10.11.07

Spain's King to Venezuela's dictator: why don't you shut up?

One thing Spain's good at is at being utterly unPC. Take bullfight for instance. While the whole word condemns this tradition for its alleged cruelty, Spaniards feel very proud about it and couldn't care less about what the world thinks.

Now Chavez, who everyone and its sister thinks it's the embodiment of a pariah, keeps insulting people, that is when he's not ordering his thugs to shoot at unarmed foes. Though it seems that Spain's King Juan Carlos just had enough of the Venezuelan caudillo at the Ibero American Summit in Chile and told him to shut up, while the paratrooper kept interrupting erstwhile ally premier Rodriguez Zapatero.

But the icing on the proverbial cake has to be the intervention of Carlos Lage, representative of Iberoamerica longest ruling dictator, who had the gall to tell democratically elected officials, unlike himself, that legitimacy was not gained solely through the ballot but by the conduct in the exercise of power. Honestly this is the sort of stuff that proves that reality is more surreal than fiction.

In the meanwhile one can only hope that more and more democratic leaders adopted the King's language towards insolent tinpot dictators.

6.8.07

Will the real Fernando Alonso please stand up?

It's been amusing to watch the rivalry between F1 reigning champion Fernando Alonso and team mate Lewis Hamilton. Having had the chance to see and sort of live through media reports from both English and Spanish camps I can conclude that neither is looking at things objectively. The Brits, fueled by the typical bullshit printed in tabloids, think that Hamilton is the second coming of Jesus Christ. The Spaniards, well for them is also a matter of national pride. For Hamilton surely has made an extraordinary debut in F1 though what the UK press fails to mention is that he is the first man in F1 history to be given the chance to drive, arguably, the best car in, arguably, the best team in its first season.

Fernando Alonso on the other hand is the reigning champion having dethroned none other than Michael Schumacher, again, arguably, the best driver in F1 history. No small feat considering the sort of equipment with which he achieved the feat. Curiously though no close associate of Alonso or indeed himself seems to remember such a phenomenal achievement and rather are spending an inordinate amount of time whinging about what Hamilton does or doesn't do, giving him a level of attention and importance the rookie certainly doesn't deserve.

But then the FIA demoted Alonso 5 places in the grid for allegedly having blocked Hamilton's final go at setting fastest lap, effectively handing the Brit Hungary's victory in a silver platter. Fair enough some will say, however will anybody please explain what article of the championship's regulations did Alonso violate? The internet is abuzz today with interpretations of comments from both drivers, alas there's nothing about which part of the regulations were infringed.

Hamilton is a good driver and has been driving for 13 years, hence hardly a rookie. Alonso should behave as what he is, F1's reigning champion, and stop giving consideration to the tabloids and Hamilton's inflated ego.

Unfortunately the sport is fast approaching Tour de France territory due to preposterous decisions from a ruling body stripped of credibility.

21.7.07

Changing tack


After the life changing experience of shadowing Manuel Rosales for most of the presidential race in Venezuela last year, I got back to London convinced that I had wasted some of the most productive years of my life. Pondering about the experience and commenting it with my good friend and former business partner Fran Gomez I realised how right he was when he said "uno no puede ayudar a quien no quiere ser ayudado." True enough, the case with the people I came to know during the campaign was one of utter distrust towards me, perceived as I was as a disconnected elitist, true representative of the class that Chavez has come to label as oligarchic. My contention that from the disenfranchised point of view Chavez was the only possible option, given the truthfulness of the good old saying "bird in the hand is better than two in the bush," most of them thought that I was simply clueless. More specifically when I sent a collective email stating how damaging would it be for us, as opposition, to see Chavez failing to get the UN seat, a round condemnation followed, for they just didn't understand my predicament that no one more effective than the caudillo himself, unleashed and free to spit his nonsense in the UN floor for the entire planet to see, to convince the international community of his utter derangement. It was such a shame to see him burning that possibility with that spiel about the devil. What could have been truly remarkable, and absolutely hilarious, would have been seeing the New York headquarters of the UN turned into Chavez's own Alo Presidente broadcasting station. In any case that was truly our loss, not his.

So I decided a while ago to stop wasting my life and energy in a lost cause. Recently another extraordinary gain of my transit in political activism, the meeting and friendship with Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho, allowed me to express quite succinctly my feelings with regards to previous engagement:

As per my life, knowing that as a philosopher and thinker you also know this, it comes the point when a man starts appraising its position, role, impact, goals and future in the great scheme of things. Being an orphan such attitude has been a constant in my case and to tell the truth the four months that I spent in Venezuela late last year -mostly within the bowels of the political monster- opened my eyes a great deal. I consider myself a honourable man, with a great sense of patriotism, who loves his family and it stands in what you would call judeo-christian moral values. As such I was utterly disgusted with what I saw and concluded a number of things: first and foremost that I had lost the last four and a half years of my life desperately wanting to help a people that does not want to be helped. O imbecil colectivo, is a term that could be applied just as well to the Venezuelan people and I am no part of that, further I refuse to waste one more second of my life fighting such irresponsible collective stupidity. That is why Chavez is where he is and that is also why he will be in power until the cows come home.

So I decided to move on, forget about an utopic country that only exist in the minds of very few idealist like myself, and concentrate on bringing up my children according to the values I hold dear. I made the move to Spain, which I didn´t plan BTW. Now I´ll try my hardest in establishing myself here for a while and make some money in the meanwhile for the political activism left me broke, hated and lonely. Not all was lost though, I have met some fantastic people such as yourself, and only for that the effort was well worth it. The time to re-encounter myself has come.
Olavo sent back his thoughts, which I consider worth sharing with those of you interested in them:
As to the new chapter of your life: Goethe used to say that talents develop in silence and solitude, character in the turmoil of fight. These are the two pillars of personality. You developped your character up to the point of making it shine as an "exemplum vitae humanae", an exemplary life. Now you turn inside in order to take care of the other side of existence: to educate yourself through the education of your children.

As a father of eight I can assure you that raising children is the easiest task in the universe: all you have to do is to educate yourself and perform your duty; they will follow your example without any effort of yours. A few practical advices, obtained from living experience: Interfere very little in your childrens' life. Let them free most of the time, just protecting them at a distance and letting they know they are safe because a loving father is looking after them. Let they take their own decisions in most areas of practical life, keeping the weight of your authority to be used only in very important matters. A good government is a reliable guardian that interferes very little in the daily life of citizens. The height of its authority is measured by the rarity of its interference. A good father is exactly the same. May your commandments be rare and few, but if you have to give them, give them once and for all. May your words then be few and authoritative. Orders are not to be discussed or explained, but obeyed. If your chidren ask "Why?", anwer them calmly and tenderly: "It's because I decided so, my little angel" They will love you for that.

One of my last writings from Venezuela caused some controversy. Then, as now, I was looking things from a different perspective. Then, as now, the sun was shinning upon my face and the future looked as bright as the picture above, which is the first sight my eyes capture when I wake up in the morning these days. I still read the news on a regular basis, though my reaction to it has changed. Now is a mixture of bemusement and pity: bemusement because it is like watching a circus of freaks, it never ceases to amaze me how far can the stupid behaviour of chavistas go, it seems like a limitless medium, wherein normal and rational practices of civilised societies can not exist. Pity because with such behaviour they are pushing Venezuela, and its 25 million citizens, into a black hole and the consequences are to be paid for generations to come.

My fellow bloggers sound more and more like I used to: as the brainless Bolivarians push forth and radicalize the 'process,' educated, intelligent and moderate people loose the cool that once characterized them and express utter dismay, anger, frustration and despair in daily entries. Such a shame.

On the international level news outlets such as Reuters allow these days for articles such as "Venezuela a hot spot in global drugs trade" to be released, something which I have been denouncing for more than a year. Similarly we see how international organizations are unwilling to put up with Chavez's propaganda any longer. So all things considered I can claim victory in what I once set out to do, which was nothing other than to show the world the truth about Venezuela. In fact that was the name given to my site when I started. The truth is out. It is time to enjoy the show that will ensue.

7.7.07

ETA's spokesman in public apology for terrorism


Pernando Barrena is spokesperson and one of the current leaders of the ‘political party’ Herri Batasuna. Under Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s tenure the government saw fit to forbid that ‘party’ from taking part in Spain’s politics due to its manifest and close connection to ETA, the Basque terrorist group. As Basques have known for a long time Herri Batasuna –which translates as People's Unity- is nothing but another name for what was once known as ETA Politico Militar, read the political branch of ETA. Needless to say that it toes the radical line of the terrorist group and its ideological framework is firmly built on the spread and use of terrorism to attain political goals.

A few days ago a group of Spaniards were killed by a suicide bomber in Yemen. Some of those killed were Basques, from San Sebastian and Zarautz, that had chosen that country as their holiday destination. The reaction of the government of Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero has been telling. As in recent terrorist attack whereby Spanish troops signposted under the UN peace programme in Lebanon were killed, Rodriguez Zapatero made one of those political promises he’ll never be able to deliver: “we won’t rest until those responsible are brought to justice” he said. Whatever.

However the reaction of one Pernando Barrena has got to be taken in its appropriate context, for here there’s a man, speaking on behalf of a banned ‘party’ stating for the record “obviously the attacks against innocent civilians in Yemen sought to terrorise and harm innocents, whereas what took place at the T4 (last December’s ETA bombing of Madrid’s airport car park) was not done with the intention of harming innocents.” Perhaps Barrena does not consider the two victims of the T4 as “innocents,” the fact that they were Ecuadorean immigrants working in this country notwithstanding.


However his statements, broadcast to the nation, beg for a number of questions. Firstly, how come this man is allowed to spread his message to millions of homes, given his credentials, political situation and relationship with a terrorist group? Second, how does he know that ETA’s intention in the T4 bombing wasn’t to “terrorise and harm innocents”? Thirdly, how come this man, guilty as he is of apology for terrorism, is allowed to go about his business in freedom? And fourthly, how come somebody connected with an organization that has killed more than 800 innocent people is given such media coverage?


It ain’t pretty what’s happening in this incipient democracy…

6.4.07

Latest IPCC Global Warming report: alarmists running amok

And so it concludes the latest report released by the UN's IPCC:

Although science to provide policymakers with information about climate change impacts and adaptation potential has improved since the Third Assessment, it still leaves many important questions to be answered. The chapters of the Working Group II report include a number of judgements about priorities for further observation and research, and this advice should be considered seriously...
Read "give us more money so that we can continue with the lucrative business of terrorizing the ignorant and the gullible, so that you -the report is addressed to policy makers- can tax people to hell and beyond."

The 'scientific report' contains truly remarkable phrases, such as "Adaptation will be necessary to address impacts resulting from the warming which is already unavoidable due to past emissions." This little sentence sums up rather neatly the intellectual dishonesty of the people involved in drafting the report, for it implies that global warming is a phenomena caused, determinedly, by anthropogenic past emissions. This is a lie and is not supported by evidence, in fact it disregards the geological and paleoclimate records and the very many periods of warming and cooling undergone in earth's history, when anthropogenic causes did not even exist.

Interestingly the report states that poor nations will be hit the hardest by global warming. Presumably only strict adherence to development policies proposed by these 'experts' will minimize the impact on the world's poorest. I would have thought I had seen racism in some of its crudest expressions but this certainly tops the list.

As hope is the last thing to die, one can only hope than some common sense will hit policy makers and this report will be treated for what it is; nothing but a statement of fact regarding climate change -as if it were a new discovery. Climate is always changing and no amount of taxes, conclusions based on resentment, hyperbole or, more mundanely, leftist bullshit will change the course of nature, thank heavens...

3.4.07

31 US citizens arrested in Venezuela

Daily El Progreso reported yesterday that 31 US citizens have been detained in the Gran Sabana region, close to Santa Elena de Uairen in the Venezuela - Brazil border. Accusations of illegally practising medicine purportedly caused the arrest. Regional media were informed by an allegedly trustworthy source.

The 31 American citizens are kept incommunicado awaiting presidential orders, reported the source. It is believed that charges of spying or to be part of the CIA will be levied against them.

The group is composed by medical doctors, nurses and religious individuals.

Update: sources in Venezuela have just confirmed to me that the 31 US citizens are not in jail but have been 'asked' by the military to not leave the compound where they were.

1.4.07

Another political prisoner escapes in Venezuela

Local sources have confirmed that former Yaracuy Governor Eduardo Lapi has escaped from prison in San Felipe. Lapi had been imprisoned for about one year. The prosecution never managed to present charges, which made Lapi one of the most notorious political prisoners of the Chavez regime.

It most be borne in mind that union leader Carlos Ortega was also thrown in jail on spurious accusations, though he too escaped from Venezuela's purportedly most secure military prison.

Great news indeed as it becomes evident that dictator Hugo Chavez is not even capable of maintaining his political foes locked.

30.3.07

Hugo Chavez all out attack against Venezuela's media

One of the most ridiculous claims that dictator Chavez has ever made is that his wretched revolution is based on love. Observers may remember that late last year, during the presidential campaign, an almost sobbing Chavez appeared in Venezuelan TV sets and newspaper, wearing a blue shirt, basically begging people to vote for him for his life actions -undiscriminated killings included- had been driven by nothing but love. Chavez, stripped of all legal pretences, decided earlier this year that the broadcasting license of RCTV, Venezuela's oldest TV channel, was to be ended without further ado. RCTV is yet to be informed by the prosecution about the reasons that prompted this decision, which was taken not by a tribunal dealing with the case or any member of the judiciary but by Hugo Chavez. As there is no open case, RCTV has been unable to defend itself in Chavez's kangaroo courts.



Earlier this week, Aporrea posted a banner on its main site calling people to go protest against RCTV. In keeping with the presidential bleeding heart the protest was aptly called "Vigilia del Amor" or the "Love Vigil." Aporrea, let us not forget, is Chavez's most potent e-propaganda organ, it is officially funded, it operates in offices located in Miraflores, it provides servers and bandwidth to Venezuelanalysis.com (its English language branch), its founder -Martin Sanchez- is currently Venezuela's General Consul to Chicago, in sum it can be concluded that incitements to vandalism acts posted in Aporrea -if not directly ordered- count with official approval, or are we to believe that Hugo Chavez is a pacifist?



The above is but one of the very many expressions of chavista love. On Tuesday night RCTV headquarters in Caracas were covered with graffiti allusive to the termination of the license, racist and homophobic slurs, baseless accusations, in sum RCTV's walls were turned into a canvas showing a good compendium of Chavez's trademark loving jargon.

However the all out attack on any media daring to contradict the official line did not stop there. In a rather surprising turn of events Eleazar Diaz Rangel, chief editor of rag Ultimas Noticias, has been threatened by the Minister for the Popular Economy, Pedro Morejón, who 'warned' that they could be guilty of an "international conspiracy" and "campaigning to harm companies, institutions and individuals." The threat of course did not stop just there. Curiously enough that very same propaganda mouth was used by the thugs behind the North American Opinion Research to publish a communiqué a while ago which made remarkably similar accusations against me. Unfortunately neither Makarem nor Valbuena accepted my invitation to levy such charges in a British, read serious, court of law. But what are the chances for a fair trial for creepy Diaz Rangel should Morejón be ordered to take matters further in Venezuela? How will RCTV see justice be made considering that no court in the land has been instructed to open a case against it?

23.3.07

Global Warming: the new cult

Just a couple of posts critical of the BS behind the global warming hype is what takes to send hate-o-meter levels to CO2 territory. Mind you it took me much debunking and a herculean effort geared at exposing Hugo Chavez to gain the hatred of racist Europeans, however when it comes to global warming things get nasty quite quickly. And since I have all but lost interest in what goes on in Chavezland I have been reading and researching some about the apocalyptic cataclysm that's about to befall upon this earth.

The world's foremost authority on climate change, for some fanatics anyway, seems to be the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC. This panel, formed by a group of rather interesting folks, is in charge of interpreting scientific data so, purportedly, policy makers across the globe can make informed decisions on how to tackle climate change. I don't know whether any earth science scientist has taken the trouble to inform this lot about the impossibility of arresting a natural process of global proportions as climate variation. Perhaps in the not too distant future we will see another hysterical panel discovering that the earth's tectonic movement is causing earthquakes and it must be stopped. In any case the report published makes for interesting reading for laymen, for it concludes that climate is changing. What an extraordinary realisation! As I have said elsewhere what I find reprehensible about the new green cult is the dramatization and prostitution of scientific topics in order to advance political agendas. The report contains, amongst others, the following jewel:

Paleoclimate information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1300 years. The last time the polar regions were significantly warmer than present for an extended period (about 125,000 years ago), reductions in polar ice volume led to 4 to 6 metres of sea level rise.


Beyond such 'interpretations' the admission that the earth was significantly warmer in the past is to be noted. In light of such evidence how can definite conclusions upon human responsibility be drawn truly escapes me. The utter disregard for scientific records and sheer hatred-towards-dissenters that characterises the global warming fraternity is astounding. This morning I received this email from an Australian 'protector' of the earth:

Are you joking? Surely this is just to make contraversy right?

http://www.vcrisis.com/index.php?content=letters/200703221423


This graph is completely false! What a joke right?!


If the earth was 3 or 4 times hotter than 2007, as your graph illustrates, then we would not have plants or animals on the planet!


Also, there are very good reasons why this is believed to be man made. There are numerous studies to prove it.


Are you serious, in this nonsense.


This action is criminal. We need to work together and this action is treason for the planet and you should be definately locked up in Guanatmano Bay.


SenderIP : 202.7.176.131

Address : nme-pow-pr2.tpgi.com.au


Interestingly enough none other than the chair of the IPCC (industrial engineer Rajendra K. Pachauri) appears to share a similar contempt towards his critics, though considering his position it's even more hysterical than the one of the 'eco-warrior' shown above. Not all is lost though, for Guantanamo Bay is certainly more comfy than Castro's gulags.

22.3.07

George Bush trashed Hugo Chavez in LatAm again

In recent days I was asked to comment on George Bush's trip to Latin America here in London. Generally speaking Britons have a very shallow understanding of the political dynamics of that region. Prey of years of incessant disinformation by the BBC and The Guardian the conventional wisdom goes pretty much in this direction: all of the region's problems are caused by the imperialistic designs of Washington. Needless to say of course that such stance marries very well with the rampant anti-Americanism in this area of Europe, however it has very little to do with reality. I remember once a debate with soon-to-be-replaced Venezuelan Ambassador to the UK at LSE; he was launching a book about globalisation that placed all of our problems on American shoulders. When the Q & A session came I asked him to quantify responsibilities of local politicos in the current state of mess. Alfredo Toro Hardy did not like my question -nor did he replied in meaningful manner to it- but the lefty professor moderating the event expressed that said questions needed to be addressed.

Sometime ago, November 2005 to be precise, a summit took place in Mar del Plata, Argentina. In it American nations' representatives gathered to discuss trade and other issues. Dictator Hugo, ever the clown, went to a stadium to whip the crowd of perfect Latino-imbeciles into a frenzy, and made a fool of himself -in the stellar company of cocaine addict Diego Maradona- by reiterating his hollow rhetoric vis-a-vis George Bush and how his visit had been a complete failure. Claiming to have triumphed in arresting the advance of 'imperialism' in Mar del Plata, Hugo returned home victorious. The euphoria didn't last long though for 29 out of 34 countries did commit to further trade talks with the 'evil' USA.

More recently George Bush visited some countries in the region. Simultaneously Thugo went out of his way to reveal his best showmanship in performances carried out in front of paid audiences in countries that Bush was not visiting. Reality caught up with Hugo even quicker this time round, he hadn't even arrived back in Venezuela and the international media -having seen the spectacle in Argentina where Hugo called Bush a son of a bitch- was already ignoring his hate-fest. The ethanol pact between Bush and Lula stole Hugo's thunder, and the promise to open the US market to other ethanol producers in the region to decrease dependence on foreign oil -read Venezuelan- all but pushed Hugo to irrelevancy territory, despite the billions he has wasted 'winning' hearts and minds.

For a long time I have argued that Latinos are a capitalistic bunch. Although the region's business environment is one of the world's toughest, most people rather run their own little ventures than being employed or lead undignified lives as handout recipients. Bush trip came to confirm my argument, for even Lula, allegedly one of Chavez's staunchest allies in the region, preferred Bush's ethanol offer over Chavez's contracts. It goes to show that pragmatism and national interests are above revolutionary humbug for all but the Venezuelan pariah. Argentine's officials no show in Chavez's gig is also a good indication that pretty much all of the region's leaders avoid antagonizing with Bush unnecessarily, and will not jeopardize for one second the chance to enter into trade agreements with the leader of the world's largest economy.

Tough lessons for the soldier of Sabaneta, who still thinks that PDVSA handouts are a match to access to the biggest market. Latinos are not undignified parasites but entrepreneurial people. Bush's social justice talk rang no bells amongst Latinos for it isn't social justice what drives them but the chance to develop and grow. That's the only way to get out of poverty and we all know it.

Chavez has spent time and much money in Latin America, however in only two trips Bush was able to crush the Bolivarian agenda. Just imagine what could have happened had George kept his promise about engaging and giving priority to Latin America...

16.3.07

Global Warming for dummies

In recent days Channel 4 News aired a documentary called "The Great Global Warming Swindle" that has stirred quite the controversy. At the moment one of the scientists that took part in the documentary -Carl Wunsch from MIT- is accusing the producer of having misinterpreted his views (see comments), which were used out of context. None other than 'global warming über expert' George Monbiot came out swinging in The Guardian in defence of the global warming hype. The progressive neoenvironmentalist forces are -as ever- in defamation mood, trying to undermine the credibility of Martin Durkin -the documentary's producer- and pretty much every person who happens to agree with the views exposed in it. A FOI request (what the F%*& was this guy thinking?) has been attempted into the financing of the documentary, in sum the barking moonbats are in a state of absolute outrage.

This blog has had its share of global warming controversy. Readers and fellow Venezuelan bloggers have taken issue with my opinions on this, arguing that I am immature, petulant, ignorant and generally mocking my capacity to differentiate leftist's bull -vaya redundancia- from reality. It seems that I just can not have an opinion contrary to what the geniuses of the IPCC, the very same ones that have failed to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the current warming trend is attributable to mankind, have already reached. It's the "consensus" what matters; the "belief" of members of a UN panel, heralded as the ultimate truth. Cynically Monbiot opens up his tirade mentioning Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein, as examples of scientists that proved the consensus wrong, when in fact today -thanks to the systematic bombardment of the media- most people believe and support the hysterical claims and "consensus" of Monbiot-like experts and attack independent minds, as those presented in Durkin's documentary.

It is for these reasons that I decided to borrow from fellow blogger Francisco Toro's idea of saying it with pictures and draw a couple of graphs to illustrate my point: I will call it global warming for dummies.


The vertical axis is temperature and the horizontal is time since earth's formation. For this purpose I have drawn a line that represents the fluctuation of global temperature over time, but by no means this plot represents accurately periods of cooling or warming. As geological evidence shows the planet has undergone various such periods, the intention is just to show that it has happened in the past, when yummy mummies driving Chelsea tractors and aviation did not exist. The earth's temperature has increased 0.5 degrees in the last century. Should we be as worried as the global warming fraternity would like us to be? See next graph.

The second graph should be cause of great concern to human kind had it had any relation to reality. The red line shows temperature fluctuation over time. Fact is it has no bearing whatsoever with reality, however in my opinion it illustrates perfectly the hypothesis of the advocates of the end of the world, for they irresponsibly and lacking scientific evidence have already ruled that the current warming trend (+0.5 centigrade) is indeed man made, ignoring paleoclimate records.

The politicization of this issue has resulted in clueless politicians, media, Hollywood types, the Green fraternity, the radical Left and assorted has beens affirming without qualms that it is all our fault. It seems to be an impossible task for most of them to provide coherent explanations as to why this phenomenon has occurred throughout the planet's history, for it throws their ludicrous hypothesis into disrepute. So what better than to ignore the inconvenient? Why this time round the warming is caused by burning of fossil fuels and anthropogenic CO2 emissions when it did not in the past? How come earth's climate has changed to the point where the dynamics that used to influence global temperatures are no longer relevant, or worse have been relegated to sub roles? These are some of the questions I asked myself when I first heard the hype. I remember having thought "since when climate is a fixed and not an ever changing variable?" But hey who am I to doubt the all knowledgeable IPCC right? Fortunately not all scientists agree with the media-driven political imposition of the "consensus."

9.3.07

The Great Global Warming Swindle

One of the added benefits of having read Geology is that one can easily tell apart the bullshit from the science when it comes to earth's matters. In recent days I participated in an online debate casa de Miguel (see comment section) about global warming. My take about this issue has been the same all along; one must always doubt whatever argument the Left puts forward. If apart from being adopted by the neo-progressive forces the issue captivates the attention of multi billion dollar NGOs, parasitic multilateral bodies and the radical establishment all the more reason to question it. In the instance of global warming only ignoramuses will affirm that the current warming trend is man made. Lacking credible evidence to prove their point the global warming fraternity has developed a political clout comparable to the coming apocalypses it insists in predicting. Geology teaches us that earth has undergone many periods of warming and cooling. In fact the geological record contains evidence of this cycle when man wasn't even around. Therefore to conclude that today's warming is due to carbon emissions generated by our burning of fossil fuels or carbon footprint is just bullshit. Any person slightly familiarized with geological precepts knows that the biggest source of greenhouse gases -read water vapour- are the oceans. That much no one can begin to dispute. But why this sudden necessity of blaming humans for global warming? Why the conscious disregard for science when it does not support conventional wisdom?

The answer lies with the ideology of those advancing the hypothesis and note that I use hypothesis and not theory for they have failed to scientifically achieve such status. The Left has all but lost its north; it has no goals, no unity of purpose and no agenda besides attacking and trying to destroy capitalism. Global warming provides the perfect excuse to carry on with it. It is the new card to be trumped against the establishment; it is the new way to shame the corporate world but more tellingly it is the vehicle that allows the furtherance of racism at its most primary. Radicals on this camp have gone as far as sending death threats to scientists that have spoken up against the swindle. Entire populations of developing countries are collectively and happily condemned to a life time of misery by these advocates of the end of the world.

The UN created a panel (IPCC) whose conclusions are held as the ultimate truth about global warming. But the report published fails to demonstrate the case and uses semi scientific jargon presumably to con the public. Created in a way so as to make the case with words rather than with sound and credible scientific evidence the report goes on to stress upon the "likeliness" of the hypothesis it seeks to demonstrate or the "confidence" with which bureaucrats on UN's payroll believe in their hypothesis. Again any serious scientist would laugh at such irresponsible and altogether useless way to describe a scientific phenomenon.

Channel 4 News broadcast an aptly titled documentary yesterday "The Great Global Warming Swindle." It is a thought provoking, thorough investigation into the movement and reasons behind the whole scam based, unlike those on the other side of the equation, on rigorous scientific evidence. I was very pleased to see an influential TV network take on the hysterical global warming crowd and disprove their allegations. Further I learned about the origins of the new creed, traced back to the one person the entire environmentalist community despise with a passion, Margaret Thatcher. What an extraordinary revelation for not even this most trendy and fashionable cause of the world's resentful imbeciles is of their making.

7.3.07

Wikipedia exposed

To those who like me have been reporting the evolving crisis in Venezuela the news came as no surprise: Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, is, to put it mildly, utterly unreliable. It didn't surprise us because we bear witness of how Hugo Chavez's and Venezuela's pages have been edited almost beyond recognition. In fact apologists of Hugo Chavez have expressed their pride on their 'editing work' in Wikipedia. Logically the only natural conclusion one could reach in light of it is that no Wikipedia entry can be trusted.

The revelation of the true identity of Essjay -aka Ryan Jordan- reinforces apprehensions towards the online encyclopedia. A 24 year old managed to con not only the Wikipedian community but also Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder. The fact that Wales went as far as establishing a working relationship with Jordan without even bothering to undertake the perfectly normal credential-checking processes to be expected between an employer and its employees speaks volumes about Wales duty of care towards his pet project.

Wikipedia does not check the credentials of its editors, that much is known. However knowledge about its editing processes and criteria remains scant. A request to remove links to my site -vcrisis.com- from all Chavez related pages was introduced by another anonymous Wikipedian. Flanker, as his online name goes, argued that vcrisis.com was not a reliable sources of information with regards to Venezuela. But who is this Flanker character and what reasons prompted him to make such request? What I know is that he is an avowed apologist of Hugo Chavez and frequents comments sections of sites publishing commentary on Venezuela in order to advance the premise that Chavez's Venezuela is the closest approximation to paradise on earth. I also suspect that he is not even Venezuelan, neither is Sandy, that other Wikipedian involved in the issue. So how come people characterized by their superficiality of knowledge and partisanship about our issues get to decide what constitutes reliable information sources? Furthermore how come they are allowed to rewrite history without providing credible evidence to substantiate their claims?

Recently another Wikipedian (Maracucho) created a page about me that draw the ire of Chavez's fans and so they started editing it. When I noticed it I tried to delete the whole thing, knowing full well the infantile approach that Wikipedians have for facts. I could not, but was advised to take the issue with the Wikipedia Information team [info-en@wikimedia.org] that granted my request to have my page deleted.

I guess the take away message is that orthodox encyclopedias, with responsible editing processes, will continue being the preferred choice of serious people.

6.3.07

Venezuela's communists weary of Chavez's hegemonic construct?

The business of determining what Venezuelan political event will be picked up by major international news outlets is tricky. The communist State of Venezuela has become a place where not two weeks go by without a major scandal hitting the news. And when I say major scandal I'm not exaggerating. Check out these examples since the beginning of this year:
  • -- Hugo Chavez declares himself a dictator and promises to send Church hierarchs literature on Marx and Lenin so that they'll understand what his 'socialism of the 21st century' is all about.
  • -- Officials from Venezuela, by any measure an underdeveloped country, sign in London, by any measure and in itself one of the world's leading economies, an agreement to subsidise fuel of its public bus fleet.
  • -- Hugo Chavez sort of makes official his break up with Israel.
  • -- Hugo Chavez nationalizes local and foreign owned power and telecom companies.
  • -- Hugo Chavez reasserts his personal commitment to close Venezuela's oldest TV station.
  • -- Officials from Venezuela interfere openly in the internal politics of neighbouring countries.
  • -- Officials from Venezuela declare that the DEA is a drug cartel, while tons of cocaine originated from Venezuela are seized the world over.
  • -- The bloody coup d'etat staged by Hugo Chavez in 1992 is turned into a national day of sorts. Officials not only celebrate the criminal attempt but stress their pride in it.
  • -- The former chair of the purportedly independent electoral council is appointed by Chavez as Venezuela's Vice President. Former Vice Presidents include the current Attorney General.

In any democratic country any of the above would have caused a political earthquake. In Venezuela these events have become part of the idiosincratic political framework, to the point that new scandals overshadow 2 or 3 day-long ones. The whole country suffers from attention deficit disorder, considering the speed at which new issues pop up. It is therefore risible the late 'rebellion' that allegedly some communists are staging in Venezuela in purported 'open and frank opposition' to the hegemonic construct that Chavez has in mind. In my opinion this amounts to no more than an orchestrated charade by which ignorant fools are led to believe that democracy is thriving in Chavezland. What a load of nonsense.

The stint could be consider newsworthy had the actors performing the show not being PODEMOS, PCV (Venezuela's Communist Party) and some other chronic underachievers. In truth the ones involved have had a go at being in power thanks to the charity of the supreme leader, and under no circumstances should anyone entertain the thought that they shall risk their current bourgeois status for an alleged dispute over Chavez's project of unifying all his minions under one roof. Those salivating over it should be reminded that that's precisely what takes place in communist regimes: one leader, one party, one voice of command, or are we to believe that Venezuelan communists are dyed-in-the-wool democrats after all? Give me a f**ing break, surely Ismael Garcia won't give up his jet rides and über rich lifestyle...

5.3.07

A Hugo Chavez lo quieren matar otra vez...

Londres 05.03.07 | Hugo dijo ayer que lo querían matar. Otra vez. Que vaina. Hugo nos tiene acostumbrados a los anuncios de magnicidio. Cada vez que se acuerda de que los sicarios de la CIA andan por ahi, el hombre nos alerta sobre los peligros que se le ciernen. Lo que Hugo nunca nos cuenta, siendo que es un cuenta cuento habilidoso, es que cuando sus dizque archi enemigos -esos son los gringos- lo tenían preso durante los sucesos del 11 de Abril, a ninguno de ellos se le ocurrió llenarle la cabeza de plomo, o tirarlo del helicóptero ese donde lo trasladaron a una 'isla secreta' en el Caribe. Lo tenían ahi a la merced, papita para hacerle cualquier maldad, pero no le hicieron nada. Que interesante no? Lo que si es cierto es que el grupo de asesinos que lo persigue, a saber conformado por agentes especiales del Mossad israelí entre otros, lleva 8 años intentado infructuosamente de matar a este tipo. Pero que nos dice esto de la oposición 'recalcitrante y reaccionaria' esa a la que Hugo se refiere sin cesar? Los partidarios de la extrema derecha venezolana formaban parte del golpe del 11 de Abril. Eso lleva Hugo repitiéndolo un buen rato, no es asi? Como es eso que ellos también pelaron ese boche? Sera que Hugo nos esta cayendo a embustes? En cualquier caso es triste ver el espectáculo en el que se ha convertido la politica venezolana, donde un degenerado dicta pauta y los demás siguen la comparsa con esmerado rigor. Y no me estoy refiriendo aquí a los chavistas. No. Me refiero a los Manueles, a los Teodoros, a los Leopoldos, a los Julios, en fin a lo que denomino los ex-men, no como en la película sino en sentido literal. Ex-men porque todos, sin excepción, son ex algo: Rosales ex candidato presidencial; Petkoff ex politico; Leopoldo ex alcalde... Ante tal ralea a Hugo lo unico que le queda es carcajearse a mandíbula batiente, agradecer infinitamente la suerte de contar con tal dizque oposición e inventar magnicidios.


Gobernar no le interesa; paliar los problemas del pais tampoco, nos lo ha demostrado. Son las mieles del poder absoluto, global, lo que mueve a este hombre. Y es por ello, nos reitera hasta la saciedad, que lo quieren matar. Hemos de concluir entonces, después de 8 largos años de magnicidios anunciados sin pruebas, investigación o arresto algunos, que la eficiencia de sus asesinos y la de sus opositores politicos van de la mano, Hugo seguirá vivo y mandando hasta que la muerte, la natural, lo alcance.

28.2.07

Venezuela's Chavez should be left alone

When I started this business of reporting what goes on in my country at the end of 2002, we were few and utterly discredited. The stigma had been successfully thrust upon us on the wake of the opposition-led coup d'etat that took place on 11 April 2002. That, coupled with a masterfully edited movie made by a couple of Irish film makers that made the rounds in the film festival circuit and was distributed through Venezuelan embassies around the world, sealed our fate in circles of people with half baked interest in Venezuela. We, opponents of Chavez the thuggish dictator, were the outcasts, the coup mongers, the radicals, representatives of a deranged group of people, hell bent in undermining Chavez's 'benign' revolution. At first it was impossible to find accurate sources of information on Venezuela on the internet, and the big news conglomerates kept publishing and broadcasting stories about how great the social experiment undergoing in Venezuela was. "Chavez is teaching people how to read and write... for the first time education and health is free in Venezuela... Chavez is nationalising the oil industry..." and right they were, about the latter.

Juan Forero's NYT articles used to get us all worked up; the Beeb's and Reuter's coverage prompted some of us to initiate formal claims before broadcasting watchdogs. In sum no one gave any importance nor consideration to our warnings. Worldwide-held rallies condemning the rise of authoritarianism in our country went unnoticed. Like Primo Levy, our accounts just could not be true, mind you a regime in modern day Venezuela building databases to prosecute its political foes? A Venezuelan administration in bed with Colombia's narcoguerrilla? A Venezuelan president halting commercial and diplomatic relations with Colombia over the capture of a wanted terrorist and assassin? "Nah, it can not be, this Chavez chap was democratically elected..." or so went the reasoning of the imperturbed citizens of the world.

However the weather has turned and, quite frankly, I am extremely happy by the recent developments in Venezuela. I honestly wish for Chavez to carry on confiscating, nationalising, indebting PDVSA, building up his arsenal, shutting media, curtailing freedom, buying out entire countries, associating himself with notorious pariahs and spreading poverty and misery far and wide. All of us opponents of communism, totalitarianism, militarism and fascism ought to send a big thank you to the man that, single handedly, has proved all of our claims right. This man, the first 21st century democratically elected dictator; this pacifist, straight out from leading military coups, is on a very important crusade of global reach and should be left alone. We need him alive and in charge. We need him on TV, 24/7 if possible. We need him commanding Latin America's armies, we need him expanding his ascendancy over the world's resentful fanatics. We need him forging alliances with deranged Muslims. We need him providing sanctuary, logistics and support to Latin America's narcoguerrillas. For the day when the whole hatred thing explodes and turns against him will come quicker. Let him be, bearing in mind that night's darkest hour is that which precedes sunrise.

22.2.07

Study shows how Hugo Chavez rigged elections in Venezuela

A statistical study done by two Venezuelan scientists, Maria M. Febres Cordero and Bernardo Marquez, has determined that Hugo Chavez alleged victory in the recall referendum of 2004 was unlikely. The reports concludes by saying "the Venezuelan opposition has statistical evidence to reject the official results given by the CNE. The irregularities detected were observed consistently in numerous voting centers and the magnitude of the irregularities imply that the official results do not reflect the intention of voters with statistical confidence."

The report, which has been peer reviewed by the International Statistical Institute (ISI) and the International Statistical Review, has been published in the ISI's website, where a summary can be read. However given the importance of making such a report available to a wider audience I have decided to publish the entire report.

A statistical approach to assess referendum results: The Venezuelan recall referendum 2004

Henceforth the adjective illegitimate can be added to that of dictator, that is to say Hugo Chavez is Venezuela's illegitimately elected dictator.


21.2.07

Guardian's Comment is Free censors Vcrisis

A phone call from ITV News desk yesterday morning brought me back to the Venezuelan reality. Frankly I was completely unaware that bus driver cum Venezuela's Foreign Secretary Nicolas Maduro was to sign the disgraceful oil deal with London's Mayor Ken Livingstone in City Hall. So I did a swift research on the web and found out about the whole sham. Some clauses of the oil for propaganda 'agreement' left me wondering, for dictator Chavez is to provide up to $32 million/year in oil subsidies to comrade Red Ken but the latter and the Greater London Authority are under no legal obligation to provide any services in return to Venezuela. What a fantastic deal, surely Red Ken must be one of the most expensive advocates Hugo has ever hired. Predictably The Guardian had something in the pipeline; almost simultaneously to the inking of the agreement that isn't an article by erstwhile KGB Richard Gott was posted in Comment is Free (CIF). In a matter of minutes the brigade of leftist racist idiots -vaya redundancia...- started posting comments on how great the deal was, how the poor in Venezuela are going to benefit from it, how traffic and waste management will improve, etc.

Not to leave that sort of bullshit go unscathed I posted, as the only Venezuelan in the comment section, that the deal was nothing but a sham. A tirade of attacks against me ensued by the usual English pundits that pretend to know better than me what's in Venezuela's best interest, the sort of folks that are so detached from reality that they dare argue that I am not representative of Venezuela; they are, despite the fact that they have probably never set foot in the country, do not speak the language, do not know the culture, do not have Venezuelan relatives and family and most probably were not aware of the existence of the country before 2002. However not all was bad about the tit for tat. Case in point an exchange with one CIF user that posts as Zambini. This Zambini fellow falsely claimed that comments that I have made in the past with regards to removing Chavez from power by violent means had been deleted from this site. To be frank the episode brought back memories of Dan Burnett, the Chavez apologist behind the blog oilwars, who once said that should I discover his real identity he would buy me a ticket to Caracas from London. It took me half an hour to determine who this cocky idiot was, needless to say that I'm still waiting on his ticket promise... Stupidity seems to be a characteristic of public employees in either side of the Atlantic though. By 'blowing the whistle' Zambini must have thought that he/she was 'exposing' me before Guardian readers, as if I needed any exposing in front of such radical bunch. The funny thing is that I was able to determine that he/she is a civil servant from the GLA and spends endless hours on the internet defending Red Ken's actions and attacking anyone that opposes his policies, in this case yours truly. Zambini attempts to visit this site from a GLA server such as gate.london.gov.uk were unsuccessful, which prompted his/her commentary and I know that he/she was trying to access Vcrisis for some time ago I blocked GLA servers from accessing this site.

But the most interesting aspect about this affair is that CIF has deleted comments of mine with regards to Zambini's civil servant persona and possible connections to Red Ken and by extension the propaganda joint he runs with GLA staff at City Hall. So there you have it dear readers, censorship is not the exclusive province of third rate dictators such as Hugo Chavez for his European comrades at The Guardian are just as quick at dispensing with uncomfortable truths.

20.2.07

Dictator Hugo Chavez to give up to $32 million/year to Livingstone

It finally came to be: the oil for propaganda agreement between dictator Hugo Chavez and Red Ken has been signed. In spite of all the criticism, in spite of the fact that London's poor are high net worth individuals next to the Maigualidas of Venezuela, in spite of Venezuela being a country with an alarmingly high proportion of undernourished children, in spite of having most of its 54% of poor scrapping by on less than $2/day, comrade Livingstone gladly accepted the oil subsidy that Chavez was offering. It was meant to be, to have expected otherwise was foolish for neither of the parties involved care one bit about the disenfranchised, they're just political cannon fodder or as Chavez's Minister of Planning Jorge Giordani said recently "the revolution can not survive without the poor."

Chavez is to give up to $32 million/year to Europe's richest city. In exchange he will get advice on transport, urban planning, traffic control, etc. [pls do not miss clauses 6.4 and 6.5]. Some may wonder why would dictator Chavez need to go this far, mind you what does he stand to gain politically from it, and the answer is propaganda. Ken Livingstone is the elected Mayor of London but he is also the [appointed?] director of the Venezuela Information Centre, a propaganda outfit operated by civil servants from City Hall's offices. In today's world there's no such thing as a free lunch. Unfortunately the UK does not have an equivalent to the US' Foreign Agent Registration Unit. For that reason interested parties will never be able to determine exactly how much does the propaganda joint in London has cost to Venezuelan taxpayers, as I have been able to do with the one operating in Washington DC. However the recently signed agreement provides an interesting starting point for future calculations: up to $32 million/year -equivalent to the yearly income of roughly 10,600 Venezuelan families. Not bad. Good old Joe Kennedy on the other side of the pond isn't getting as much, but then again this is one of the world's most expensive cities, hence the premium.

Update: I have just been interviewed by ITV London News which will air my views on the 6 o'clock News. With the benefit of hindsight I reckon I could have been clearer in terms of pointing out the bit about "...this agreement shall not and is not intended to be construed as an agreement for services" as established in clause 6.4, which serves to prove the point that this is nothing but a sham that will not benefit Venezuelans in any way.

19.2.07

How does Tesco compare to Hugo Chavez?

Many folks over here in Britain seem to resent corporate success. Case in point Tesco, the giant grocer that has become the latest target of the resented bunch of leftists that populate these shores. Perhaps the case is that every now and then they need new culprits; having been done with BP, Shell and pharmaceutical companies that 'endanger animal welfare' la bola de resentidos has set its sight on Tesco. Nothing wrong with that some will say, the politics of collectively biting the hand that feeds -as a way of escaping individual failure- is something that has characterized the Left, in fact, that's one of the few things it has proven to be semi efficient at. So Tesco is at the core of this new attack from the forces of 'progress' and it got me thinking, how come Tesco has become so successful in a country where competition, almost in any area, is so fierce? Further, how can Tesco's estelar performance can be compared with Hugo Chavez equally impressive record? And the answer lays with a set of conditions without which none of the two could have achieved anything.

Years ago I noticed in an office in Caracas a small poster that mocked how the perfect European should be. Indeed Britons know very little about good cuisine, which also explains the celebrity status granted to chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver; for it's not hard to gain recognition in the land of the fish and chips than say in France, Italy or Spain. Additionally this is a country where eating is just a process whereby anything serves the purpose of ridding the body of that most annoying feeling known as hunger. Therefore we have Pret-a-Mangers -with its pretty disgusting sandwiches- and the American haute cuisine powerhouses -Starbucks, McDonald, Kentucky Fried, Pizza Hut et al laughing all the way to the bank. Thus a few clever men, those that grow up eating proper food, realized that the conditions were there; they must have thought "what better than to combine the rather limited variety of crap under one roof and have the mass of sandwich-eaters storm through the doors?" Mind you Tesco would have had an extraordinarily difficult time gaining new business in the Basque country, Tuscany or Bordeaux, however in Britain it was just a walk in the park.

So how does Tesco's success compare to Hugo Chavez's? Although in completely different settings, the Venezuelan dictator also found a niche, a country that provided excellent conditions for someone valiant enough to conduct an absolute take over. Chavez, as the few men who noticed that proper food is not a priority for the majority of Britons, launched his political assault and encountered very little resistance. In the days when the opposition -which does not even deserve to be called as such- rule Venezuela he attempted his coup d'etat, only to be turned instantly into an icon by the very same administration he was trying to oust. In fact, had those in charge not been so incredibly clumsy, Chavez would most probably be today paying for his crimes in jail. Instead he rules Venezuela like no other figure had done since the beginning of last century.


His foes are so utterly incompetent that the man will, quite effectively, rule until he wishes. Back in Britain some folks have stated that in a not too distant future we all will have to eat whatever food Tesco wants to source and offer on its shelves. Of course these cry wolf allegations will never come to bear for as long as there is a market for non-Tesco stuff, read people that do enjoy eating and take the process of nourishment very seriously, the grocer will only be able to expand in sandwich-eater territory. Chavez on the other hand will continue gaining ground for there's no market in Venezuela for an opposition that works Monday to Thursday, 10:30 to 4 and repeatedly fails at addressing the issues that have made Chavez such a formidable institution. One of my partners laid it out very clearly the other day: opposition folks in Venezuela, the whole lot be it in politics, media, industry, etc., are like tigers in a zoo; if some careless visitor fells on its cage it will probably be attacked and devoured, however if that very tiger is released in the jungle, it will most probably perish due to its inability to perform in a survival-of-the-fittest sort of environment.

Ultimately success depends as much in the vision, courage and actions of certain individuals as in a variety of factors outside conscious control.

15.2.07

Political Correctness: Britain's undoing

A few weeks ago a Muslim woman refused to shake Met police chief Ian Blair's hand on religious grounds. The incident took place in an official ceremony held by the Metropolitan police in which Blair was meeting new recruits. The chorus of enablers was quick on the gun, splashing all over the internet and the media that the woman's action was perfectly legitimate. The argument that no one should be forced to disregard mandates of the religion of its choosing won the day.

More recently a heated debate arose as to whether or not Church leaders in Britain were correct in objecting to give children in adoption to gay couples through agencies run, controlled or closely associated to the Church. But here the chorus or enablers was against the stance taken by religious authorities for allowing for such a thing to happen would be akin to discriminating the gay community.

I am by no means an advocate of the Church, having said that I just can't believe the alleged moral high ground that some pretend to hold on this matter. Hypocritically gay rights advocates argue that what moves them is the welfare of the child when in fact had that principle ruled their actions the Church's position would be easily understood: for the basis upon which Christian faith is built does not contemplate same sex unions as holy or normal in pretty much the same way Muslim devouts consider Western conducts. Why should one stance be permitted and applauded and not the other? Or better yet why not roundly condemn or glee about both? And the answer seems to spring from a rather sterile field called political correctness. See telling a Muslim woman that living in a Western society comports adopting certain practices is politically incorrect but the gay bashing of Church hierarchs that will most likely result in condemning some children to a lifetime of uncertainty is not. Does this make any sense?

Then UNICEF published a report a couple of days ago about the state of children. Naturally the benchmark against which this country is compared to is that of industrialized nations. In the group of 21 nations against which it was compared Britain fared last and again a thunderous chorus of surprise was uttered from the four corners of the country by analysts, politicians, social workers, the media, etc. Any person reasonably familiar with Britishness will know that children in this country are, quite simply, out of control. They do what they please, they talk back, curse, hurl abuse, offend and disrespect and that is when they are not binge drinking, smoking, having sex or getting wasted with drugs. But of course this nation of posturers will be hard pressed to admit that, so the UNICEF got to round things up for them. At the heart of this issue IMHO is the same problem I have just pointed: political correctness. Parenting is just not on for most and of course little can be expected from kids that more often than not grow up alien to proper moral and ethical guidance and worse of all lacking love. Discipline can not be imposed by absent parents, neither the kids will tolerate it. Correcting the issue is very simple; it takes love and discipline but see disciplining is politically incorrect, so the establishment has come up with a novel idea to tackle this: let us engage with the children, let us know what they feel and how they think this can be right. Perhaps none of them are aware of the fact that children adolesce common sense...

7.2.07

Mexico: 1 ton of cocaine seized, port of origin Venezuela

London 07.02.07 | It seems that the ever so efficient Venezuela Connection keeps sending thousands of kilograms of cocaine to airports and ports all around the world. Nearly a year ago, on April 11 2006, Mexican authorities seized 5.5 tonnes of high purity cocaine in Ciudad del Carmen's airport. Today Mexican daily El Universal reports that nearly a ton of cocaine was seized aboard a plane arriving from Venezuela in Mexico City's International Airport: 25 pieces of luggage -from flight 374 of Mexicana de Aviacion- were detected containing the drugs.

But this is not the first instance where drugs coming from Venezuela -in that very flight- have been seized in Mexico City's airport. The daily reports that in the last three years 7 seizures of considerable importance have been made, the largest being that of 16 September 2003 when 407 kilograms of cocaine and heroine were seized and a Venezuelan citizen -José Luis Santiago Rivero- was arrested.

Curiously enough Foreign Secretary Nicolas Maduro said today that Venezuela does not need US aid to combat drug trafficking activities "Venezuela refuses to be blackmailed with these funds that they (USA) try to use to penetrate and subjugate our nations to their decisions" stated Maduro.

Maduro ensured that Venezuela is a sovereign nation and anti-drug trafficking activities will continue, however he emphasized that the drug produce has one final destination "the millions of drug addicts in the USA, product of a depredating capitalism" (sic).

30.1.07

Correa to impose Chavez's mobocracy in Ecuador

London 30.01.07 | The web is abuzz with the news that supporters of Rafael Correa stormed into Ecuador's Congress where a debate as to whether to approve the convening of a National Constituent Assembly was taking place. Sources report that the utterly democratic mob wanted to lynch congressmen, as some of them where heard shouting 'kill them, kill them all." For those of us that have observed the region for some time and seen how Chavez's mobocracy looms over democracy this is hardly news. However I would like to take issue with remarks of John Negroponte, who is quoted by Reuters as saying that Chavez is exporting his "radical populism" (sic).

Negroponte's assessment is wrong on a number of accounts, but crucially, it seems to me, on his understanding of the specific perils that dictator Hugo Chavez exports. Certainly radical populism isn't one of them. The single most dangerous export of Castro's mini me is the National Constituent Assembly. This little subterfuge is THE principal cause of Venezuela's current institutional void for it allowed Chavez to subvert democracy with a pseudo democratic mechanism that wasn't even part of the constitution. Shrouded in 'popular support' it effectively replaced in one fell swoop the powers that were with lackeys in charge of totally dysfunctional institutions: a truly 'democratic' coup. Today we learn that Venezuela's Congress, as predicted, granted Chavez the ultimate weapon: the ability to rule by decree.

Chavez has successfully convinced his claque of regional suckers that the National Constituent Assembly is the way forward. However none of them appears to have realised that the conditions under which the experiment was implemented in Venezuela in 1999 are non existent in Bolivia, Peru or Ecuador. For that reason, as already seen in Bolivia and soon to be realised by Correa, it will be impossible to replicate the model irrespective of how loud supporting mobs shout 'kill them all.'

Mr. Negroponte should be well advised in reading these pages more often.

24.1.07

Re Ask the expert: Chávez and Venezuela

London 24.01.07 | Dear Richard, Unfortunately I did not get your email address when we met at Quinta Esmeralda in Caracas on 3 December last year, so an open letter will have to do.

I see that you will be part of a debate about Chavez and Venezuela, which appears to be sponsored by the FT. Although I commend you for having such initiative, assuming that it was your idea, I fail to understand why you would include Mark Weisbrot in a debate called "Ask the expert..."

Let it be sufficiently clear that Mr. Weisbrot is far from being an expert or an authoritative source on anything to do with Venezuela. Rather Mr Weisbrot is but a known apologist of Hugo Chavez with suspect ties with the Venezuela Information Office in DC. Mr. Weisbrot has failed to register his lobbying efforts in favour of dictator Hugo Chavez with the US Foreign Agent Registration Unit and is yet to come clear on his relationship with that regime.

Should your intention be to create a forum where healthy and meaningful debate about Venezuela can be had I am pretty sure you could do better in choosing credible parties with opposing views.

Cordially,

Aleksander Boyd

19.1.07

Hugo Chavez: Venezuela's democratically elected dictator

London 19.01.07 | Well folks, it seems I have been proved wrong... Some of you may think "this guy's a joke" and you could be right. However what seemed normal a month ago it no longer is, for for all intents and purposes Venezuela has become, as of yesterday, a de facto dictatorship. No more pretenses, no more posturing, none of that. The all-chavista assembly approved yesterday in first 'discussion' -as if they discussed orders from the dictator- an all-encompasing enabling law, which in practical terms means that Hugo Chavez will govern by decree, ruling on nearly all aspects of the country for the next 18 months. The good thing about this is that from now on, in the literal sense, without hesitation or remorse, we can indulge in calling coupster Chavez as many times as we want a "democratically elected dictator"™, as he always wanted to be. It's official now. Also great to be able to describe Venezuela in its appropriate context as a non democratic country, ruled -by decree- by a militaristic dictator as some of us have maintained for years now.

No wonder why Chavez did not want to debate with Rosales his "proyecto-pais" during the campaign. This time round he was careful enough to conceal the true intentions behind his 'XXI Century Socialism'. Further Chavez's fast moves of late lead me to conclude that he knows something that most of us do not and is acting on it. His rapid actions may have to do with the purported number of votes cast in his favour. Someone high up in Rosales' campaign team said to me in confidence not long ago that an optimistic guess at the number of mesas having been supervised on election day by opposition witnesses pointed at 60%. If the total number of mesas was somewhere around 33,000 the percentage suggests that in 13,200 of them there was no one from the Rosales camp to ensure that the vote was carried out in transparent fashion. What if the race was much closer? What if the margin was not 3 million votes but a few thousands? We will never know, what I am positive about though is that not once during the campaign I heard Chavez saying that he was going to rule by decree come January. Not once. Just imagine this campaign promise:

"compatriots give me your vote and out of love I'll become a dictator, I'll dismiss those upon whom you put your trust in the legislative elections of December 2005 and rule by decree, without consulting you or any of your representatives for that matter, but fear not for this is only for 18 months, until 'XXI Century Socialism' is properly rooted in Venezuela."

Will that have gained him 7 million votes? Most definitely not. Further, why the sudden attack against RCTV? Could it be due to the fact that all official TV channels combined have less than a fifth of RCTV's audience? The dictator needs of communication outlets with reach; no use of having a myriad of grassroot radios, TV channels and Bolivarian 'CNNs' if no one watches, if the message does not reach its target audience, is there? Of greater preoccupation for the hegemon is the social status of RCTV's audience, for although satellite antennas are a common fixture in many ranchos in Caracas, people in that stratum do love their telenovelas, production of which RCTV excels at. The range of personalities depicted in programmes produced by RCTV are part of Venezuelans' idiosyncrasy. Is the dictator bent on changing the fabric and values of our society? You bet, his now public communist persona just proves the point. And I couldn't agree more with sycophant Eva Golinger who, from her ivory tower in Alta Florida, tells the world that this isn't about freedom of expression. It is not, rather it has to do with the dictator's needs of communicating effectively with his alleged constituency.

The radicalization of Chavez's dictatorship will only accelerate his political demise. Let him be, make sure of getting sufficient supplies of popcorn though, for as in Reservoir Dogs the show will end up being rojo, rojito...

18.1.07

Hugo Chavez gets unanimous vote to rule by decree for 18 months

In true revolutionary fashion, whereby all deputies present in the National Assembly stand up, raise their hands and unanimously pass laws, the all-chavista legislative body in Venezuela has just given Hugo Chavez carte blanche to rule by decree for the next 18 months. Chavez will have the power to pass laws, even organic ones which to become legislation normally would require a qualified majority or 2/3 of the votes. It is expected that he'll rule on the much dreaded education bill, territorial organization, businesses profit margins, nationalizations, 'participatory democracy', communal councils, etc.

9.1.07

XXI Century Socialism according to Hugo Chavez

Caracas 08.01.07 | Well folks it seems that I can't keep from reporting the insanities of the president elected by more than 7 million of my countrymen/women. As I was dozing today I heard bits of president Chavez's speech during the swearing ceremony of his new 27 ministers -let us not forget that he started of in 1998 with 12... In any case he was trying to put some meat behind that hard-to-define concept known as "XXI century socialism". Up until this point his minions have had a tough time trying to explain what does it mean so the president himself had to explain it, thus "XXI century socialism" -according to president Chavez- means:

1. Scrap central bank autonomy.

2. Nationalize CANTV (telecom company) and the electricity industry.

3. Change business code/laws;

4. Cancel the broadcasting license of Venezuela's largest TV network (RCTV).

5. Seek special powers from Congress to approve new “Revolutionary” laws -only Chavez knows what "revolutionary" means...

6. The state should have a majority stake in Orinoco Basin heavy oil upgrading joint-ventures.

The six points, part of a summary by Goldman Sachs, are indicative of the sort of 'socialism' that Chavez has in mind. However point number three needs further explaining. The new Finance Minister, Rodrigo Cabezas, announced that from now on private companies' earnings will be capped so that health and education budgets can be increased. In short, the Venezuelan government will presumably regulate profit margins -and obviously take a bigger tax cut- so that businesses operating in Venezuela can augment contributions in order to fund governmental projects. Then instead or guaranteeing a stable climate for investment the new inventors of socialism will, unilaterally, scrap contracts with private corporations and impose new stake terms on existing and allegedly perfectly legal agreements, as suggested in point six. Needless to say that CANTV shares -partly owned by Verizon- dropped in NYSE. "Todo lo que fue privatizado debe ser nacionalizado" said president Chavez, who included in the nationalization drive electricity companies that have been privately owned since incorporation.

All was 'socialism' in president Chavez's address. For instance he referred to OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza as "pendejo" -an endearing term used by the neo socialist that means "idiot." At last he made proper use of language to refer to a man who seems convinced that all is fine and dandy in this socialist country.

President Chavez also pledged to send literature on socialism -penned by the likes of Marx and Stalin- to Church hierarchs so that they can learn what his 'XXI Century Socialism' is all about.

To wit Venezuelans must feel grateful for president Chavez has bothered to clarify the goals of his project. Novel indeed these goals are, specially the building of a hegemonic construct that will quash competition, dissent, inalienable rights and freedoms.