Sunday, 19 April 2015

Luis Vásquez Corro: Just another prisoner of Chavismo

The president of the Engineering Association of Lara state said two days ago that if the Nino-related drought continued, the government will have to close down one of the turbines of the Tui Dam in Southern Venezuela and (extra) electricity rationing will have to be implemented.

Today he was detained by the Chavista secret police SEBIN. The previous head of SEBIN and current interior minister of Venezuela is Gustavo González López, whose assets in the USA have been frozen by the Obama administration because of the human right violations committed during his repression of the 2014 protests.

You cannot report about this

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Yanomami, their guts, your guts

Newspapers are reporting about fascinating scientific findings coming from Venezuela and the United States. The news are about how the First Nation group of the Yanomami seem to have the most varied microbiome known up to now in humans and this seems to bring special resistance to antibiotics. Exceptionally, US American and Venezuelan scientists could work together on this.

You can read about it here (in English) and here (in Spanish, different details). I am still not sure about the conclusions people are drawing on this case but then I am an absolute layman when it comes to biology

On a somewhat related note - guts and nations-, I recently read in German a book by young physician Giulia Enders: Darm mit Charm. It will appear in English next month with the title "Gut".

There is some food for thought in all these sources.

And I ask myself: what is in here for the sustainable development of the Yanomami? Their region is being invaded by countless illegal miners and smugglers.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Das Leben der Venezolaner, April 2015

Es gibt immer noch eine Minderheit in Venezuela, die die gegenwärtige Mangelwirtschaft vor allem auf die Schmuggler und Schwarzmarkthändler zurückführen. Sie verstehen nicht, dass die Wirtschaftspolitik der Regierung Venezuelas ohnehin prekären Wirtschaftsstrukturen vernichtet.

Die meisten Venezolaner wissen aber schon längst: die Regierung muss weg. 

Selbst in Barinas, in den Llanos, finden Menschen zur Zeit kein Rinder- oder Hühnerfleisch. Sie müssen lauter Bohnen und Mehl essen.

Mit dem Mindestlohn - und manche Dozenten verdienen weniger als das - kann man 

Dieses Foto wäre eine reine Provokation in Venezuela von heute
  • 50 bis 56 Kg Kartoffel oder
  • 70 Kg Tomaten oder
  • 80 Kg Karotten

Theoretisch kann man mit dem Mindestlohn 25 Kg Rindfleisch oder 86 Kg Hähnchen kaufen. Es gibt aber, wie gesagt, keins um diesen Preis, es sei denn, man steht über 5 Stunden Schlange, um was bei einigen der Geschäfte zu ergattern, wo diese Produkte unter  Aufsicht des Militärs verkauft werden.

Die Mordrate ist etwa dreimal höher als zu den Zeiten, als Chávez an die Macht kam. Höhere Kriminalität ist eine der grössten Veränderungen, die der Caudillo mit sich gebracht hat. Maduro konnte hat auch das nicht besser gemacht. Ganz im Gegenteil. Und wie kann man eine seriösere Regierung erwarten? Maduro hat seit April 2013 drei Innenminister gehabt: den ehemaligen Putschist und jetzigen Großgrundbesitzer Miguel Rodríguez Torres, die ebenfalls Militärperson Carmen Teresa Meléndez und nun Gustavo González López. Dieser war der Leiter des Geheimdienstes und wurde zum Innenminister aufgerufen, nachdem die Obama-Regierung Sanktionen gegen ihn verhängte.

Schon mehrmals hat der Chavismus Bonzen auf der Grundlage von USA-Sanktionen oder Beschuldigungen promoviert. Ein Beispiel ist Clíver Alcalá, es gibt aber noch einige mehr. 

Der Wahlrat hat noch nicht gesagt, wann die Wahlen für die Nationalversammlung stattfinden sollen. Im Prinzip müssten die Wahlen spätestens im Dezember stattfinden. Ich vermute, dass die Regierung, wie seit Jahren nur so zögert, um zu sehen, ob Erdölpreise wieder rasant steigen und mehr Geld zur Verfügung steht.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Productivity in the US, Germany and Venezuela

I was reading Juan's post on Caracas Chronicles and then remembered this.

Think about that and think about how that could be applied to Venezuela once Chavismo is over.

Venezuela, gender, work and politics (I)

Gender distribution in 4 parishes of central Venezuela: males are shown with dash, females with continuous lines
Look at these statistics based on Venezuela's 2011 census. They show how many males and females live in four areas in Central Venezuela. All are urban, even if some were formerly villages that became part of Greater Valencia. The areas -parroquias or civil parishes- are:

  • San José - Northern Valencia, mostly middle class and the tiny upper middle class (SJ)
  • Tocuyito - just Southwest of Valencia, the place is by far the most dangerous area in the whole state
  • Los Guayos - formerly a humble village, now the most densely populated municipality of Carabobo, as poor as Tocuyito
  • Urdaneta - South-Eastern Valencia, rather poor and one of the areas where the opposition tried to protest in March of last year but where several people got killed. As I wrote in a post back then, continuous protests in areas like this - there were many others- showed it was not an "uprise of the upper middle class": the poor were also mad, but protesting in areas where the opposition has "only" 60% of support instead of 80% or more can be rather lethal.
We can see the obvious: the poorer the region, the more children there are. Still, there is something curious here: although all these regions are urban, Tocuyito is the only area where there are just as many men as women from age 18 onwards. We know in many countries there is a particular gender inbalance depending on whether the region is poorer or richer. From Africa there is currently a mostly male migration now. The same goes for Arab states. In Eastern Germany, it has been women who first leave the rural and backward areas to look for better horizons. The same goes for rural China. In rural Venezuela we can also see a clear, sometimes dramatic surplus of men.

But what is going on here? Is Tocuyito just a transition region that was not so long ago a rural area? I doubt that is the case. Tocuyito also has a prison. It was conceived for 1200 inmates, but it has now well over 3000 and the vast majority are males. Is that all or are there some other factors that explain why there are clearly proportionately more women in the other areas? Do men in Libertador live healthier lives or else?

The following chart shows the percentage of people between 18 and 24 years old who are following courses at a college or university in the areas mentioned above. What are the young males in Libertador who are not studying doing? Are they working? How many? In what jobs?

We'll examine a wider area in future posts to discuss possible reasons for these demographic patterns.