Friday, 30 July 2010

A revolutionary idea for Venezuelan politics!

Tell her what you have to offer

You know Venezuela has "issues" when you realise the idea I am about to propose would be a revolutionary thing in the country. It is just a very normal practice in democratic nations. The idea is simply to let the main Venezuelan newspapers and magazines present side by side the proposals of the main political parties.

In Venezuela we would be talking about Chavismo and the Mesa de la Unidad (MUD) as main parties (the MUD being a front of parties). The action is very simple: journalists ask Chavismo and the Mesa de la Unidad to write in 250 words (or whatever the length) what proposals they have if their deputies are elected to the National Assembly. Parties would have a deadline, they can submit the proposals at the same time if, as is often in Venezuela, someone is afraid the other could steal his/her "brilliant" idea. It is clear Chavista propaganda agencies will never want to give equal time or space to the opposition. In fact, those institutions do not give any space to the opposition. Still, the remaining press can set an example.

We have two months before election time and there is nothing of the kind. We could actually have that for every state: each side presents the ideas they want to bring forward at the National Assembly if elected.

In most of the political or general newspapers and magazines I have seen in the EU that is something people take for granted: let readers see at least once what each group has to offer, in their own words, beyond the usual constraints of ads.

I think the opposition should be pushing for this, but most likely they, like Chavismo, will just follow the usual game and traditions in Venezuela. I hope to be proven wrong.

Ps. Of course, you have to bear in mind that few Venezuelans read anything else than baseball news. Most Venezuelans don't read newspapers and less than 30% nationwide can watch anything that is political and not completely pro-Chávez.

Wayuu, an Arawak nation

The Wayuu (a.k.a. Guajiros) are a native American nation living mostly between Colombia and Venezuela in a very harsh area, the Guajira Peninsula. Many of them live on subsistence economy and smuggling. Their language belongs to the Arawak family, like the language of the Warekena and the Baniwa, like the extinct Tainos, but completely different to the Pemón, the Warao or Yanomamö languages. They are the most numerous native American group in Northern South America, accounting for about half a million people distributed in both countries. Their lot has been largely forgotten by the governments of the nations they are in. They have been deeply affected by the FARC/ENL and paramilitary terrorists and all the drug trade in the area.

A future Venezuela, working together with Colombia at least as closely as Germany and France do now, would have to give more attention to the sustainable development of this group while preserving their distinct identity.

I wrote more on the Wayuu here.

Most Wayuu live in complete destitution:

Here (Wayuu language with Spanish sub-titles) a Wayuu woman talking about their textile tradition (second half is just a corny speech by a criollo).

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Venezuelan governors

post-secondary studies of state governors

red: military, coup monger
dark blue: law
cyan: "law" at the Santa María University
grey: education (Barinas: brother of Chávez)
dark brown: medicine
light brown: accounting
pink: psychology or sociology
light green: arts
yellow: economics
white: nothing
greenish blue: engineering

Venezuela's secondary school is one year less than in Europe but standards are on average well below that, specially in public schools. You have to take that into account to comprehend Venezuela. The military have had a stronger influence in Venezuela's politics than anywhere else in South America, the 1958-1998 period being just an interlude. But for the governor of Táchira, they only had military "studies".

Since 2008 Chávez has taken most competences from states and municipalities as a way to emasculate the opposition. Zulia, Carabobo, Táchira and Nueva Esparta have opposition governors. The rest are under total Chavista rule. As you see, a lot of Chavista governors come from the military caste. They are took part in the 1992 coups.

I differentiated between law and law at the Universidad Santa María because law at the private Universidad Santa María has a horrible reputation. The Amazonas governor is a native American. The Chávez governors of Yaracuy, Falcón, Trujillo, Guárico and Barinas who are not military coup mongers themselves came from families with military involved in coups against democratically elected governments or guerrilleros who fought against democratically elected governments.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Die Opposition als Landesverräter

Hugo Chávez hat die Gouverneure der Opposition in den Bundesstaaten Táchira und Zulia schon wieder Landesverräter genannt. Er sagt, die Opposition unterstützt die Position der kolumbianischen Regierung im Zusammenhang mit der FARC und ENL Guerrilla und damit einen Angriff gegen Venezuela. Er hat seinen Vizepräsidenten, Elias Jaua, damit beauftragt, mögliche rechtliche Massnahmen gegen sie zu untersuchen (auf Deutsch den Richtern zu befehlen, einen Prozess gegen die Gouverneure einzuleiten).

Der ehemalige Putschist sagte:

"Die sogenannte venezolanische Opposition...die kontrarevolutionären Kräfte, die sollten nicht auf den Gedanken kommen, dass sie in Ruhe gelassen werden, wenn das Yankee-Imperium Venezuela angreift. Wir würden dann auch interne Massnahmen treffen, um die Souverenität, die Sicherheit und die Verteidigung des Landes gegen all die Lakaien und Landesverräter zu sichern, die wir hier in den Verwaltungen der Bundesstaaten, der Gemeinden, der NGOs und der Medien haben".

Und dieser Militär ist der Führer des Sozialismus des 21ten Jahrhunderts, der vom Consultant Heinz Dieterich so sehr gelobt wird.

Venezuela and FARC: a recent chronicle

Zulia state. Red spots represent municipalities where the major is pro-Chávez. Blue ones are the ones where the opposition tries to govern in spite of the military sabotage.
The yellow spot is the approximate location of one of the presumed FARC bases in Zulia.

  • January 2008: Chávez calls for giving "belligerent status" to the FARC and ENL guerrilla groups. The National Assembly (basically pro-Chávez) votes in favour of his proposal.
  • February 2008: Some Yukpa indians reject claims they may be supporting the FARC. They reject statements from also Yukpa but regime-critical deputy Javier Armado and former opposition major Di Martino stating there are groups within the community providing the FARC with state resources.
  • 11 March 2008: The Colombian army attacks FARC bases in Ecuador and kills some 20 terrorists, including FARC leader Raúl Reyes. The army seizes a couple of laptops with information that would link the Venezuelan government to the FARC movement. In the next months the Colombian government makes public a series of details from those laptops, information that suggest the Venezuelan government is actively supporting the FARC.
  • Chávez pays tribute to Raul Reyes (here and here).
  • 9 June 2008: Chávez urges the FARC to put down arms.
  • 14 April 2009: Uribe meets Chávez.
  • 15 April 2009: Chávez again urges the FARC to put down arms.
  • June 2009: Betty Luzeta, a Chávez's deputy for Zulia, declares the FARC is not a terrorist force but "a group with a different ideological thought".
  • July 2009: Colombian troops on a raid discover in FARC camps Swedish weapons that had been previously sold to the Venezuelan army.
  • July 2009: Chávez "freezes" ties with Colombia.
  • August 2009: Chávez says the FARC stole those Swedish weapons in 1995.
  • October 2009: Venezuelan government "assigns" some territories to the Yukpa indians along the border. The ranchers, who had been illegally taking land in the region for decades, have to leave the area but the Yukpas do not seem to get much control over it.
  • Spanish channel Cuatro shows in a programme about Chávez the influence of the guerrilla in Venezuela. One of the highlights is an encounter with the ENL in Apure and a brief conversation with Venezuelan soldiers who, very candidly, explain where the Colombia guerrilla groups are in the area.
  • July 2010: Colombia presents material to the Organization of American States (OAS) to back up its claims about FARC and ENL camps in Venezuelan territories. The Colombian government asks the OAS to send international observers to Venezuela as soon as possible. The OAS, led by Insulza, does nothing.
  • 23 July 2010: Cantankerous Chávez severes ties with Colombia. The Colombian government says it will go on putting forward details about guerrilla bases in Venezuela.
  • 25 July 2010: Chávez asks the FARC "not to give pretexts to the USA" and put down arms.
  • Insulza says he won't do anything unless Colombia presents a written petition and the Venezuelan government agrees. He says the conflict is "between Colombia and Venezuela".
El Tiempo is reporting further details about possible FARC-Venezuela connections. The Economist has an interesting article about the Uribe-Santos possible rift.


My impression is that most Venezuelan soldiers are just powerless. Their bosses, though, are very much ideologically close to and eager to tolerate and probably support the FARC.

Insulza is head of the OAS primarily thanks to Hugo Chávez. The Venezuelan military regime already said it will not accept international observers unless they can also visit the US bases in Colombia. Insulza is a joke. He has already said he won't do anything about the requests from Venezuelans to investigate human right abuses by the Venezuelan government because "those are internal affairs". Now he says he won't do anything because those are "bilateral affairs". What on Earth is Insulza getting money for? Probably to give the opening speeches at banquets of the OAS, a.k.a. the Club of American presidents.

"Gracias, Chávez, por apoyarme"

Friday, 23 July 2010

Some are more equal than others

Deputies per 100 000 persons

Venezuela's constitution states very clearly electoral representation should reflect the proportion of the population voting for each group. This is not the case in other countries but in Venezuela the law is clear...the only problem is that the Electoral Commission is just a puppet organisation completely surrogate to the military government.

Here you see how many deputies represent 100 000 inhabitants per state in Venezuela. As you can see, the vote of a citizen in Delta Amacuro is worth several times more than the one in Zulia. The situation is much worse than that. As I wrote in a previous post, the continuous gerrymandering that Lucena and the other CNE employees carry out has lead to a situation where in Carabobo 55% of voters supporting the opposition would lead to 1 out of 7 deputies.

Well, that is how it is and much worse (as the paper ballots often just do not reflect real votes, etc). We have to live with that. The opposition must take very intelligent decisions about where to spread its message now and where to keep an eye on the actas.

Deputies per state (+3 for native Americans)

Colombia says

We saw yesterday how the military ruler of Venezuela decided to break relations with Colombia after the Colombian government submitted to the Organization of American States evidence of FARC havens in Venezuelan territory.

Here you can see a satellite map and some interesting pictures of what the Colombia government says are FARC bases in Venezuelan territory.

My bet: those bases will be moving from there now. Nobody will be able to get in fast enough as the Venezuelan military keeps a grid on many areas in Venezuela. There is enough time to clean it up.

I am preparing a longish post on the border region that may be of some interest.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Teaching how to fish in Venezuela: an alternative to Chavismo

Please, read this beautiful report of one of the projects the government of Miranda, led by the opposition, is working on.

I am sending this to several politicians and journalists worldwide. The military regime is trying to attack every single project carried out by the opposition, even if that means the military regime destroys solutions for the poor. The world needs to be watchful so that Chavismo stops attacking others and lets them work for Venezuela.

Hat off to Brigitte

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Venezuela's military regime refuses international observers

The military regime through its puppet National Electoral Committee refuses (here and here) international observers for the crucial September elections. It had previously said "we have had like X elections with international observers, there is nothing to fear". "We have the best electoral system on Earth", "the system has been certified by the Carter Centre" (apparently for eternity). The military regime knows all international organizations have a better understanding now of what is going on within the CNE and in Venezuela in general and they would be more careful than in 2004 and 2006.

At the same time, current president of the Venezuelan parliament, Cilia Flores, and other big PSUV honchos accuse the opposition of planning a coup. Opposition politician Octavio Paz was put in jail for saying less than that in spite of actually having more grounds to express that (see also UNODC report on drugs).

Chavismo will very likely invite as farce observers people like Chávez fan in Belgium, Sfia Bouarfa, a supporter of the Cuban dictatorship who seems to blaim anything on the US Americans.

The military regime simply refuses to accept international observers who don't love Hugo Chávez.

On the video below you can see how one of Chávez's governors, Tarek Saab, tears to pieces the paper ballot because it did not show his choice. The paper ballot is supposed to be the "big proof" the system works. This happened to Chávez's dad and to former minister Aristóbulo Istúriz. This happened to many oppos as well but they were detained for doing what Sir Tarek did. Some people are more equal to others and only pro-Chávez are people. As Esdata has repeatedly documented, numberssimply do not add up.

The "most modern system on Earth" is much slower than any manual system I know of.

Chavismo will also forget about adding publishing votes of Venezuelans abroad, following the attitude it has taken since 2007. That is because Nicolas Maduro, the Chávez minister of Foreign Affairs, wants to say most Venezuelans abroad support the regime and the regime cannot massage votes as easily abroad. In 2008 and 2009 over 85% of Venezuelans abroad voted against the military regime - we have the documentation to prove it - and yet Maduro said over 50% of Venezuelan voters abroad actually signed a petition in support of the government. One day, Mr Maduro is going to have to explain this.

More information on elections here (including the report of an EU observer)

Monday, 19 July 2010

Venezuelan music for export

If you want to break the ice, just play a little bit of this and be sure to provide for a good cocktail with Venezuelan rum and real tropical fruits.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Die Knochen des Bolívars und Groucho Marx

Der Präsident Venezuelas hat den Sarg des Unabhängigkeitskämpfers Simón Bolívar öffnen lassen, um angeblich zu untersuchen, ob der erste Caudillo der Nation wirklich an Tuberkulose starb oder in Wirklichkeit ermordert wurde. Unser Freund Vicente hat einen sehr lustigen Post darüber auf Spanisch geschrieben. Er sagte, dass man nun weiss, was geschehen würde, wenn Groucho Marx der Präsident eines Landes wäre. Meiner Meinung nach wirkt Chávez eher wie ein böser Cantinflas. Mehr dazu werde ich in einem anderen Post schreiben. Vicente hat in seinem Post die Tweets gezeigt, die Chávez geschrieben hat, als die ganze Aktion stattfand. Ich wusste zuerst nicht, ob die Tweets ein Witz von Vicente waren. Es ist immer schwierig, selbst für einen Venezolaner, zwischen Witz und Chávez zu unterscheiden. Also habe ich in @chavezcandanga nachgeschaut und siehe: es ist wahr.

Hier will ich mal versuchen, einige der Tweets ins Deutsche zu übersetzen.

Hallo Freunde! Welche beeindrückende Momente erleben wir heute abend! Wir haben die Überreste des grossen Bolívars gesehen! Ich sagte wie Neruda: Vater
10:34 PM Jul 15th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Vater Unser der auf Erde, im Wasser und in der Luft… Du erwachst jedes 100te Jahr, wenn das Volk erwacht”. Ich gebe zu
10:36 PM Jul 15th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

gebe zu, wir haben geweint, geschworen. Ich sage Euch: Bolívar muss dieses glorreiches Skelett sein, denn man kann seine Flamme fühlen. Mein Gott
10:38 PM Jul 15th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Mein Gott, mein Gott...mein Jesus, unser Jesus, während ich diese Knochen sah, dachte ich an Dich! Und wie gern hätte ich
10:41 PM Jul 15th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Dich kommen und befehlen sehen wie an Lazarus: “Steh auf, Simon, keine Zeit zu sterben”. Sofort erkannte ich: Bolívar lebt!!
10:48 PM Jul 15th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Bolivar lebt, verdammt doch mal!! Wir sind seine Flamme!!
10:48 PM Jul 15th
via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Der Präsident will nun ein neues Pantheon bauen lassen (anscheinend ist das alte nicht gut genug) und die Knochen in einem neuen Sarg aus Glas und Gold plazieren. Gute Idee angesicht der vielen Korruptionsskandale und der bevorstehenden Parlamentswahlen. Seltsamerweise sagte Mier Hoffman, ein "Historiker" vor einigen Monaten, man wisse nicht genau, ob diese Knochen die echten Knochen des Bolívars sind (siehe Video ab Min. 12).

Ganz nebenan erklärte die venezolanische Regierung, dass sie keine internationale Beobachter für die Septemberwahlen will.

Viele Venezolaner diskutieren nun, ob Chávez die Knochen für einen Zaubertrank brauchte.

Chávez ein böser Cantinflas?

Friday, 16 July 2010

Looking at skeletons in the wrong closet

Wrong skeleton!

The Colombian government informed in great detail about the presumed whereabouts of top level FARC men in Venezuela. This comes at a moment when inflation in Venezuela is going through the roof, when the murder rate remains out of control (the highest by far in South America) and when scandal after scandal about rotten food or anything else pop up (just a random selection of anything else here).

What does the military regime in Caracas do? Caudillo Chávez declares the government opened Simón Bolívar's grave to examine the skeleton inside and find out whether semi-God Bolívar really died of tuberculosis or US Americans murdered him. Never mind we are not sure those are Bolívar's bones. Never mind the vast majority of Venezuelans think there are a zillion other priorities. The personality cult around Bolívar (and as usual linked to the current caudillo) has taken new dimensions.

A few days ago the Venezuelan government had announced the Dutch military had violated Venezuelan airspace with their aircraft. I wonder what purpose the Dutch may have had.

Going back to the FARC issue in Venezuela: Colombians announced one of the big guerrilla guys is in the Perijá Region. The FARC is said to have a base there. The location is exactly in the territory where the Venezuelan government "returned land" to the native American communities of the Yukpa (the Westernmost group of Carib Indians). Curiously, a lot of Indian groups in other parts of Venezuela had been demanding lands for a long time but the government has completely ignored them. The only ones who "got" some land were the Yukpas. Those lands had been stolen some decades ago by terratenientes. Unfortunately, the Yukpas haven't got much control of that land : the military and, according to some sources- FARC are the ones in control. Basically, the government pretended to give land to the Yukpas because they wanted to seal off the area from anyone else and the Yukpas have hardly any means of spreading information to the outside world. Hardly anyone can get into that area now, even NGOs trying to bring medicine to the destitute Yukpas.

Chávez et alia do not want you to take a loo at certain skeletons located, among other places, between municipality Rosario de Perijá, municipality Jesus Enrique Losada and the Colombian border.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

David Attenborough in the Lost World, Venezuela

Enjoy. This is a 2-year old programme from BBC with David Attenborough.

A couple of remarks:

Roraima is suffering from the impact of silly visitors who think they are doing "ecological tourism" just because they are going to nature, without minding what they do and leave there. We need to find the proper balance between promoting tourism and preserving our natural resources.

The area is part of the Gran Sabana. The main native American group around there are the Pemon, a sub-group of the Carib family.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Chavistas as poets

In Spanish we call it vergüenza ajena. Dutch speakers have the impossible term plaatsvervangende schaamte for the same concept. In English I have heard people call it "Spanish shame", but I have never heard it in real English conversations. In any case: that is what I felt when I read the Venezuelan ambassador to Spain, Julián Isaías Rodríguez, had written a poem to celebrate Spain's victory in the Football World Cup. Rodríguez was a supporter of coupster Chávez from early on. He worked as Venezuela's Attorney General from 2000 to 2007 and during that time he was more like the main Attorney Chavista than anything else, as the only thing he did was to defend the interests of boliburgueses. As a prize, he got the embassy of Venezuela in Spain. He somehow pretends to be a poet: some of the texts he has written "denouncing" visits of the regime's critics to Spain can be read at the embassy's site. He is a Llanos man, as most of the big Chavista honchos.

You can read the new "poem" on the first page of the consulate in Madrid site. He sent that poem to the king of Spain as well as to Rodríguez Zapatero and other Spanish figures. The poem is simply bad, pathetic, the kind of poems I used to write when I was ten, the kind of poems I was ashamed of when I was eleven. Mind: even the president of Europe, Van Rompuy, writes haikus these days, but he is neither uploading them to the EU site nor making the sort of very basic spelling errors Rodríguez makes. If at least the ambassador had asked someone to correct those errors - they are not artist's license -, it would not be so disgraceful. Spanish is supposed to be the ambassador's mother tongue!

I would not be so annoyed if at least the Chavista regime would count the votes of Venezuelans abroad. Even if Venezuelans abroad have taken part in several elections and referendums, the regime decided after 2006 NOT TO PUBLISH THOSE RESULTS. They prefer to say, as minister Maduro, that over half of Venezuelans registered to vote abroad actually signed a petition in support of Chávez's proposals, which is a lie. They prefer also to write bad poems in bad Spanish.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Machine guns? Yes. Textbooks or food? No

According to RIA NOVOSTI, the construction of the Kalashnikov factory is proceeding according to plan. The factory should be finished and running by 2011. The Venezuelan regime got a loan for over 2.2 billion dollars just to be able to get this factory and buy some other toys for its military honchos.

The Kalashnikov factory is part of the Chavista efforts to consolidate the military regime at all costs. Chavismo knows its leader's popularity is falling. It feels it needs to consolidate its control now. It has increased its efforts to intimidate people, it is preparing to profit from the most shameless gerrymandering for the September elections, it is passing laws to take away the last powers regional governments managed by the opposition...and its efforts to arm all its thugs are going along according to plan. The regime definitely feels it will need those arms:

- Venezuela's industry is collapsing (-11% "growth" last year according to the Central Bank).
- Over half the population is working as street vendors or the like ("informal sector").
-A very fertile sub-tropical country almost twice as big as Spain has to import black beans and beef, milk and most of other food products.
- Venezuelan parents have to spend a worker's monthly salary to buy the books for two children. - Hospitals are understaffed and under-supplied.

This is XXI Century "Socialism".

In Russian

In German

Juan Vicente Gómez

Venezuela has had many more military dictators than any other country in South America, in spite of the 1958-1998 civic period.

All of them were using the Bolívar cult and personality cult towards themselves to consolidate their grip on power.

Hugo Chávez

A dictator can get to power through elections. History has shown it quite often.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Ideas for Venezuela: keep focus

The military regime keeps throwing red rags around to divert from the real issues Venezuelans are confronting. Chavismo is also doing what it can to intimidate people and this leads to a huge brain drain (German video). Chavismo prefers the brain drain in spite of the huge intelectual losses as it counts on surviving with oil revenues. The regime knows the vast majority of highly skilled professionals do not sympathize with the military regime, so it prefers "difficult people" to leave as they left Belarus. The regime does nothing about crime because it wants people to remain at home and not go and spread the news where no cable and no Internet arrives.

The opposition needs to keep the real issues on focus: yes, violent coup monger Chávez will say anyone criticizing his clan and his government are coup mongers and CIA agents because he is afraid of you thinking too much about the crime, about shortages, about the rotten food and the rampant corruption, about the power the Chávez clan has in Barinas and the Diosdados and other boliburgueses have, about the lack of control.

As historian Manuel Caballero and many others have said, the regime is not really socialist but Chavista. Still, the regime uses the same tactics the Cuban and Soviet regimes previously used: blame it all on foreign forces, accuse those want to have a real democracy of "traitors of the fatherland", pretend to introduce a "participatory democracy" that is nothing but more power to the Party.

I am sure people like Chávez consultant Eva Gollinger will say we are CIA agents by putting a link to this. She can say anything she wants. Venezuela will become a pluralistic country on the road to sustainable development, a country where the military stop for good to interfer in politics and where the murder rate is as low as that of Norway or Chile.

I don't think we need to become Gandhis. But I would suggest any Venezuelan to get a copy of this (ref. for Spanish translation here)

Friday, 9 July 2010

Chávez getting madder: Hairsplitting Marx in Venezuela

Is he a Marxist or is he not?

Chávez declared now that whoever says he promotes Marxism and socialism in Venezuela is a liar and should go to court. Now, although I am a capitalist who would be classified in Europe as rather centre, I have to say I have read a thing or two about socialism and communism if only because I am a history buff and have interests in Eastern Europe. I don't call people Marxist or communist just like that. On one side you have the extreme righties who see communism in the soup. Actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan once said: "How do you tell a Communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin". On the other side you have commies themselves saying "that was no communism" and "that was no communism either", as if communism were some kind of Nirvana or ever-moving target.

I consider Chávez is a "Marxist" and he is using communist tactics. He is a "Marxist", he has said so already many times. He is one, but not as many people think. People like Lenin and many of his admirers were mad for power but they also had a bit of idealism, even if it turned to be rather mortal. They also had knowledge of the meaning of terms they were using, not only of the effect of such terms. Chávez, on the other hand, uses Marxism purely for the sake of power, without the idealistic part and without any belief. He is a Marxist and anything else as long as that keeps him in power.

Of course, Chávez is coating it all with the pseudo-ideology of Bolivarianism, a pseudo-ideology that was first promoted by our first caudillo, Simón Bolívar, and used to a larger or lesser extent by every other single military caudillo we have had, ending with coup monger Chávez.

Bolivarianism...a pseudo-ideology

Bolívar supported some very good ideas - like many others before and after him - going from independence to unity among Latin American countries. He had also some clever thoughts about education. He thought Venezuela needed above all better technicians and scientists and not so many military and lawers (sorry to the lawers out there, no sorry to the military, specially if Venezuelan). He defended the rights of Indians and to a certain extent of black slaves, even if his attitude may not have been as nice as some thought.

On the other hand, Bolívar was mad for power. He wanted to become president for life and it was only because he did not get it from Colombia that he had to give up. He was so pretentious as to claim for himself the title of the Liberator. He was very aware of history and he did all he could to promote a personality cult around himself with no parallels in any other part of America. Bolívar was also more than once a coward. He gave up Puerto Cabello for nothing. He delivered Miranda to the Spaniards so as to be able to escape from the Spaniards, an event that is incredibly explained in Venezuela as "he gave Miranda to the Spaniards because he thought Miranda was betraying Venezuelans (to the Spaniards!).

Bolívar was rather conservative when it came to economics. He loved wars and insisted on leading them and as he did not have enough money to pay his military men, he decided to promise them land and more land and that is what they got. Venezuela got its independence in worse conditions than others: most of the best educated died in the many battles from Venezuela to Bolivia, most of the land fell in the hands of the surviving - and not necessarily better qualified - military and the debts for weapon purchases was huge. Some people think Páez was the one who initiated caudillismo in Venezuela, but it was Bolívar himself.

Bolívar was also a centralist and this is something that has stuck very much with Chávez. He knows that he can only control a country where he is the one decided where every single cent goes.

Chavismo: a method

Anyway: is this what Chávez thinks of Bolivarianism? Not really, there is no real coherent Bolivarian ideology. Chávez takes what he likes from Bolívar's mythology and from anything else that suits him. And that is Chavismo, the real thing. Chavismo is not really an ideology but a method, it is a method that uses any useful bit of other ideologies or pseudo-ideologies to help coup monger Chávez and his military friends to remain in power forever.

Chavismo is about personality cult, it is about promoting resentment, about the eternal foreign and national enemies, it is about milking the oil cow until the bitter end. And Chávez will use Soviet and Cuban-style methods any time he can.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Monkey-eating BBC-beating eagle

The Guardian has a great video. It is about how a monkey-eating eagle attacks a BBC filmmaker in Venezuela's jungle.

The eagle is a Harpia harpyja. There are several other eagle species in Venezuela big enough to grab monkeys, but this is the largest. It can have a wingspan of 200 cm and talons 13 cm long. You just don't mess with its nest.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Einmal Nazi, immer...was?


Brigitte hat mir vor einigen Tagen einen Link zu einem deutschen Verehrer des Hugo Chávez. Es handelt sich um einen Mann, der in der DDR geboren ist, der zuerst mit dem DDR-Staat nicht zurechtkommen konnte, der aber auch nach Wende auch keinen Platz in der Gesellschaft fand. Seit 1987 bezeichnete er sich als Nationalsozialist. Er war dann Mitglied bei der NPD und aktiv bei anderen Rechtsradikalen in Deutschland. Er sagt nun, 1997 wäre er ausgestiegen. Danach war er wegen Körperverletzung oder, wie er sagt, wegen "Körperverletzung" im Knast. Seit 1999 beschäftigt er sich u.a. mit "Spirirualität". Im Jahre 2009 war er wieder u.a. Mitglied der deutschen Republikaner und kurz danach der DVU. Dann kam sein Saulus zu "Paulus"-Moment , zum zigten Mal: Er wurde Mitglied in der Volksinitiative gegen das Finanzkapital. Nun ist er ein Verehrer des Chávez und sagt, die Venezolaner hätten es besser als die Deutschen, ein Volk, das "ausgebeutet und belogen" wäre und "alles mögliche erträgt", ein Volk, das unter der "Diktatur des Kapitals" zu leiden hat. Er sagt, er kann nicht nach Venezuela, weil er arm ist. Und das glaube ich ihm. Auf jeden Fall ein Sozialfall, aber schon extrem.

Wie Robin Williams sagen würde: he has "issues". Der Mann wäre auf jeden Fall ein Extremfall in jedem Land. Lohnt es sich, über ihn in Zusammen mit Venezuela zu reden? Ich war zuerst nicht sicher, aber er ist schon ein Vertreter - wenn auch unbekannt und ohne Macht - der letzten Verteidiger des Chavismus in Europa.


Was kann man aber über jemanden wie Frau Sarah Wagenknecht sagen? Sie ist auch eine Ossi, sie hatte es aber a bissl besser: sie wurde Abgeordnete der Linken im EU-Parlament, sie heiratete einen Geschäftsmann - ob sie ihn Kapitalist oder Schatz nennt sei dahingestellt - und wettert nun als Bundestagsabgeordnete gegen den Kapitalismus. Sie sagte einmal, die DDR wäre besser als die BRD und sie hat die Berliner Mauer als ein "notwendiges Übel" bezeichnet.

Im Gegensatz zum ersten Fall kann Frau Wagenknecht ein bisschen reisen und mit ihren eigenen Augen Venezuela sehen. Und was schreibt sie in ihrer Homepage? Wenn ich ihre Texte lese, denke ich zurück an das Lesen der sowjetischen Pravda. Ich könnte lange und in Detail jeden ihrer Sätze demontieren. Ich zitiere hier aber nur dies:

"Innerhalb von wenigen Jahren brachte man mehr als 1,5 Millionen Menschen das Lesen und Schreiben bei, die Analphabetenrate wurde von über 11 Prozent auf nahezu null reduziert."

Mein Gott, davon könnte selbst Schweden schon mal was lernen. Für die Demontage verweise ich lediglich auf meine Posts mit dem Label "Education in Venezuela".

Personenkult und die gescheiterte Rhewoluzion

Die internationale Presse hat ein bisschen über eine seltsame Veranstaltung in Venezuela berichtet: die "virtuellen" Reste der Geliebten Simón Bolívars, Manuela Sáenz, wurden aus Ecuador nach Venezuela transportiert und zwar mit Flugzeug und Militärescorte. Da Frau Sáenz 1856 an einer Diphterieepidemie starb und in einem Massengrab beigesetzt wurde, bestehen die Reste aus Erde, die aus dem Haus kommen soll, wo die Frau gestorben ist. Man hat "die Resten" zuerst mit dem Flugzeug nach Tachira im Westen Venezuelas transportiert. Über 200 Soldaten warteten darauf, sowie viele Beamten des Regimes. Ein Priester (?) hat die Reste "gesegnet". Ich frage mich, ob es sich um den Chávez-Priester handelt. Dann hat man die Reste weiter nach Maiquetía nördlich von Caracas gebracht und von da ging es mit Autos nach Caracas.

Der Präsident Ecuadors und unser Bolívarführer nahmen an den Feierlichkeiten teil. Nun gibt es einen Koffer mit Erde neben dem Sarg, der die Gebeine des selbsternannten Befreiers Venezuelas und Halbgott der Nordsüdamerikaner enthalten soll (das ist auch nicht ganz klar). Die Veröffentlichung von 5 Büchern über Sáenz wird nun mit Staatsgeldern finanziert.

Währenddessen werden die Landsleute des Hugo Chávez wie Schweine (siehe ab 4:02) umgebracht. Venezuela hat die höchste Mordrate Südamerikas, die Regierung relativiert alles bis zur Lächerlichkeit und weigert sich, eine öffentliche Debatte darüber zu führen. Sie treibt lieber einen Totenkult in jeder Hinsicht.

Monday, 5 July 2010

How Chávez controls Venezuela and Chávez leaving office

Total number of murders in Carabobo State per municipality

The murder rate in Venezuela in the year military Chávez came to power was 19 murders per 100 000 inhabitants. Now it is over 60 murders per 100 000. Venezuela's murder rate is by far the highest in South America, much worse than Colombia's. It is much higher than Mexico's, in spite of horrible Ciudad Juarez. The Venezuelan regime stopped sending the stats on murder rate to UNODC in 2002, but still we can get the murder stats per region if we nag and nag the local police and visit the overstretched mortuaries.

The government refuses to hold an open real debate about the figures. It has redefined what a murder is. The government tells people "there are murders in Northern Mexico, there are murders in Norway, in Italy", "criminality is caused because of the previous republic, because of the past, because of capitalism".

And those who can, the best professionals and the most likely to oppose in an organized and no-violent fashion the militarization of the country, the emerging dictatorship, they go away. And those who stay become afraid. Most of the murders occur in the poorest areas, where Chávez still has more voters and where people are starting to change sides.

The regime thinks that by instilling fear in the general population, people will be afraid of spreading news, of debating, or marching in the areas the regime still - just still- has some support. The regime is wrong.

Murders in Carabobo state in May 2010 (approximate location per municipality)

Chávez leaving office

And my very unscientific poll goes on. Here you have the latest results about when our readers think Chávez ceases to be head of state of Venezuela. Less people think he will be out before 2012 but more think he will be indeed out before 2014.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Die Ölkatastrophe im Golf von Venezuela

Während die ganze Welt wegen der Erdölpest im Golf von Mexiko schokiert ist, wissen die wenigsten über die Ölkatastrophe, die zur Zeit im Golf von Venezuela stattfindet.

Im Golf vom Mexiko sind die Hauptverantwortlichen die Leute von BP. Im Golf von Venezuela sind es andere: der Staat, mysteriöse Gangsters oder auch beide.

Blogger Miguel berichtet (auf Englisch), wie der Energieminister Venezuelas, Ramiro Ramírez, die Umweltkatastrophe in Venezuela verharmlost: es werden "lediglich" 8000 Barrel Öl - etwa 1271840 Lt- täglich freigesetzt, was viel weniger wäre als im Golf von Mexiko. Der Golf von Venezuela ist aber ein viel kleinerer, geschlossener Raum, womit die Folgen grösser sein könnten. Und wie auch immer: die Katastrophe der BP kann keine Ausrede sein.

Wie die Latin American Herald Tribune sagt, sind Ölverschmutzungen gang und gäbe im Golf von Venezuela, wo seit Anfang des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts über 14000 Öl- und Gasquellen gebohrt sind. Die Probleme haben sich aber angehäuft, seitdem die venezolanische Regierung die Dienstleistungsfirmen des Erdölsektors im Golf von Venezuela nationalisierte bzw enteignete. Ramírez behauptet aber, die vermehrte Erdölverschmutzung wäre durch organisierte Gangsterbands verursacht worden. Er sagt auch, dass alles nun unter Kontrolle steht und 2000 Menschen den Golf bereinigen.

Leser Daveed schickt uns aber diese aktuellen Bilder vom Golf von Venezuela.

Die Bilder sind heute aus einem Hotel genommen worden. Die Stadt Maracaibo ist einfach hinten, links und rechts.

Soweit so gut...

Was man leicht beobachten kann: die Verschmutzung wegen der Erdölgewinnung ist riesig und die Umweltverschmutzung im allgemeinen ist einfach schrecklich.

Venezuela hat eine strenge Gesetzgebung, was Umwelt betrifft. Die Gesetze werden aber gar gar respektiert - weder von der nationalen Erdölgesellschaft noch von den normalen Bürgern. Die Umweltprobleme im Golf von Venezuela scheinen immer grösser zu werden. Die Bürger der Tierra de Gracia müssen endlich den Ernst der Lage erkennen - und endlich agieren.

Meinen Dank gilt Daveed!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Employment in Venezuela: a very bad joke

The Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas de Venezuela is not a normal institute for national statistics like the German Federal Statistical Office Institute or the British Office for National Statistics. The INE is basically a propaganda organisation that churns out numbers for Chavismo to use. There is no independence from the central government. Chávez and his team call the shots, they want nice numbers.

Chávez has recently repeated over and over again that Venezuela has a lower unemployment level than Spain, the EU in general or the United States. On the recent Hard Talk BBC interview the former coup monger said Venezuela is in recession just because of the US's economic woes and lower oil prices in 2009. In reality oil prices were low in 2008 but in 2009 they were already up again to levels much higher than in the eighties or nineties. If you are part of the 70% of Venezuelans who have no cable TV or Internet connection or access to Globovisión from living in Caracas or read the couple of critical newspapers with a very limited circulation, your information about how Venezuela's economy compares with that of the outside world is based on stuff like this:

I took it from the INE site, but basically the regime repeats that kind of information on the national radio and on the only national-wide TV stations that anyone can get without cable or satellite dish: those of the government.

Still, if you look a little bit - at least for now - in the INE site, you will detect some interesting data. You will find out about what percentage of "employed people" are actually what Venezuelans called "informal workers", people who are street vendors, pirate taxi drivers and the like. They have no dole money, they simply have to do anything to survive. They pay no taxes. Actually, most legal workers in Venezuela don't pay taxes either because they earn too little. I plotted the data again using the INE data and some from economist blogger García (here, Spanish).

You get a very different picture, don't you?
Spain is in a real mess right now. I don't want to say where Venezuela is.

A person with a "job" in Venezuela