29 November 2005

Electoral troubles in Venezuela: Political Parties withdraw candidates en masse

29.11.05 | All the major political parties have announced withdrawal from the electoral race of next Sunday, in which Venezuelans would choose Assemblymen. Accion Democratica, COPEI, Fuerza Liberal, Polo Democratico, Venezuela de Primera, Movimiento Republicano, Vision Emergente, CausaR and Proyecto Venezuela have made clear that under the present conditions they will not participate in electoral processes. It appears that only Primero Justicia, MAS and Rosales' Nuevo Tiempo are still willing to take part, although Descifrado has reported that Primero Justicia is having second thoughts about participating.

Sources in Caracas are sending shocking reports. Primero Justicia could have reached a pact with the Chavez regime: electoral participation in exchange to exempt party leaders from future prosecution -on treason charges that the regime could present against some of them, in particular against Gerardo Blyde.

OAS representatives trying to force on the political parties some sort of agreement whereby these would not demand electoral authorities, read Jorge Rodriguez, full compliance with current legislation. In their skewed view Sunday's election must take place no matter what. This has angered people so much that a rally to protest their odd behaviour and to demand cease and leave has been organized for tomorrow.

Then USAID representatives are meant to be encouraging some political parties to participate whilst promoting abstention to discourage others.

European observers are dumbfounded not knowing what to do. However the generalised impression is that, in spite of the many irregularities that they have witnessed, they will not take a principled stance on any issue.

Some polls are pointing to an up to 90% abstention level. Accion Democratica, is purportedly the first party to take into account what the base is saying.

Students are reportedly rioting in Merida, Valencia and Barquisimeto. A blogger living near Palo Negro -military air base- reported F-16s taking off.

To conclude with news from officialdom, the CNE cancelled its board meeting of the day and Interior Minister Jessy Chacon has threatened parties saying that regardless of political colours, those seeking to torpedo the elections shall face consequences.

Is Primero Justicia in bed with Chavez?

29.11.05 | Translation of Primero Justicia (PJ): Justice First. Grasp the message behind the name; Justice above all else. In a surprisingly unexpected move major parties Accion Democratica (AD) and COPEI announced yesterday that they were to withdraw their candidates from the Assembly vote to be held on Sunday. PJ yuppies have suddenly become electoral transparency bearers; the scandal produced by the finding that the Smartmatic machines do keep the sequence of the vote was revealed by a PJ technician. In spite of that schocking discovery, PJ continues in the race.

On the other side of the divide we have an Hugo Chavez growing desperate for the latest mishaps of his henchmen. Just to give the most notorious example, the revelation that Jorge Rodriguez much touted electronic voting machines are configured in a way that permits electoral authorities (CNE) to establish the sequence of the vote, that when accompanied, either by fingerprint catching devices or electronic notebooks can, in fact, do away with the secrecy of the vote. Nonetheless it is matter of urgency for Chavez to get the thin veneer of democracy that Sunday's elections will provide. If all parties withdraw from the race, Hugo Chavez won't score democratic points.

To say that the CNE has violated every electoral law in the land is an understatement. The very appointment of the current electoral board was illegal. Venezuelan legislation and rules regulating electoral processes have being systematically impinged, ergo the conditions for the realization of a transparent election are not in place.

Yet, and despite all the irregularities denounced by themselves, Justice (?) First of all parties, continues stubbornly in the race. Hence I ask myself: will Justice (?) First give Chavez another democratic layer? At what cost to Venezuela? Is Justice in bed with Chavez?

Addendum: Sources in Caracas report that the OAS observation mission is trying to get political parties to sign an agreement whereby strict observance to electoral legislation is not demanded, by opposition parties, as condition to participate in Sunday's elections.

Chavez gives Venezuela - USA relations another blow

29.11.05 | Hugo Chavez's spinmeisters love to sing the mantra "Venezuela wants to have the most cordial relations with the USA, based in mutual respect and understanding..." Well, how does the barring a BIPARTISAN US Congressional Delegation, from entering Venezuela, bodes with the aforementioned predicament?

It was not enough, for Chavez, to have orchestrated with Kirchner, riots and the subsequent media attack on Bush in Mar del Plata. Nor it was sufficient for him to call President Fox a "lapdog of the empire" -one has to love the irony in light of the dynamics of the Castro-Chavez marriage... Now the seudo revolutionary pariah has upped the ante by refusing entry to the Hyde-Lantos delegation, that surely was organized in advance by the terribly efficient Bernardo Alvarez Herrera and his VIO boys.

To me this is but another proof of Chavez's evident disregard for diplomacy and friendship, for let us not forget that most of the passengers of that plane simpathise overtly or covertly with the Venezuelan would-be dictator.

Surely, it is to be expected that some stupid airport official will be blamed for this. Or else the barring shall be attributed to some technicality. The fact of the matter is that a country that constantly brags about its intentions to repair relations with another, whilst subjects citizens from the latter to humiliations and harrassment, can not even pretend to be taken seriously. One has to hope that, after this incident, both Republicans and Democrats get to understand the meaning of friendship, according to the chavista abridged dictionary.

23 November 2005

Sao Paolo Forum: the backbone of communism & terrorism spread in Latin America

Aleksander Boyd interviews Olavo de Carvalho

21.11.05 | Recently I had the chance to spend some time with an extraordinary individual. Of Brazilian origin, this university professor, thinker, philosopher and self-made investigative journalist revealed a wholly unknown reality -for me at least- vis-a-vis the nature of the Sao Paolo Forum; its members and its carefully orchestrated political goals. Often one tends to incur in the mistake of judging situations isolatedly, which, according to Olavo de Carvalho, shows not only ignorance but naivete. Aghast with the wealth of knowledge that Olavo commands on Brazilian and regional politics, I intended to unravel through a series of questions the reasons behind the emergence of 'leftist' movements and leaders across Latin America. Olavo's take is factual, radical and very much detached from the usual nonsense that one encounters in the mainstream media. Hopefully readers of this site will find his opinions illuminating, as I did.

- Olavo, you contend that the neocommunist surge in Latin America is not a spontaneous phenomena but rather the result of the successful implementation of strategies devised by Antonio Gramsci. Could you please expand into the philosophical/political underpinnings of Gramsci's methodology?

Gramsci, side by side with the frankfurtians and the Hungarian philosopher Georg Lukacs, is one of the top masterminds of the so-called “cultural marxism”, which is not a school of thought but a bunch of heterogeneous proposals having in common the hate to Western civilization, and the belief that, the cultural war against it, should precede and guide the political fight for socialism. Somewhat cultural marxism is at the same time the apex of marxism and its nemesis. On the one hand, it delivers the marxist thought from the chains of soviet mediocre orthodoxy and provides it with a considerable amount of intellectual sophistication; on the other, it destroys from the inside the marxist doctrine of history, emphasizing the primacy of cultural factors over the economic ones. Economic arguments that occasionaly drop from the mouths of cultural marxists are but lip service they pay to communist tradition, but in the final practical account their inner belief is that “ideas have consequences”. They try to accomplish the practical goals of marxism by means that disavow its theory.

But while the aforementioned authors focused mainly in theoretical issues, Gramsci, who was the founder and leader of the Italian Communist Party, was interested above all in practical results. He created the strategy and the tactics of the “cultural revolution” that should pave the way for the seizure of State power by the communists. The cultural revolution should be a subtle and almost imperceptible transformation of the collective mind, intented to induce everybody to think, to feel and to act according to the tenets of socialism without being consciously socialists. Socialist symbols and values under some other name should be inocculated in the souls of people since early age. Disguised socialist influence should spread to every field of human social existence, including private life and the most intimate feelings. Child care, medicine, psychoterapy, religion and marriage counseling were preferential channels for the transmission of that influence. Christian churches, for instance, should not be criticized, but infiltrated in order to deprive them of their spiritual content and use them as megaphones for communist watchwords. At the same time, disguised communists should occupy all the posts in educational, cultural and media organizations, gradually and carefully expelling their opponents to the last man. Communist ideology should recast all the language of public conversations, in order to provide that every circulating opinion contributes unconsciously to communist-fabricated general results.

The perverted character of the whole scheme is clearly psychopatic, but so much dangerous at that. Gramsci was an admirer of Machiavelli and he believed that the Communist Party should be “The New Prince”, ruling over the whole of society “with the invisible and omnipresent authority of a categoric imperative, of a divine commandment” (sic). Only after acquiring such amount of psychological mastership over society should the Party try to conquer the State, at a time when the very possibility of finding some serious resistence was already eliminated.

- Can we assume that the weak footing upon which parties associated with pro-democracy, rule of law, decentralization and free markets values in the region is but the unconscious resultant of Gramsci's plan?

Of course. The cultural changes affect everyone far beyond the focus of its political beliefs. One may remain a conservative in politics while making so many little concessions in one's language, in one's morals, in one's general cultural outlook, that one's conservatism looses its emotional strenght and its capacity to fight. You may verify it yourself: while communists are free to preach today the same things they preached thirty years ago, with the only difference that they receive ever warmer welcomes in any elegant environment, conservatives that remain faithful to the ideals of Robert Taft or Barry Goldwater are blamed as extremists even by their fellow conservatives.

- To what extent Gramsci's theories resemble those of dictator Fidel Castro?

Fidel Castro comes from a different ideological background. He followed the old leninist strategy of the armed vanguard that seizes power by violence and creates a new society from the top. Only when he hit his head against the wall of limits opposed to the armed revolutionary spreading, in the 70’s, he had the joyful surprise to be informed that many of his fellows from other Communist parties in Latin America were already high in the practice of a new and smarter revolutionary technique. The defeat of the guerrillas was immediately followed by the general adoption of the Gramscian long term strategy, that obviously didn’t renounce to the use of violence but postponed it to a far better occasion. Castro welcomed the new strategy and adapted to it very efficiently. He managed to stop the guerrilla fighting and to make up Latin America communist parties to work along Gramscian guidelines. The reflux of the guerrilla movement was celebrated by almost every non-communist politician, journalist and businessman in Latin America as a sign of the “death of communism”. This mistake was due to the fact that these people cared only for the visible surface of political, military and economic facts, giving little or no attention to deep and large scale transformations in the social and cultural background that was precisely the chosen field for the expansion of communist activity at that time.

To be continued...

17 November 2005

Repercussions of a Chavez stacked Congress in Venezuela

16.11.05 | Very few people, if that, have commented about the repercussions that a Venezuelan National Assembly chocked full of chavistas will have for the region. To date most of the agreements into which Venezuela has entered are illegal for these have not been approved by the Assembly, as mandated in certain cases by the constitution. Article 25 of the chavista constitution reads:

Any act on the part of the Public Power that violates or encroaches upon the rights guaranteed by this Constitution and by law is null and void, and the civil servant/s ordering or implementing said act shall incur criminal, civil and administrative liability, as applicable in each case, with no defense on grounds of having followed the orders of a superior.

Thus, were Venezuela a functioning democracy, it would be perfectly legal, constitutional and easy, to nullify agreements, pacts, contracts or any other deal made to date by Hugo Chavez that are pernicious to the country. That, of course, is not the case for Hugo Chavez controls at will the oil income, the country's resources and all the branches of power are subjugated to his communist and stateless agenda. Instances whereby Chavez's dealmaking have been detrimental to our national interests are the purchase of bad debt from Argentina; the giving away oil-for-political-will; the arms build up, the alliance with the longest dictatorship of the Americas, the funding of revolutionary/terrorist movements across Latin America, etc. Taking the aforementioned into account, it came as a surprise that some of the beneficiaries of Chavez's largesse had not expressed the slightest desire to join his 'Bolivarian' alternative for the Americas. Furthermore, 28 COUNTRIES OUT OF 34 showed him the finger recently in Mar del Plata summit and buried his little revolutionary plan. What an ass and what a waste of our monies/resources.

Given that Fox from Mexico pitched hardball -offering to build refineries, electricity and gas networks in Central America- and led the pack of countries willing to continue negotiating the FTAA, Chavez -who lacked the courage to confront Fox when he was sitting right behind him in Mar del Plata- waited to get to Caracas to start insulting his Mexican counterpart. So typical Chavez... Fortunately Mexico behaved as any proud and sovereign nation would have done; recalled its ambassador to Venezuela, kicked the interventionist chavista Vladimir Villegas out of the country and its president said that the issue was closed. The best strategy, by far, to deal with neocommunist thugs like Chavez is simply to ignore their provocations, for it kills their ego.

Nevertheless Venezuela under Chavez advances inexorably to the next elections on December 4. Some weeks ago I heard straight from the electoral boss' mouth, aka Jorge Rodriguez, that cum 2006 all elections to be had in Venezuela will be completely independent from the technological point of view. During his speech in the Biometric's conference he mentioned repeatedly the "10 million" figure, which one has to assume will be the total number of voters in future elections to be divided between chavista and opposition forces. The chavista-controlled electoral council will not need to rig any election after the ruling by the Supreme Court in favour of the "Morochas" (slates). The historic sentence gave Chavez's MVR party the chance to present candidates uninominally and his parallel party UVE to fill slates. As a chavista sycophant put it "The MVR-UVE “twin” enabled pro-Chavez forces to win more seats than if voters had just voted for the MVR because winning MVR candidates would have counted against the proportional vote the party obtained. By running individual candidates on a different party ticket, pro-Chavez forces were able to win more seats than they otherwise would have."

It is a given that Chavez will win the 2/3 majority he needs to ammend all sorts of laws without too much of a hassle. Once that's achieved changes to the constitution ought to be expected, especially the striking of article 350:

The people of Venezuela, true to their republican tradition and their struggle for independence, peace and freedom, shall disown any regime, legislation or authority that violates democratic values, principles and guarantees or encroaches upon human rights.

Any regime, legislation or authority that violates democratic values, principles and guarantees or encroaches upon human rights? Isn't that a definition of the Chavez regime? In any case the repercussions for the region will be dire for from January onwards all revolutionary acts shall have the 'democratic' approval of the 'elected' lackeys of Hugo Chavez. There is gossip that the Venezuela-Cuba federation tops the legislative agenda. Chavez's power and control will grow exponentially; any resemblance to accountability shall perish. Venezuelan oil money will flood the terrorist and revolutionary movements of the continent. Drug trafficking will be bolstered. Expect an influx of undesirable elements -read terrorists- to land in the country -or be given Venezuelan citizenship as is often the case- to get provisioned and sent to other countries armed to the teeth. In sum, democracies in Latin America will be dealt with a tremendous blow on December 4th 2005, which some of them shall not withstand. 500+ million people will suffer the consequences of Hugo Chavez's megalomania.

Senator Dick Lugar referred recently to the country as "unreliable suppliers such as Venezuela" (sic). The term unreliable, an understatement, need be applied not only to energy issues but to democratic ones.