8.12.11

Teodoro Petkoff propone y Capriles Radonsky dispone

Debo reconocer que Teodoro Petkoff nunca ha sido santo de mi devoción. Debe ser por la predisposición natural que tengo para con gente que alcanza la madurez intelectual después de los 45 años. En cualquier caso, Teodoro es un ídolo en algunos círculos de la sociedad venezolana. Y ahora es dizque uno de los pensadores más influyentes de habla hispana. Presumo que si el imbécil de  Noam Chomsky puede ser considerado como el intelectual más influyente del mundo, pues Petkoff bien puede ser considerado como tal en Latinoamérica. El ex guerrillero es, para los que se las dan de eruditos y de 'progres', el equivalente de Chavez en este lado del espectro; es decir, el infalible, el que no yerra, el supremo iluminado.

No es de extrañar entonces que Teodoro, y su publicación Tal Cual en la cual el  Michu Capriles tiene intereses, anda dictando pauta a Henrique Capriles Radonski, primo del último, y por lo que parece candidato preferido del anterior. Teodoro ha publicado en su diario algunos artículos criticando, cuando no mofandose de, las acciones en La Haya de otro de los aspirantes que compiten en las primarias: Diego Arria.

Henrique Capriles Radonski, cual disciplinado alumno, se aprendió la cartilla, y en el ultimo encuentro -que no debate- de candidatos solto una perla que fue inmediatamente recogida por quienes lo ven como la gran esperanza blanca. Dijo, palabras más o menos, que la labor de un presidente no es la de meter preso a nadie. Quisiera que Capriles Radonsky, o quienes le soplan al oído, nos dijesen cuando y donde fue que Arria dijo que metería preso a Chavez.

No obstante, no temo equivocarme al afirmar que la labor de un aspirante a presidente tampoco es la de ser un irresponsable.

La labor de un presidente, desde luego que no es la de meter preso a nadie. Eso corresponde a tribunales competentes e independientes. Ya que estos no existen en Venezuela, los venezolanos se ven en la desgraciada necesidad de ir a buscar justicia en otros lados, como por ejemplo ha hecho Leopoldo Lopez.

La labor de un presidente debe ser, ante todas las cosas, cumplir y hacer cumplir la constitución y la ley. Tal lo dicta la actual constitución (art. 236, sección 1a), en lo que respecta a las atribuciones del presidente.

La labor de un presidente no puede ser la de hacer un esfuerzo frio y calculado de ignorar a las miles de víctimas de violaciones a los derechos humanos, civiles y políticos en Venezuela.

La labor de un presidente no puede ser la de pretender que los problemas del país van a desaparecer, como por arte de magia, luego de una elección presidencial. Eso lo pueden pensar solamente los adolescentes, es decir, los imberbes que quieren ser mas populistas que Chavez.

La labor de un presidente que ha de encontrarse con un innumerable cúmulo de problemas incluso antes de llegar a la presidencia, si es que éste está bien asesorado por la 'intelectualidad', no puede ser adoptar una política absurda e impracticable de borrón y cuenta nueva. Por el contrario, en muchas de las resoluciones de conflictos internacionales que se conocen, y en algunas en las que ha participado Arria a diferencia de quienes opinan sobre sus acciones en la Haya, puede observarse que una de las primeras condiciones para el restablecimiento de una paz duradera es que los culpables directos de crímenes oprobiosos paguen por lo que han hecho. Como bien dice Arria, no es venganza, es justicia. Ya los tribunales determinaran culpabilidad.

Miles de familias venezolanas han sufrido atropellos en los ultimos 12 años. Es irresponsable decirle a estos miles de familias que se olviden de buscar justicia, como pretende hacer Capriles, y como desean los dizque intelectuales que han abogado dicha posición. Es irresponsable decirle a estas familias que la justicia es algo que puede negociarse, según deseos electorales y ambiciones políticas. Si Capriles Radonski, y quienes le asesoran, desean perdonar, a titulo personal, las acciones que el régimen chavista pudo haber cometido en su contra, ello es entera y exclusivamente una decisión individual y muy personal. Cada quien enfrenta las desgracias de forma distinta, y es irracional esperar que todas las víctimas del chavismo, o sus familiares, se resignen a que en la nueva Venezuela, esa que desea dirigir Capriles, habremos de convivir con asesinos, terroristas, ladrones, y corruptos. Como si no hubiese pasado nada.

Sin justicia no hay paz, y sin paz no hay reconciliación posible. Eso lo deberian saber los intelectuales de pacotilla, como Petkoff y sus admiradores. Irónicamente, Petkoff también es lo que puede calificarse como un "dinosaurio de la cuarta república", esa que tanto detestan los 'progres'. Desde luego que yo no voy a darle mi voto a Capriles Radonsky si éste gana las primarias. Prefiero votar por Chavez, a ver si en los próximos seis años les llega la madurez a algunos de los pusilánimes adolescentes que están compitiendo en las primarias.

2.12.11

Maldonado to stay in Williams F1, PDVSA threatening Congressman Carlos Ramos?

"Money talks and bullshit walks" goes the saying. Sir Frank Williams is quoted by BBC as having said "Pastor has proven he is not only quick but can also maintain a consistent and strong race pace..." Fair enough, some may say. However, it would have been interesting indeed to hear Williams' opinion regarding Maldonado had he not come to his team with a multimillion pound sponsorship deal from PDVSA. More interesting still would be to see whether Williams keeps Maldonado, in the event that sponsorship money from PDVSA suddenly dries. That's what we were expecting, following investigation into the deal, and questioning from Venezuelan Congressman Carlos Ramos. Alas is not going to happen. Por ahora...

In recent communication Congressman Ramos told me that he wasn't going to reply to Claire Williams' email, in which she claimed that all Williams deals with its partners were subject to confidentiality clauses that prevented from commenting in public about them, and therefore no copy of contract will be sent to Congressman Ramos, and no information about payments disbursed to date by PDVSA will be shared. Ms Williams' preposterous argument could have been easily tackled by Congressman Ramos. In fact, while jointly preparing the reply to Williams that will never be sent, Congressman Ramos mentioned articles 154, 222, 223 and 314 of Venezuela's Constitution, which invalidates any claim to confidentiality argued by Williams. Simply put, any contract entered into by PDVSA is subject to approval, first by its board, and then by Congress. The reason being, PDVSA is fully owned by the Venezuelan State, and its budget needs to be approved by its board and by its sole shareholder. PDVSA can not agree to confidentiality clauses. Period.

But someone must have called Congressman Ramos. Or worse, perhaps someone threatened him, or his family. Just after Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo, I communicated with Congressman Ramos to ask when would he sign and send me reply letter for Williams. And this is what he said:

I can't be seen as an anti-sport Congressman... The fight is against corruption, I can't make it personal against Pastor... Chavistas are manipulating this... I am frontal against corruption but we need public support for this... In Venezuela we risk everything...

Enclosed the letter that Congressman Ramos would have sent to Williams F1, but didn't because of pressure, threats, political reasons, or all of the above.

Dear Ms Williams,

I thank you for your prompt reply to my communication, with respect to the contract between PDVSA and the Williams F1 Team.

Your reply, however, suggests that William F1 has not done sufficient due diligence on Venezuela’s legislation regarding public expenditure.

As you know, PDVSA is an oil conglomerate, fully owned by the Venezuelan State. Given that PDVSA is the largest contributor of fiscal revenues to the Venezuelan State, its budget needs to be approved by its board and its sole shareholder - the State, on a yearly basis. The amount, and general expenditure, of PDVSA's budget is, as a matter of law, public matter. Ergo, Venezuela's Congress receives, once a year, a detailed account of PDVSA's expenditure, for one very important reason: monies earned by PDVSA in the course of its natural business operations belong to and support the State.

Sponsoring a F1 racing team is most definitely not a priority expenditure for an entity that can derive NO commercial benefit from such capricious outlay. Bear  in mind that PDVSA is not a commercial brand, and that it sells nothing to consumers with its brand - now painted in various places on your race cars.  The financial situation of the Williams Formula 1 team is probably a matter of great concern to its owners, employees, and commercial sponsors. However, there is no acceptable  explanation as per why 28 million Venezuelans have to foot the bill, to simply help Williams survive. I understand why you would take money from anyone, though it is impossible for me to explain, to my constituents and countrymen, why on earth we are wasting money on your team. That all of this is done by a government that calls itself socialist, a government which has destroyed much of the private sector in my country, and has demonised the practices of capitalism, is even more ironic and perplexing.

Article 154 of Venezuela's Constitution: “Treaties agreed to by the Republic must be approved by the National Assembly prior to their ratification by the President of the Republic, with the exception of those which seek to perform or perfect pre-existing obligations of the Republic, apply principles expressly recognised by the Republic, perform ordinary acts in international relations or exercise powers expressly vested by law in the National Executive.”

Article 222 of Venezuela's Constitution: “The National Assembly shall be empowered to exercise its control function by means of the following mechanisms: parliamentary questions, investigations, questions, authorisations and parliament's approvals as provided for in this Constitution and by law, and any other mechanism that may be established by laws and their associated Regulations. In exercising parliamentary control, the National Assembly shall have the power to make a finding of political liability on the part of public officials and call on Citizen Power to initiate the appropriate action to enforce such liability.”

Article 223 of Venezuela's Constitution: “The Assembly or its Committees shall have the power to conduct such investigations as they may deem appropriate in matters within their competence, in accordance with the Regulations. All public officials are obligated, subject to the penalties established by law, to appear before such Committees and provide the same with any information and documents they may require in order to carry out their functions. Private citizens are also subject to this obligation, without prejudice to the rights and guarantees embodied in this Constitution.”

Article 314 of Venezuela's Constitution: "No expense of any kind shall be disbursed unless the same has been provided for in the budget law. Additional budget credit items may be ordered to cover essential unforeseen expenses or items that had not been adequately funded, only if the treasury has resources to cover the expenditure concerned; this shall be done only following a vote in favor by the Cabinet of Ministers and authorisation by the National Assembly, or in its absence, by the Delegated Committee."

The Venezuelan Congress was not informed, according to law, of the sponsorship contract between Williams F1 Team and PDVSA. Neither in 2010, nor in 2011, was the Venezuelan Congress informed by PDVSA of such expenditure within its budget. This is clearly our problem, as it further underlines the institutional collapse of our society. The loss of independence of the Legislative Branch, and the repeated violation of the law on the part of the Executive Branch, are the hallmarks of the so called “Bolivarian Revolution” you have so joyfully tied your team’s future to.

Therefore, I can not, and will not, accept your argument of confidentiality. What we would expect from any and all counter-parties to a public contract in Venezuela, is that they would seek, and demand, that all legal steps be cleared, and maximum transparency be ensured. Your failure to demand this from PDVSA, coupled with  your unwillingness to facilitate the work of the National Assembly, makes Williams F1 Team complicit of unauthorised spending, and so from this moment on that is exactly they way I intend to treat Williams F1 Team, unless, of course, you change your absurd position and start collaborating.

Until proven otherwise, we will continue to have the suspicion that irregular payments are an integral part of this ruinous contract, as they have become the norm in almost all public contracts signed by the Chavez administration. Rest assured that the contract between Williams F1 Team and PDVSA will not remain confidential, we will not stop investigating this matter, and we will seek any and all means to terminate this contract. Equally, we will ensure that Venezuelan public monies no longer get wasted in such fickle and unproductive sponsorship.

To conclude, I would like to respectfully request that you reconsider your position and manner of replies, while I reiterate my request for: 1) a copy of the original contract; 2) monies disbursed to date by PDVSA; 3) evidence of payments to date by PDVSA; and I add 4) the names of all PDVSA or Venezuelan government officials that have obtained from, or through, Williams F1 Team, VIP treatment and box passes for races in the 2011 F1 season.

Sincerely yours,

Congressman Carlos Ramos
Caracas 18 November 2011

30.11.11

Corruption & Hugo Chavez: the cancer of Venezuela

*UPDATE at bottom. Lately, information coming out of Venezuela confirms that officials from the Hugo Chavez regime are totally unaccountable, above the law for all practical purposes. It sort of started when Congressman Carlos Ramos revealed there was a $29 billion fiscal hole in FONDEN, which is basically an out-of-budget fund that Hugo Chavez uses with absolute discretion to fund his pet projects and global revolution. In what has become known as the FONDEN papers, fellow blogger Miguel Octavio has delved more and more into the details of the dodgy fund.

In the meantime we have been treated to information about much smaller, but equally scandalous, expenditure. For example, a contract to provide to the Chavez regime electronic IDs, worth some $40 million, between Gemalto, a French public company with ADRs traded over in the USA, and a totally unknown Cuban briefcase-company called ALBET, which is meant to be some sort of subsidiary of Cuba's "university of technology" UCI. In this respect, Congressman Ramos also picked up the story, and decided to investigate a little.

Then, there's the sponsorship contract between PDVSA and Williams F1 team. In this instance, the amounts are believed to be between £110.5 million and £154.7 million (over 5 years). Again we find Congressman Ramos -it seems he is about the only elected official in Venezuela concerned about corruption- questioning the legality of this contract.

More recently though, copy of contract between China and Venezuela -to increase amount of a fund aptly called Chinese fund- has also been leaked. As Miguel reports, if what's stated in the documents is to be taken at face value, Venezuela, or rather Hugo Chavez acting unilaterally and without Congress' approval, wants to borrow $116 billion from China. In Miguel's own words:
The Republic borrows US$ 20.8 billion from the Chinese. PDVSA “pays” for this loan to the tune of US$ 15.7 billion per year, clearly an inordinate amount of money for the loan received. The Chinese collect interest and capital and any “excess”, of which there is a lot, returns to the Government, not to PDVSA, via parallel funds, which bypass the controls and approvals of Venezuelan Laws.
It's hundreds of millions here, thousands of billions there, maddening figures. Had these amounts of public money been put to legally intended use, Venezuelans, all 26 million of them, would most definitely be laughing any mention of crisis or capitalism failure. For it must be borne in mind: all these borrowing and spending without oversight, circumventing laws and Congress through dodgy funds and paying mechanisms, comes on the back of the highest ever windfall of oil income in the history of Venezuela.

Since Hugo Chavez took power in 1999, Venezuela's debt has mushroomed:

  • Internal debt has gone from 3.8 billion Bs to 83 billion Bs ($31.9 billion, 2010 figures).
  • External debt has gone from $37.7 billion to $54.5 billion (2009 figures).
The above excluding commitments entered into with the Chinese fund as referred above, and in addition to the nearly $2,000 billion estimated GDP since 1999. Some estimates put the combined budget of the Chavez period at about $1,000 billion.

Venezuela has become so corrupted, since Hugo Chavez's ascent to power, that it seems normal now that Nigerian-style scams, whereby officials documents and signatures are forged, are popping in the most unexpected places.

The worrying thing though, is that corruption does not end in Venezuela. Chinese, Russian, Belorussian, Iranian, Cuban, Nicaraguan, Bolivian, Ecuadorian, Colombian, Brazilian, Argentinean, and American authorities are happy to look the over way, so long as deals with the Venezuelan caudillo worths millions or billions can be had. But European countries, such as Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the UK are just as keen, perhaps even keener considering Europe's pathetic economic outlook, to look the other way, violate own anti corruption legislation, and enter into contracts that can't stand a minimum of scrutiny. This behaviour is generalised and widespread in both public and private sectors.

Venezuela is seen, as Libya used to be seen. Chavez is perceived, as Gadaffi used to be. Mad dog and all, there's tremendous potential to make a few billions quickly. And Chavez, in his diminishing existence, is eager to mortgage the future of Venezuela. The sad thing for us is that those who are meant to have higher moral principles, are just as corrupt and corruptible as chavistas.

*UPDATE: Miguel writes in with new debt figures: Venezuela's total debt has gone from $39.5 billion in 2000, to $104.5 billion in 2011.

24.11.11

Update on BCV - Kellmar Ltd / Tony Caplin

The state of play in the alleged transfer, by Venezuela's Central Bank (BCV) of a sovereign bond, worth $2 billion, to Kellmar Ltd and Tony Caplin, is the following.

The president of the BCV, Nelson Merentes, has denied having signed any document to that effect [link]. If Merentes' denial is to be taken at face value, it remains to be seen what legal actions will he, the BCV, and the government of Venezuela undertake, to prosecute Kellmar Ltd and Tony Caplin, for forgery of documents and signatures of Venezuelan government officials, in what could be a rather elaborate scam.

20.11.11

Venezuela: Central Bank transfers $2 billion sovereign bond to Tony Caplin / Kellmar Limited

Daniel writes in to say that I should provide a bit of an explanation for why this should be a scandal. I guess that the reason would be that it is simply not normal for a Central Bank, to transfer free and clear, ownership of a sovereign bond, worth $2 billion, to a recently formed limited company with a share capital of £2,000, managed by an individual (Tony Caplin) who appears as inactive in the Financial Services Authority register.

[Read UPDATE] Some context of actors provided to facilitate further investigations in respective jurisdictions.

Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV): Venezuela's Central Bank [link].

Nelson Merentes: Current President of BCV [link].

Eudomar Tovar: First Vice President of BCV [link].

Kellmar Limited: Isle of Man registered, £2,000 limited company [link].

James Ellwood: Director of Kellmar Ltd [link]. Board member of Momentum Pensions Ltd [link].

Anthony Lindsay Caplin: a.k.a. Tony Caplin [link]. Former Chief Operating Officer of the Conservative Party [link]. Formerly with Panmure Gordon [link]. Director of Kellmar Ltd since 29 March 2011 [link]. Current Chairman of North West London Hospitals NHS Trust [link]. Current member of the Medical Research Council [link]. Current Commissioner of the Public Works Loan Board [link]. Currently inactive -as individual AXC01538 - Anthony Lindsay Caplin- according to the Financial Services Authority register [link].

Ramon Carpio Carvajal: Vice President of International Operations of BCV [link].

Ira D. Pruitt Jr: Attorney for Kellmar Ltd and Tony Caplin [link].

Rosallyn Hazelle: St. Kitts & Nevis Ambassador and Permanent Secretary Industry, Commerce, and Consumer Affairs [link].

Credit Suisse [link].

Sovereign Bond: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, 9.250, 07/05/28, ISIN USP17625AB33, common code 036133678 [link].




























































16.11.11

Venezuela: Congressman Carlos Ramos questions Williams F1

Congressman Carlos Ramos is now turning his attention to Frank Williams' F1 team. PDVSA, the Venezuelan oil State conglomerate, is sponsoring the Williams F1 team. No one in Venezuela -apart from a handful of chavistas- knows how many millions have PDVSA promised and disbursed to Williams F1 team. In any case, according to Venezuelan legislation, no public monies can be committed to any such projects without the approval of the Venezuelan Congress. Neither Hugo Chavez, nor PDVSA, can unilaterally spend public monies without oversight or approval. Therefore the contract between PDVSA and Frank Williams F1 team may well be illegal, as there's no record of the contract ever having been discussed, or approved, by people's representatives in Venezuela's Congress. We shall see whether Williams F1 team replies now, to an official request for a copy of the contract for an ongoing investigation in Venezuela's Congress.

According to previous local reports in Venezuela, starting in 2010, Frank Williams F1 team could have gotten either £110.5 millions, £138.14 millions, or £154.7 millions from PDVSA depending on exposure of PDVSA / Venezuela logos in Williams F1 car and drivers' livery.

Tomorrow, I shall be sending via recorded delivery a copy of this letter to Claire Williams.


UPDATE: copy of Congressman Carlos Ramos letter was received in Williams F1 office in Grove on 18 November, at 08:47, according to Royal Mail.

UPDATE II: Claire Williams has replied to Congressman Ramos' communication, 18 November 2011 16:15:24 GMT. We are preparing a reply, to be posted here soon.

Venezuela: Congressman Carlos Ramos questions Williams F1 - PDVSA contract

14.11.11

Gemalto notified of Venezuelan Congress investigation

The letter from Congressman Carlos Ramos to Isabelle Marand, VP Corporate Coomunications at Gemalto, was delivered to her office in 6 Rue de la Verreine, Meudon, in France, on 7 November 2011, according to La Poste:



Congressman Carlos Ramos is now to seek collaboration from Dutch and French congressmen/women to force an answer from Gemalto, which to this day, has refused to even acknowledge communications sent by Congressman Ramos or myself.

It is evident that this failure / refusal to answer a set of simple questions by whoever is in charge of PR and communications for Gemalto, it would appear to be Ms Marand, is indicative that Gemalto could have something to hide. Given that the company is registered in France and Holland, and the fact that it is a public company, it will be interesting to see whether their alleged operations and earnings in Venezuela, through a fully owned subsidiary in Mexico, are legitimate and have been properly declared.

29.10.11

Congressman Carlos Ramos questions Gemalto

Fortunately, somebody in Venezuela is paying attention to the investigations carried out in this blog. The letter below, from Congressman Carlos Ramos (same one who made public the $29 billion hole in FONDEN), addresses some of the issues about the contract between Gemalto and a dodgy Cuban intermediary without track record, for the provision of electronic IDs to Venezuela. I will make sure that a copy of the letter is received and signed for by Gemalto. Considering that a Venezuelan Congressman is asking the questions, maybe Gemalto will have to answer.
Congressman Carlos Ramos questions Gemalto

21.10.11

Hugo Chavez free of cancer?



Despite his preposterous claims of having gotten rid of a mysterious cancer, presumably at the hands of voodoo Cuban medicine, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez is looking very bad indeed, as this recent picture shows. Chavez appears bloated in the face and behind ears.

The picture tell a different story though. Considering that Chavez, who's been unable to keep any of the promises and declarations he has made in the last 12 years, is the sole source of the late announcement, one can only conclude that declaring himself free of cancer is just another baseless and inaccurate statement of the dictatorial caudillo, and just the contrary may be taking place.

25.9.11

Leopoldo Lopez: Venezuela's Nick Clegg


Yesterday Leopoldo Lopez announced that he will seek to win the opposition primaries, so that he can face Hugo Chavez in October 2012 presidential election. In my opinion, as I wrote earlier in Spanish, Leopoldo has become the king maker, and he definitely has the upper hand, if he plays his cards right. Regardless of what chavismo throws his way. Leopoldo has developed a political platform, that showed some rather impressive numbers in party primaries. He has travelled the country, a la Romulo Betancourt, in the last 2-3 years, and has established (I’ve been told) networks of local support pretty much nationwide. He sits, comfortably, 2nd, 3rd, in polls (not that Venezuelan pollsters can be trusted) despite the fact that he hasn’t held office since 2008.
What Leopoldo needs to do is pact with MUD, the opposition umbrella group of political parties, and throw his lot behind the eventual winner. Making the most of the fact that he still is in political limbo (Chavez's kangaroo courts will ultimately decide whether he can run), but with a binding decision of an international court blowing his sails, he should start campaigning. Ferociously. What are the chavistas going to do, forbid him from campaigning, from travelling up and down the country?
If he wins the primaries, which I doubt, Hugo Chavez loses in October 2012.
If he is not allowed to participate in the primaries, and throws his lot instead behind Henrique Capriles Radonsky, or Pablo Perez , or Maria Corina Machado, or, even turncoat Henri Falcon, Hugo Chavez loses in October 2012.
If he is allowed to participate in the primaries, and comes 2nd, or 3rd, he still has a huge amount of votes, network, political platform and support to lend the winning candidate, Hugo Chavez loses in October 2012.
If, however, caudillo tendency gets the best of him, and he divides the oppo vote, Hugo Chavez will win in October 2012.
So whatever chavismo does, short of assassinating him, he has got, in my opinion, the power to decide who will be the next president of Venezuela.

17.9.11

Si yo fuera Leopoldo...

Tremenda noticia la de ayer. Estaba claro que era sólo cuestión de tiempo para que la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) fallara en favor de Leopoldo. La decisión es de suma importancia. No sólo en Venezuela, donde el régimen tiene esta mañana que agregar cientos de personas a sus listas de enemigos con posibilidad real de quitarles una gobernación, alcaldía, escaño, diputación, etc., en futuras elecciones, sino a nivel hemisférico. La corte ha hecho ilegal la práctica chavista de utilizar las cortes con fines de persecución política. El precedente está sentado. De aquí en adelante, Chavez y sus títeres regionales tendrán o que inventarse otra, o que declararse dictadores para poder pasarse por el forro los dictámenes vinculantes de la CIDH. De aquí en adelante, políticos perseguidos, e ilegalmente inhabilitados, sólo tendrán que citar la decisión del caso López Mendoza Vs Venezuela para demostrar el totalitarismo tapa amarilla de caudillos como Chavez.

Ahora bien, donde las cosas se ponen interesantes es en el panorama local. La decision de ayer es crucial, por cuanto le ha otorgado a Leopoldo una oportunidad histórica, una oportunidad que va a definir el resto de su carrera política. Mientras Chavez deshoja la margarita, y decide mover a su Tribunal Supremo de Justicia de uno u otro modo, Leopoldo representa la pieza clave del triunfo de la oposición en octubre del 2012.

El golpista, y su patrones cubanos, sin duda están cuantificando el "efecto Lopez" en una eventual división de los votos de la oposición. La pregunta que se deben estar planteando es: si gana Henrique Capriles las primarias de la oposición, ¿cuántos votos le quitará Leopoldo a Henrique? La pregunta parte de la premisa de que Leopoldo quiere ser presidente y no declinará su posibilidad en función de una candidatura unitaria, que no sea con él como candidato único. Leopoldo se ha labrado una fama de caudillo. Su paso por PJ y UNT dejaron una cierta indicación de que el tipo no es un "team player", sino alguien convencido de su infalibilidad, bien dispuesto a llevarse por delante lo que sea, y a quien sea, si las cosas no resultan favorables a los objetivos que él pueda tener en determinado momento.

Pero el pasado político de Leopoldo no debe ser un obstáculo en la reinstauración de la democracia en Venezuela. Si yo fuera Leopoldo, éste sería mi plan. Independientemente de lo que Chavez ordene a sus jueces, y, lo más importante, de cuándo los mismos decidan levantar la inhabilitación ilegal, haría un pacto con los candidatos y partidos de oposición. Gane quien gane, si es que mi candidatura no es admitida por el CNE sino hasta después de culminado el proceso de primarias, no dividiría el voto opositor, sino que sumaría los votos que pueda aportar, y mi maquinaria, al candidato/a que gane las primarias. Sea quien sea. Por supuesto que dicha promesa y aporte tendrían que ser debidamente recompensados en una futura administración, sea con el nombramiento de Vice Presidente o cualquier otro cargo de mi escogencia.

La CIDH le ha conferido a Leopoldo el poder de decidir quién será el proximo presidente/a de Venezuela. Leopoldo, y no Chavez, es el nuevo "king maker" en Venezuela. Si sus ansias presidenciales y ego se imponen, es muy probable que Chavez vuelva a ser "electo" por otro periodo de 6 años. La historia, sin duda, castigará tal egoismo en esta hora aciaga. Si, por el contrario, Leopoldo decide sumar sus esfuerzos a restablecer la paz, la democracia, y el estado de derecho en Venezuela, y asegurarse de que quienquiera que represente a la oposición gane las elecciones, sin ninguna duda será presidente de Venezuela, en el 2012, o en el 2018.

Con apenas 40 años de edad, el que está en la mejor posición para estar desojando margaritas no es el comandante presidente precisamente.

6.9.11

Commercial interests keep tyrants in power

One can see them around. They are unmissable. For all their designer jeans, cool shirts, buckle shoes, limited-production watches, matte or white cars and bespoke perfumes, they can't fool anyone. A characteristic tackiness gives them away. Russians, Africans, above all Arabs, Latin-Americans, to a lesser extent Europeans, they are either the architects of tyranny, or its offsprings. Mayfair, Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Belgravia... London's most expensive areas are their playground. They come, and burn the ill acquired riches, the billions stollen from their countries, or made on illicit trades, as if there's no tomorrow. Some people speak about the "unacceptable face of Capitalism", in reference to the financial crisis that continues to affect our world, alas the very same critics of capitalism, and everyone else, are eager to welcome, with open arms, the characters above, and their money. They fall over themselves to accommodate every whim, in a nauseating spectacle solely worthy of contempt. Ask Frank Williams, Ken Livingstone, or some folks at LSE.

But then, one has to read stuff like this, regarding Britain's role in preventing development of Libya's alleged programme of WMD:
The British role in delivering this superb outcome which made the world a notably safer place was praised at the highest levels in Washington; it ranks among our greatest foreign policy successes since the end of the Cold War.
Honestly, I do not know where to begin. Still fresh in my memory are Colin Powell's infamous words about "mobile factories of WMD" in Iraq. One has to be a fanatic war hawk willing to bomb the shit out of one's perceived enemies, or an incredible ignorant person, to come up with such arguments. For only an extremely ignorant first world person can really believe that a bunch of Middle Eastern fundamentalists living in tents in a dessert have the technical expertise and technological capacity to design, develop, and produce successfully advanced weapons that could potentially put at risk the safety of the Western world. More likely, as we saw on 9/11, the preferred weapons are rather more mundane, and much easier to acquire. The last time we saw a threat of nuclear war issued by a deranged tinpot dictator was the missile crisis in Cuba in 1962, and even that one depended on Russia.

Tyrants, the world over, are indeed a menace: for the disgraced citizens of the countries where they reach power, and, above all, for the commercial interests of first world nations. One only has to look at what's surfaced recently regarding weapons sales to Gaddafi. China is up to its neck in it, but so is Britain, and Russia, and were it not those three, it would have been France, the USA, Italy, Spain, or Brazil. There is no consideration whatsoever to the victims on the ground. When there are billions to be made, no one gives a toss about them. And this is what can be called "smart and effective", in the words of Charles Crawford, author of the article linked above. The "smart and effective" thing to do, is to prop the Gaddafis of our world with the most technologically advanced weaponry, so that they can carry on oppressing and killing to stay in power, but crucially, they can carry on doing business with the first world, they can continue snapping prime properties in N1, W1 and SWs, they can be the source of untold fortunes of 'respectable' businesses, and businessmen alike.

In an evidently Chamberlain-esque way, Mr Crawford thinks that engaging tyrants is the way forward, for such interactions between democracies and dictatorships would, sooner or later, permeate the minds of tyrants and, eventually, they will abandon their ways in favour of democratic tenets like rule of law, respect for human rights, etc. Such proposition is untenable. To advance the notion that a business relationship is going to change people that have no qualms in massacring their own is, erm, beyond stupid, is sheer insanity. But it reveals how utterly ignorant these diplomats of the first world really are. Chaps that have grown up in safe societies, are educated in the best schools with symmetrically perfect lawns, have never been forced to confront the realities of living with rampant crime, with totalitarianism, with poverty, these people are ill equipped to deal with the very real thugs that run some of our countries. One can only laugh at such disconnected naivete.

As a matter of fact, Gaddafi, Assad, Castro, Mugabe, Chavez... all of them are there, firmly entrenched in power, for there's plenty of Chevrons, BPs, Exxons, Mitsubishis, ENIs, Totals, BAEs, Vitols, Saabs, Gemaltos, etc, desperate to go into deals with them. There are also Tony Blairs, Gordon Browns and Alex Salmonds, and equally, David Camerons and Nicholas Sarkozis, 'advancing democracy', so that British and French businesses can carry on with their standard practices in the third world.

The world will undoubtedly be a better place without the mad dog. However, no freedom loving Libyan, Zimbabwean, Cuban or Venezuelan will dispute that our nations will be safer and freer without the sheer hypocrisy and greed of Western governments, officials, businesses and businessmen pretending to be cavaliers of freedom.

3.9.11

PDVSA's Fadi Kabboul: "China had only paid $5/barrel of crude"

US embassy cable - 10CARACAS233

VENEZUELA: PDVSA Director for Strategic Planning Alleges it is Open for Dialogue with U.S.

Identifier:10CARACAS233
Origin:Embassy Caracas
Created:2010-02-26 13:31:00
Classification:
Tags: EPET EINV ENRG ECON VE
VZCZCXRO4257
RR RUEHAO
DE RUEHCV #0233/01 0571331
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 261331Z FEB 10 ZFF3
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0527
INFO OPEC COLLECTIVE
WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CARACAS 000233 
 
SIPDIS 
ENERGY FOR ALOCKWOOD AND LEINSTEIN, DOE/EIA FOR MCLINE 
HQ SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD 
TREASURY FOR MKACZMAREK 
COMMERCE FOR 4332/MAC/WH/JLAO 
NSC FOR DRESTREPO, RCRANDALL AND LROSSELLO 
OPIC FOR BSIMONEN-MORENO 
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PASS TO AMCONSUL RECIFE 
AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PASS TO AMCONSUL QUEBEC 
AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN PASS TO AMEMBASSY GRENADA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/26 
TAGS: EPET, EINV, ENRG, ECON, VE 
SUBJECT: VENEZUELA: PDVSA Director for Strategic Planning Alleges it 
is Open for Dialogue with U.S. 
 
REF: 10 CARACAS 155; 09 CARACAS 1593; 09 STATE 99343 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Darnall Steuart, Economic Counselor, DOS, Econ; 
REASON: 1.4(B), (D) 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: Fadi Kabboul, a member of PDVSA\'s board of 
directors, asserted PDVSA\'s openness to dialogue with the USG, and expressed interest in the US Geological Survey\'s survey on recoverable oil in the Orinoco Belt that effectively doubled Venezuela\'s estimated reserves, and the on-going debate regarding Venezuela\'s production numbers.  He noted current Chinese difficulties in operating in Venezuela.  He also shared that the Washington-based Venezuelan Energy Counselor had returned recently to Caracas to direct the planning staff of the newly formed Electricity Ministry.  END SUMMARY. 

2. (C) PETROLEUM RELATIONS: Petroleum AttachC) (PetAtt) spoke with 
Fadi Kabboul (Director of PDVSA) on February 18 when he was 
identified on the visa line by an alert Consular Officer.  [NOTE: 
This message should be read in the context of Refs A and B that 
provide a counterbalance to Kabboul\'s forward leaning assessment of 
the U.S. relationship and on Venezuela\'s production figures.  END 
NOTE]  Kabboul shared that his brother George Kabboul, President of 
PDVSA subsidiary PDV Marina, had been concerned following his 
recent invitation to PetAtt to visit his office (Ref A) and had 
contacted his brother to inquire whether he might be \"in trouble.\" 
Fadi Kabboul told PetAtt that his door is \"always open,\" that he 
\"manages the U.S. petroleum relationship,\" and that \"we should get 
together.\"  Kabboul then asked whether PetAtt remembered PDVSA 
Executive Vice President Eulogio del Pino\'s verbal invitation to 
PetAtt offered on the margins of the World Heavy Oil Congress in 
November 2009 to call his office and arrange for a meeting.  [NOTE: 
Fadi Kabboul offered a revisionist view of history.  He has never 
offered a meeting or claimed to be \"in charge\" of the U.S. 
petroleum relationship.  Nor did del Pino offer PetAtt a meeting. 
END NOTE]  Kabboul also stated his understanding that Venezuelan 
Ambassador to the U.S. Bernardo Alvarez was supposed to have a 
discussion with the Ambassador concerning the expired U.S. - 
Venezuelan MOU on Energy Cooperation.  [NOTE: Following inquiries 
from the Venezuelan Embassy and PDVSA directors in Caracas, Post 
submitted a diplomatic note (Ref C) to the GBRV in September 2009 
agreeing to discuss the GBRV interest in resurrecting the MOU.  The 
GBRV has not responded to the diplomatic note.  END NOTE] 
 
3. (C) Kabboul stated that he would travel to Washington, DC the 
week of March 1 to participate in the Energy Council\'s private 
meetings, including a Western Hemisphere Energy Roundtable on March 
4. [NOTE: Subsequent to this meeting with Kabboul, the Ambassador 
agreed to address this private gathering of state legislators.  END 
NOTE.]  Kabboul said that Minister Ramirez instructed him to meet 
with the U.S. Department of the Interior\'s U.S. Geological Survey 
regarding a report it published in February titled \"An Estimate of 
Recoverable Heavy Oil Resources of the Orinoco Oil Belt, 
Venezuela.\"  The technical report essentially doubled the estimate 
of recoverable heavy oil in Venezuela\'s Orinoco belt.  Kabboul 
claimed he has a meeting scheduled with the principal drafter, 
Christopher Schenk, of the report and is primarily interested in 
discussing the USGS decision to use a recovery factor of 40% in the 
report.  [NOTE: Post contacted USGS and confirmed that it had not 
been approached by the GBRV or PDVSA regarding a possible meeting 
to discuss the report.  USGS agreed to inform the Venezuela Desk if 
the Venezuelan Embassy requests a meeting.  END NOTE.]  He added 
that PDVSA is sending a technical delegation to visit Chevron\'s 
Bakersfield production field to understand better how Chevron has 
achieved a recovery rate of 70%.  [NOTE: MENPET has used a 20% 
recovery rate in its negotiations with the IOCs.  END NOTE]  
 
4. (C) OIL PRODUCTION: Kabboul claimed that MENPET\'s release of 
petroleum export documentation to British auditing company 
Inspectorate had settled the issue regarding PDVSA\'s production 
levels.  He expressed a belief that any secondary sources that do 
not upwardly revise estimates of Venezuelan crude production are 
acting out of political motives and refusing to recognize the 
\"transparency\" the GBRV has brought to the issue.  He said that 
domestic consumption is only 540,000 b/d. [NOTE: The majority of 
non-governmental estimates put Venezuelan domestic consumption 
above 700,000 b/d.  END NOTE] 
 
5. (C) PDVSA ON CHINA AND RUSSIA: Kabboul stated that negotiations 
with CNPC to form a mixed petroleum production company in the Junin 
4 block of the Orinoco heavy oil belt had stalled and might be in 
jeopardy, but that negotiations with the Russian consortium for a 
project in Junin 6 were progressing.  He claimed that the GBRV is 
extremely upset with Chinese companies due to the discrepancy 
between Chinese petroleum import statistics that suggest the PRC is 
profiting from Venezuelan oil purchases by diverting the crude to 
third markets and earning a sizable margin between the price the 
Chinese companies pay the GBRV and the price they receive on the 
open market for the same shipment.  Kabboul intimated that tankers 
had been diverted to the U.S., Africa, and elsewhere in Asia. 
Furthermore, PDVSA had analyzed its crude sales to China and 
determined that China had only paid $5/barrel of crude on a couple 
of deals. 
 
6. (C) CHEVRON AND CARABOBO: Kabboul stated that according to an 
internal PDVSA study, Petroboscan (a PDVSA/Chevron mixed company) 
is the most profitable petroleum mixed company in Venezuela.  He 
added that Chevron was the big winner in the Carabobo bid round and 
that Chevron President for Africa and Latin America Ali Moshiri \"is 
great.\"  He expects Chevron and PDVSA will finalize a mixed company 
agreement by the March 24 deadline announced by President Chavez. 
 
7. (C) PETROLEUM COUNSELORS: Kabboul mentioned that Carlos 
Figueredo, the Petroleum Counselor in the Venezuelan Embassy in 
Washington, DC had returned to Caracas to take up a position as the 
head of planning in the new Ministry for Electricity.  Figueredo 
has a long-standing close relationship with Electricity Minister 
(and former PDVSA CEO) Ali RodrC-guez).  Kabboul stated that he is 
vetting potential replacements. [NOTE: Traditionally, the GBRV 
nominates a senior PDVSA executive to serve as its Energy Counselor 
in Washington, DC.  Kabboul preceded Figueredo in that position. 
END NOTE] 
 
8. (C) COMMENT: Kabboul has proven to be a reliable interlocutor 
over the last couple of months on basic issues, responding 
privately to phone messages and e-mails.  He has not demonstrated 
an ability to engage honestly in conversations of substance, but 
rather toes the party line.  Offers of meetings with EmbOffs, while 
the GBRV disregards the official USG response to requests for 
dialogue on substantive energy issues with the Ambassador, are 
disingenuous.  END COMMENT. 
DUDDY 

1.9.11

Wikileaks - Skeletons in PDVSA's closet

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/12/2017
TAGS: EPET, ENRG, EINV, ECON, VE
SUBJECT: OIL TRADING: SKELETONS IN PDVSA\'S CLOSET

REF: A. 2006 CARACAS 3224
 B. CARACAS 183 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Acting Economic Counselor Shawn E. Flatt for Reason 1.4
(D)

1. (C) SUMMARY: A senior PDVSA executive who was forced into
retirement in March 2007 stated PDVSA exports 38 million
barrels of oil per month excluding crude from the former Faja
strategic associations.  President Chavez ordered PDVSA to
stop exporting to the United States before the November
elections but was later talked out of it but he remains
intent on carrying this out.  PDVSA is losing 7 billion USD
per year due to its need to import components for gasoline.
PDVSA is also losing 3 billion USD per year due to Cuban
state oil company CUPET\'s failure to pay for crude shipments
and an undetermined amount from fuel oil shipments to
Argentina.  Shipments of fuel oil to China were suspended due
to the steep discount the Chinese demanded.  A PDVSA director
told the executive PDVSA would be \"dead\" if the price of WTI
dropped to 37 USD.  END SUMMARY

--------------------------------
THEY DON\'T KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON
--------------------------------
2.  (C) Petroleum Attache met on July 17 with a former senior
PDVSA executive who was forced into retirement in March 2007
to discuss the inner workings of PDVSA.  The executive\'s last
position with the company was in trading.  According to the
executive, PDVSA has consistently exported 38 million barrels
of crude oil per month.  This figure does not include crude
exports from the former Faja strategic associations.  Of this
amount, 900 to 925,000 barrels per day goes to Citgo.  The
supply contract with Citgo has a yearly quota and daily
figures fluctuate.  For example, Citgo does not want to
receive any crude from PDVSA after the second week in
December due to the fact that it wants to run down its stocks
for tax purposes.

3.  (C) According to the executive, PDVSA is selling most of
its production on the spot market \"at distress\".  In other
words, the market knows that PDVSA has to sell its crude and
does not have the luxury of shopping around for the best
offer.  The executive stated PDVSA was selling its crude at a
\"distress of six\" (a discount of six USD per barrel).  He
believed traders from major IOCs were colluding to lower the
price on PDVSA\'s crude.  He stated the traders were able to
buy at a discount because they \"were helping\" PDVSA to place
its production.  The executive stated PDVSA does not have any
trading strategy.  When Petatt noted contacts have stated
PDVSA traders are young and inexperienced, the executive
stated PDVSA senior management consciously decided that it
did not want traders who knew what they were doing.  One
reason for the decision was that senior PDVSA management did
not want traders who could figure out how  senior management
was stealing from the company.  In addition, the managers did
not want traders who had the financial acumen to steal from
PDVSA.  The executive stated an experienced trader stole 20
million USD from PDVSA and deposited the funds in Panama.

4. (C) The executive also claimed during his tenure in
trading that he worked directly for President Chavez.  He was
told on a number of actions to carry out trades that
originated with President Chavez.  According to the
executive, President Chavez ordered PDVSA to stop exporting
crude to the United States in the run-up to elections in
November.  The order was never carried out because someone
convinced Chavez that the idea was counterproductive for
Venezuela.   The executive opined that now that Chavez has
the idea in his head he will eventually try to carry it out.

5. (C)  When asked if contingency plans were drafted for a
cutoff of Venezuelan crude supplied to the States, the
executive laughed derisively and replied no plans were in
place and that the senior management of PDVSA had no idea
what it was doing.  He repeatedly stated senior PDVSA
management was not sure what PDVSA\'s actual production
numbers were.  He also claimed that they were unaware of how
much money PDVSA was actually earning.  He later amended his
comments and said that Eudomario Carruyo, a PDVSA director
and the company\'s de facto CFO, knew exactly how much money
PDVSA was generating and where the funds were flowing.

----------------------------------
GASOLINE COMPONENTS AND LUBRICANTS
----------------------------------
6. (C) The executive stated PDVSA is currently importing
125,000 barrels of gasoline components per day due to
problems with its own refineries.  At current market prices,
the executive estimated that the imports were costing PDVSA
approximately 4 billion USD per year. (COMMENT: The
executive\'s statements concerning the importation of gasoline
components gibes with what we reported in Reftel A.  END
COMMENT)

7. (C) He also stated PDVSA has been importing base
lubricants due to an inability to secure the crudes it needed
to manufacture lubricants at its own refineries.  The
executive stated PDVSA used to import Basra crude to
manufacture lubricants.  When senior management decided Basra
crude was too expensive, it ordered the executive to secure a
mix of Maya and Isthmus crudes.  The executive complained
that use of the mix did not make sense commercially but was
over-ruled by his superiors.  Unfortunately for PDVSA,
President Chavez then had a falling out with Mexican
President Vicente Fox and ordered PDVSA to quit purchasing
oil from the Mexicans.  As a result, PDVSA was forced to
import base lubricants rather than manufacture them.  The
executive did not give any figures on how much PDVSA is
losing due to the importation of lubricants.

------------------
CUBA AND ARGENTINA
------------------
8. (C) In addition to what PDVSA is losing on the importation
of gasoline components, the executive estimated it is losing
approximately 3 billion USD due to the failure of Cuba to pay
for the crude it is importing from Venezuela.  The executive
stated Venezuela recently signed a new contract with Cuba for
the sale of crude to CUPET, the Cuban state oil company.  He
stated he is not sure about the terms of the new contract and
added knowledge of the specific terms of the contract
appeared to be limited to very senior BRV officials.

9.  (C) The executive stated that PDVSA began shipping fuel
oil to Argentina in 2004.  He was told at that time that
PDVSA had to send oil to Argentina because the \"Argentines
were freezing to death\".  The executive told his superiors
that PDVSA could not send Venezuelan fuel oil to Argentina
because its sulfur content was too high for Argentine plants.
 In order to meet the commitment to supply Argentina with
fuel oil, PDVSA was forced to buy fuel oil from Mexico.  The
executive stated PDVSA lost money on all of the Argentine
fuel oil shipments between 2004 and 2006.  He was not clear
if PDVSA has shipped or will ship fuel oil this year.

---------------------
PACIFIC RIM AND CHINA
---------------------
10. (C) The executive also stated that PDVSA was ordered to
adopt a Pacific Rim strategy in 2004.  He complained that
PDVSA could never make money in the Pacific Rim due to the
nature of the market.  According to the executive, the market
is composed of two parts: California/the West Coast of the
United States and the Pacific Rim in Asia.  The executive
stated the Middle Eastern producers, particularly Saudi
Arabia had a lock on the Asian market and had long term
supply contracts.  He said Saudi Arabia would never allow
PDVSA to break its hold on the Asian markets and has used
PDVSA\'s attempts to break into the market as opportunities to
steal market share on the Eastern Coast market of the United
States.

11.  (C) The executive also claimed PDVSA was no longer
shipping oil to China despite public claims to the contrary.
He stated the Chinese were buying fuel oil at \"a distress of
20\".  As a result, PDVSA could not supply the Chinese at
those terms without a significant loss.  PDVSA attempted to
negotiate a new deal with the Chinese but was only able to
reduce the distress to 18.  As a result, it halted shipments
to China.  (COMMENT: A senior CNPC executive told Petatt that
her company was receiving a discount on oil purchases from
PDVSA.  She did not specify the amount of the discount.  It
was our understanding that PDVSA is still shipping crude to
China but we base this on implications from CNPC officials\'
comments rather than on hard evidence.  END COMMENT).

----
IRAN
----
12.  (C) According to the executive, PDVSA has made two
gasoline shipments to Iran.  The last shipment occurred in
February 2007.  In one case, PDVSA was forced to use one of
its own coastal tankers to carry the gasoline to Iran.  The
executive stated the tanker was old and in very poor shape.
Since the tanker was not supposed to leave Venezuelan coastal
waters, insurance would not have covered it if an accident
had occurred on the high seas.  The executive estimated that
it would take a Panamax class tanker approximately 80 days to
make a round trip to Iran.  He estimated that it would have
taken the PDVSA vessel considerably longer due to its
condition.  He stated the vessel was supposed to carry
additives on its return trip.

-----------------------
WHERE IS PDVSA\'S MONEY?
-----------------------
13.  (C) The executive claimed Carruyo told him in November
at a luncheon that PDVSA would be \"dead\" if the price of WTI
reached 37 USD per barrel.  He said he personally believes
the danger point for PDVSA is a higher WTI price due to
PDVSA\'s declining production and management problems.
However, he declined to give a specific price.

14.  (C) The executive also said PDVSA was instructed to
remove its funds from U.S. banks several years ago.  He
claimed Carruyo approached him and asked him for suggestions
on which European banks to use.  The executive was surprised
by the request but recommended Dresdner Bank AG and Deutsche
Bank.  Carruyo then asked if he thought Barclays Bank was
another candidate and the executive replied no.

15.  (C) The executive also stated he was grateful to Carruyo
because he is a PDVSA pensioner.  He stated Carruyo moved the
9 billion USD PDVSA pension fund to a series of European
banks several years ago in order to \"hide the money from
Chavez\".

-------
COMMENT
-------
16.  (C) Although we have little or no way of confirming the
executive\'s claims, we note that they are in line with many
of the things that we have heard from other contacts and
reported in the past (Reftel B).  We believe that his claim
that Chavez is contemplating the suspension of crude exports
to the United States should be taken seriously.

29.8.11

Aqui no pasa nada...

En el ultimo mes, personas cercanas en Venezuela han sufrido los siguientes percances:

- Robo a punta de pistola de Blackberry.
- Intento de robo de vehículo, y subsiguiente enfrentamiento con armas blancas.
- Robo a punta de pistola de carro, objetos personales (cartera, celulares, documentos, etc.)
- Secuestro, express en el sentido que duró sólo 3 días, y liberación luego del pago de 100 400 millones de Bs. Hecho denunciado debidamente a la policía, los secuestradores torturaron a la víctima al enterarse (¿cómo se enteraron?)

Luego uno tiene que leer a @RaulAular argumentando que hay que "recuperar el territorio", que hay que invertir el patrimonio en Venezuela, que la "élite" es responsable de imaginar el futuro del pais y actuar en consecuencia, léase enterrar sus dineros en Venezuela para que vengan los chavistas, o el hampa común, a expropiar, robar, matar, violar, o secuestrar cuando les venga en gana... Todo ello, en opinion de Raul, al margen de las acciones del regimen.

Luego uno tiene que leer sobre un tal Juan Carlos Sosa Azpurua, lanzandose a candidato presidencial, mientras se queja de la absoluta falta de transparencia del CNE...

Luego uno tiene que ver el "lovefest" fatuo, e hipócrita, de los políticos de oposición, pretendiendo vivir en "democracia" y ya contando los puestos, y los reales, que supuestamente van a obtener en próximas "elecciones"...

Venezuela, como nación que ocupa un espacio geográfico, no existe en el plano físico. Venezuela es una utopía. Lo que existe ahora no se llama Venezuela. Una definición más apropiada sería "territorio apache", "Hacienda Anárquica de Hugo Chávez", "Reino de Hugo I", "estado federativo de los caudillos de Cubazuela", "cleptocracia del siglo XXI", "territorio federal de Fidel Castro, FARC, y Cia"... Y los que allí viven, están, todos, a la merced de los elementos. Ojo, no a la merced de la ley, entendida como un compendio de reglas y legislación que los tribunales y organos de administración de justicia se encargan de implementar a la usanza de los estados de derecho. La ley que priva es la del revolver, la del garrote, la de la persecución, la del caudillo, sea éste presidente, o choro de barrio. No hay otra. Pero, como dicen cuando uno llama a preguntar como están las cosas, "aquí no pasa nada..."

28.8.11

Capitalismo v Socialismo

Mucho se habla en estos días del fracaso del capitalismo. Es una "realidad" de la cual uno no puede escaparse. Con sólo comprar un periódico, prender la tele, navegar por la red, o entablar una conversión informal con quien sea, pronto aparece el tema, de cuán difícil se encuentran el mundo laboral, y financiero. La debacle financiera global afecta tanto a quienes siguen la política como a quienes no, y mucho más a quienes carecen de recursos, a los pobres del mundo. Por tanto, opinadores de oficio concluyen que algo pasa con el sistema. Algo está mal, algo hiede, en toda esa historia que propugna que el capitalismo es el mejor sistema económico conocido por el hombre, por cuanto supuestamente ofrece igualdad de oportunidades a todo el que quiera tomarlas.

Es un reclamo valido hasta cierto punto, en mi opinión. Es cierto, el mundo está jodido. Nuestra generación, y las anteriores desde la segunda guerra mundial, han gozado de unos niveles de crecimiento económico y bienestar social difícilmente replicables. Las supuestas fallas del capitalismo han producido muchas víctimas, a nivel mundial. Ahora bien, es igualmente cierto que el capitalismo a sacado de la pobreza y de la miseria a millones de personas a nivel mundial en los últimos 50 o 60 años, mientras que el socialismo/comunismo es responsable de la miseria de otros muchos millones de personas.

En Chile, una tal comandante Camila -gozando de las ventajas que sólo el capitalismo y la democracia ofrecen- está recibiendo cantidad de cobertura debido a su "indignado" discurso, uno que trae al tapete las "injusticias" que jóvenes con escaso intelecto deben afrontar, en la vida real, al matricularse en universidades, cargados de deudas y no encontrar trabajo. En opinion de la camarada Camila, militante del partido comunista dicho sea de paso, es "injusto" que un porcentaje importante de jóvenes profesionales chilenos tengan que emplearse en roles no relacionados con las carreras que escogieron estudiar. Los admiradores de Camila, muy linda la muchachita por cierto, se encuentran, en su mayoría, en el flanco más radical de la izquierda.

En España, un movimiento juvenil, llamado 15M, propugnó con anterioridad  fines similares a los de los rotos, estudiantes y comunistas chilenos: "la vida es injusta... la clase política no nos escucha... anteponemos el ser humano al mercado..." Leer el manifiesto del 15M es una realización, toda una oda a la estupidez de la adolescencia, cuyo estado parece haberse tornado permanente en muchos adultos que, como dicen los ingleses, "ought to know better."

El Medio Oriente, otrora bastion de dictaduras brutales, represivas y retrogradas que infringen los más básicos derechos humanos, civiles, y políticos, le está dando una lección de moral al mundo. Rebeliones en Tunisia, Egipto, Libia, y Siria han marcado pauta, han avergonzado a muchos miembros del establishment occidental, y han demostrado que cuando el pueblo decide poner fin a la humillación no hay dictador, ni colaboradores acomodaticios occidentales  que se le resistan.

Pero tenemos un problema, en el Medio Oriente, ¿con qué van a suplantar a los dictadores militares, monárquicos o islamo-fundamentalistas? Y en occidente, ¿cuál es la alternativa?

Uno escucha, o lee declaraciones de los voceros de los movimientos arriba descritos, en particular los que NO residen en el Medio Oriente, y percibe una cierta debilidad hacia el socialismo. La "igualdad" que propugnan los progres no existe. No ha existido nunca, y ciertamente no forma parte del curriculum socialista. Continua siendo, al día de hoy, una utopia irrealizable, un pajazo mental de Marx y cia. Entonces, ¿cuáles son los modelos? ¿Acaso Cuba, donde un maldito dictador comunista ha sometido a 11 millones de personas a más de 50 años de miseria? ¿Venezuela, donde un degenerado apátrida, admirador del anterior, ha dilapidado la mayor fortuna imaginable en un proyecto populista que propende a la más abyecta negación de las libertades personales? ¿Es que en Cuba, o en Venezuela, los politicos si escuchan al pueblo? ¿Acaso gobiernan de acuerdo a los designios del soberano? ¿Acaso son más susceptibles de ser interpelados, una vez en el poder? ¿España, donde los socialistas se han negado a tomar las medidas necesarias para corregir el mal rumbo economico? ¿Italia, gobernada por un megalómano sátiro? ¿Alemania, divertida viendo como crece su superavit mientras su entorno se derrumba? ¿O los EEUU, donde republicanos y democratas son incapaces de ponerse de acuerdo en cuanto a niveles aceptables de deuda?

Mi pregunta entonces, a los "indignados" del mundo, es simple: ¿qué proponen como alternativa? ¿Cuáles son sus ejemplos, su ideal? No me vengan con pajas socialistas, no me vengan con "igualdad" y discursos politicamente correctos y progresistas. Yo no quiero ser igual a nadie, ni quiero tener los mismos cachivaches que mi vecino. Quiero un sistema de oportunidades, no de dádivas. Mi éxito o fracaso debe ser producto de mi esfuerzo, de mi capacidad, más no de una obligación en mi opinión inexistente entre mi persona y el estado. En suma, ningún sistema que se invente podrá ser mejor que las intenciones de quienes se encarguen de ponerlo en practica. Si los poderes de los gobernantes no pueden mantenerse a raya, estaremos igual de jodidos, en socialismo y en capitalismo.

Y extiendo el mensaje a la clase política venezolana. Al gorila rojo no lo van a sacar del poder con propuestas más populistas que las de él, pues es él quien controla, literalmente, todos los dineros del estado venezolano. Al golpista de Barinas no se le vence con unidades efímeras entre candidatos que se jugarán el puesto en elecciones bajo el control absoluto del régimen.

El mundo está en la búsqueda de un equilibrio entre mercado, estado de derecho y bienestar social. La solución no ha estado nunca en uno u otro sistema, sino en una honesta simbiosis de ambos. Ya basta de "capitalismo salvaje", pero tambien, y con igual vehemencia, ya basta de charlatanes, de populistas, de dictadores tapa amarilla, de apátridas, de comunistas y sus apólogos, de Camilas indignadas.

Los adolescentes no tienen cabida en la conducción del mundo.

13.8.11

The Hugo Chavez brand is worthless

I was sitting on the starboard side of a P & O ferry, between Dover and Calais, minding my own business, enjoying the sun and the wind of the English Channel, admiring the seamless flow of people and goods, seeing the white cliffs of Dover disappearing in the distance, thinking how well the whole system works, when a drunken Pole sat right next to me. The conversation went somewhat like this:

- Pole: how're you travelling, coach or car?
- Me: car.
- Pole: I'm travelling back home to Poland, in coach, 15 hours, it sucks...
- Me: I can imagine...
- Pole: so where are you going?
- Me: off to Normandy with some friends and family...
- Pole: where are you from?
- Me: Venezuela.
- Pole: Venezuela? Isn't that where Chavez comes from?
- Me: yes.
- Pole: that motherfucker... He kept saying that he built a health system worthy of its name for the first time in Venezuela, and when he gets sick, he's off to Cuba? What the fuck is that all about?
- Me: brother, you got the nail in the head...

Needless to say that the Pole made my day. For there was a time when Europeans, in general, spoke wonderfully about Chavez. Now, even drunken Poles, employed in the construction industry, with little education, are able to see through the chavista bullshit.

5.8.11

List of useful idiots apologising for Chavez in frank decline

Readers of this blog will surely remember the exchanges I have had with Noam Chomsky in the past. The 'world's foremost intellectual' came out of his cave with a letter, published in the newspaper he accused recently of "extremely dishonesty", read The Guardian.

How utterly unhinged Chomsky and his fellow apologists of chavista totalitarianism have to be, to request publication of a letter, based on  unsubstantiated propaganda, in the very media they all dismissed as "dishonest"? The encouraging news is to see that the list of personalities imbeciles decrying 'human rights abuses' in Venezuela is shrinking: taking out known propagandists on Chavez's payroll (Hat tip NYT), they could hardly get over 20 signatures.

UPDATE: while rather uncommon of me to be linking to Labourlist.org, here's a very refreshing view from Rob Marchant, about how dictatorial thugs like Chavez manage to get support from the most radical fringes of the Left. Fortunately that fringe of fanatics is ever more irrelevant, and is seeing as such. Is it any wonder that none of Chavez's 'political parties' has ever been admitted to the International Socialist?

30.7.11

[UPDATED] Cuba subcontracts Gemalto for provision e-IDs in Venezuela

In another twist in the ongoing saga of Hugo Chavez ceding sovereign matters to Cuba, El Nacional reported on 17 July that the new electronic IDs will be handled  by a branch of a Cuban "technology" university, called ALBET, which in turn has subcontracted Dutch multinational Gemalto's 100% owned Mexican subsidiary -to the tune of $40,500,000- for the provision of 6 million e-IDs. ALBET's contract with Venezuela dates from 2005, according to Spain's El Pais. More worrying still, Ramiro Valdés, one of communist Cuba most feared party apparatchiks, is meant to be behind the contract.

But Gemalto, that as a publicly traded Dutch company is the only party to this deal that has to operate according to some transparency rules, has refused to answer any of my requests for information. In fact, there's nothing in Gemalto's last three years annual reports indicative of a contract between its fully owned Mexican subsidiary and ALBET. The $40,500,000 that allegedly exchanged hands aren't reflected anywhere. Below, the emails that I have sent thus far.

From: Alek Boyd
Date: 21 July 2011 12:47:29 GMT+01:00
To: vincent.bonnot@gemalto.com
Cc: comercial@albet.cu, sampedro@albet.cu, francesc.ortodo@gemalto.com, arturo.ortiz-de-zarate@gemalto.com
Subject: Re Gemalto's provision of IDs in Venezuela

Dear Mr Bonnot,

My name is Alek Boyd, Venezuelan blogger based in London, who has called your office on a couple of occasions regarding an alleged contract between a Gemalto subsidiary (Mexico) and a Cuban agent for the provision of IDs to the government of my country. Your name was given to me by a kind secretary in your office in London (Vicky).

I should be most grateful if you could read the message below, and provide information as per who may be the correct person to contact regarding issues raised. Furthermore, I'd like to add to the questions below, the following:

- Why would a multinational, publicly traded company, like Gemalto, not contract their services directly with the Venezuelan government? Why use, instead, a dodgy Cuban intermediary?

Cordially,

Alek Boyd

From: Alek Boyd
Date: 20 July 2011 16:55:47 GMT+01:00
To: Ramzi.Abdine@gemalto.com
Cc: peggy.edoire@gemalto.com, Isabelle.Marand@gemalto.com
Subject: Re Gemalto's provision of IDs in Venezuela

Dear Mr Abdine,

El Nacional, which is one of Venezuela's leading newspapers, reported on 17 July [link], that Gemalto de Mexico had been contracted by a Cuban company called ALBET, to the tune of USD $40,500,000, for the provision of IDs to the government of Venezuela. The alleged contract between Gemalto de Mexico and ALBET can be read, in Spanish, following this link:

http://www.el-nacional.com/www/files/documento/170711_ctarjetas.pdf

The contract is meant to have been signed on 20 August 2008. Given the amount of the contract, and the sensible nature of the services provided, one would be forgiven for thinking that Gemalto would boast about it in its annual reports. However, I could not find any indication in Gemalto's annual reports of 2008, 2009, or indeed 2010, about the contract between ALBET and Gemalto de Mexico, which is described in your reports as Gemalto's 100% owned subsidiary.

This of course raises a few issues, given that Gemalto is a publicly traded company. To be frank, we Venezuelans couldn't care less about how Gemalto conducts his business, where or how declares its income, where or how pays its taxes, etc. What we do care about is the fact that Gemalto de Mexico seems to have been subcontracted by a Cuban joint in violation to Venezuela's legislation, and, as a consequence, may have received, in case the contract is legit and has been acted upon, millions of dollars of Venezuelans tax payers' money illegally.

Yesterday I called your office here in London to ask for verifications. After a short explanation, a kind secretary, called Vicky, replied by saying that "someone senior would get back to me, either by phone or email." Alas, as of this hour, no one has.

Therefore, I should be most grateful if you could indicate the name, and contact details of a Gemalto representative that could answer a few questions about the issues raised above, namely:

1- Did Gemalto de Mexico, represented by Messrs. Arnaud Jean Loic and Martin Djunte Ghomsi, signed a contract with ALBET?

2- If it did, what due diligence was made by Gemalto de Mexico with regards to whether ALBET had the power to enter into contracts for the provision of IDs to the government of Venezuela?

3- If it did, how much has Gemalto de Mexico received to date (in USD), as per contractual clauses?

4- If it did, what has Gemalto de Mexico delivered, as per contractual clauses?

Cordially yours,

Alek Boyd

UPDATE, 2 August 2011: a comment by Rodrigo has pointed me in the direction of what he defines as common practice: i.e. European companies paying bribes to officials through dodgy intermediaries. That could be the reason why Gemalto did not enter into a contract directly with the Chavez regime. Rodrigo cites three Panamanian companies (Billingsley Global Corporation, Ferdell Business Inc., and Selbor International Inc.) involved in some inexplicable payments on a €46 million deal of Germany's Bundesdruckerei with Venezuela (reported here by German media). Ferdell and Selbor share the same directors (Thays Herrera de Salas, Mariela de Cristi, and Eligio Rodriguez).

But that's not the issue. Gemalto's ADR are traded in the US, and its shares are also traded in Paris' stock exchange. Perhaps it's time to blow the whistle with American and European authorities?

24.7.11

Fuerza Armada se arrodilla ante Hugo Chavez

Una foto, resume el chavismo, y cómo el caudillo comunista percibe el poder. La expresión facial de Hugo Chavez lo dice todo. Huelgan más comentarios.

22.7.11

Maria Corina está equivocada

Acabo de ver un video de Maria Corina, hablando de su proyecto, de lo que quiere hacer, de convertirse en la primera mujer presidente de Venezuela. Y dijo algo que me dejo boquiabierto, minuto 5:43 del video, sobre las dantescas  violaciones recientes en La Concepción. Maria Corina dijo al respecto: "¿Qué nos está pasando? Esto no es Venezuela."

Está equivocada Maria Corina. Esa si es Venezuela, de hecho Maria Corina comenzó su entrevista diciendo que la crisis era una de valores. Es una crisis moral, de eso no queda ni la menor duda. Y precisamente por que hay una crisis moral que ha afectado a todos los venezolanos, es incorrecto decir "Esto no es Venezuela." Y traigo a colación una conversación con mi suegro, hace unos días. Como telón de fondo, Chavez mandando desde La Habana, por tres semanas y en clara violación a la constitución, y por otro lado, un conflicto armado de igual número de semanas entre presos y Guardia Nacional en El Rodeo. Cuando pregunté "¿y cómo está la vaina?" Recibí un "... todo bien chico, aquí no está pasando nada..."

Esa es Venezuela, una nación repleta de gente amoral que ha abdicado su poder ciudadano, y los derechos y deberes que ello comporta. Es una nación repleta de gente que encuentra tolerable que un maldito apátrida entregue la soberanía a los dictadores comunistas cubanos. Es una nación repleta de gente que ha renunciado a su dignidad, a sus derechos inalienables. Es una nación repleta de eunucos intelectuales, de gente que no cuestiona, de gente cuya máxima en la vida es "como vaya viniendo, vamos viendo." Es una nación repleta de gente que se ha acostumbrado a ver lo extraordinario, lo intolerable, lo oprobioso, lo amoral, lo corrupto, lo sanguinario, como normal. Es una nación repleta de gente pendiente del físico, en detrimento de lo ético, donde padres y madres le regalan a sus hijas quinceañeras operaciones para aumentarse el busto. Es una nación repleta de gente que ha permitido todo tipo de humillaciones a manos de sus empleados públicos. Es una nación repleta de gente hambrienta que ve como sus recursos se despilfarran, y se regalan sin permiso a otros países. Es una nación repleta de criminales, gobernada por criminales, que se saben más allá de la justicia.

Esa es Venezuela, y ese es el gobierno y estado de cosas que se merece. Ante la inmovilidad, desidia, y absoluta pobreza moral -en todos los niveles socioeconómicos- no puede esperarse otra cosa.

18.7.11

La oposición que necesitamos

Hay que admitirlo: en política Hugo Chavez es un tipo afortunado. No voy a referirme a los altos precios del petróleo, al sobreseimiento, ni a que llegó al poder surfeando la ola de antipopularidad para con los partidos tradicionales. No. Voy a tratar el tema de la calidad, o mejor dicho, falta de ella, del estamento político opositor. Me voy a referir a los Ramos Allup, a los Barboza, a los seudo intelectuales que tienen a Petkoff como dios. Y tambien, hemos de admitir, a los Borges, Lopez, Perez, Goicoechea, etc. Esto ha sido una bendición para Chavez. Más incluso, en opinión de quien escribe, que los miles de millones de dólares del erario publico de Venezuela, que el caudillo tiene a su entera disposición.

"Les falta burdel", se le ha escuchado decir a políticos de la vieja guardia, refiriéndose a la nueva generación de líderes de oposición. Ellos, que uno presume se conocen hasta el ultimo antro de mala muerte donde han dejado muy probablemente los dineros mal habidos, la piel, el mal aliento y el sudor con mujeres, u hombres, del llamado mal vivir, se vanaglorian de una supuesta extensa experiencia política. Luego de 12 años llevando más palo que rata ladrona, comportándose como bueyes narigoneados, es imposible creer en tales afirmaciones. Menos aceptable aún, la pretensión de que la vieja guardia está mejor capacitada para hacer oposición eficientemente al régimen castro-chavista. La realidad, a la vista de todos, es que el colectivo opositor venezolano, salvo contadas excepciones, no tiene ni puta idea de cómo hacer oposición efectivamente. El inmediatismo y la ambición de poder son el padre y la madre del problema.

Venezuela es un país que tiene 1 presidencia, 1 distrito federal, 23 gobernaciones, 165 escaños en el congreso, 335 alcaldías, 2.389 vacantes en consejos municipales, y 3.207 vacantes en juntas parroquiales, cargos más cargos menos. Cualquiera de los aspirantes, a cualquiera de los cargos, no inicia su carrera política pensando "algún día, quiero llegar a ser concejal, alcalde, diputado, miembro de junta parroquial, gobernador..." No. En la tierra del caudillo, todos, y todas, ansían una sola cosa: ser presidente/a. He allí la madre del problema. Como no todos pueden alcanzar el objetivo, emergen entonces la envidia, las rencillas, la falta de compromiso, y de colaboración, la incapacidad de arrimar el hombro en pro del bien común. De hecho el bien común en bocas de los políticos es simple retórica, por cuanto los que allí hacen vida no es precisamente por el establecimiento del bien común, sino del personal. ¿El padre? Ninguno/a de los aspirantes a presidente/a inicia su carrera política con planes a 2, 5, 10, 15, y 20 años. Salvo Hugo Chavez. Mientras que los miles de aspirantes a cargos de poder público en Venezuela están entretenidos en el carrusel electoral anual que ha montado el caudillo, ninguno de ellos está pensando, en el mediano y largo plazo. Es más, reto a quienes leen esta pagina, si es que conocen de cerca a alguno de los personajes referidos, a que me envíen un plan, un proyecto, que tenga como lineamientos temporales, plazos similares a los arriba descritos. Es el inmediatismo, es querer ser gobernador, mientras no se ha terminado el periodo como alcalde; el querer ser diputado, cuando no se han hecho los votos como concejal; en suma, el deseo de poder, inmediato, a toda costa, como fin en si mismo. Tristemente, la obtención y ejecución de cuotas de poder raramente vienen acompañadas de la asimilación y comprensión de la magnitud de los problemas a enfrentar en la siguiente escala. Así, el alcalde de Chacao, o de Baruta, o de Maracaibo, cree que ya ha adquirido lo necesario para ser presidente de la república. El líder de partido opositor, o diputado, ya se cree capacitado, para tal fin, y así en todos los niveles de la escala. Se tiene la creencia de que un hombre, o una mujer, pueden arreglar Venezuela. Craso error.

La forma en la que se plantea el debate politico es otra de las gravísimas deficiencias de la oposición. Estos debates no deben darse en los estudios de televisión, ni en la prensa. Estos debates, por su misma naturaleza, pertenecen a un solo sitio: la asamblea nacional. Es allí donde la oposición tiene que mantenerle los pies cerca de la candela a Chavez, y a quienes lo acompañan en su maldito proyecto apátrida. Los últimos meses nos han provisto de eventos insólitos en la historia contemporánea de Venezuela. No obstante, raramente vemos a los diputados de oposición sometiendo la inopia del chavismo al escarnio publico. Un ejemplo aquí, otro por allá, cuando debería ser tarea diaria, incesante, en todos los frentes. Tomemos un ejemplo, fresco: los medios anuncian que gracias a la intervención del diputado Diosdado Cabello, el conflicto armado que los pranes del Rodeo mantuviesen por casi un mes con la Guardia Nacional llega a su fin. ¿Quién ha escuchado, a algun diputado/a opositor/a interpelar a Cabello en la asamblea? ¿Quién ha escuchado una pregunta como "que el diputado Cabello por favor explique, con la ayuda de El Alsaimi y del militar encargado de la GN, cómo se explica que un pran, con otros 30 y pico de reos de alta peligrosidad, se escapan de una cárcel sitiada por cientos de funcionarios de la GN, cargados de dinero, y armas, sin que nadie vea nada..." El pran no se escapó un coño, lo dejaron ir, de la misma forma que lo hicieron con Carlos Ortega. Entonces, ¿qué clase de funcionario democrático digno de una república donde priva el estado de derecho, permite que los criminales se vayan a la calle, así no mas? Una sola clase, los funcionarios que antes de serlo eran criminales. Ese es el tipo de oposición que la oposición debe hacer. Y hay cientos de temas, miles de temas, miles de problemas, en todos los pueblos, ciudades, y barrios de Venezuela. Nadie se escapa de los problemas creados por el chavismo en los últimos 12 años, sea por acción u omisión.

Pero la oposición, en lugar de hacer lo que tiene que hacer, donde lo tiene que hacer, anda jugando al muerto, deseándole una pronta recuperación al caudillo, contando y acomodando fichas en un tablero electoral sobre el cual no tiene el mínimo control, es decir, pensando en pajaritos preñados y permitiendo que Chavez continúe con su megalomanía demencial bajo la influencia de los dictadores cubanos. Solo a Maria Corina hemos visto, con cifras estadísticas y hechos concretos en mano, comportarse en la asamblea como debe un diputado/a de oposición. Vapuleando al colectivo chavista, cuya única respuesta es la fatua retórica ideológica, pues carece de pruebas para rebatir efectivamente la realidad. En congresos anteriores, recuerdo haber visto a Liliana Hernandez hacer cosas parecidas. Pero ni siquiera Maria Corina, enamorada ya de la idea de convertirse en la primera mujer presidente de Venezuela y quien debería luego de su paso por Súmate saber de estas cosas, anda exigiendo, por ejemplo, que el CNE entregue el REP a una comisión del congreso para que se investigue si los millones de nuevos electores existen o no.

¿Y qué de los reyes de burdel? ¿Qué de los doctorados en Oxford, y los masters en Harvard? ¿Qué de los políticos atrincabola que fuman bajo el agua? Bien gracias...

El caudillo parte a Cuba. Por segunda vez para tratamiento medico. La cantidad de millones gastados en el sistema de salud alternativo chavista es desconocida, pero se supone de gran magnitud. Otra bombita: "puede la ministro Eugenia Sader por favor presentarse en esta asamblea para ser interpelada en cuanto al monto exacto de las misiones Barrio Adentro I, II, III, IV, etc. y otros fondos dispensados en la construcción, dotación, y funcionamiento de los centros integrales y de diagnostico, y demás instituciones de salud desde 1998?" U otra mejor aún: "la comisión de auditoría exige al presidente Hugo Chavez que presente un informe detallado de su estado de salud, en los próximos 5 dias, so pena de ser interpelado por violaciones al articulo 232 de la constitución, entre otros." Hay muchísimas mas.

Tristemente no vemos nada de eso, no hay iniciativa. Experimentados con prostitutas, o no, los miembros de la oposición parecen mas bien un colectivo de eunucos, en los sentidos físico e intelectual, tigres de zoologico, incapaces de defenderse de las ratas del mundo real. El escándalo del día suplanta al del día anterior. No hay seguimiento. No hay plan a futuro. No se habla de los problemas debidamente. No se exige. Hay un profundo desconocimiento sobre la máxima de que todos los funcionarios designados o electos no son sino meros empleados públicos, susceptibles de ser interpelados, cuestionados, y destituidos.

Es difícil creer que no exista el talento necesario. El de Maracaibo cree que puede, y que tiene con que. Como él, todos los demás, de ayer y hoy. Cientos, miles, halando para su lado. Sin trayectoria, ni rumbo definidos. Cientos, miles, firmes creyentes y practicantes de la doctrina Eudomariana, adaptada a la perfección por el chavismo, de "como vaya viniendo, vamos viendo." Así no se construye un país, así no se hace el futuro. Venezuela necesita una mejor oposición, y no versiones light del populismo chavista.