Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Impeccable leftist credentials? 

It couldn't have been more than a few weeks ago that the New York Times was telling us about the "impeccable leftist credentials" of Teodoro Petkoff.

Personally, I've never been sold on his leftist credentials. Yeah, he was supposedly a communist back in the 1950s and 1960s. Later he was in the Venezuelan congress as a member of the moderately leftist MAS party. Later still he was a minister in the Caldera government where he finished his movement across the political spectrum by implementing a tough austerity program.

Even though he was a low paid government official the financial gods somehow smiled upon him (don't even think it - he couldn't possibly have been corrupt, could he?) and he was able to wind up with his very own newspaper, Tal Cual. It's not really what most people would think of in terms of a newspaper as it doesn't have much news. Its sparse pages are almost exclusively dedicated to attacking the Chavez government.

In one concession to the traditional communist style of editing papers though the front page doesn't contain news. Rather it is always an editorial written by I think you can guess who.

Anyways, it turns out this man with "impeccable leftist credentials" isn't actually so nice to work for. Currently the distributers of his paper are annoyed that they don't actually get any benefits - you know, like vacation time, health care, pension payments, etc.

A "leftist" screwing his workers by not giving them benefits?!?!?! Well before you panick, it really isn't that bad. See, as Petkoff points out these people aren't really employees. They are independent contractors and the relation between them and Tal Cual is one of employee to employer but rather is a strictly commercial relationship. And in fact now he is getting rid of them all by turning over the distribution of the paper to another rightwing opposition paper, El Universal, and firing all the existing workers (though he argues they aren't fired because they never worked for him in the first place). Of course, Petkoff wants to pay them next to nothing in severance pay even though many have worked with the paper its entire seven year history.

What is the saying - "With friends like this who needs enemies?".

I guess with "leftists" like this, who needs right wingers?

BTW, for the workers point of view watch this.


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