Saturday, May 07, 2005

Pining for Pinochet 

Think those who oppose Chavez are just good, upstanding freedom loving citizens? Think again. Here is a comment in an opposition blog by Aleksander Boyd who is active in the opposition and runs the web site VCrisis:

"Why not follow the Chilean example? Because is a prime example of what a hard right dictator can achieve. The left hasn't got such examples to showcase so it attacks. Little do they talk about the real changes in real terms for the people of Chile, much less about how Fidel Castro's puppet Allende was but another Chavez. The question remains though, where's our Pinochet?
aleksander boyd • 4/27/05; 9:47:12 AM #"

Hard to believe? It shouldn't be. But check it out for yourself:



Are we with us, or against us? 

A few years ago following the attacks of September 11, 2001 George Bush gave a speech telling the world that they are either "with us, or against us" in the war on terrorism. That is, not only were people who backed terrorist groups the enemy of the U.S. but anyone who didn't actively fight against terrorism would be considered an enemy. Of course, most of us could always see through this, that the US would continue to look the other on terrorist groups that they supported. But still, it is fascinating to note their outright hypocracy on this issue.

Example number 1 - an article in in the Los Angeles Times on May 6th about a Cuban exile terrorist who has appearently sought refuge in the U.S.:

"CARACAS, Venezuela — Challenging the United States to make good on its pledge to hunt down terrorists, Venezuela on Thursday formally requested the extradition of a radical Cuban exile who is reportedly hiding in Florida and is wanted here in connection with an airline bombing that killed 73 people.

Accused bomber Luis Posada Carriles' April 13 petition for U.S. asylum has roiled Washington's already strained relations with Venezuela and sparked anger in Cuba, the target of the attacks blamed on him. The asylum request said Posada, 77, had managed to evade homeland security measures and slip into the U.S.

Posada is a Bay of Pigs veteran and collaborated with the Central Intelligence Agency in numerous attempts to depose Cuban President Fidel Castro. He is wanted in Venezuela in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner en route from Caracas to Havana. Many of the 73 victims were young Cubans returning from an athletics competition.
Posada is also wanted by Cuba in connection with a 1997 series of hotel bombings in which an Italian tourist was killed and a dozen other foreigners injured.

In a 1998 interview with a freelance journalist while in hiding, Posada acknowledged involvement in those attacks. He retracted the statement after his November 2000 arrest on charges of plotting to assassinate Castro that month at an Ibero-American summit in Panama.
One Cuban American familiar with Posada's asylum case said U.S. officials were encouraging the fugitive to leave before a formal response had to be given on his request for refuge or the Venezuelan extradition effort."

Lets look what we have here - a person who has quite possibly carried out multiple terrorist attackes killing scores of people. And does the U.S. immediately arrest him and extradite him to face trail for those attacks or at the very least jail him and get a known terrorist off the streets? Nope. Rather they encourage him to leave the U.S. before the the government has to respond to the extradition request!!!!!!

So what is it - are we with us, or against us in this war on terror?


Friday, May 06, 2005

Regime change, coming to a country near you. 

The Washington based defense think tank, The Center for Security Policy, released report today under the heading "Center calls for regime change in Venezuela". The actual title of the report is "What to do about Venezuela". It could be dismissed as just another rehash of the normal lies about Venezuela. However, the report by this Center, which does have the ear of the U.S. defense and foriegn policy establishment, reaches some chilling conclusions:

"The Bottom Line

Time is running out. Venezuela’s increased pace of repression, militarization, weapons imports, and destabilization of neighboring countries shows that time is running out for the Venezuelan people and for the relative peace that most of the hemisphere has enjoyed. The Bolivarian regime in Caracas presents a clear and present danger to peace and democracy in the hemisphere. It must change. It can change on its own, or it can invite hemispheric forces with the help of Venezuela’s broad democratic opposition, to impose the changes. Either way U.S. strategy must be to help Venezuela accomplish peaceful change by next year."

For months the Venezuelan government has been warning that the U.S. is threatening it and that it could be the next victim of U.S. military agression. These claims have often been dismissed by Chavez's oppenents as false and simply put out to rally anti-American sentiment. However, as this report makes clear, the Venezuelan government is right to believe that it may well be the target of U.S. sponsered subversion. And if that proves unsuccesfull, outright military attack.


So this is why they kick ass 

I should have been able to guess this but I probably wouldn't have - U.S. military spending is basically equal to military spending by all the other countries of the world combined. So says the reputable defense monitoring company Janes:

"The US defence budget reached US$417.4 billion in 2003 - 46 per cent of the global total. "

Well, they wan't an empire and they sure are willing to pay for it - oops, should have said they sure are willing to spend our money to pay for it.


Predictable but sad 

Probably most people have seen the pictures of wounded Iraqi insurgents being murdered in cold blood by US marines. Video clearly showed the insurgents laying there, not moving, and then being shot for no appearent reason. It would have been nice if there had been at least some semblence of justice in this case and at least some punishment meeted out for this flagrant violation of the rules of war and human rights. But it was not to be.

Quite predictably, a US military "investigation" absolved the Marines involved of any wrong doing.

Unfortunately, we have seen this before. And the M.O. is by now quite clear. After some uncomfortable incident comes to light and can't be denied - because there are pictures of it or witnesses that can't be discredited - then this M.O. kicks in. Say that one shouldn't pre-judge the facts, that an investigation will be launched, make sure the "investigation" takes at least 6 months so that the incident is largely forgotten, and then announce the results in as low key way as possible. In this way the U.S. military is off the hook with little risk of outcry.

Saddest of all, this M.O. seems to work. Thats why they keep using it.


Detriot should be happy 

Most cars in Venezuela are made by the big three U.S. auto makers - G.M., Ford, Daimler-Chrysler. Recently these companies have all been having a rough time. But they certainly can't blame that on Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela's auto sales, like just about everything in the Venezuelan economy, are booming. Through April auto sales are up by 91% at 61,905 which puts them on a pace to possibly sell 200,000 this year. Anything over 200,000 is considered stellar by Venezuelan standards and shows how the Venezuelan economy has rebounded since the opposition "strike" induced depression of 2002/2003


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Pena is out and crime is down 

For years now the Venezuelan opposition has beaten up Chavez based on crime increasing on his watch. And indeed crime did increase significantly during his tenure. However, it needs to be kept in mind that he is president of the country and therefore not directly responsible for the crime rate - local policiticians are. Just in the same way that George Bush is not responsible for what the crime rate is in Detroit.

One area in particular where crime escalated significantly was Caracas. And given that much of the Venezuelan opposition resides in Caracas a big deal was made of this. However, the Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas, who controls the major Caracas police force, the Policia Metropolitana was a person named Pena who was a staunch Chavez opponent. He was often accused of using the PM to attack Chavez supporters and be the storm troopers of opposition rallies rather than using them to control crime.

Last fall he was voted out in favor of a pro-Chavez mayor named Juan Barreto. And what happened with crime? Lo and behold, it is going down. So far in 2005 compared to the same period in 2004 overall crime is down 44.5%, murders are down more than 50% and vehicle theft is down 14%.

Its amazing how many good things start happening when the reactionary and obstructionist opposition people are out of the way!!


Chavez popularity soars 

Chavez's popularity keeps going up. According to a recent Datanalisis poll his approval rating is now up to 70.5%.

How does he do it? How does he stay so popular after six years? Heres what Vincent Leon, the anti-Chavez president of Datanalisis has to say:

"¿Dónde radica el éxito de Chávez?, para León la respuesta es sencilla: "En mostrar logros concretos en un país donde nadie lo hace". "

"What is Chavez's success atributable too?", for Leon the answer is simple: "He has concrete results to show in a country where no one else does"

So its pretty simple after all. After years of opposition sabotage get the economy back on its feet with 17% growth in 2004 and 11% growth so far in 2005, add in extensive social programs, and don't forget the sheer incompetance and duplicity of the opposition and its really quite easy to understand. He has "concrete results" to show where previous leaders and the opposition have had none.


Monday, May 02, 2005

No surprise here 

In another clear cut sign that the U.S. military doesn not punish its own for their transgressions (unless of course that transgression includes killing our own troops) a U.S. investigation of the killing of an Italian commando absolved U.S. troops of any wrongdoing.

Of course, the Italians certainly shouldn't be surprised by this. Remember the cable car that was knocked down , killing a score of innocent civilians, by a U.S. military jet? You know the one that was flying too fast and too low in an off limits area. Remember the outcome in that case? Well, even if you don't I think you should be able to guess it. If not, check here.


Anything to avoid clean elections 

As anyone who has followed Venezuela recently knows the opposition has often asserted that the recall referendum of last August 15th was fraudulent. Never mind that it was observed by both the Carter Center and the OAS neither of which found any evidence of fraud. And never mind that no evidence of fraud was ever presented that could withstand close examination. Many in the opposition simply take it as an article of faith that the elections were fraudulent.

So, one would think the opposition would work on ensuring that any future elections were more transparent, better monitored, and sqeacky clean, right? Wrong. The opposition knows that Chavez is very popular and that they themselves have little support - they can read opinion polls. So now they just have to try to avoid elections altogether or at least make sure that the elections don't gain international recognition.

And what do we see along these lines today? We see that one of the biggest accusers of fraud, Tulio Alvarez, is begging the European Union not to send observers to monitor the upcoming local elections:

"Estamos claros que la Unión Europea es una organización seria en observación electoral y, en vista de que tienen unas normas muy estrictas, nosotros venimos a ratificar que se mantienen las condiciones fraudulentas e irregulares", fueron las palabras del abogado constitucionalista Tulio Álvarez, al acudir hoy a la embajada en Venezuela del actual país presidente del grupo económico, Holanda, para solicitar que la UE se abstenga de participar como observador en los próximos comicios. "Nos preocupa que gente seria como la Unión Europea esté estudiando la posibilidad de venir a verificar este proceso", dijo Alvarez, quien representa a la recién conformada organización "Verdad Venezuela".Agregó que al CNE "no le conviene que participe gente seria que cumpla con parámetros de observación internacional" y dijo "estar convencido" de que no darán acceso para que la misión de la Unión Europea fiscalice todas las etapas del proceso.Para el jurista es irrelevante si viene o no el Centro Carter debido a que está "absolutamente desprestigiado" después de lo ocurrido en el referendo revocatorio presidencial realizado el 15 de agosto de 2004. Álvarez aseguró, en cuanto a la posibilidad de participar en las próximas elecciones de concejales y juntas parroquiales, que "no nos vamos a suicidar con aquellos que quieren participar a cualquier costo en los proceso electoral".


"We are clear that the European union is a serious election observation organization and, in light of their having very strict rules, we are coming to tell them that here there are still irregular and fraudulent election conditions" were the words of constitutional laywer Tulio Alvarez, at the embassy of the current head of the European Union, Holand asking that the EU not participate as observers in the next elections. "We are worried that a serious group such as the European Union is studying hte possibility of coming to verify the process" said Alvarez, who represents the newly founded group "True Venezuela". He added that it is "not in the CNE's [Venezuela's electoral council] interest to have serious people participate who fullfill the parameters of international observers" and said "I'm convinced" that they won't give access to the EU mission to analyze all the stages of the elections. For the jurist it is irrelevant if the Carter Center comes or doesn't come given that they are "completely discredited" after what happened in the presidential recall referendum of August 15, 2004. Alavarez assured, with respect to participation in the coming local elections that "we are not going to commit suicide with those who want to participate at whatever cost in the electoral process".

So there you have it. One of the chief promoters of the fraud accusations regarding the recall referendum, who never presented any evidence of fraud, doesn't want foriegn observers to come any more. The last time they came it was a disaster because all they did was verify that Chavez did indeed whip the opposition in clean elections. And now Chavez even has a higher level of support than he did last August. So of course Alvarez doesn't want the EU to come and verify that the elections are conducted cleanly. After all, all clean elections will do is show how much support Chavez has!!


Sunday, May 01, 2005

2 + 2 = 4 

The next time someone tries to tell you that the opposition didn't carry out a pre-planned coup on April 11, 2002 you might want to ask them this:

Why then did the opposition leaderhip illegally divert a peacefull rally at PDVSA headquarters to Miraflores with the cry "vamos a sacar el tyrano"? And why did Brewer Carias see the infamous decree of Carmona a full two days before the actual events that supposedly precipated Chavez's removal from power? Could it be the coup was planned in advance, the marchers were sent to Miraflores to create a confrontation and deaths, which would then be used as the pretext for overthrowing Chavez and implementing the already written "Carmona Decree" which essentially abolished the entire government? Sure looks that way.


Candor from Petkoff 

Here is an interesing piece of candor from opposition hack Teodoro Petkoff:

"La oposición dice que el referéndum fue un fraude electrónico del gobierno y que Carter los dejó embarcados. ¿Cuál es tu valoración?

'Yo personalmente no lo creo. Para mí fue evidentísimo que durante el año que va de agosto del 2003 a agosto del 2004 el gobierno, con el control que tenía del Consejo Nacional Electoral logró, a través de toda clase de artimañas y trucos, demorar la fecha de celebración del referéndum.

Y ese año le permitió lograr el efecto que sus programas sociales, llamados Misiones por Chávez, tuvieran ese efecto electoral devastador que le permitió superar la desventaja en que se encontraba para llegar a agosto del 2004, en todas las encuestas también, con superioridad. De manera que para mí, el día de la votación Chávez ganó.' "


Question: "The opposition says that the referendum was an electronic fraud and that the Carter Center left the opposition hanging. What is your view:"

Petkoff: "I peronally don't believe it. For me it was very evident during the year between August 2003 and August 2004 that the government, with the control that it had of the National Electoral Council, achieved, through all sorts of delays and tricks, to delay the referendum.

And that year allowed all the new social program, called "Missions" by Chavez, to have a devestating electoral effect that permited Chavez to make up its deficit to the point that by August 2004, in all the polls, it was ahead. With this, in my view, on election day Chavez won."

Well, at least some in the opposition are prepared to deal with reality.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?