Friday, 31 August 2012

Crime along the Ocamo river

The Venezuelan minister of Interior and Justice, El Aissami, said the government had already contacted 7 out of 9 Yanomami communities in the Amazonas state and they said everything is fine on their side.

This is a pointless statement, to say the least. Those communities are located in an area, as I mentioned in my previous post, a little bit larger than the Netherlands...but with the densest jungle you can imagine. There are virtually no roads there. The two communities we haven't heard anything yet are the ones about which the Yanomami reported the attack.

It's as if someone had reported an attack on Maastricht and authorities located as far as Glasgow would say people have investigated so far in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Haarlem and Middelburg and things are fine there even if Maastricht is still pending.

Those communities are very close to the border. They have never been counted in the Venezuelan census and experts in the area - people I know - are very worried and are sure the attack happened. They just don't know what exactly happened, how many fatalities there were.

This is an area where Alexander von Humboldt had to stop his incredible voyage. It hasn't changed that much since 1800 for the Yanomami or for the Venezuelan authorities, but it has changed a lot for those looking for gold and other riches.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

80 Yanomamö murdered by Brazilian miners?

Yesterday we got the news that, according to Horonami, an NGO for the defense of the Yanomamö, 80 of their people were murdered by garimpeiros, illegal Brazilian miners who entered Venezuelan territory - as they so very often do. The NGO asked for a governmental inquiry to take place as soon as possible. The attack, the NGO said, took place on 5 July in Momoi, Alto Orinoco, in the deep jungle.
This is an optimistic view of where the Yanomamö used to live.  Garimpeiros and
other foreigners have been encroaching in their territory

Apparently, three survivors managed to escape and walked all their way to the closest human settlement, which took several days. Still, I am puzzled by the amount of time since that happened and we get the news - it has been almost two months-. Below you can see a little map of the Alto Orinoco municipality. The settlement was in the Upper Ocamo. You can read more details about the whole event and the background from a report presented by a First Nation organisation here.

We haven't any more details. Is it true? I am asking people who have been frequently in Yanomamö territory but I am still waiting for the answer as they are very hard to reach.

I really hope the number of victims is lower. One thing has been clear for a long time already: First Nation organisations have been denouncing for years about the illegal miners who assault the natives, kidnap their women and pollute the rivers with mercury. The Venezuelan government does very little...specially because it doesn't want to bother the Brazilian government...the new master of the region. Brazil has now much more stringent control of its territory and illegal miners prefer to cross over to Venezuela.

Alto Orinoco Municipality, larger than Slovakia or the Netherlands

More information, in Spanish, here

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Venezuela and oil disasters

The huge explosion that cost the life of at least 39 people in and around Venezuela's largest oil refinery, Amuay, is not an isolate accident. Since Chávez sacked in 2003 over 2000 PDVSA employees maintenance and security levels dropped dramatically. It doesn't matter PDVSA now has over 135% more workers than before.

March 2011 saw already an explosion in Amuay....there weren't dead back then but there were fatal casualties in that refinery in that year.

Alejandro Tarre has a good overview of the issues with regards to accidents and lack of maintenance in PDVSA since Chávez is in power.

As he says, Primero Justicia (Henrique Capriles' party) has kept track of 77 deaths related to PDVSA accidents since 2003. PDVSA's very 2011 annual report conceded it carried out only 2 out of 9 required maintenance procedures for that year.

Venezuela's refineries are a complete mess. Venezuela has to import more and more petrol than ever in spite of all the crude it has.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

L'Etat...c'est Chávez

If someone abroad wants to understand the unwillingness of Chávez and his honchos to differentiate between State and themselves, between national resources and Chávez's interests, he just has to analyse state news in Venezuela.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) is obliged by law to fine the government if this tries to use state resources for propaganda purpuses...but it doesn't except for one or two isolated cases because its directive is made up of Chávez' staunchest supporters plus one token opposition member whose comments are basically ignored.

Look at the site of the national Venezolana de Televisión:

You have Chávez's election slogan (Chávez: Corazón de Mi Patria), a link to more propaganda, a link to Chávez's site and to Chávez's twitter account.

Venezuela's Magic Fauna and Energy Supply

Yesterday the state-managed energy company Corpoelec explained why an important area of Greater Caracas had a blackout:

It was a black vulture's fault. 

Zamuro, a type of black vulture
For those of you who may not know: in 2010 the government accused an iguana of being responsible for another major blackout in Western Venezuela. This June national authorities said a common possum caused a huge power failure in Ciudad Guayana, in Venezuela's Southeast.

Meanwhile, there was yet another fatal accident at a PDVSA refinery: a propane tank exploded in Amuay (Northern Venezuela) and authorities reported at least seven dead.

Fatal accidents within facilities of the state oil company have sky-rocketed since Chávez sacked 20000 employees because they were striking replaced them with many more loyal to him. The PDVSA staff has gone up by 133% in five years, but as you see this has made things more dangerous.

Remember it was here you read it for the first time: Chavismo's ultimate fall will be triggered by a tapir or an agouti.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Capriles for Russians

Russians also have an autocrat in power. West Europeans and North Americans can understand their situation better than that of Venezuelans for the simple fact that Russian citizens are mostly "white". Of course, this is a big oversimplification, there are hundreds of minorities there, but basically the majority by far are Slavic people. We, Venezuelans, on the other hand, are something a little bit different, something most Northerners still don't fully grasp. They think we have a society similar to Bolivia or even Peru. There are definitely clusters in Venezuela and the darker you are, the poorer you are and the more likely you are to vote for the one who is already in power.

Northerners often see Venezuela in an extremely patronizing fashion and assume we have a white versus black and Indian class-exacerbated conflict.  Anyway: even if they somehow see Putin is still popular with a lot of people (much more than Chávez in Venezuela) and even if they see he wins elections (with a little bit of unkosher things here and there), even most European and North American lefties recognise the man has turned Russia into an increasingly authoritarian state.

Russians have Novaja Gazeta and whoever speaks Russian or cares to read the Russian version of that newspaper knows there is some framework to express dissent. OK: there are more journalists who get killed in Russia, people like Politovskaja...but there are less lesser attacks to the opposition as we see in Venezuela. Whereas Russian state channels show the odd "tapped opposition conversation", in Venezuela illegally tapped conversations or hatred speech towards opposition leaders is like our deadly bread. The normal Venezuelan citizen in Calabozo or Maturín is as likely to read critical newspapers such as El Universal as the average Russian citizen in Ufa or in Rostov.

In Russia you have TV channels is only on the Internet, but the  Internet has a much stronger reach in Russia than in Venezuela the crappy Globovisión channel. 

Putin's paws pushed through a law that make NGOs receiving support from abroad "foreign agents"...not the best credentials for any organisation. There was a lot of criticism about that. The Chávez government approved a much stronger law before that...a law that prohibits any financial support for any NGO that has anything remotely to do with politics and that includes human rights...Chavistas are so obsessed with a repeat of a Caribbean Orange Revolution.

Anyway, this article in Novaja Gazeta touches the Venezuelan issue. I am happy to see the Russians are starting to wonder what they can learn from us. Andrej Kolesnikov  says the answer is to carry out primaries as we did in Venezuela. And right he is. 

Now: there are more things they have to take into account. Firstly, you need a lot of debate to establish clearly and openly the rules of fair play. Then you need a commitment from all the other candidates to support the winner. That is only possible if those involved in the primaries respect the rule of law and are democrats.

Venezuela's opposition has attained a lot in the last months. Still, there are weak points. The opposition did not push through primaries in every region. This has already created tension for the local elections set next December. In the central state of Carabobo, for instance, there is - again - a row between two of our local caudillos because one -Enzo Scarano- says the other - Henrique Salas- got more representatives for the Unified List than he should get based on votes. Scarano wanted regional primaries in Carabobo and Salas didn't. As Salas is the opposition governor of that state, everybody else decided to support Salas, even if most know how uncooperative Salas is and how much he sees Carabobo as his family feud. 

This could have repercussions not only in December but for the October presidential elections as the one who is most unhappy about the seat distribution might not feel as committed to help in the general effort for Capriles...or the other, Salas, may also feel unwilling to coordinate regional matters with his rival because of the bad blood already present.

Thus, Russians: you have to watch out. You have to be sure you have a cleanly elected opposition candidate for the presidency but also leaders that were elected via open and fair methods in every major region of big big Russia.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Venezuelas Politik: es könnte alles so einfach sein

Hier könnt Ihr ein Stück des Interviews mit Frau María Bolívar sehen. Sie ist eine Kandidatin für die Präsidentschaftswahl in Venezuela. Ja, ja: es gibt nicht nur Capriles und Chávez!

Ich versuche, beim Übersetzen so worttreu zu sein, wie nur möglich.

- Was würden Sie mit der strengen Währungskontrolle und mit der Inflation tun?

-Gut, den Dollar befreien, damit alle Venezolaner teilnehmen können...ihn befreien, so dass alle Menschen das Recht haben...nicht nur die dass [jeder] sich als Person entfalten kann.

- Warum? Glauben Sie, dass die Währungskontrolle nur für die Regierung gut ist? 

- Natürlich, sie haben alles, was sie wollen...die Menschen müssen zu einer Bank gehen, um Dollars zu kaufen...Du musst zu einer Bank gehen und abhängig [davon] sein...und dazu sie kaufen...und um sie zu haben: [musst Du beweisen], dass Du reisen musst, dies, das, nein...ich möchte, dass es Freiheit der Währungskontrolle für alle Venezolaner gibt.

- Wie wollen Sie die Inflation unter Kontrolle bringen? Werden Sie mit dem privaten Sektor zusammenarbeiten?

- Mit dem privaten Sektor und mit dem venezolanischen allen...von den Ärmsten bis...bis zur allen Menschen...guck mal, Venezuela bauen (sic)...

- Wie werden Sie die Inflation bekämpfen?

- Also...indem ich Jobs schaffe...wie erkläre ich's Dir? Die Inflation wird unter Kontrolle...Entschuldigung, Aymara, hilf mir ein bisschen, bitte...


- Entschuldigung, Entschuldiguing. Ich möchte die Inflation unter Kontrolle bringen, indem ich zuerst die Preise senke.

Um die geflügelten Worte dieser legendären Schwaben zu benutzen: es könnte alles so einfach sein, isses aber nicht...

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Green as green goes

I grew up watching the green-rumped parrotlets having breakfast on one of the trees we had at the garden. We call them periquitos. The Pemon Indians call them "kaikai".

Unfortunately, there are many people who loves to keep these creatures in cages...kind of freaks me out.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Nothing new in the Bolivarian front (updated)

There was nothing new to report on the Bolivarian front. Just over 24 prisoners got killed during the last "disturbances" in the last couple of days in Yare prison. Dozens were wounded. Apparently, everything started when one of the prisoners accidentally triggered a rifle. Accidents can happen in Venezuela. 

The murder count for Venezuelan prisons is well over 300 this year and we are set to break a new record. Alexander von Humboldt, who complained already two centuries ago about the state of our prisons, would find it hard to grasp that  things are going back to the worst of the worst.

But then - Chávez's sycophants will say - we are just on the year XIII of the Bolivarian Revolution. Apparently, things have to keep getting worse for a little while...just a little while.

Ps. apologies: I first got the wrong prison name, mixed up  Yare with El Rodeo...but there have been some riots there as well recently, only that not as deadly as usual. The death toll in Yare is worse than initially thought, though.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Venezuela, feudales Land

Seit vielen Jahren gibt es Zank zwischen Henrique Salas Feo, dem Gouverneur Carabobos, und Enzo Scarano, Bürgermeister von San Diego. Der Streit eskaliert jetzt. Um dies alles zu verstehen, müssen wir ein bisschen über Venezuela erklären.

Caudillismo ist eines der typischen Merkmale der lateinamerikanischen Wirklichkeit. In Venezuela ist das nicht anders. Präsidentielle Regierungssysteme haben die Macht des Militärfûhrers, später manchmal des vom Militär geduldeten Zivilführer verstärkt.  Lange Zeit durften Venezolaner nur den Präsidenten und die Abgeordneten wählen, wenn überhaupt. Ab 1958 durften sie das völlig demokratisch tun. Ab 1988 durfen sie auch für Gouverneure und Bürgermeister stimmen. Das hat ein bisschen Konkurrenz verschafft, aber nicht viel. Fast alle mittel- bis hochrangigen Angestellte sowie viele einfachen Mitarbeiter bei Bundesstaaten und Gemeinden werden von der jeweiligen Regierung angeheuert. Da die Regierungen die wichtigsten Arbeitgeber in einem Petroland sind, ist Klientelismus programmiert. Als Chávez an die Macht kam, began er, so schnell wie möglich die im Jahr 1988 eingeleitete Dezentralisierung zu demontieren. Er nahm immer wieder Kompetenzen von den Regionen Ende durch ein berüchtigtest Ermächtigungsgesetz. So ist die Lage der Gouverneure und Bürgermeister nun schwerer denn je. Trotztdem könnte es besser sein...wenn sie nicht so feudal denken würden.

Die Oppositionsführer insbesondere in Carabobo haben die typische feudalistische Einstellung. Sie sind etwas besser als die Chávez-Bonzen aber nur so viel.

Die venezolanische Opposition hatte sich im Jahr 2010 geeinigt, eine einzige Liste für alle Wahlen zu stellen. In manchen Regionen würde man dafür Vorwahlen anderen, wo "die Präferenz für eine Partei deutlich liegt" nicht. Das Problem ist, dass diese Präferenz auf Klientelismus pur basiert, auf die Wahlen auf einem bestimmten Zeitpunkt in der Vergangenheit und auf die Tatsache, dass man in Venezuela einfach für den Kandidat der Opposition seine Stimme gibt, nicht für eine Partei. Dies führt dazu, dass sich der Kandidat der Opposition in dieser oder jener Region verewigt und keine Chance für andere Kandidaten der Opposition gibt.

Carabobo hat ein Gouverneur der Opposition an der Macht. Man hat ihn vor allem gewählt, weil man den Chávez-Kandidat auf keinen Fall wollte...aber eher nur darum. Der Gouverneur, Salas Feo, ist der Sohn eines früheren Gouverneurs, Salas Römer. Salas Römer hatte eine Frau der Familie Feo geheiratet. Unter den Feos gab es seit dem 19. Jahrhundert hochrangige Politiker in Carabobo.

Der Gouverneur von Naguanagua, eine Stadt, die nördliche von Valencia liegt und seit langem mit Valencia zusammengewachsen ist, ist der Cousin von Salas. Der alte Salas Römer hatte seine Partei, Proyecto Venezuela, Ende der Achziger gegründet, als seine frühere Partei, COPEI, ihn nicht als Kandidat für Carabobo stellen wollte. Nun wollen die Salas-Feo so weit es geht alle Stellen im Bundesland haben. Das ist ihr Feudalgebiet. In der Gemeinde San Diego ist aber seit Jahren eine neue Persönlichkeit erschienen: Enzo Scarano. Enzo Scarano ist ein Unternehmer und genauso wie die Salas hat er auch eine sehr starke feudale Einstellung und auch wie sie will er seine Familie an der Macht - so oder so - sehen.

Proyeto Venezuela wollte nun für die Lokalwahlen von Dezember nicht genügend Kandidaten der Enzo-Scarano-"Partei" für die gemeinsamen Listen für alle Gemeinden und vor allem für die Bundesstaatsversammlung akzeptieren. 

Enzo Scarano hat seine eigene Partei, "Cuentas Claras", und er will, dass mehr von seinen "Leuten" bei den Kandidaten sehen und er protestiert nun immer lauter. 
Die mittelalterlichen Klassen der Priester, Ritter und Bauer sind in Venezuela durch die Klassen der Militärs, Importeure, Staatsdiener und Strassenverkäufer ersetzt worden. Alles andere: dasselbe im Rot oder Blau.

Im Jahr 2008 hat die Opposition die Stelle des Bürgermeisters für Valencia verloren, wiel Salas seine eigene Kandidatin zum Rennen schickte, während alle anderen einen anderen Kandidat, Cocchiolla, hatten. Und so hat der Kandidat der Chavistas, Parras, gewonnen. Alle anderen Parteien waren sauer auf Salas. 

Nun haben sie sich damit abgefunden und sind zu einem Kompromiss gekommen: Salas lässt sie den Bürgermeister Valencias wählen und er darf zuerst die Kandidaten in allen anderen Regionen Carabobos mit Ausnahme von San Diego auswählen. Alle sind damit einverstanden bis auf Enzo Scarano. Scarano ist aber auch wichtig, weil er in seiner Gegend populär ist und die Gemeinde San Diego ganz für ihn stimmt. Und so haben wir nun die Gefahr, dass wir schon wieder zwei Oppositionslisten für die Regionalwahlen vom Monat Dezember haben. Und das hat damit zu tun, dass Parteien in Venezuela einfach feudale Konstruktionen sind, die nur dafür bestimmt waren, bestimmte Caudillos zu vertreten.

Wenn ein Journalist öffentlich Salas oder Scarano bei einem Interview einige Fragen stellen dürfte, würde ich gern als erstes diese Frage hören: welcher ist der programmatische Unterschied zwischen Proyecto Venezuela und Cuentas Claras, von den Menschen mal abgesehen?

Ihr könnt sicher sein: beide würden zuerst verblüfft und erschrocken aussehen.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The noisy American

Well, I am referring to Chávez, as he is, after all, a South American. He confirmed there was a US agent who was detained on a bus heading from Colombia to what I assume is Barinas. Venezuelan diplomats in Washington informed the US government about it directly and not through the customary channel, the US embassy in Caracas, which probably just means Venezuelan Bolivarian diplomats didn't know the usual procedure.

In any case: this looks like fun. How on Earth does a US agent arrive to Venezuela with a passport that has entry stamps for Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria? What do you think? Is he really a mercenary? A weapons dealer? A joke?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Über 300 Morde in venezolanischen Gefängnissen

Die Nichtregierungsorganisation Observatorio Nacional de Prisiones teilt uns heute mit, dass in nur sechs Monaten - von Januar bis Juni - mehr als 300 Menschen in venezolanischen Gefängnissen umgebracht worden sind. Das ist ein neuer Record des Schreckens. 527 andere wurden verletzt.

Unten habt Ihr die Zahl der Morde in venezolanischen Gefängnissen seit 1999.

Cheating during election time

Certain people don't get this: a binary file is basically a black box. You can test it a zillion times, but that doesn't help unless you can be absolutely sure that binary file and not something else is what that computer is using to generate the data you want and you can be sure that binary  file is what you will get after you compile a source code with algorithms you understand on your own...either that or you need reliable witnesses - not people who report to be witnesses - in a enough voting centres to check the paper trails and verify for statistical irregularities.

Both Putin and Lukashenko clearly won their elections. They didn't need massive fraud. Still, fraud was committed...sometimes more blatantly than others. Why did they go for "optimization" if it was so obvious they still had the majority? Well: there are more reasons to commit fraud than just "win elections". One of them is when you want to be sure you have not 2%, not 4% but  something big enough that you can say "we clearly have a large majority". The more unstable the situation you have, the larger the margin you need to sleep well - if you are the autocrat, that is.

Soon after Chávez was defeated in 2007 his popularity plummeted. Did he do something specially bad from the referendum day until that poll was taken? Not worse than what  he had already done. He said the opposition's victory was shit shit shit, but that is his style and millions of Venezuelans didn't seem to care about that. But there is one thing anyone should know by now: people do not like losers. Winning gets you in a different position than losing and winning by an ample margin, specially if you are an autocrat and the situation is  tense, is a must. If you read what Chávez supporters at Aporrea wrote soon after Chávez had to concede defeat in 2007 (a defeat he reverted via enabling law and a new referendum), you could see how critical they least for a while. It took a defeat for them to "open their eyes". If that happens with hard-core Chavez supporters on a defeat, imagine what can happen with ninis as soon as things just get a little bit less comfortable, inflation is just a little bit higher...and they know the president doesn't have ample support but "just made it".

The CNE, the National Electoral Council, is modifying the electoral registries all the time. What I show right now can be modified for tomorrow. Still today, 12 August 2012, you can find this:

There are two records of two "voters" with a very unusual name combination. The two "guys" vote close to each other. What is more worrying: according to CNE records - records that were made public until last year - both voters were born on the same day (something you can see here but there are copies of these records in the hand of the opposition). On top of that, look at the ID numbers. Do you see a pattern? Indeed. And there are thousands like that.

The CNE has been "correcting" such cases since they were first reported, but there are still many thousands like that. They are not enough to "win elections" or to optimize results for 4% or so but these, we can be absolutely sure of that, are just a fraction of the "weird records", just a fraction that could be identified  because the pattern - their birthday - was too obvious. Somehow in the process of duplicating identities the CNE didn't verify they were using the same birth day even for such names. If the government decided to produce similar records with different birth dates - and they can do that  in the same way as they definitely did this - there is no way we can know unless we demand for anyone with the same name to come forward and we verify their finger prints. 

What people like Francisco do not understand is that it doesn't take 2000 developers working 24 hours a day like in that film Man of the Year to produce software that optimizes voting results at run time. It takes one person for a short time, the access to the computer's ID and a one time connection. Unless there are witnesses, of course.

So witnesses is the thing. Francisco already interviewed some years ago a PJ politician and now one of our deputies, Cardenas. He told him Francisco that the opposition had witnesses everywhere...and Francisco believed him just like that.  That same politician keeps telling us all the time "no matter what Chavismo does, no matter how hard he puts it, we will win by an ample margin". Caldera seems to believe we are still urgently looking for more witnesses people will get depressed and lots will be put off. That is the right attitude if you live in Baruta or El Hatillo but that is the attitude we cannot have for 99% of Venezuela.

What Caldera said was not right. Many contacts told me back in 2008 and then in 2010 that our people doing the hard work of organising witnesses and carrying around the actas were desperate to get enough staff even in Southern Valencia, not to mention Puerto Cabello or even small cities in the Llanos. But well...people from Greater Caracas always have trouble to know what happens in what they call "monte y culebra" seems they had the same knowledge Britons or Belgians had about Congo until reports became too evident and the pictures started to come took a couple of decades for Europeans to open their eyes back then...I certainly hope it takes less time for Caraqueños to learn what happens in Maturín and other "culebra places", where most people live.

A software can automatically optimize results for any voting centre where there is no witness throughout the event or where witnesses simply fail to deliver the actas afterwards.

What people like Francisco don't know: in 2009 thousands of actas from many places were not delivered. People just "se las llevó para su casa". People who worked heavily as witnesses in poor areas outside "civilisation" - i.e. Greater Caracas- confirmed that to me. Francisco can argue that that is just circumstantial evidence, but then I can say the same about Caldera's. But you can confirm how badly we have scored about witnesses if you do take the time to check what Esdata says - these are a group of professionals who have been analysing a lot of voting data at all levels for several years now.

I will later present much more about the dimension of ghost (actually virtual) voters.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Chávez and the gringo agent: new revelations

Sorry, I should have put "2004", "2005" and "2006"
on the right and "2006" on the left but it would really
look something like this

The Caudillo has told Venezuelans that the Venezuelan military detained a US citizen of Hispanic origin. Apparently the man entered the country illegally. He is under suspicion of planning to undertake sabotage actions in the country. The man - Chávez dixit - was carrying a passport with immigration stamps from Afghanistan and Iraq. Afghanistan, did you get it? Iraq, did you read it as well? You can see what the guy was up to, even if you are not a crossword analyst from the Bolivarian intelligence services. The US government doubts this was the case but it says that if there is a US citizen under detection, the Venezuelan authorities must allow the man to get in touch with the consulate services. 

Now the Caudillo gave new revelations. According to Chávez, the man's passport stamps from Afghanistan (from 2004 several times), Iraq (from 2006), Jordan (from 2007), Germany, Britain, Dominican Republic and Colombia. The US citizen apparently arrived illegally from the last country and was caught in a bus in La Pedrera. That's on the route from San Cristóbal to Barinas. Can it be about the attack on the Jewish day of Rabat? Adán Chávez lives in Barinas, don't you know?

Capriles arrives to Caicara in spite of Chávez

The pro-Chávez governor of Bolívar, military Francisco Rangel Gómez, prevented the opposition candidate Capriles from landing in Caicara del Orinoco. Rangel closed the airport just like that. It is very hard to get to that location.

Remarkably, Capriles went anyway: using a curiara.

Kudos to Capriles.

Meanwhile, the caudillo went to the Western state of Táchira, declared that "Justice" Minister El-Aissami won't be the candidate for that region - contrary to what he previously said-. He said he will look for another candidate. Táchira has an opposition governor since 2008. According to Chávez, that is due to internal division among "Bolivarians"...and that is treason againt the People, treason against the revolution and treason, thus, against Chávez".

Friday, 10 August 2012

Jason Bourne in Venezuela

It never ceases to amaze me, my Land of Grace and its inhabitants.

Now our military caudillo is telling us intelligence officials have detained a US agent of Latino origin at the border with Colombia. The man had a passport with entrance stamps to Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan. Somehow Syria was missing in that bloody passport, damn!

This ain't nothing compared to Venezuela

Since 1999 Chávez officials have been denouncing attempts against Chávez's life on average every three months. Only from the moment Chávez announced he was fighting cancer until he said he had defeated it did we have a pause about the assassination attempts. Chávez's honchos started to announce new "magnicidios" last May, just when Chávez informed us about his miraculous recovery.

And now, as back in 2006-2008, when Eva Golinger "revealed" CIA faxes with plans against Chávez, here we have a new plot...

I wonder: how come an intelligence organisation that can have access to so many blank passports sends a Latino US citizen to Venezuela with a passport full of stamps of those countries we know have "issues"? How come another US agent was caught with "coordinadas"? Somehow the Venezuelan military love to play with the idea of coordinates... Chávez said the man came in to support the bourgeoisie. He added there is a group with plans to reject the victory of the People 7 October. You know who the People is.

Stay tuned.

I can't remember anything more.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Chávez government sabotages Capriles campaign - yet again

Andrés Velázquez, an opposition politician from Guayana tells us this:

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles was planning to visit Caicara del Orinoco in eastern Guayana. The military regime decided to close down the airport. The area is of difficult access, so it was either airport or boat through the Orinoco. That's the Venezuelan government the extreme left in Europe supports.

I wonder if there is any Chávez embassy employee out there who knows the whole world is Chavistas really think they won't ever be made accountable for this?

Caicara del Orinoco is really far away

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Of course it's not le Carré, it's Graham Greene (updated)

Read the story at Huffington Post...really.

If this happens just for the power at a Venezuelan embassy, imagine what can happen for the position of president in a caudillismo-prone feudal Venezuela.

Now read what the Nairobi newspaper The Star wrote about the issue. It contains further details for a typical Venezuelan case: a bottle of Johny Walker and a fixer.

And meanwhile, the military president Chávez is telling opposition candidate Capriles - yet again - that he  is a Nazi. In case you don't know: Capriles' maternal great-grandparents were murdered by Nazis and his grandmother hardly survived.

Still, German deputy Sahra Wagenknecht has repeatedly minimized Chavismo's anti-Semitic comments telling us Chávez's comments were taken "out of context". She considers herself an expert on the issue. I will return to that...also dealing with those "contexts".

He would have written such a story

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Venezuelan waste abroad

I was reading one of Daniel's posts about the lurid murder-sex-drug story at the Venezuelan embassy in Kenya. Daniel asked as an afterthought why on Earth we needed an embassy in Kenya in the first place.
I have asked myself the same thing before.

Venezuela is a poor country. I repeat: Venezuela is a poor country. One of our problems is we think the country is rich and we "just" need to distribute our enormous wealth. Even if we were to distribute oil resources fairly (which we are farther away from doing now), each person would get hardly enough.

Chile is another underdeveloped nation. I don't see Chile as a heck of a great model, even though I do think we could learn a few things from it. Corruption there is much lower than in Venezuela, for instance. Crime is much lower and even though Chile's GDP per capita is clearly higher than Venezuela's, it has less embassies around the world.

Chile's diplomatic representations abroad:


I suspect the Chilean representation in "Greenland" is the same as in Denmark...for obvious reasons. Chile has representatives in Israel and in Iraq as well as Pakistan and Thailand as well as in New Zealand, whereas we don't. We had an embassy in Libya until "Libya's Simón Bolívar" (Chávez dixit) was toppled down. We also had an embassy in Mali until...I still don't know if we have one after the latest coup. We have one in Kenya, in Ethiopia, in Namibia, in Angola, in Togo and in Senegal. What for? And of course, in Belarus...for nothing but to give away resources and to get KGB-support from them.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Chávez, Sahra Wagenknechts Held in Südamerika

Am 5. August erschien Chávez in Miguel Peña, Südvalencia. Dort erklärte er, dass ein anderer Militär, der ebenfalls Putschist Francisco Ameliach, der Kandidat der Sozialistischen Einheitspartei Venezuelas für die Stelle des Gouverneurs im Bundesstaat Carabobo sein würde. Nachdem Anhänger aufgerufen hatten, dass er besser den Bürgermeister von Puerto Cabello, Rafael Lacava, wählen konnte, sagte Chávez sauer:

'Was hier auf dem Spiel steht, sind die Wahlen vom 7.10, hört Ihr mich? Es geht nicht um Lacava oder Ameliach! Ich habe gesagt: Ameliach als Gouverneur für Carabobo. Ich habe es gesagt und ich wiederhole es: für mich ist Francisco Ameliach der Kandidat, um den Bundesstaat zu gewinnen und er rechnet mit meiner vollen Unterstützung, mit meinem Respekt, er ist der Wahlkampfführer hier...aber noch wichtiger ist dies: es geht hier um Chávez für die Präsidentschaft Venezuelas am 7.10, es geht um unser Leben'.

Deutlicher konnte es kaum sein, oder? Frau Wagenknecht? Ist dies was Sie unter "partizipatorische Demokratie" verstehen, oder?

Ps. Ich habe dies auch in Wikipedia geschrieben.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Venirauto, Veniran, a flop revisited in the Cargo Cult Land

Chávez's useful idiots abroad talked quite a bit about how the military president was working - for the first time in Venezuela, mind! - to promote economic diversification ando get off our oil dependency.
Would you go for a drive again, comandante?

They often mentioned such projects as Veniran and Venirauto. In the last few years different bloggers have been reporting about how these attempts have become a complete failure. In fact, we are now more dependent on oil than ever before.

The dynamics and the people who manage those projects are simply wrong.

Now there are apparently over one thousand vehicles imported from Iran and left to rot in the industrial area of Maracay. Veniran was founded in 2006 and it has been struggling since shortly after that. It almost closed down in 2008 and it is basically for any real purpose a Potemkin village. Same thing goes for Venirauto.

The opposition deputies have been trying to launch an enquiry into this scandal but the Chávez representatives at the National Assembly are blocking any such procedure. Venirán owns 109 million dollars to the Iranian exporters, according to Venirauto's head, Rafael Bolívar, and it won't be getting any missing parts until it pays off that debt. The payment problems, he said, are due to the devaluation that took place in Venezuela between 2009 and 2010. For those of you who do not know: that was a controlled devaluation in a system of rigid currency control that has been in place since 2004 and our currency is still highly overvalued.

In reality the reasons are more complex than what Mr Bolívar said. State companies in the times of Chavismo are much more inefficient than they ever were. For starters, many posts are filled by people because of purely political stance. Political posts were always the case, but not in such a massive scale. Most people coming in are unskilled workers in a country where education has been deteriorating by the day. Then there is no real demand for those vehicles: Venezuelans who still can pay don't see why they should pay so much for vehicles that use decades-old Western technology resold by Iranians.

If you visit Venezuelan forums, you can start to understand the cargo cult mentality that is so widespread in Venezuela:

"buenas tardes quisiera saber los requisitos y el procedimiento para obtener un turpial o centauro , estoy inscrito en el PSUV y necesito un carro."

"Good afternoon. I want to find out about the requirements and procedure to obtain a Turpial or Centauro model, I am registered in the PSUV* and I need a car"

hola buenas noches estoy interesada de optener un vehiculo,centauro soy docente del ministerio de educacion popular para la educacion y me gustaria saber que tengo que realizar para obtar a este carro como tambien necesito los requisitos

"Good evening. I am interested in optaining (sic: obtener>optener) a vehicle, centauro, I am a teacher of the Ministry for the Popular Education for education (sic) and I would like to know what I need to do to have a chance for that car as (sic) well as I need the requirements"

 * Chávez's party

Friday, 3 August 2012

Venezolaner und erneuerbare Energie | Venezuelans and renewable energy

Mit dem folgenden Diagramm könnt Ihr ein bisschen einschätzen, was Venezolaner über erneuebare Energie denken. Die Daten stammen aus einer Umfrage, die ich in meinem spanischen Blog organisiert habe. 148 Menschen antworteten.

Die einzige Frage lautete: wann wird man zumindest 50% des Kraftstoffes aus erneuerbaren Energiequellen erzeugen.

Wie Ihr seht, denkt über 25% der Befragten, dass wir spätestens in zehn Jahren dabei sind. Über 50% der Menschen sind der Meinung, dass dieser Zustand in 20 Jahren oder weniger erreicht wird. Ich frage mich aber, ob diese Menschen sich bewusst sind, was für Folgen das für Venezuela hätte - wenn es, natürlich, dazu käme.

Ich würde auch gern wissen, wie viele Chávez-Anhänger das eine oder das andere denken.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Venezuela im Oktober

Wie viel Geld werden russischen Waffenhändler für die Wiederwahl des besten Kunden auf der Welt ausgeben?

Welche Tricksereien wird die Chávez-Regierung benutzen, um die Wahlaktionen der Opposition zu boykotieren?

Ist Chávez wirklich gesund? Wenn nicht: wie krank ist er? Wird sich das zeigen?

Eine Gruppe von Chávez-Anhängern fordert Chávez auf, selbst die Kandidaten der sozialistischen Einheitspartei Venezuelas für die Regionalwahlen im Dezember auszuwählen. Diese Wahlen finden zwei Monate nach den Präsidentswahlen statt. Diese Menschen finden, dass Wahlen durch die Basis dazu führen, dass der Kapitalismus sich durchsetzt. Also: nur durch den Führer Chávez wird man den Kapitalismus vermeiden. Von wegen partizipatorische Demokratie...