming
  • José Khan
  • Dante Rivas
  • Isabel Delgado and
  • David Cabello, Diosdado Cabello's brother

Diosdado Cabello's wife is the minister of tourism, by the way.

The average term for a minister in today's Venezuela is less than a year. For this ministry the average is exactly six months. That is quite shocking considering the change comes from the same functionary, not from a newly constituted government. My estimate is that David is going to outlast the previous ministers, though: the top military coupsters of 1992 and their relatives tend to last longer at any ministry than the average. 

Even Brazil is not sending official observers to Venezuela's elections in early December because there is no guarantee they would be able to do their work.



Sunday, 18 October 2015

Venezuela's Electoral Council, Fraud and the Doppelgänger


Tal Cual and Efecto Cocuyo wrote about one of the many cases in which the Electoral Council, a tool of Chavismo, wants to manipulate the elections in Venezuela one more time. In one sentence: a party with a name almost exactly the same as the opposition option for a key circuit appears in the ballot box just next to the opposition and the candidate's name is exactly the same as the opposition politician. 
If you vote for one of these, you vote for the opposition. If you vote for the other, you vote against the opposition

The opposition candidate is Ismael García, for the Mesa de la Unidad or MUD in Spanish. 

As Tal Cual managed to find out, the other Ismael García, for the MinUnidad, is a 28-year old guy working at a parking lot for a pitance of a salary and with absolutely no past political activity known.

I wanted to get a better sense of what the probabilities are, really, given all the Ismael Garcías in Venezuela. I looked at all the voters' names for 2011 (we have them because the government was forced to publish them) and I saw there were 123 people called Ismael García in the whole country, only 11 in Aragua, in that region (out of about 1200000 persons who can potentially run). The chances that two people with the same name appear in the ballot next to each other with parties that share the same acronyms are, for any practical reason, zero.

So, what happened was that the regime looked for one of the 11 persons with Ismael García's name in that region and paid him to do this. And the Electoral Council, a vulgar tool for Chavismo, agreed to accept this.

This is one of the many ways Chavismo will cheat. No wonder the only "international" observers the regime wants are of those South American countries that still have a big surplus with Venezuela.


Saturday, 17 October 2015

OK, I obviously got it wrong with you!

8 out of 18 persons answering to my last poll said the nationality they had when they were born was from one of the European countries I did not mention. One of the major European countries with strong links to Venezuela is Italy. Another one is the UK. Are you from there? From some other European country not mentioned in the list? I'd like to hear aobut you and where your interest for Venezuela comes from!

Venezuelas Wirtschaft 7 Wochen vor den Pseudowahlen

Die venezolanische Zentralbank hat seit Ende 2014 keine Daten zu Inflation oder Wachstum veröffentlicht. Sie kann es nicht, weil sie völlig von der Zentralregierung unter Kontrolle steht. Venezolaner haben jetzt kein Recht auf Zugang zu den Wirtschaftsdaten ihres Landes.

Da die venezolanische Regierung mit Bonds in Dollars handelt und darum gezwungen ist, einmal im Jahr den US-Amerikanern Rechenschaft zu geben, musste sie aber in einem Bericht in den Vereinigten Staaten ihre frühere Aussage relativieren, wonach die Wirtschaft im Jahr 2014 um 4% gesunken wäre. Eigentlich soll sich diese Zahl nur auf die Daten bis September handeln. Also: es ist wahrscheinlich, dass die Wirtschaft im letzten Jahr viel mehr schrumpfte als bis jetzt angegeben.

Der Vorsitzende der Zentralbank, Nelson Merentes, hatte Anfang 2014 gesagt, die Wirtschaft würde um 4% wachsen. Dieses Jahr wird noch schwieriger sein.

Maduro kundigte jetzt die Erhöhung des Mindesteinkommens um 30% an. Das ist 16399 Bolívares. Venezuela hat drei offizielle Wechselkurse, die aber kaum nützlich sind, um eine Idee zu haben, was man mit diesem Einkommen machen kann. Die Miete einer Einzimmerwohnung in einem heruntergekommenen Viertel würde mehr als doppelt so viel kosten. Mit diesem Geld könnte man nicht eine Familie von 4 Personen nicht mal 2 Wochen ernähren. Nur Benzin scheint fast kostenlos zu sein. Die meisten Menschen könnten sich aber nicht mal 2 Reifen eines Autos leisten.

Ein Professor an der Universität verdient zur Zeit höchstens dreimal so viel wie das, im Durchschnitt würde ein Informatikerdozent mit 5 Jahren Erfahrung weniger als 36000 Bolívares im Monat verdienen.

Die Politikerin von Extremlinks Sarah Wagenknecht wird wahrscheinlich sagen, dass der Kapitalismus die Schuld trägt und dass Venezuela unter einem Wirtschaftskrieg leidet.

Bald kommen die Pseudowahlen der Nationalversammlung. Man würde denken, dass die Regierung verloren hat. Das ist nicht so deutlich. Ich werde bald erklären was das Regime machen wird, um seine Macht weiter zu verteidigen.



Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Venezuelan poet Rafael Cadenas wins the Federico García Lorca Prize


This is just so cool! One of my favourite Venezuelan poets, Rafael Cadenas, from Barquisimeto, just got the prize.

Here you can read - in the language of God - an interview with him.

Congratulations, Mr Cadenas!
El Maestro Cadenas

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Weapons and underdevelopment in Chavista Venezuela (year 2015)


Maduro announced on Wednesday he would buy 12 more Sukhoi fighters from Russia. The Venezuelan military had recently lost two men in a crash that has not been properly investigated but that has been explained as a "fight against the paramilitary drug dealers from Colombia". Paramilitary is now Chavista code for right-winged, ergo close to the whole of Venezuela's opposition. Chávez had bought 24 Sukhoi 30 in 2006-2008 (here in Russian) and spent over 13 billion dollars in weapons until 2012. Purchases were reduced in the last couple of years but that was from an all-time record. In 2012 Venezuela was at position 13th worldwide and the first in Latin America as importer of conventional weapons (See SIPRI report for 2012). In 2013 there was a short stop, which was used by the Chavista propaganda to announce Venezuela had seen the sharpest decrease in military spending...the kind of pieces of pseudo-information useful idiots abroad hasten to publish. See here for their grasp on reality.

Intermezzo

A university professor in Venezuela doesn't earn enough to rent a small one-room flat in a working class area. That is why universities are going on strike now. If you try to calculate salaries based on one of the official currency rates, bear in mind almost no one can get dollars at that rate in Venezuela. If you want to understand what the Venezuelan exchange rates area mean, you can check out this article by Bloomberg, which is an outdated version of what is happening now: the black market dollar is currently at over 700 Bolívars.

Divertimento

Russian foreign minister Lavrov was set to visit Venezuela this Saturday on a stopover before going to New York. At the last minute, he decided to skip that stopover and go to New York directly. He met foreign minister Delsy Rodríguez (she is there basically because of her brother, current mayor of Caracas) and Nicolás Maduro and they discussed, among other things, "how to coordinate foreign policies" (in Russian here). They also signed a joke of an agreement whereby Venezuela avows not to use weapons in outer space. Considering Venezuela's technological development has been abysmal and it is much worse right now, considering that Venezuela is even failing to assemble cars, you have to be cynical to announce Venezuela is renouncing the use of weapons in outer  space.

Coda

Tomorrow Venezuela will receive 630000 barrels of Russian oil that it will process in Curacao. Oil swapping has always taken place but since Chavismo has let the national oil company PDVSA crumble down, the Venezuelan government has been forced to import more and more oil...something dramatic for a country that does nothing but export oil.


Monday, 21 September 2015

Rationing in the Venezuelan region of Táchira


The government refuses to call it rationing but that is what it is: from now on if you want to buy food or hygiene products and you live in Táchira, in the most densely populated state bordering Colombia, you can only do it two days a week. The days when you can buy those products depend on the last digit of your ID. This is worse than the rationing for specific (admittedly, many) products in place in the rest of Venezuela.

So, now if your ID ends in 1 or 2, you can buy stuff on Mondays and Saturdays.
If your ID ends in 3 or 4, you can buy on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
If your ID ends in 5, you can buy on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
If your ID ends in 6, you can buy on Wednesdays and Sundays.
If your ID ends in 7 or 8, you can buy on Thursdays and Sundays.
If it ends in 9 or 0, you can buy on Thursday and Sundays.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Schon wieder stürzen Militärflugzeuge in Venezuela ab


Zwei Sukhoiflugzeuge der venezolanischen Militärs sind gestern in Apure, Westvenezuela, abgestürzt. Die Regierungserklärung, wie erwartet: sie haben gegen die "narcotraficantes" gekämpft.
Die Flugzeuge wären abgestürzt, nachdem ein fremdes Flugzeug in den venezolanischen Luftraum eingedrungen sei. 

Beweise? Danke schön. Seit Wochen protestiert die kolumbianische Regierung, weil venezolanische Militärs die Grenze überquert haben sollen.

Heute demonstrieren Tausende Venezolaner in der ganzen Welt für Menschenrechte in Venezuela und insbesondere für die Befreiung des Oppositionsführers López.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Alexander von Humboldt and the environment


Alexander von Humboldt was born one day like today in 1769.

Here you have an interesting article - in Spanish - about global warming and Humboldt.


I wish scientists could carry out the same kind of experiments in Venezuela as they did in Ecuador now and see what level of environment destruction has taken place in what he visited 215 years ago. Unfortunately, Venezuela is now a complete failed  state so that it is almost impossible to carry out scientific work without getting mugged or worse. 


Oh, Alexander! If you saw how much Venezuelans have managed to destroy their environment!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

How do we teach Venezuelans about basic economics and sustainable development?


This is not a rhetoric or sarcastic question. Venezuelans have been repeating for decades now - about 7 - that the country needs to diversify its economy. Still, Venezuela is worse off now than it was back in 1937 when it comes to diversification. The standard of living rose a lot during several decades, but it is now falling down once more below the levels of the nineties of the XX century.

Venezuelans think theirs is a rich country and there only needs to be "redistribution". Some think Venezuela had or has capitalism or socialism while the country is still a primarily petro-feudal nation.

How do we educate Venezuelans if even opposition politicians with a degree in economics - much less the leaders of the autocratic government- do not want or cannot teach our citizens about the basics for sustainable (economic) development?

How do we prevent Venezuela's projects to always end up here?

Friday, 4 September 2015

How miserable can a "Socialist" regime be?


Imagine a country like Hungary or Poland or Portugal asking the whole world for money as "compensation for the refugees it accepted". Some countries ask for support within an actual union they are in, like in the case of Hungary or Greece. Some declare they are not prepared to accept more than a certain amount of refugees or that they are full, like in the case of Chávez's spiritual brother in Central Europe, Hungarian right-winged prime minister Viktor Orbán.

Declaring the country needs money as compensation for the refugees and other immigrants it received for decades would be considered completely cheap.

That is what the Chavista regime is demanding now. Delcy Rodríguez, Venezuela's minister of Foreign Affairs, declared, she will go to international organisations to ask for "indemnification to the Venezuelan state for the Colombians who fled from violence and who are currently living in Venezuela and for the exodus of Colombians to Venezuela. How cheap can Chavistas get? How Chauvinistic? How populist? Will it pay?



Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Chavismo, xenophobia and the world


Former coup monger Diosdado Cabello, current president of the National Assembly and one of the key Chavista strongmen, announced today the state of emergency has been extended to further municipalities of Táchira, the most densely populated Venezuelan state bordering Colombia. He said the border could be also closed along the states of Zulia and Apure. On the side: Cabello's brother is minister of Industry and Cabello's wife is minister of Tourism. His daughter often appears in flashy videos sponsored by the government singing for the "revolution" and the late caudillo Chávez.

The ombudsman of the people, Tarek William Saab, a man who is supposed to represent all Venezuelans but who is best known for writing poems to Chávez, said Colombia should ask the world to pay homage to Venezuela because Venezuela has accepted six million Colombian immigrants. He was referring to the millions of Colombians who have arrived to my country not just since Chavismo is in power but for many decades now. We don't really know how many they are as the Venezuelan registries are an absolute mess.

Imagine some big public official in Germany or the USA - not Trump but someone already elected- would say the same thing about Turkey or Mexico.


Tarek

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Venezuela under Chavismo, 1 September 2015


Few blogs get into some of the details of the shortage economy generated by the Chavista madness in Venezuela. Here foreigners will get some of those little facts.

If you are living in Venezuela and you have an ID ending in 0 or 1, you can buy products with controlled prices on Mondays and Saturdays. We are talking about a lot of products, from sugar, rice, coffee, soap, tooth paste and nappies to chicken, meat and cooking oil.

If your ID ends in 2 or 3, you can buy them on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
If your ID ends in 4 or 5, you can buy them on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
If your ID ends in 6 or 7, you can buy them on Thursdays and Sundays.
If your ID ends in 8 or 9, you can buy them on Fridays and Sundays.

People who have a real job will have difficulty reaching the supermarket on a working day. Those who can buy regulated products on Sundays and not on Saturdays are the ones more screwed up because supermarkets are usually empty late on Saturdays...and it is not like the products under price control are often available during the other days.

In some supermarkets, particularly in Caracas, which suffers less severe shortages than most other areas of Venezuela, you might have to let your finger prints be checked.

Tampons? You can buy them on Thursday and Sunday if your ID ends in 7...if you are lucky

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Wenn Ausländer nicht mehr nötig sind im Sozialismus des 21. Jahrhunderts


Die Maduro-Regierung versucht, den freien Fall in Hinblick auf die Wahlen der Nationalversammlung Anfang Dezember zu vermeiden. Dafür hat die Regierung die Grenzen zwischen Venezuela und Kolumbien im dichtbevölkerten Bundesstaat Táchira geschlossen und Tausende Kolumbianer ohne gültige Aufenthaltsgenehmigung des Landes verwiesen.

Dieses Foto ist noch von den Zeiten als Chávez noch lebte: "Kinder von Scheisseinwanderern: raus!" Gemeint sind vor allem die Kinder vieler Europäer, die mit der Chávez-Regierung nicht sympathisierten


Nun häufen sich Berichte über wie die Militärs Illegale anderswo festnehmen. Hier kann man zum Beispiel lesen, wie die Guardia Nacional im Groß-Caracas-Gebiet 21 Ausländer ohne gültige Aufenthaltsgenehmigung festnahm...einige von ihnen sollen "privates Eigentum besetzt haben". Man wusste schon seit vielen Jahren, dass es überall Menschen gab, die illegal Wohnungen besetzten und es sind nicht nur Ausländer: es sind Menschen, die leer stehende Wohnungen, oft Wohnungen, die noch nicht fertig gestellt waren, besetzen und diese dann an andere Menschen "vermieten". Dies hat Chávez toleriert, ja befördert, da seine Regierung nicht schnell genug Sozialwohnungen bauen konnte (er hatte weniger Sozialwohnungen pro Jahr gekauft als die Regierung Caldera II, die nur ein Bruchteil der Petrodollars erzielen konnte). 

Nun werden die Ausländer unter den Okkupas+ gezielt als Kriminelle identifiziert. Wahrscheinlich wird man auch sagen, dass die USA-Regierung und die Opposition diese Menschen nach Venezuela gebracht hat.

Diese Maßnahmen der Regierung können in die Hose gehen. Einerseits kann sie die Ausländerfeindlichkeit einiger Gruppen benutzen. Anderseits gibt es jede Menge Venezolaner, die die Ausländerfeindlichkeit ablehnen oder selbst Einwanderer ersten Grades sind (wir sind alle schließlich Einwanderer).

Friday, 28 August 2015

Venezuela's fall


The Venezuelan regime is organising today a march in Caracas in order to blame a lot of the Venezuelan mess on Colombia and what it considers "the paramilitary supported by the extreme right". 
Colombians can buy these without any trouble, Venezuelans can't

The regime also says the Venezuelan opposition wanted to kill Daniella Cabello, the daughter of military Diosdado Cabello. Daniella is the Venezuelan version of Uzbekistan Gulnara Karimova...without the brains.

Today a76-year old woman was trampled to death in one of the many mass stampedes taking place in Venezuela in the context of the shortage economy...what Chavista apologists abroad consider part of the "economic war".

In little more than three months the National Assembly elections should take place and the regime is trying everything it can to avoid absolute disaster.

The average price of a barrel of oil in 2015 is about 53 dollars, a bit less for a Venezuelan barrel (currently around $34 but we are talking about average). The average price back in 1998 was $12. 53 dollars of today are about $36.2 of 1998, the year before Chávez came to power. That means the Venezuelan regime is still getting much more money than what the previous government was getting. And yet poverty levels are now back to the worst times before Chávez and the murder rate is over three times what it was back then.

The Central Bank of Venezuela stopped publishing any real piece of information a long time ago.

This is Venezuela today. The repression will keep increasing while Venezuela's neighbours try to ignore it as much as they can.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Ausländerfeindlichkeit als neue Triebkraft der bolivarischen "Revolution"


Wenn es nicht mehr geht mit der Wirtschaft, muss Maduro auf Ausländerfeindlichkeit zurückgreifen. Jetzt gibt es einen Ausnahmezustand an der Grenze mit Kolumbien. Die Militärs werfen Tausende Kolumbianer aus dem Lande. Mehrere ihrer Häuser wurden von Bulldozern zertrümmert. Das kommt bei einigen in Venezuela gut an. Bei vielen anderen eher nicht. 

Maduro macht Uribe und die "Rechtsextremisten Kolumbiens" für die Mangelwirtschaft in Venezuela verantwortich. Der Schmuggel aber, der auch zum großen Teil von venezolanischen Militärs verwaltet und vorangetrieben wird, konnte nur dadurch blühen, dass Maduro weiterhin die verfehlte Wirtschaftspolitik des verstorbenen Caudillos Chávez verteidigt hat. Die offiziellen Preise vieler Produkte in Venezuela haben nichts, aber nichts mit ihrem Wert zu tun. Da die Produktion zusammenbricht, gibt es im Lande nichts mehr zu tun, als subventionierte Produkte zu kaufen und wieder im Schwarzmarkt oder im Ausland nach Schmuggelaktionen zu verkaufen.

Was ich von Freunden und Verwandten außerhalb Caracas höre ist ziemlich schlimm. Die Mangelzustände werden immer grösser. 


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Fast Plünderung in Makro, Valencia / Almost Looting in Makro, Valencia



That's the mood in Venezuela. A few days ago the looting took place in San Felix, Guayana.

Things got under control...sort of.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Chávez farce: import substitution



12 September 1999: Chávez unveiled a "plan" to diversify the economy and make it less dependent on oil.
End of 2009: One of Chávez's military pals, Jesse Chacón, announced in one of his many positions as minister for everything a program for import substitution.
January 2010: Chávez announced a new fund to substitute imports
September 2014: Another of the former military coupsters, now minister Rodolfo Clemente Marco Torres, unveiled a plan to substitute imports.
1 August 205: Maduro makes public a new plan to substitute imports and diversify the economy.


There were many more declarations in the last 15 years about the regime's commitment to diversifying the economy. Actually: Venezuelan governments have repeated similar wishes for the past 5 decades or so but since Chavismo is in power, Venezuela's productivity has only known one way: down. 

The truth is that in 1998 Venezuela's non-oil related exports accounted for about 15% of the total and nowadays it is less than 4%.

Still, a change will be extremely difficult. According to Hinterlaces (not a pollster I trust much, but I think they do have it right here), most Venezuelans still think the fixed currency exchange rate of 6.3 Bolivars for a dollar should be maintained.

Venezuelans do not know what a free currency exchange is. Nobody, much less economists, wants or can explain them how things work in the world and what currency exchange rates have to do with productivity.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Venezuela's regime doesn't want international observers

It is clear what happens when oil prices are not enough: the Maduro regime refuses to accept international observers for December's National Assembly elections.

The question now is what the international community will do about this.

Will it start to finally put real pressure on the autocratic regime that has so long ruled over Venezuela?


Monday, 27 July 2015

Polish newspaper Wyborcza, Ms Sapiezynska and Venezuela (updated 2)

Last month I was in Poland and I asked a couple of friends there to recommend a newspaper on the "liberal side". They both mentioned Gazeta Wiborcza, which is a newspaper that usually partners with the Guardian. My Polish is still basic, but I want to improve it and one of the ways of doing that is by reading as much as possible. 

One day on a trip to the Tatras I had some time and decided to read a bit during a dinner. There was a very interesting article about Pasternak, a victim of communism. Then I found a couple of other articles about economic matters. Interesting. Before I continue I have to say it seems, all in all, like a good newspaper. Then I came across an article about the populist politician Pawel Kukiz written by a certain Ewa Sapiezynska. That's when I almost chocked on my until then delicious borsch. I re-read it thinking I hadn't got it right. I checked with GoogleTranslate. It still said what I thought was nonsense. I checked with my Polish friends: it was nonsense.

Ms Sapiezynska studied sociology and spent some time in Chile and a few months in Venezuela. She currently works as researcher at a lesser known private university in Warsaw and she is, apparently, one of those in Poland who still defend the Chavista regime.


I knew little about Kukiz. Basically, what I knew was what my friends had told me and what I had read in such publications as Spiegel, the Guardian and The Economist. All in all the guy doesn't leave any positive impression on me: he is a disgusting populist, has conservative, extremist view, etc. This post is not about him, though. It is about Chávez and the way Sapiezynska tries to say Chávez was the good populist. Basically Sapiezynska says Chávez might be a populist, but a good one, while Kukiz is a bad one.

I leave it to others to discuss about who this Kukiz character is. I still hardly know about Poland, even if it seems my very superficial knowledge about that country is better than the idea Ms Sapiezynska has about my country.

Here you read my comments on what she wrote in Wyborcza and what she wrote in Al Jazeera.

Sapiezynska said Chávez came from a poor family. In reality his family was lower middle class, like mine. Chávez used to say - this is not reported by her but many other foreign 'believers' bought into that- his family was so poor he had to go barefooted. That was simply bullshit. At that time two teachers could afford to buy shoes for their children and much more. I know: my parents were teachers as well. In fact: the purchasing power of a teacher back then was higher than now. And Chávez's family had quite some land that came from one ancestors of his, Maisanta, who was a competing warlord to dictator Gómez but who was turned into a revolutionary by Chávez's take on history.

Education didn't become free with Chavismo. In fact: a lot of Chavista honchos not only went to university for free during the so-called "IV Republic". They even got scholarships to study abroad, like the husband of the Infanta María Gabriela Chávez, who studied foreign relations abroad with a scholarship introduced in the government Chávez tried to topple.

This Polish sociologist claims Chávez was born "with the wrong skin colour" and in spite of the racial component, he managed to become an official. That is also rubbish. There was and there is racism in Venezuela and yet the situation is much better than in countries such as Poland. There were governors and presidents of the Central Bank that were as or darker than Chávez. The reason is simple: the vast majority of Venezuelans are incredibly mixed. I know that. My family is.

She doesn't go into details about what really happened in Venezuela in 1989 and 1992. In reality the "neo-liberal reforms" Carlos Andrés Pérez announced in 1989 were hardly implemented as the government became largely paralyzed firstly by the violence than ensued that announcement, the violence called El Caracazo, and by the legal actions against Pérez because of corruption. Some claim up to 3000 people were murdered during those days. Still, until now there is no list of missing people, even if the violence took place in the most urban centres of Venezuela. Until now only about 270 deaths have been accounted for. Why has Chavismo not been interested in an independent investigation about those events? Because military honchos close to Chávez were as much involved in the crimes against innocent people as what they later called "the right". Because even some of the military honchos who got power when Chávez arrived had relatives who were actually killed by the extreme left fighting the military in their usual cat-and-mouse games in the eighties.

Ms Sapiezynska doesn't say right-winged dictator Pérez Jiménez, a man who got hundreds of social democrats, communists and other people in prison camps, who got them tortured and sometimes jailed, was a model for Chávez and that Chávez repeatedly mentioned his admiration for that guy and how superior he was over the democracy that came after him and preceded Chávez.

Ms Sapiezynska is probably under 30 but she should have known about the shortage economist at the end of the socialist regime in Poland (probably she would call it "state capitalism"). Venezuela's shortage economy precedes Maduro: it started to appear when Chávez instituted massive price controls, introduced a currency control that helped increase corruption and let the Central Bank print money to win every possible election.

Sapiezynska quotes two very well-known Chavista apologists other people from the extreme left quote as "independent analysts": Mark Weisbrot and George Cicariello-Maher. They are as independent as the current ambassador of Venezuela to Cuba.

She writes in Al Jazeera that Venezuela had a stable economy when Venezuelans had been queuing up for many years to buy milk and chicken, flour and sugar. She doesn't not mention Venezuela has the highest inflation in the Western hemisphere and she does not mention the government of Chávez let M2 grow as you would not see in any single normal country. 

This is how the Chávez regime printed money


Sapiezynska doesn't mention that although Venezuela has been highly dependent on oil for over 70 years, the  dependency now is much higher, even if we didn't take into account the oil price development in the past 15 years. In 1998 oil made up 70% of Venezuela's exports. Now the percentage is more than 96%. Back in 1998 Venezuela exported - in total - more non-oil related goods than now.

This sociologist does not explain how the "empresarios" (it seems she wants the word to take the same sense as "politicos" in English) managed to take money out of the country and create chaos. Actually, she probably doesn't have a clue about how Chavismo has created the most corrupt system Venezuela has had by maintaining the different currency systems that enable shameless arbitrage.

She may not understand the fact the government keeps giving petrol almost for free does not have to do with any social measure, as subsidized public transport could be introduced, but on the fact the military  is the main beneficiary of the smuggling that ensues. If Venezuela's petrol prices were raised to a fraction of the average price you see in South America as a whole, the government would have several times more money to spend on education or health...but the military wouldn't be able to make the profits it make now. It goes the same for a lot of other products.

At the end of the day, though, the purchasing power of a Venezuelan is nowadays lower than that of a Colombian or a Brazilian. Cars in Venezuela are now several times more expensive than in Germany but petrol is for free...and vegetables that grow optimally in Venezuela are cheaper in Western Europe. This is not caused by greedy "empresarios" but by policies of people who are sometimes just complete incompetent military or pseudo-revolutionaries and sometimes complete criminals with huge fortunes based on the arbitration produced by price controls and import benefits to friends of the government.

Sapiezynska doesn't mention at all the murder rate in Venezuela more than tripled since the military caudillo got elected in 1998. If she did, she would probably say, like notorious Ramonet, from Le Monde Diplomatique, that it is a plan by the CIA (Ramonet wrote years ago two full pages in that rag to explain why the increase in crime during Chávez's tenure was caused by the CIA and what he called the extreme right, which is anyone opposing Chavismo...he didn't provide a single proof in those huge two pages).

Sapiezynska does not tell people that the so-called achievements of the regime lag far behind those of a lot of Latin American states.

She claims Chavismo reduced poverty by 50% since 1998 but she doesn't say that data is already old, that that reduction was only possible because international oil prices rose not by 50%, not by 100% but by more than 500% and that poverty has been increasing for many years now. Even if the Central Bank and the INE are hiding most of the recent data, poverty figures are probably back to what they were in 1998. How do you know that? You just have do do the maths and compare the purchasing power back then and now. On top of that, Sapiezynska doesn't tell the readers poverty reduction has been more effective in many of the Latin American countries with governments that belong to bad "team" (in her Manichean world). If she cared, she could check out the data from ECLAC or the World Bank: the less developed countries of South America have overtaken Venezuela in poverty reduction already before oil prices started to drop (and they still haven't reached by far the levels they were before Chávez came to power, even if you take into account inflation).

She claims Chavismo has done something for education when we know that claim is bogus: Venezuela didn't eradicate illiteracy as I wrote already here. There was never an independent United Nations' study about illiteracy in Venezuela. In fact, Chavismo took Venezuela away from international academic tests on education quality. As I reported earlier (in German here, with some links in English), Chavismo even tried to sabotage the efforts carried out by the regional government of Capriles to let the few schools it had under its administration to take part in the PISA programme. If some journalist has any doubt about this, she can get in touch with me.
Life expectancy: Mexico got to Venezuelan levels, Colombia and Peru overtook it since Chavismo is in power

Sapiezynska won't tell you about how the current head of the Supreme Court was a friend of Chávez and a former candidate for the position of governor of Nueva Esparta for the Chávez party. She won't tell you the previous head of the Supreme Court - during Chávez's time - publicly declared that the division of powers was bad for the State (and thus not welcome).

She doesn't say anything about the incredible nepotism under Chávez or Maduro. Nepotism nowadays is even worse than during the Monaga times of the XIX century. The head of the Republic's Treasury is Maduro's nephew. Several dozen relatives of Maduro and his wife are employed by them at the National Assembly.

She won't tell you about how the former military coupster Diosdado Cabello, the second in command and a coup monger like Chávez, uses illegally wiretapped recordings of the opposition to threaten them on public TV. She won't tell you Cabello's wife is minister of tourism and his brother is the minister of Industry.

Above all, she won't tell you about how oil prices evolved during the eighties and the nineties.

I suppose this sociologist prefers not to read Amnesty International's reports on Venezuela and much less Human Rights Watch's. They are probably agents of the Empire and HRW was even expelled by Chávez. I suppose she would consider the current ombudsman of the Venezuelan people, Tarek Williams Saab, the right source of information for that. You can watch Chávez here reading a poem Saab wrote.

Wyborcza has a wide range of contributors with very different opinions. I suppose this person is one of those who claims to be "the real left". Poland might not have as many contacts with Latin America as Germany, France or Spain and Ms Sapiezynska might have been one of the few "scholars" available at a certain time and moment and who might have had the time to write something about the country. Still, Wyborcza should try to find people who have a more solid knowledge about Venezuela's economy and history and who are honest enough as to present the different positions of the Venezuelan population as a whole, not only those of a particular ideology or, should I use Kundera's term?, of a particular imagology.


Ps. tip: read what The Guardian's journalist Rory Carroll had to say about Chavismo










Monday, 20 July 2015

Die Angriffe des venezolanischen Regimes gegen die Demokratie - Stand Juli 2015


Die  Leiterin des Rechnungswesens Venezuelas, eine Marionette des Regimes, hat erklärt, die oppositionelle Politikerin María Corina Machado, die in Caracas aktiv ist, dürfe kein öffentliches Amt ausüben. Dasselbe hat sie mit Enzo Scarano, ein Oppositioneller in Valencia und mit Pablo Pérez, einem anderen Oppositionellen in Maracaibo getan. Caracas, Valencia und Maracaibo sind die wichtigsten Städte des Landes. Es ist todsicher, dass die Regierung weitere Politiker der Opposition vor den Wahlen neutralisieren wird.

Das Europäische Parlament hatte schon Anfang 2015 die Angriffe des venezolanischen Regimes gegen Machado und andere Demokraten kritisiert. Nur die Linksextreme Europas hatte Maduro und die Militärs Venezuelas diesmal verteidigt. Sowohl die Linksextremisten wie auch die Rechtsextremisten -Le Pen und De Winter- haben davor Partei für den Chavismus genommen. Die Extremen berühren sich bekanntlich.