28 February 2007

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 February 2007

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 February 2007

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 February 2007

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 February 2007

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 February 2007

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 February 2007

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).