27.11.09

Smartmatic does Mexico

In spite of having won contracts worth millions of dollars in different countries, Smartmatic seems incapable of shaking allegations that mar its reputation. And the reason is quite simple: the more business it gains, the greater the lack of transparency. Take for instance what has recently happened in Mexico, where the government is planning to gather biometric data to produce ID cards. A tender was organised by the Mexican government and the following companies submitted bids: LATIN ID S.A. de C.V., MAINBIT S.A. de C.V.; SOLTIC S.A. de C.V.; and, the grand sounding, Smartmatic International Holding, B.V.

Smartmatic won the tender to provide such technology, despite having submitted the highest bid. Smartmatic mislead Mexican authorities, by presenting itself as a Dutch company. I happen to have dug the records of Smartmatic in the Netherlands some years ago, their activities are described as "to purchase, develop and manage property and goods". There's nothing about provision of biometric devices in there. As a matter of fact, Smartmatic has no track record of having been directly contracted to provide such technology anywhere in the world. In Bolivia, a province of Hugo Chavez, Smartmatic managed to get subcontracted by a company from Argentina, another province of Hugo Chavez, called NEC Argentina, to gather biometric data destined for the electoral roll. But even that process has been marred with irregularities. The Bolivian press reports that Smartmatic's initial offering was rejected due to its participation in fraudulent elections in Venezuela.

But Smartmatic irregularities do not end there. Company records show that, just weeks before Smartmatic won its first contract in Venezuela, Antonio Mugica and the late Alfredo Anzola (Smartmatic and Bizta principals), took Bs.300 million ($187,000) from a subsidiary of a Venezuelan government entity called FONCREI. It is this information which would probably have caused the decision by Smartmatic of 'selling' Sequoia Voting Systems to avoid a proper investigation from CFIUS into its ownership structure. To this day, Smartmatic is to present credible evidence of having repurchased the stock acquired by the Venezuelan government.

Then there's is the issue in the Philippines, where, yet again, Smartmatic misrepresented itself in order to win an electoral contract. In addition, it was revealed that Smartmatic technicians remotely accessed servers during a regional election in Mindanao.

So there's a few simple questions that Mexican citizens should be posing to authorities:
  1. Why is a company that has no record in the provision of biometric technology allowed to enter bids in a public tender organised to that effect?
  2. In light of previous question: why have Mexican authorities granted the contract to the highest and least experienced bidder?
  3. Why has Smartmatic misrepresented itself, alleging that is a Dutch company, when is in fact a Venezuelan one with suspect connections to the Chavez regime?
  4. If it is true that Smartmatic is a Dutch corporation, where are the tax returns from operations in that country?

26.11.09

Gregory Wilpert 'clarifies' position

Gregory Wilpert has written to let me, and my readers, know that he has not misrepresented himself. His 'clarification' follows:
Just to let you and your readers know: To say that I work for Brooklyn College is not a misrepresentation. The Graduate Center for Worker Education is a part of Brooklyn College. My department chair is Sally Bermazohn, of BC's department of Political Science. The people you spoke to merely clarified that the physical location where I teach is not in the Brooklyn College campus, but I am still am employee of CUNY's Brooklyn College. The only reason I do not provide the full name of where I teach is that it's awfully long: Brooklyn College's Graduate Center for Worker Education.
Frankly, I don't know where to begin. Since becoming involved with Venezuela in or around 2002-2003: 
  1. Gregory Wilpert is yet to admit that he is married to a chavista official (Carol Delgado de Wilpert, Hugo Chavez's Consul in NY); 
  2. Gregory Wilpert is yet to admit that he edits a website created by a chavista official (Martin Sanchez, Hugo Chavez Consul in San Francisco, formerly in Chicago). 
  3. Gregory Wilpert is yet to admit that said website is funded with Venezuelan public money. 
  4. Gregory Wilpert is yet to admit that he acts as a propaganda agent for Hugo Chavez in US soil. 
  5. Gregory Wilpert is yet to admit that every single one of his opinions, with regards to Venezuela, is compromised by his marital and professional relations. 
However, Gregory Wilpert wants us to believe that he is not misleading, and that is not misrepresenting himself. Gregory Wilpert wrote to me once saying he was doing what he did "because he believed in it". At my repeated questioning of his true motives, he is a German-American after all, he kept mum about his personal and professional relations with the Chavez regime. That to me is indicative of utter intellectual dishonesty. Besides, I still fail to understand why is it so difficult for these bloody advocates of Chavez to admit their relations to their paymaster, lest of course to maintain a pretence of independence and individuality in order to lend credibility to their propaganda. Were HRW to receive a letter from a bunch of people that, having no official relation to Chavez, are protesting a report that exposes the gross human rights violations that take place in Venezuela, it would surely address it on its merits, as it has done. But that wasn't a letter written out of genuine concern, it was a concerted effort led by propaganda agents, such as Gregory Wilpert, similar to the many instances whereby "upset readers" would write letters to editors of media outlets to criticise coverage, when in fact it was a response to emails sent from the Venezuela Information Office to its "rapid action" team, instructing to do so.


These people are very vocal in their support, but they will deny to the death, unless evidence pops up, that they are in any manner related to Hugo Chavez's regime. This has been the case with Eva Golinger, Michael Shellenberger and his sidekick Ted Norhaus, Roy Carson, Eric Wingerter and all of the propagandists of the now defunct Venezuela Information Office, Ken Livingstone (until evidence emerged that he was working as a consultant for Hugo Chavez), Calvin Tucker, Mark Weisbrot, Joe Kennedy, Sean Penn (until he admitted that he traveled around in PDVSA planes), mind you, all of them deny having anything to do with Chavez, yet the evidence shows that they have all, in one way or another, benefitted from Venezuelan taxpayers money, be it plane rides, salaries, expenses-paid trips, hospitality, funds, donations, energy deals, publishing, publicity, etc.


Is it fear to demonstrate friendship, admiration, and support to a man that calls terrorist Carlos The Jackal a national hero? Is it fear to the maxim "guilty by association" or "tell me who your friends are..."? Do these people dread the conclusions that any rational individual would arrive at, upon discovering their fanaticism about a warmongering, militaristic dictator that supports and befriends terrorists and rogues, has run Venezuela to the ground, and takes his cues from one of the world's most brutal dictators?

25.11.09

Smartmatic a Dutch company?

News don't get anymore surreal than this: Mexico has just granted a $23 million contract to Smartmatic, which is now meant to be a Dutch company, to provide biometric technology needed to produce ID cards. To be frank, I am puzzled at the commercial ability of Antonio Mugica. He seems to share the 'business acumen' of Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco, mind individuals that only a decade ago couldn't afford a roll of toilet paper being awarded now contracts worth millions of dollars everywhere. For the Mexican contract comes after the Filipino one, where Smartmatic was awarded $150 million.

But what strikes as completely ignorant is how Mexican media are describing Smartmatic as a Dutch company, when it is public knowledge that the company decided to dispose of Sequoia, and obstruct a CFIUS investigation into its convoluted ownership structure, after its connections to the Venezuelan regime were exposed. To be certain, Smartmatic is as Dutch as Hugo Chavez. And to go a bit further, Smartmatic is yet to run the first truly transparent and problem-free election -only field in which the corporation does have a record.

24.11.09

Lula hugs Ahmadinejad, proves Olavo de Carvalho right

Just over a month ago I published a long interview to Brazilian journalist and intellectual, Olavo de Carvalho, about the Foro de Sao Paulo, and Lula's interference in other countries affairs, among other things. Lula's latest faux pas -apologists call it Brazil's coming of age in the international scenewas to be seen embracing Iran's dubiously-elected leader Ahmadinejad. But Lula went further, and took Brazil along with him, to join the hardly illustrious group of rogue nations that have supported Iran's nuclear ambitions, against world consensus: Syria, Cuba and Venezuela.

With this action Lula has proven Olavo's opinions right. Furthermore, by supporting such a deranged fundamentalist and Holocaust-denier, as he has done with Chavez and Zelaya, Lula is simply reaffirming that he has no regard whatsoever for democracy, human rights, and peace. Be it Venezuela, Honduras or Iran, victims of State-sponsored terrorism have very little to expect from the  Brazilian president, whose deeds speak louder than words. It's all very well to maintain a business-friendly facade, and dupe the media with Obama type "change we can believe in" jargon. However schmoozing liberals is one thing, supporting a regime bent on annihilating Israel quite another, as leftist but sane Governor of Sao Paulo Jose Serra said.

21.11.09

Cuba: violence unabated, Castros prove HRW and critics right


An inflamed mob of thugs, most probably members of Revolutionary Committees (Comites de Defensa de la Revolucion or CDR), attacked writer Reinaldo Escobar yesterday in Havana, Cuba. Reinaldo, who is Yoani Sanchez's husband, had publicly challenged, to a verbal duel, those who gave a beating to Yoani recently. But it wasn't the official security apparatus that dealt with a disarmed and harmless Reinaldo. No. This time they sent an enraged mob, to carry on a repudiation act (acto de repudio) against Reinaldo. The attack comes merely two days after Human Rights Watch published an extensive report on the brutality and systematic violation of human rights that takes place in Cuba, Fidel at the helm or not. To be certain, in order to repudiate something, or someone, one must have the capacity to think critically and independently. That's not the case of CDR members. They are just following orders, and that's that. For failure to show up upon being summoned to an "acto de repudio" is taken, literally, as demonstration of 'counter-revolutionary' behaviour, the consequences of which Reinaldo can tell us about.

So before actually forgiving their assaulters, a few words of gratitude to the Castros' dictatorship, from both Yoani and Reinaldo, should be in order. Firstly, for having proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the attack on Yoani did happen, as related, and wasn't a flight of her imagination as argued by Castros' many apologists around the world. Secondly, for patently demonstrating that the Cuban dictatorship is absolutely deprived of arguments. For a man that challenges his wife's official attackers to a verbal duel, only to be dealt with more State-sanctioned violence, is testament that everything critics have said about that regime is, in fact, true.

Yoani said to me once that the Castro regime just didn't know how to deal with her. By repeatedly prohibiting Yoani to travel and upping violence against her,  the totalitarian thugs that run Cuba have demonstrated, time and again, a pathetic lack of imagination and creativity at dealing with a citizen, who's intelligent and brave enough to expose their turpitude and barbarism. Now Reinaldo has, forcefully, joined the fray, only to cause reactions that provide even more evidence that civilised debate, human, civil and political rights are simply non existent in Cuba.

With their actions, Reinaldo and Yoani have demonstrated, in a matter of days, the amorality of Fidel Castro, his regime and his legion of sycophants around the world. That would include the UN representatives of 187 nations, that voted recently against the embargo, while not daring to utter a peep about the atrocious human rights situation in Cuba. Their silence is deafening.

19.11.09

Venezuela: Chavez to change GDP measure methodology

Do readers remember the article by Andres Oppenheimer, in October 2005, where he exposed that Venezuela's Statistics Institute managed to decrease poverty levels, after President Hugo Chavez publicly blasted a report that showed a poverty increase of 11% since his ascent to power in 1999? The article was aptly entitled "¿Un milagro en Venezuela?" A true miracle indeed, for Chavez thinks he has the power to order poverty levels to decrease.

Now the Venezuelan caudillo wants to apply the same socialist formula to GDP measurement methodology, after the Central Bank published figures indicating that the country is, officially, in recession, with a GDP contraction of 4,5% in the last quarter. Here's an interesting bit of information, from Goldman Sachs' analyst Alberto Ramos:

The performance of real activity economy continues to deteriorate and the economy is developing growing symptoms of Dutch Disease (atrophy on non-commodity tradable sectors of the economy) and stagflation (inflation continues to accelerate despite the contraction of the economy during 2009). Real GDP declined a larger than expected 4.5% yoy during 3Q2009 (down from -2.4% yoy during 2Q2009); the market consensus was for a decline between -2.0% and -1.0%.. The very poor performance of real GDP during 3Q was driven the large 10.7% yoy decline in domestic demand. Private consumption declined -4.8% yoy during 3Q (from -2.6% yoy during 2Q), and investment spending retrenched a large -14.5% yoy (from -2.8% yoy during 2Q). Public consumption grew 2.6% yoy during 3Q. Private consumption spending continues to slow down as entrenched inflation (core inflation is running above 36% yoy) is eroding real disposable income and credit growth is decelerating fast while investment has been impaired by a business unfriendly policy mix.
Therefore expect a flurry of 'economic analyses' from Mark Weisbrot, and other such apologists, and, certainly, a blast of statements from Chavez and his top minions officials.

17.11.09

Venezuela’s corruption level equal to war-torn nations


The BBC carries today an interesting article about worldwide corruption levels, entitled “War-torn nations ‘most corrupt‘” Venezuela is not officially at war, yet, though Hugo Chavez seems keen on taking the country down that path. As far as corruption is concerned Venezuela, has achieved the distinction of being in the same league as Africa’s most backward nations.

But if one were to take murder rates, largely unpunished owing to a totally useless and careless State that profits from it, then Chavez-land is in a league of its own, not only among war-torn nations, but among any other type. After all, Caracas was defined as the capital murder of the world.

15.11.09

US DoS examining Hugo Chavez's diplomats

Well, well. It seems that, at last, US media and authorities are catching up with some indisputable facts about Hugo Chavez's diplomats in the USA. The Miami Herald reports today that Martin Sanchez, Venezuela's Consul in San Francisco (previously in Chicago), has drawn the attention of the US State Department, for his link to Aporrea.org, a site he created in 2003, that regularly publishes antisemitic views, and has called supporters of Hugo Chavez to identify, challenge and denounce in public Venezuelan Jews.

But there's more about Sanchez. As I relayed to Ed Lasky from the American Thinker, there is no evidence in Venezuelan Official Gazette (where diplomatic appointments need be published to become legal) of Martin Sanchez having been appointed as Consul in Chicago, or in San Francisco. Therefore on what visa is he in the US, on a tourist visa or on a diplomatic one? If on a diplomatic one, and considering that there is no evidence confirming him as such in Venezuela's official gazette, isn't that misrepresentation?

This is of course no news to me, for I have been reporting about Martin Sanchez meteoric rise since, erm, November 2004. That's five years ago, so there's no point in rehashing old news. However, now that US authorities have been alerted by the Anti-Defamation League, it would be worth mentioning another apologist of Hugo Chavez, colleague of Martin Sanchez in Venezuelanalysis.com, married to Chavez's Consul in New York city, and involved in spreading the chavista gospel in US academia: Gregory Wilpert, a.k.a Greg Wilpert. Wilpert was seen very close to Noam Chomsky, during his last visit to Venezuela, and was instrumental in the propaganda letter sent by academics-for-Chavez to Human Rights Watch. Wilpert, a German-American, and probably Venezuelan, national, is very active in the distribution of propaganda in the US, yet he is not registered with the Foreign Agent Registration Unit of the US Department of Justice, as he should.

Wilpert has also misrepresented himself in communications with Human Rights Watch. Ernesto Mora, Media Relations Manager of Brooklyn College, in reply to my questioning about Wilpert's credentials replied in August:
Alek, We are in receipt of your email requesting more information on Prof. Gregory Wilpert. Professor Wilpert does not work at the Brooklyn College campus but for the Worker Education program.
This was confirmed by Professor and Chairperson Sally Bermanzhon, who wrote also in August:
Gregory Wilpert was hired in spring 2008 as an adjunct at the Grad Ctr for Worker Education located at 25 Broadway in Manhattan.
So then again, as in the case of fraudster Eva Golinger, we see how chavista agents lie about their credentials, and act with absolute freedom and impunity, while in clear violation to US legislation.

Update 26 November 2009: Gregory Wilpert has written to let me, and my readers, know that he has not misrepresented himself. His 'clarification' follows:
Just to let you and your readers know: To say that I work for Brooklyn College is not a misrepresentation. The Graduate Center for Worker Education is a part of Brooklyn College. My department chair is Sally Bermazohn, of BC's department of Political Science. The people you spoke to merely clarified that the physical location where I teach is not in the Brooklyn College campus, but I am still am employee of CUNY's Brooklyn College. The only reason I do not provide the full name of where I teach is that it's awfully long: Brooklyn College's Graduate Center for Worker Education.
Frankly, I don't know where to begin. Gregory Wilpert is yet to admit that he is married to a chavista official (Carol Delgado de Wilpert, Hugo Chavez's Consul in NY). Gregory Wilpert is yet to admit that he edits a website created by a chavista official (Martin Sanchez, Hugo Chavez Consul in San Francisco, formerly in Chicago). Gregory Wilpert is yet to admit that said website is funded with Venezuelan public money. Gregory Wilpert is yet to admit that he acts as a propaganda agent for Hugo Chavez in US soil. Gregory Wilpert is yet to admit that every single one of his opinions, with regards to Venezuela, is compromised by his marital and professional relations.

Gregory Wilpert wrote to me once saying he was doing what he did "because he believed in it". At my repeated questioning of his true motives, he is a German-American after all, he kept mum about his personal and professional relations with the Chavez regime. That to me is indicative of utter intellectual dishonesty. Besides, I still fail to understand why is it so difficult for these bloody advocates of Chavez to admit their relations to their paymaster, lest of course to maintain a pretence of independence and individuality in order to lend credibility to their propaganda. Were HRW to receive a letter from a bunch of people that, having no official relation to Chavez, are protesting a report that exposes the gross human rights violations that take place in Venezuela, it would surely address it on its merits, as it has done. But that wasn't a letter written out of genuine concern, it was a concerted effort led by propaganda agents, such as Gregory Wilpert, similar to the many instances whereby "upset readers" would write letters to editors of media outlets to criticise coverage, when in fact it was a response to emails sent from the Venezuela Information Office to its "rapid action" team, instructing to do so.

These people are very vocal in their support, but they will deny to the death, unless evidence pops up, that they are in any manner related to Hugo Chavez's regime. This has been the case with Eva Golinger, Michael Shellenberger and his sidekick Ted Norhaus, Roy Carson, Eric Wingerter and all of the propagandists of the now defunct Venezuela Information Office, Ken Livingstone (until evidence emerged that he was working as a consultant for Hugo Chavez), Calvin Tucker, Mark Weisbrot, Joe Kennedy, Sean Penn (until he admitted that he traveled around in PDVSA planes), mind you, all of them deny having anything to do with Chavez, yet the evidence shows that they have all, in one way or another, benefitted from Venezuelan taxpayers money, be it plane rides, salaries, expenses-paid trips, hospitality, funds, donations, energy deals, publishing, publicity, etc.

Is it fear to demonstrate friendship, admiration, and support to a man that calls terrorist Carlos The Jackal a national hero? Is it fear to the maxim "guilty by association" or "tell me who your friends are..."? Do these people dread the conclusions that any rational individual would arrive at, upon discovering their fanaticism about a warmongering, militaristic dictator that supports and befriends terrorists and rogues, has run Venezuela to the ground, and takes his cues from one of the world's most brutal dictators?

14.11.09

¿Se ira Mambrú a la guerra?

El domingo pasado, el residente de Miraflores profirió una de esas frases que quedan para la historia. No se le ocurrió nada mejor que ordenarle a los venezolanos, ya que el no pide nada por favor, que se prepararan para la guerra. Yo, que estoy bien lejos del teatro de operaciones, pensé “a este tipo se le volaron los tapones”.

Pero vino el lunes, y los medios de comunicación citaron la perla de Chavez, a nivel mundial. Este otro ejemplo de incontinencia verbal, es la razón por la cual no hay cantidad de dinero, ni de talento, suficiente en el mundo como para manipular, o cambiar, la percepción generalizada de la opinión publica mundial sobre el teniente coronel. Es decir, sus apólogos podrán argüir lo que se les ocurra, lo cual produce una reacción aun mas negativa en la gente pensante, por cuanto quien haya escuchado a un Chavez enardecido, ante las masas portables, enunciar “prepárense para la guerra!”, para luego leer, o escuchar, a una Eva Golinger cualquiera decir “el presidente Chavez nunca ha dicho tal cosa, lo que sucede es que la revolución bolivariana es objeto de ataques constantes por parte de los sectores de la oligarquía mundial, que quieren apoderarse de nuestras riquezas minerales, y someter al pueblo al yugo opres...”, a la única conclusión a la que se puede arribar es: Chavez es un megalómano galopante, y sus apólogos creen que la población mundial esta compuesta por sordos, imbéciles, en suma, gente que no puede pensar e interpretar por si misma. Doble strike para la revolución.

Pero vino el martes, y me cuentan que a los empleados públicos en Venezuela los hicieron firmar una planilla, la cual los obliga a acudir al llamado a la guerra, cuando este suceda. La guerra, me cuentan, esta representada por “ataques a la soberanía, instituciones e instalaciones” de Venezuela. Esto significa, para quien escribe, que en el momento que al presidente, en su suprema e infalible discrecionalidad, se le ocurra definir cualquier acto, para él anormal, como un “ataque a la soberanía, instituciones e instalaciones”, dianas sonaran en todos los ministerios, notarias, oficinas publicas, escuelas y universidades bolivarianas, etc. Quieran los babalaos que no se atreviesen taxistas en la autopista regional del centro esta vez, para que los batallones de empleados públicos del ejercito liberador puedan llegar raudos a la frontera.

En el interim, Uribe sigue jugando con Chavez, cual marionetista. A mas diarrea verbal presidencial, mas inobjetable el argumento de que Chavez, es un desequilibrado, que lo que necesita es ayuda psiquiátrica. Ya no le basta con apoyar financiera y logísticamente a la narco guerrilla, en su cruzada terrorista en contra del estado colombiano. Ahora, ademas, quiere poner carne de cañon venezolana en la parrilla.

¿Se ira Mambrú a la guerra, o se quedara escondido debajo de algún escritorio, como cuando “dirigió” el golpe desde el Museo Militar? ¿Lo seguirán las tropas de chavistas en su cruzada? Yo lo que creo es que el discurso de Chavez lo que esta logrando es la unión de los venezolanos, en la absoluta convicción de que estamos próximos al llegadero, y el residente de Miraflores lo que está es loco.

11.11.09

The NYT gets useless Hugo Chavez

Interesting Article today in the NYT by Simon Romero. I particularly liked the lede:

CARACAS, Venezuela — This country may be an energy colossus, with the largest conventional oil reserves outside the Middle East and one of the world’s mightiest hydroelectric systems, but that has not prevented it from enduring serious electricity and water shortages that seem only to be getting worse.
That's what a country gets when 21st century socialism sits in: a permanent blackout.

UNGOOGLE: Servicios de Optimización para Motores de Búsqueda (S.E.O) y Reputación en Línea


Los servicios de Optimización para Motores de Búsqueda (S.E.O) y manejo de Reputación en Línea, aunque poco conocidos en la red en nuestro idioma, llevan varios años funcionando. Este método, que básicamente consiste en alimentar, agregar, contenido a la red sobre ciertas palabras claves (keywords), o sus combinaciones, es una industria en franco proceso de expansión. El buscador Google recientemente admitió la existencia de este método, e incluso ha provisto algunos consejos sobre cómo contrarrestar lo que podría determinarse como publicidad negativa.

Cada vez mas empleadores, consumidores y público en general utiliza Google para buscar información, y lo que no aparezca en las dos primeras páginas es como si no existiese. De nada vale tener un producto de calidad, u ofertar un servicio excelente, si es difícil encontrarlo en la red.

En ungoogle.net hemos acumulado años de experiencia, y poseemos una probada trayectoria en la colocación de portales en la primera pagina de los motores de búsqueda mas utilizados. Por ello ofrecemos a individuos, empresas y organizaciones, servicios de asesoría y consultoría en las áreas del manejo de reputación en línea y optimización. Ofrecemos soluciones, tanto para mejorar su presencia en línea, como para contrarrestar comentarios y críticas negativas, que no siempre siendo ciertas, pueden desalentar potenciales clientes, empleadores, etc.

Contáctenos por el correo ungoogle @ ungoogle.net y obtenga un estimado de nuestros servicios.

10.11.09

UNGOOGLE: ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT SERVICES


For some years, we have been aware of the existence of online reputation management techniques. This method, which is basically playing Google to get online content in first page results, is an underdeveloped field. Google recently came out of the woods and admitted the existence of it, providing a few tips on how to counter what could be termed as "bad press." Drawing on years of experience, and having a demonstrably successful track record in achieving first page results in keyword categories, UNGOOGLE offers online reputation management services at affordable cost. There are companies out there that guarantee complete removal of negative content from search results. This, we have found, is not possible, unless your name is Larry Page or Sergey Brin.


More and more people, and employers, are using Google as a source of information on individuals, companies and products. Therefore we offer competitive rates, and bespoke solutions, to get off the first page unwanted results. We know how to and can prove it. Contact us at ungoogle at ungoogle dot net, or through this blog, to get a free quote.

8.11.09

Yoani contra la barbarie


La ultima vez que visite el Alcatraz antillano, tuve la fortuna de conocer y departir brevemente con Yoani Sanchez. Cogimos la guagua y nos presentamos en su casa, así no mas. Recuerdo que el dial del ascensor de su edificio tiene dos números 5, dos 10, y el botón del 11 lo lleva a uno al piso 13. Allí estaba, tranquila, haciendo cosas varias. No nos invitó a pasar pues estaban reparando algo en su apartamento, así que nos fuimos a un lugar cercano a conversar. Su esposo, el también escritor Reinaldo Escobar, nos acompañó. Honestamente tenia muchas ganas de conocer a Yoani. Había leído mucho sobre ella, y, en cierto sentido, me identifique con su causa desde un principio, habiendo sufrido en carne propia ataques de los esbirros del régimen chavista.

Yoani es una joven madre. La imagen que me lleve de ella fue la de una mujer comedida, justa, paciente, valiente, emprendedora, inteligente, espiritual, en suma una mujer a quien nunca definiría como una amenaza, en una sociedad verdaderamente libre y democrática. Lamentablemente ese no es el caso de Cuba, por mucho que los burócratas de las Naciones Unidas, Zapatero y sus ministros, y los apólogos del comunismo la definan como tal. No. Cuba es un infierno en medio del trópico. Cuba es un lugar donde la pobreza es tal que la propia vida pertenece al estado. Y en lugares como Cuba, donde la barbarie impera campante, es donde seres pensantes, como Yoani, representan una amenaza, por que piensa, por que cuestiona, por que utiliza su libre albedrío e intelecto para lo que es, y no para idear maneras de comer mas mierda comunista, o para anotarse puntos contra aquellos que difieren de ella políticamente.

Por ello los segurosos, siguiendo ordenes superiores, la arrestaron y maltrataron, ya que es lo único que su escaso intelecto les permite hacer. Esos desalmados no entienden de libertad, ni de conciencia. Y difiero de Yoani. No era la bota del comunismo la que oprimía su pecho en el carro placa amarilla donde la metieron a los coñazos. No. Es la bota de lo políticamente correcto, de las Naciones Unidas, de la UNESCO, de la Union Europea, de España, de la diplomacia, de la perfidia, de la falta de humanidad de quienes continúan pretendiendo que Cuba es un estado democrático, de los miles de turistas que van en busca de sexo y de las empresas que se hacen de la vista gorda, de la Iglesia, de la Cruz Roja, de Hollywood, de los EEUU y su irracional embargo, de toda la maldita cofradía de organizaciones de defensa de los derechos humanos que critican la política de EEUU en Guantanamo y no dicen ni pío sobre lo que le sucede a Yoani del otro lado de la cerca.

Yoani no esta sola, pero, tristemente, quienes la acompañamos somos pocos, estamos dispersos y no tenemos poder, salvo el mismo que ella tiene: el de cuestionar y de pensar por nosotros mismos. Alguien que conoció a Fidel Castro me dijo que es un gran orador, que el dictador tiene un don de palabra y de gente excepcional. No obstante me atrevo a decir que Yoani, en condiciones realmente democráticas, que es lo que internet verdaderamente representa, ha sido capaz de someter al escarnio publico al comunismo cubano en su conjunto. Es por ello que la asedian, y continuaran haciéndolo. En este medio, la palabra y los hechos son juzgados en su justa dimensión. Aquí no hay censura. He allí el peligro que Yoani representa. Los que diferimos del aprendiz de Castro hemos sido acusados de terroristas. En Cuba no hay necesidad de esas sutilezas. Allí lo que hay es bota, patada, coñazo, encierro, tortura, miseria, muerte, y carros con placa amarilla que circulan en el lugar de no retorno.

2.11.09

Identidad

Lo bueno de haber estado inmerso en literatura e historia latinoamericana durante el ultimo año, es el haber entendido un poco nuestro origen, como país, como colectivo, y los procesos que se llevaron a cabo en distintas épocas para la creación del concepto de nación y de identidad venezolana. En estos días leía en el blog de Gustavo Coronel un breve recuento de la historia, y difería de su apreciación relativa a Chavez, como el peor accidente de nuestra historia. No es tal, allí esta la crónica para demostrarlo. La antepenúltima vez que el país estuvo regido por un dictador, las cárceles estaban abarrotadas de presos políticos, cuando no eran sencillamente asesinados. Algo similar ocurrió la penúltima.

A principios del siglo pasado sucedieron cosas extraordinarias en el ámbito intelectual. Los artistas plásticos condujeron una suerte de rebelión en 1912, creando lo que se definió como la “Escuela de Caracas”. Los cuadros, hasta entonces grisáceos en medio de tanta luz y color, empezaron a representar el entorno en toda su esplendidez. Pero antes de ese suceso, ya el gran Romulo Gallegos había empezado a darle forma a su critica santosluzardiana, a través de escritos que se publicaban, a pesar de la rígida censura, en el “Cojo Ilustrado”. Pasarían casi 30 años, para que reaccionase el pueblo en contra del dictador, y casi 40 para una transición de poder, calificada por algunos como una farsa. La generación del 28 definió nuestra conciencia democrática, pero, como lo hizo? Quienes participaron? No debemos olvidar los líderes que de allí surgieron, y los logros alcanzados, por cuanto Venezuela contó, quizás, con el único escritor que no solo ha logrado publicar, durante la dictadura, una novela que exhibió al dictador en su dantesca barbarie, en su dañina ignorancia, sino que ademas la misma le valió la admiración, el respeto y las dádivas de quien fuera objeto de la critica.

Pero el espíritu democrático venezolano es debil, y la viveza criolla, devenida en adeca luego en copeyana, kept winning the day, y el país volvió a sufrir los embates de otro dictador. Durante esa, la penultima dictadura, ocurrió nuevamente una revolución intelectual. Como olvidar el “Manifiesto No”, signado en Paris por “Los Disidentes”? Cuanta irreverencia, cuan noble el objetivo! No obstante la lucha emancipadora se llevaba a cabo, paralelamente, en las casas, barrios y calles de Venezuela, y, finalmente, el ultimo dictador andino tuvo que abandonar el poder. La imagen en el ideario común ya no era el conuco, sino el petróleo, y el guiso que lo acompaña. No obstante, cabe recordar al padre de la incipiente democracia, un venezolano ejemplar, del tamaño de las circunstancias, quien dio lecciones magistrales sobre la constitución de los verdaderos demócratas, aquellos que repudian las dictaduras, tanto de derecha como de izquierda.

Se sucedieron 40 años de “democracia”, durante la cual continuó campeando la barbarie, salvo contadas excepciones. Volvimos a fracasar. Nos olvidamos del retrato que dibujaron los lideres de la primera mitad del siglo. Perdimos la identidad. Acaso alguna vez la tuvimos? Nos creímos el cuento de que se puede saltar del conuco al desarrollo con tan solo decretarlo, a punta de petrodólares, así como nos habíamos creído anteriormente que un hombre puede conducirnos de campamento colonial a república, así no mas. Y apareció Chavez, quien es como el pueblo que representa: exótico, bárbaro, ignorante, incivilizado. Y que conste que no soy de los que creen que el dictador postmodernista actual es producto del Caracazo. No. Este espécimen viene de antaño, de mucho mas atrás, de los tiempos de Boves y Bolivar, de la época de la guerra social, de principios de siglo XIX. Este es un Presentación Campos cualquiera.

Luego uno ve, conoce, lee, y escucha a los líderes estudiantiles de esta generación. Y a los líderes políticos. A los Leopoldos, a los Manueles, a los Jorges… A los intelectuales y pensadores, sean editores de tabloides o apólogos. Las comparaciones son odiosas, pero ni el dictador, ni quienes se le oponen, son del tamaño de las circunstancias actuales. Como sociedad, tenemos cuentas pendientes entre nosotros. Llevamos doscientos años tratando infructuosamente de crear una identidad nacional. La nueva versión, sea de uno u otro bando, carece de grandeza, de moral, de ambición, es un pan con ñema, por no decir un tigre, pero por lo hediondo. Este trance no es coyuntural, y lo superaremos si, y solo si, comenzamos a llamar las cosas por su nombre. La imagen en el espejo sigue siendo desconocida, definamosla si aspiramos a una identidad.