Sunday, 28 April 2013

How did the Chavista National Electoral Council give the presidency to Maduro?

According the Tibisay Lucena and Chavismo's other mions at the National Electoral Council, national results were like what you see in the first chart. Lucena and her people refuse to audit the paper trail and the registries for proper identification of voters.

Below you see some extremes of what really happened. These are examples of schools where Chavismo got 100% of the votes this time around and there were more than 100 voters in that voting centre. These are "extremes", but the strange behaviour in electorate was massive. And even like that Chavismo hardly managed to fake a 1% difference.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Maduristas' strange numbers

There are lots of strange numbers coming from Venezuela's "official" election results. For instance, in the following voting centres Maduro got more than 100 votes and Capriles didn't get a single one:

You see voting centre, municipio, state and number of votes for Maduro, according to the government-controlled National Electoral Council. The only centre in central Venezuela where this happened was in Carabobo, but it is very far away from any urban area.


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Gringo secret agent detained for the third time in Venezuela

You read it right: Timothy Hallet Tracy, the US citizen who was detained yesterday while trying to leave the country through the Maiquetía airport and who was accused by  Nicolás Maduro of destabilizing our nation, had already been detained twice in the last few months. That's what El Carabobeño says. Last time was while he was filming a pro-Maduro rally in Puerto Cabello.

My question: how was it possible he decided to leave the country through the main door if he was a secret agent and had been detained twice before? Couldn't he find a yacht to take him somewhere else? Take a ferry? Go to Colombia by road?

Is that the way secret CIA agents operate these days? They keep getting caught by our extremely sophisticated intelligence experts until our extremely revolutionary government decides to detain them for good?

Timothy is a 31-year old man who read English at Michigan University. There, according to his dad, he met some Venezuelan students, became friends and decided to go to Venezuela to shoot a film about the political events in the country. I imagine those Venezuelans were the usual Caracas upper-middle class youngsters who go to US to learn English, and who, in their attempts to bring change to Venezuela, want to follow,  yet again, the methods published by Gene Sharp about non-violent political change. Unfortunately, it seems to me, these guys usually don't pay too much attention to content and to getting some insight into the historical, economic and political histories of the events in the old Czechoslovakia Republic, the German Democratic Republic, Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia or Venezuela. They specially don't pay too much attention about the different identities and myths circulating in our country. In any case, things happen as they usually happen: 

Eva Golinger (read about her in Carrol's El Comandante) will publish a couple of articles in her government-financed newspaper about how the Empire is trying yet again Otpor!-like  tactics for regime-change in Venezuela.

The Maduro criollo media will also have lots of material about how the Imperio is trying to bring down what Chavistas claim to be a revolution.

Venezuelan humble viewers in El Tigre or Punto Fijo will watch the explanations and either think that indeed the gringos are trying anything or think that they are running out of sugar and they have to find sugar and chicken and good maize oil and that's not easy.
I think in this case this Timothy simply wanted to shoot a film that would make him famous. He wanted to experience the emotion of some young revolutionaries who were, indeed, following Gene Sharps ideas and ideals. Now this gringo is detained, his family is worried and gringo diplomants have to go again to a jail to see that one of their nationals is properly treated.

According to the Maduro-military government, Timothy was a US secret agent in charge of destabilizing the nation. According to me - I might be completely wrong - he was a naive man who wanted to be a film maker and live through exciting times.

Meanwhile, the country keeps having the highest murder rate in South America. Those are the priorities in Venezuela.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Chavismo going berserk

A lot of people are doubting more and more the legitimacy of Chavismo. The country is experiencing a murder rate more than three times what it had when Chavismo came to power. Inflation is the highest in the hemisphere. Corruption is rampant. And people saw how Chavismo used state resources on a massive scale to mobilize voters and how it threatened whoever was receiving social benefits less they didn't vote for Chávez's Anointed One, Maduro.

Maduro can hardly speak. It's not that he cannot speak according to the standards expected from formal education. He cannot speak like my illiterate but vocal grandmother or like the average functionary or farmer or whatever. Even his tweets, which are probably spelled-checked by someone else, are full of punctuation errors. They often look as if they had been written by a 7-year old.

And Chavismo is unsure. Maduro is now repeating Chávez mantra about assasination attempts. He and the apparatchiks repeat ad nauseam the usual extreme left view that all their enemies are "fascists". High ranking government officials declare public employees who become "belligerent" - you can be so by simply expressing your political views or by being part of an opposition party - will be sacked.

The minister of "the popular power for Prison Affairs", Iris Valera, stated that opposition leader Henrique Capriles will end up in jail. Neither the Judiciary nor any other public institution will call her to order. San Diego mayor Scarano is being prosecuted at this moment. Lara governor Henry Falcón is receiving threats all the time. Chavismo will now financially choke the local opposition governments.

As Miguel wrote, Maduro is an insecure man who doesn't dare to change the government put up by his mentor.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) must replace three of its board members by 29 April, that's the law. One of those them is the only one who was not a puppet to the current government. The other two are rabid Chavismo implementers. They were even official PSUV directors who just stepped down from their function at the PSUV and officially "unregistered" from the party in order to "prove" they could be neutral arbiters within the CNE. Of course they never did anything but protect the government. Their replacements will need to be approved by two thirds of the National Assembly, but Chavismo does not have such a majority. Chances are Chavismo won't be willing to discuss anything with the opposition. The puppet National Electoral Council has declared the auditing it promised won't include the actual counting of paper ballots, which shows paper trail is actually worthless, even if useful idiots of Chavismo abroad kept saying this system was specially valid because of that paper trail.

Now everyone knows that at least half the population is against this government and chances are many more will turn against it. We have thought pot-banging was a little bit pointless, just catharsis. But we get reports that pots have been banged a lot in places such as 23 de Enero and Los Guayos, very pro-Chavismo regions.

We are living dangerous times. Russian weapon dealers have earned billions with Chavismo. Almost every single South American country and several Caribbean and Central American countries have developed a healthy trade surplus with Venezuela, which has a highly overvalued currency and a government completely against its own private sector. They are very happy with things as they are now: money trumps everything for them. The Cuban security service has infiltrated Venezuela. But only oil has kept this government in place. And oil prices, although still high, do not keep rising.

The opposition feels more sure of itself, but it needs to be very cautious. The government is made up of dangerous people who have a lot to fear for the way they misused power.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

El día de nuestro idioma


Hoy es el día que algunos locos escogieron para celebrar nuestro idioma, el español. Yo usualmente no celebro fechas declaradas una u otra cosa por convención. Me irrita. Me parece aburrido. Pero en este caso hago una excepción. Es que nuestro idioma, de una u otra manera, influye de manera clara en la percepción que tenemos del mundo. Bastante tinta y saliva han corrido desde que formularan sus ideas de relativismo lingüístico gente como Wilhelm von Humboldt y otros románticos alemanes. Las posiciones sobre la influencia concreta de nuestro idioma en la mente en general son infinitas. Pero en cualquier caso: difícilmente se halla gente que ponga en duda la importancia del idioma materno en la formación de la identidad.

El uso que hagamos de nuestro idioma tiene repercusiones sociopolíticas y socioeconómicas muy importantes, a nivel nacional e internacional. El uso de este, el idioma que obtuvimos en casa, influye, de una u otra manera, en el nivel de discurso, en la posibilidad de entablar un debate o de propulsar una idea. Si tratamos nuestro idioma con descuido, con dejadez, nos va a dejar mal. Si ganamos otro, ganamos una nueva dimensión, pero si perdemos el nuestro, estaremos siempre siempre en una situación precaria. Si lo cultivamos, no nos vamos a arrepentir de ello jamás.

Mi idioma materno es el idioma de Cervantes y de Darío, de García Lorca y Ramos Sucre, pero también es el idioma de lo que queramos ser y lograr nosotros mismos. Quiero usar el español para leer nuestra riquísima literatura y escuchar nuestras canciones, pero también quiero usarlo para tratar sobre ciencia y tecnología, sobre política y economía, sin complejos y sin tapujos.  Sin rechazar otros idiomas y sin ínfulas de nada basado en accidentes lingüísticos, festejo y gozo mi lengua materna. Y sé  que esto tendrá consecuencias. El español tiene grandes posibilidades. No quiero dejarlas en posibilidades.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Venezolanische Menschenrechte, politische Farben und deutsche Medien

Ihr müsst den Minister für Wohnungsfragen Venezuelas, Ricardo Molina, sehen. Bevor Ihr das tut, will ich etwas über die Berichterstattung in der Bundesrepublik erklären. Ich habe nämlich ein Hühnchen zu rupfen mit einigen Journalisten.

Mit Entsetzen habe ich neuerdings gesehen, wie das ZDF  und der Spiegel ein paar Mal über Venezuela berichtet haben. Ein paar Mal, sage ich, denn oft ist die Berichterstattung gut oder es geht. Manchmal scheinen die Analysen aber von Sympathisanten der Linke-Partei zu stammen. 

Das ist besonders der Fall, wenn manche Journalisten von"Sozialisten versus Konservative" sprechen. Ich verstehe, dass Venezuela für die meisten Deutschen ganz weit liegt. Ich verstehe, dass  man nicht viel Raum und Zeit hat oder haben will, um über mein Land zu reden. Mit diesen paar Wörtern aber, die Lage Venezuelas erklären sollten, liegen sie aber völlig daneben.

Mit Sozialisten meinen diejenigen, die diese Texte schreiben, die Chavista-Regierung. Mit Konservativen meinen sie die Koalition von Parteien der Opposition. Das ist aber eine Koalition, die von sehr links (Bandera Roja und Causa Radical) über die Sozialdemokraten (Acción Democrática, Un Nuevo Tiempo) und die ökologische Partei bis zu Primero Justicia geht. Primero Justicia könnte man als liberal bezeichnen und hat von der CDU Unterstützung bekommen. Sozial und wirtschaftlich steht diese Partei aber eher in der Mitte, sogar links von der deutschen SPD. Es handelt sich mehr um Namen als was anderes. Links und rechts in den USA ist nicht wie in Europa und auch nicht wie in Venezuela. Um das zu verstehen muss man eigentlich hören, was sie in Venezuela sagen. Anscheinend haben manche - nur manche - Journalisten keine Zeit dafür.

Und nun könnt Ihr die Worte des Ministers für Wohnungsangelegenheiten hören. Das dat er gerade gesagt.

Minister: "Ich sage es Euch ganz klar: es ist mir egal, was die Gesetzgebung sagt, in diesem Kontext ist es mir egal."

Beamten: "Capriles, Capriles, hier ist die Regierung (bis)"

Minister: "Schaut die Mitarbeiter unserer Behörde, die politisch auf der anderen Seite stehen [sage ich]: keine Kampflust, keine Kampflust. Ich akzeptiere nicht, dass man hier schlecht über die Revolution spricht, dass jemand hier Nicolás [Maduro] kritisiert...ich akzeptiere das nicht.

Ich akzeptiere hier keine Mitglieder faschistischer Parteien. Diejenigen, die Mitglieder von Voluntad Popular [noch eine Partei der Mitte, von Leopoldo López geführt], diese faschistische Partei voll Narren, sein wollen, müssen kündigen, denn wenn sie nicht kündigen, werde ich selbst sie rausschmeissen."

Das ist die Regierung Venezuelas. Die Hälfte der Gouverneure und der Minister dieser Regierung sind Militärs. Die anderen sind angeblich "Sozialisten", sympathisieren mit Kuba, leben aber viel, viel besser als der Klaus Ernst.

Venezuelan music, what else? Ex patria

Here you have a part of Gabriela Montero's piece Ex Patria. She is right now on tour in Europe, for a few days. If you happen to be in Germany, the Netherlands or Southern Norway, you could try to listen to her. You won't regret it.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Your Chavista mind

This is the kind of Chavista activist Maduro can count on.

If you don't read Spanish, I read it for you. 

"Historian. Proud of living in the BOLIVARIAN SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA". Revolutionary. National-socialist. Venezuelan and Chavista in mind and body".

On the back you can see Kalashnikovs and Sukhois, the kind of toys Chávez bought for over 9 billion dollars in the last few years.

Most Chavista voters are not like him but definitely there is a considerable lot and they are very dangerous.

Coño, я оторопел

This is abot the Russian guys from Vtsiom, Vox Populi Fund and LalitrumLab. Their forecast on 11.4 was 50.7% for Maduro and 48.8% for Capriles. That's not bad at all. You can see some stuff in Voxpopuli but it doesn't specify much. The Ruski said they took two forecasts they then joined: a first, "inertia forecast", which analysed the longer trend. Here Maduro was going down but not fast enough. Then they carried out what they call a "dynamic forecast", in which they put a higher weight to the events relating to daily events. Here Capriles was overtaking Maduro. What I don't get is how they measured those events. We did not have debates.

I'll write to these blokes. As they are 3 private institutions, I doubt I will get many details, but I'll try.

I use military green for Maduro because...well, that's Maduro

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Polls: the Russians were right

Well, I thought we would clearly reduce the difference with officialdom but I didn't think it could get that close. Before the election day Juan Nagel sent me a link about a Russian research centre that had produced forecasts based on social media activity. I read the reference article and some others I could find (here and here and here, in Russian, a tiny bit here in English), I found the whole idea interesting but I just couldn't believe those numbers. I thought: well, Venezuelans abroad and those in urban centres tend to be more active in the web and be more against the government, so we might be over-represented, I should know, I am Venezuelan. But lo and behold: the Russians were right and I was wrong.
More than counting birds

The Russians - a group of social scientists from ВЦИОМ (Vtsiom), the VOX Populi Fund and the company PalitrumLab - gave as forecast  around 50.7% for Maduro and 48.1% for Capriles, which was much closer than anyone had predicted in Venezuela. Their analysis was based on data collected from 23 March to 11 April.

I want to see how PalitrumLab managed to get the analysis, but I suppose they have their company secrets. Still, it would be kind of cool to get more information from whatever is available. They had apparently used the same method to predict results for the French presidential election.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Venezuela, a bigger picture

Maduro said now the central government ("I") won't be giving any money to the regions where opposition mayors and governors were elected until they recognise him as president of Venezuela.
The military strongman Cabello, head of the National Assembly, declared in anger in front of the cameras that he won't let opposition deputies speak at the Assembly until they do the same.

It is sure that Henrique Capriles and Leopoldo López will be prosecuted for the violent actions of Monday. Capriles called off a rally for today.

People are tense in Venezuela.

And yet, I think now mostly about this:

Oil prices...the Alpha and Omega of Venezuela's drama. I am not a seer, so I try to to see if another perspective gives a new light...prices are stalling. Unless there is a new world conflict, they might just linger in this area and this is not enough for a country completely addicted to petrodollars.
Chavismo will try to provoke as much violence as possible. It will try to say every blackout, every problem happening in Venezuela, is caused by outside forces and the "Fifth Column".

Venezuelans will become a bit more isolated as Globovisión disappears as critical media. It already had little impact outside the main urban centres.

But problems will increase fairly rapidly and the government won't be able to make everyone believe it was the CIA that produced a new blackout or that provided the bullet that killed the son.

Inflation will keep soaring. The Chinese will become more impatient. Friends from poor, traditionally officialdom-voting areas, told me there was a lot of pot-banging in their neighbourhoods. People are unhappy.

If the opposition plays it right, this could be our moment, but we can't expect things to change in a week or a month. This goes into middle-term, not long-term, just middle-term...if we play it right.

I said it before: Venezuela, very sadly, needs to go through purgatory. But then there is a chance.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Venezuela's repression increases

The Venezuelan Intelligence Service is currently carrying out an investigation among its employees, trying to see who may have any connection with the opposition. Employees' calls are screened, anyone with any link to the opposition is being interrogated.

In the Western state of Zulia several journalists were detained because they were covering the protests there.

Maduro declared by forced TV and radio broadcast he won't allow the march planned by the opposition to the National Electoral Council

7 people died in yesterday protests. 135 persons have been detained. The national government says the culprit is Capriles. This is calling for restrain.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Venezuelan military destroying evidence

New pictures, 2013:
see here, please

State media in Venezuela: a very bad joke (updated)

The screenshow you can see here is not a parody. This is not US The Onion or German Heute Show. This is Venezuela's main state TV channel, Venezolana de Televisión. Here you can read: "Chávez's son won: Nicolás Maduro is the Elected President of Venezuela".

Now look at the percentages and the proportions in the chart. Bear in mind that Venezuelans' maths skills are among the lowest in South America. Not for nothing the only region of Venezuela taking part in the PISA study is Miranda, the region where Capriles is governor.

I am sending this post to the foreign media.

Updated: Now they changed it. Someone realised this can't go on forever:

Sunday, 14 April 2013

State vehicles at the service of the government party

Thousands upon thousands of such state vehicles were used by the Chávez party to transport people to the voting centres. This one is from PDVSA. The ones driving were PSUV functionaries.

Below you see a rather blurred picture a friend from a poor sector in Carabobo sent me. These were the usual "motorizados chavistas", thugs in motorbikes who ride very close to voters and threaten them, sometimes that they do not vote for the opposition.

Wahlen in Venezuela - Die Ergebnisse

Die Ergebnisse sind noch nicht veröffentlicht worden...die Regierung weigert sich, nachzugeben.
Die Opposition sagt, dass sie keine Stimme gestohlen kriegt. Die Regierungsbonzen auch. Vielleicht werden unsere Stimmen im Ausland diesmal doch zählen.

Oh, Mann!

Die Regierung soll die Wahlen gewonnen haben - sagt der Wahlrat. Maduro 50,66%, 
Capriles 49,07%. Maduro kriegt 7.505.338, Capriles 7.270.403 Stimmen.
Die Ergebnisse im Ausland sind noch nicht mitgezählt worden, aber sie wären nicht genug.

 So oder so ist dies ein Sieg für die Opposition. In den nächsten Monaten wird die Lage im Land schwieriger werden und die Leute werden mehr Druck auf die Regierung ausüben.

Wahlen in Venezuela - die Fortsetzung (2)

Freunde in Los Guayos erzählen mir, dass die Wahlen da normal verlaufen. Andere in Vargas sagen, dass die Chávez-Anhänger Lautsprecher benutzen, um für ihren Kandidat zu werben. Der Chavistabürgermeister in Maturín hat mehrmals ganz unverschämt aufgerufen, Maduro zu wählen. Die Polizisten sind aber blind und taub.

Die Vorsitzende des venezolanischen Wahlrates, Tibisay Lucena, erklärte, dass alles wie geschmiert läuft. Nur hätten vier Menschen ihren Stimmzettel aufgegessen. Ich wiederhole: aufgegessen. Es stellt sich die Frage: warum? Und: wie schmeckt so ein Zettel?

In mehreren Wahllokalen haben Chavistabonzen Wähler zur Wahlurne "begleitet". Das ist völlig verfassungswidrig. Hier könnt Ihr ein Beispiel sehen:

Voté, voté, voté, voté

En Europa la gente está votando como en octubre. Voté por el candidato que tiene más idea de desarrollo sustentable y mucha más de pluralismo.

No diré cómo se llama, pero su primer apellido comienza con "C" y termina con "s".

Election day and PDVSA |Wahltag und PDVSA

Heute werde ich auf Englisch und auf Deutsch bloggen. Hier könnt Ihr von der Ferne eins der zahlreichen Installationen von der staatlichen Erdölgesellschaft PDVSA sehen. Die ganzen Zäune sind mit Werbung für Maduro und Erinnerungen an den Militärcaudillo Chávez versehen. Dies ist gesetzwidrig, aber Gesetze gelten nur für eine Seite.

Today I will blog in English and German. Here you can see from the distance one of the numerous facilities belonging to the oil state company PDVSA. All the fences are covered with propaganda for Maduro and reminders of the military caudillo Chávez. This is against the law but the law is for one side only.

Ps. I see Francisco Toro discovered America: now he finally remarked that what counts is the mobilization the opposition can make of classes D and E...still, many of his English speaking Venezuelan readers are pissed off he remarked the focus on the opposition's effort abroad is wrong. I actually agree with Francisco but I think he is very least ten years to remark something that should be obvious by now. Apparently, Francisco had to go through some study by an Omar Z.

This is worrying. If he, a political scientist blogging about Venezuela, has been so late about this issue: what to expect from the rest of our "elite" or best educated? Still today one of the deputies the opposition for the Latin American Parliament, José Ramón Sánchez, spends most of his time coordinating Venezuelan voters in the US and Europe. That's pretty pointless because they do not need that. I have had a couple of twitter exchanges with him and it is quite disconcerting how disconnected he seems to be. When I told him last year he should spend more time organising help for voters in Venezuela he replied stuff like "We are one million abroad" (but only 60000 are registered to vote and even if, we won't be counted until results in Venezuela are announced and the victor decided). Or he said "we are doing things but they can't be publicly said". Right, and I also know what kind of things. He still cannot recognise priorities. At the least, he should be doing a stronger work on openly denouncing at international level the misuse of state resources, the government attacks against the opposition in the interior (that area he seems to know so little about) and so on. Instead, he is reporting about how many Venezuelans are going to vote in Paris or Madrid.

Few paid attention when I explained time after time most poor still do not have a car and that the low-key opposition activists from outside Caracas were using their own cars to transport others and that they urgently needed more support. Chavismo did not only have more people like that but also the whole state vehicles and employees.  I wonder when he is going to realise we also have big big problems with coordination of witnesses

Do you need to read field studies to discover elections in Venezuela are won by the way we can mobilize poor people? 

Last year Francisco was still thrilled by Capriles' team producing ads about Venezuelans of all classes meeting in front of a hot dog vendor. Somehow the hot dog vendor is the only place most Eastern Caraquenos have of meeting people from other classes. He still believes what notorius Caldera told him a few years ago that we have witnesses everywhere and actas are under control. He was probably right about El Hatillo and Chacao. 

Francisco dismissed my stories as anecdotal when I said in lots of places witnesses left earlier, in some other places they left with the actas but the actas were never collected, they never arrived to Caracas. Apparently, many people within the opposition living in El Hatillo, Chacao or Montreal do not know what it takes to be a witness in the average city of Carora, El Tigre, Punto Fijo or Maturín and be forced to decide what to do without a car to go home in a poor, isolated neighbourhood.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Die Wahlen in Venezuela

Chávez im bolivarischen Himmel mit u.a. seiner Oma, Che Guevara, Eva Perón (aber nicht mit ihrem Mann) mit Zamora und, natürlich, mit Bolívar. Video eines staatlichen Fernsehsenders
Erdölpreis pro Fass seit 1998 (OPEC-Durschnitt)

Morgen werden wir schon wieder Präsidentschaftswahlen haben. Ich werde Capriles meiner Stimme geben, aus Prinzip. Meiner Meinung nach wird Maduro aber deutlich gewinnen. Die Erinnerungen an Chávez sind immer noch sehr präsent. Die meisten Leute denken immer noch, dass die Güter und Dienste, die sie in den letzten Jahren bekamen,  Ergebnis der Regierung Chávez und nicht Folge der höchsten Erdölpreise in der modernen Geschichte Venezuelas waren. Auch wenn Maduro ein schlechter Redner ist, auch wenn er sagt, dass der verstorbene Chávez ihm in der Form eines Vogels erscheint und mit ihm spricht, auch wenn die Inflation und die Kriminalität so hoch sind, werden die meisten Menschen Maduro wählen.

Die Regierung hat alle Mittel zur Verfügung. Die Regierung verteilt immer noch chinesische Kühlschränke und Fernsehsender "zu sozialistischen Preisen" (eigentlich nicht billiger als im Ausland), während die privaten Händler sie wegen der strengen Währungskontrolle teuerer verkaufen müssen. Alle Beamten sind gezwungen, für Maduro zu mobilisieren. Tausende staatliche LKWs und PKWs werden morgen eingesetzt werden, um Leute zu transportieren. Die PSUV, die Chavista-Partei, weiss zu jeder Zeit wer schon gewählt hat und wer nicht. Viele Menschen befürchten, dass die Partei mehr weiss. Schliesslich gibt es eine Fingerabdruckmaschine bei jedem Wahllokal, um "wiederholtes Wählen zu verhindern". Der Verteidigungsminister hat schon mehrmals gesagt, dass die Militärs alles unternehmen werden, damit Maduro gewinnt...natürlich, weil das die Demokratie ist, weil das Volk das will (siehe auch hier). Capriles hat versucht, eine Debatte mit Maduro zu führen. So wie bei Chávez, war das nicht möglich.

Die Chavista-Fans im Ausland sagen, die Opposition hat immer noch die Oberhand bei den privaten Medien. In Wirklichkeit ist die Anwesenheit kritischer Stimmen im Radio und im Fernsehen nur in den drei, vier grössten Ballungsräume zu spüren. Anderswo herrscht die Stimme der Regierung. Viel Zeitung lesen die Venezolaner nicht. Die staatlichen Medien können sich erlauben, jeden Tag zu sagen, dass Oppositionellen Maduro ermorden wollen, dass es tatsächlich Gruppen gibt, die einen Putsch planen und ähnliches. Beweise müssen sie nie vorlegen. Und natürlich hört das Volk, dass die Europäer verhungern, dass alles Unterdrückung ist und so weiter. Hier könnt Ihr einen Spanier im venezolanischen Sender VTV hören. Prawda war viel ausgewogener.

Nach den Wahlen wird Maduro gezwungen sein, drastische Massnahmen zu treffen. Er wird sie nicht gleich treffen, die Lage wird sich aber verschlechtern. Venezuela ist eine Zeitbombe: die sehr hohen Erdölpreise werden langsam nicht hoch genug sein.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Statistics for Chavistas, Attacks against Democracy and the World

The Chavista head of the National Electoral Council just said, apparently with pride, that 99.66% of all polling places have at least 2 poll workers. She didn't say from what party. Also, this means 0.34% of all centres do not even have more than one poll worker. How can this be possible?

In the video you see below, at 1:20, you can listen how the current Defence Minister says the Venezuelan Army must to anything to guarantee Chávez's man, Maduro, gets elected this Sunday.

What is the world going to say about this? It depends on how much money each country wants to make out of a weak Venezuela.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A raptured audience it isn't

Here you see one of the most recent speeches by Nicolás Maduro. Oh, my God! Yes, Maduro was there, very close to the camera.

First murder of the 2013 presidential campaign

On Tuesday evening Juan Aranda, an opposition activist, was taken away from his home in Western state Táchira by men claiming to be police agents. They said they were looking for him because he had wounded a Chavista. Aranda was surprised because he hadn't done such a thing. Earlier in the day his campaign team had met a group of Chavistas on the stree and they had shouted at each other political slogans and that was all. 

The men dressed up as policemen took him away. Aranda was found dead later in the wee hours of the next day, his body riddled with gunshot wounds.

Last year middle-ranking Chavistas blocked the road to a political rally of the opposition in Barinas, Chávez's state and shot dead two of the opposition activists. The state (i.e. Chavista) channel VTV simply said people had been shot, nothing more. They didn't mentioned anything else. If you were not watching Globovisión (less than 30% of the population nationwide can watch it - still) you most likely didn't hear anything about this.

Every time the opposition tries to do serious campaign outside Caracas and the few other places where international observers might be located, Chavismo officers or "sympathizers" use heavy violence. That's how Primero de Justicia activist Marcano was killed in front of the police station of El Tigre in 2009. That was the first name that came from the top of my head, but there are others. And there have been many others heavily wounded who haven't made it to the national news but we hear about them from our friends, relatives and from the couple of regional newspapers that are still publishing critical stuff, like Notitarde.

Chavismo is not throwing people from helicopters like Pinochet used to do. It doesn't need to with world oil prices 9 times higher than what they were in 1998. But it is still lethal and it will become more so by the day.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Socialist sanitary napkins, Russian weapons and much more from Venezuela

Sanitary napkins

If women want to get free "from the commercial vicious circle of savage capitalism", they can now buy biodegradable sanitary napkins in Venezuela. These napkins are basically the same stuff my grandmothers used, but now they are part of Socialism of the XXI century. 

More Russian weapons

At the same time the port of Puerto Cabello received a lot of Russian missiles the deceased caudillo had bought last year. You can read in Russian or in Spanish a little bit more about the purchase back in 2012. Do you think the Venezuelan military who helped in closing the deal will get a Matrushka as thank-you for their efforts?

Elections and passwords

The head of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, dismissed the opposition's concern after it found out members of the Chávez party had an access passwords to turn on and off the voting machines, something that only CNE employees should have. Lucena said that  password is not critical and more passwords are required to activate the whole system and that all parties had that key. 

And we are supposed to believe the Chávez party does not have the other passwords. The only non-Chavista  member of the CNE board contradicted Lucena and said the opposition didn't have the entry password and that none of the parties should have had any of the voting machines' passwords.

What most people don't get is that "voting machines" are in principle computers and you can program anything you want, it's a blackbox and no testing will be enough. Only witnesses everywhere and above all, witnesses actually counting the paper ballots until the bitter end would help. Some opposition politicians like Delsa Solórzano have told the public we have now witnesses gallore.
I think her intentions are the best. And yet:  even if we do, we are not sure they will be able to keep counting and defend the paper ballots in spite of the military and the militias wanting to "hurry up" things.

Meanwhile, the Carter Center, a bunch of people who do not seem to have any real IT expertise, are going to become observers once more. Jimmy Carter had previously declared Venezuela has the best voting system on Earth. That is quite amazing considering results in Venezuela take more time to come out than in manual systems like in Brazil or Chile. It is even more so if you take into account the military caste needs to close down schools for several days before the election day and one day after it.

Some sectors within the opposition are rather confident and think we might have a chance to win this election.

I do not think so, even if Maduro sucks as a speaker and even if decay keeps creeping in. But I am not so sorry: I don't think an opposition leader could keep himself in power for more than a few months if he were to be elected now. If Chavismo were to lose the elections, it would not just use the usual parliamentary blockage tactics used in other countries. Many of their key elements used terrorism and coups before. They would do that now.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Wasted time

Venezuelan children will lose still more days because of banana republic politics: the military, who are the ones doing the logistics in Venezuela's elections, will take over the schools late 9 April "to prepare everything for the vote". Children will stay at  home on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Monday. The election day will be on Sunday and the military caste will also need the day after to put things back "as they were". This is in what Jimmy Carter considers "the best voting system on Earth".

Pupils will have lost over 30 days of classes because of elections in October, December and April and last but not least, because of the death of caudillo Hugo Chávez.

Germany it isn't. In fact: Costa Rica, Chile, Brazil, it isn't. It's Congo (Zaire, not the other one).

Ethics, the opposition and the world around us (updated)

Juan Cristobal rightly discusses the ethics of someone like João Santana, who managed Hugo Chávez's campaign. And yet: he didn't seem to discuss Francisco Toro's conversation with notorious David Frum. In fact, it seems like most English-speaking Venezuelan oppos who commented on the chat were thrilled by listening to Frum, even if the guy just went on and on with platitudes and everything we could know by simply reading US news. Why was it? Because Frum was with the big fish? The thrill of the famous, whatever this famous thing is?

When someone criticized - clumsily, indeed- one of the most notorious media guys of the Bush administration, Toro simply mocked him by suggesting the reader was anti-Semitic...the usual mantra for anyone criticizing the hawkish and highly unethical views of characters like Frum.

Admitedly: it was Francisco Toro who invited Frum, whereas Juan Cristobal wouldn't have done it, but: shouldn't he have expressed his rejection? Or would Toro have classified him also as anti-Semitic?
Apparently the most sophisticated it gets with regards to the Middle East?

It is very unfortunate that the world view of most of the Venezuelan "elite" is formed basically by reading the news of the rather monolingual English-speaking journalist pool. That is why, when it comes to the international arena, they can spot Chavez's apologists' plank in the eye without realising the one they have in their own (yes, we can't speak about specks when it comes to world views here). At the end of the day, I think Juan Cristobal should have critizied publicly Toro's position.
David Frum, Bush's speech writer: better than Santana?

Many discussions seem to be carried out either within the framework of Venezolana de Televisión and Walter Márquez or Caracas Chronicles' Toro and Frum's World. And that's a shame.

Don't read this less you start to think again!

Friday, 5 April 2013

National Geographic, Genographic 2.0 and my Venezuelan genes

The Genographic Project 2.0 started around October and results started to pour in at the end of last year. National Geographic is carrying out a much more detailed genetic testing than in the first Genographic project. In the first one you could get either information about the origins of your ultimate paternal or maternal branches. Now you get that in much more detail and you get information about the influence of different ethnic groups in your mix based on autosomal DNA, which is the one that gets (more or less) randomly mixed at each conception. You also get a share estimate of Neardenthal influence. There is  more raw data you get and you can use to play around if you are really into population genetics.


My results fit very well with the profile of many Venezuelans. As a reference: if we took just the shares of Mediterranean, North European and Southwest Asian, I have more or less the same share as Iberians, with a meaningful bit more from the Middle East, which links me somehow to that area. We don't know if it is through Jewish, Phoenician, Roman influence (Italians have more of a share than Iberians) or something else. All in all: my European part seems to fit rather the Iberian type.

Native American

I have a meaningful portion of Native American influence. If you check here and simply convert the "component measure" to usual percentage (x 100), you will see that Venezuelans from Caracas private clinics range from 16% of native American influence to 36% (bear in mind, though, that that study was carried out over 8 years ago and a lot has happened in population genetics since then).

One of the things I found fascinating is this 3% of "Northeastern Asian". You see: this group is usually found in Japanese, Northern Chinese, Koreans and Siberian ethnicities. They are also found often in Finns and other Uraltic people and in other groups in Asia in a small scale.

Results from Peruvians, Mexicans and Mexican US Americans show rather, apart from the distinct "Native American" portion, shares from Southeast Asia and Oceania, not from Northeastern Asia.
Very approximate map of Arawac languages as spoken before and now...many other language families completely independent from Arawacs and Caribs lived around and in those areas

Very approximate map of Carib languages as spoken before and now

My guess is that we see the effect of different migrations from Asia to the Americas and that there was a Venezuelan indigenous group that got influence from the Northernmost Asian groups and this is still shown in our genes. They somehow remained different enough so that they pop up in a different category. It would be interesting if more Venezuelans and perhaps people from the Guyanas could take this test and see if a similar Northeast Asian patterns pops up.

I wrote a couple of posts about some very initial studies carried out in Venezuela that show a different distribution of the common maternal haglogroups of native American origin, differences that might be related to the different tribes. One of the key studies carried out in this area in Venezuela can be read here. I think the results I got may also have to do with that. We know the Warao speak radically different languages from the Arawac or Carib groups, for instance.

More to come...
(sub-Saharan Africans and more)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

National Geographic and my Venezuelan genes

Today I received quite a lot of information from National Geographic's Genographic Project. Here I put the initial results for the autosomal analysis. I will explain the data in the following days.

  • 34% Mediterranean
  • 22% Native American
  • 21% Northern European
  • 12% Southwest Asian
  • 8% Sub-Saharan African
  • 3% North-East Asian

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Und siehe! Chávez ist als Vögelchen auferstanden

Hier erzählt Nicolás Maduro, Chávez' Auserwählter, wie der Caudillo ihn als singengendes Vögelchen erschien, als Maduro in einer Kapelle betete.

Kurz davor sagte Maduro, dass Chávez tatsächlich Wunder bewirkt hatte. Zum Beispiel nennt er Misión Róbinson, ein Programm zur Alphabetisierung. Fast kein Ausländer weiss, dass diese Programme in Venezuela nichts neues sind und dass es effektiveres vor Chávez gab: die Analphabetenrate ist langsamer gesunken als vor dem Caudillo, wie ich hier beweise. Maduro spricht auch über das Programm für den Bau sozialer Wohnungen, auch wenn dieses Programm nur die Wiederholung der Programme ist, die es schon gab, selbst als der Erdölpreis viel niedriger war. Chávez hat sogar erst im Jahr 2010 damit angefangen - davor hatte der Caudillo viel weniger Sozialwohnungen bauen lassen als frühere Regierungen.

Bist Du es, Chávez?
Viele Deutsche werden sich fragen, wie man dann ein solches Regime unterstützen kann. Zum einen konnte Chávez jahrelang mehr Almosen - bloss Almosen - verteilen als die Regierungen zwischen 1986 und 1998, als die Erdölpreise im Keller lagen. Zum anderen haben die Boligarchen nun grosse Darlehen der Chinesen benutzt, um chinesische Waren (vor allem des Konzerns Haiers) billig zu verkaufen. Da es eine strenge Währungskontrolle gibt, sind diese Waren wesentlich billiger als "die der Kapitalisten". Zum anderen können die meisten Venezolaner kaum regierungskritische Sender hören oder sehen: Globovisión ist nicht venezuelaweit zu sehen, Gehirnwäsche ist das Beste, was die Regierung der Boligarchen leisten kann. 

Viele Chavistas denken wirklich, - trotzt iPads und Blackberrys - dass die Europäer massal verhungern und dass Island oder Norwegen so gefährlich sind wie Venezuela. Sie wissen nicht, dass die Mordrate in Island und Norwegen 1 x 100000 beträgt und in Venezuela mehr als 65. 

In zwei Wochen haben wir Wahlen in Venezuela und die "movimiento civico-militar", diese Gruppe von Boligarchen, die aus Militärs und pseudosozialistischen Bonzen besteht, wird höchstwahrscheinlich weiter an der Macht bleiben. Sie werden dafür Staatsgelder benutzen. Sie werden dafür Soldaten einsetzen, die Leute in Bussen transportieren. Sie werden dafür unzählige Beamte benutzen, die in echter Zeit wissen, wer wann schon zur Urne gegangen ist. Sie werden mit den für die Wahlen notwendigen Fingerabdruckmaschinen Angst einjagen. Der Wahlrat ist eine Puppe der Regierung und das hilft natürlich auch. 

Die Veränderungen werden später kommen. Trotzt Recordeinnahmen wegen des Erdölpreises sitzt Venezuela in der Klemme. Die Inflation setzt schon jetzt viele Leute unter Druck. Die meisten Wähler der Slums bringen aber diese Inflation nicht in Verbidung mit der Regierung: es sind die "Kapitalisten", die dafür verantwortlich bekommt ja Reis und Bohnen und Hähnchen bei den staatlichen Supermärkten und zwar viel billiger als anderswo. Was sie nicht wissen: für diese aus den USA, aus Europa und aus der Dominikanischen Republik importierten Lebensmittel werden sie erst nach den Wahlen zahlen müssen.

Aber jetzt erscheint der caudillo als singendes Vögelchen und spricht mit Maduro.