27 de Mayo, 2006

"The Talented Mr. Chavez"

Por Venezuela Real - 27 de Mayo, 2006, 20:34, Categoría: Prensa Internacional

Para leer este interesante artículo, favor conéctese a la fuente original.

Autor:   Franklin Foer
The Atlantic Monthly
Mayo 2006

Latin American New Imperialist

Por Venezuela Real - 27 de Mayo, 2006, 20:27, Categoría: Injerencia de/en Venezuela

Oil, like gold, has spiked in price under this inflationary bias, creating windfall profits for the world's worst type-A tyrants.

Of course, political uncertainty has added to petroleum price hikes.  But Fed objective of dealing with inflationary expectations by, for instance, bringing gold back to $400 an ounce, is guaranteed to rein in oil prices. Writing in the May 22 issue of Forbes magazine, Steve Forbes estimates that "At least $20 of the price of a barrel of oil today is pure inflation and inflation- induced speculation."

Slashing the inflation premium would be great for Americans at the  pump and next winter. But by putting an end to too many dollars chasing world petroleum output, the U.S. would also cut its worst enemies down to size. Note that Iran's mullahs haven't been this aggressive since the 1970s, when the U.S. last went on an inflationary binge. In this hemisphere, as the weapons ban indicates, cash-rich Venezuela has become equally menacing.

Venezuelan democrats will tell you that there is not much hope fnbhange in government without an oil-price retreat. Until that happens, Mr. Chávez will be too powerful. That's bad news for 26 million Venezuelans who are experiencing sky-rocketing crime rates and declining living standards under Chavismo.

But the risks of a sustained period of extraordinary wealth in the hands of Mr. Chávez go well beyond the damage he is doing to his own country or even his military buildup. Equally worrying is that in his  role as the region's Daddy Warbucks, Mr. Chávez is also using his wealth to extend his revolutionary tentacles in politics. Gustavo Coronel, a former member of the board of directors of the state-owned  oil company PdVSA, estimates that Mr. Chávez has already official spent $17 billion internationally to advance his agenda. Given Venezuela's lack of transparency and massive corruption, it's hard to  dismiss suspicions that the real nu higher.

Exhibit A is Bolivia, where Venezuela's president has actively coached his disciples and where well-financed and orchestrated street  violence brought down two elected governments in recent years and produced the Evo Morales presidency. Bolivia has now become a virtual Venezuelan colony flush with Cuban agents.

A number of governments in the hemisphere have expressed alarut Mr. Chávez's extracurricular activities around the region. Mexico is worried about the growth of Chávez-funded Bolivarian Circles -- groups that preach and enforce Fidel Castro's view of the world --  springing up at its universities and trying to influence its July presidential elections.

This sort of political manipulation is why Mexican President Vicente Fox expelled Venezuela's ambassador last year. Presidential candidate  Felipe Calderon has been even more explicit, stating that "evidence has emerged" of Venezuelan meddling. "This should be investigated and the full weight of the law should be brought to bear to prevent Hugo  Chávez from actively interfering and attempting to sway the outcome of the vote in Mexico."

Brazil, headed by a left-winger once viewed as a Chávez ally, is now publicly critical of Venezuelan interference. Last week Brazil's  foreign minister warned Mr. Chávez to back off in Bolivia, noting that "when certain threats [from Bolivia to Brazil] were being transmitted through the press, that happened parallel with a large  presence of PdVSA personnel" in Bolivia. In Peru, where a runoff between Chávez-wannabe Ollanta Humala and former president Alan Garcia is scheduled for June, there are also strong suspicionenezuelan interference. President Alejandro Toledo has cautioned Mr. Chávrurs.

Latin America's biggest players might be able to fend off Venezuela. But Central America is far more vulnerable. Mr. Chávez has made no  secret of his support for Nicaragua's Cold War relic Daniel Ortega, still doing Castro's will but now with the Venezuelan's money.

As he has done all over Latin America and the Caribbean -- and in  Massachusetts -- Mr. Chávez is selling discounted energy to Sandinista-controlled municipalities, including the capital of Managua. Mr. Ortega claims that Venezuela promised to use some of the gasoline income it gets in the transaction to capitalize a development bank for Nicaragua. This week the Nicaraguan daily La Prensa reported that Mr. Chávez has sent a gift of 10,000 tons of fertilizer to the Sandinista mayors and is planning to send another  10,000. The mayors are also controlling the distribution of gifts from Cuba -- obviously funded by Venezuela since Cuba has no money -- which include a multi-million dollar literacy program and thousands  of free television sets. Venezuela has a program to ferry Nicaraguans to Caracas for free eye surgery and recently hosted 80 pro-Ortega mayors for a retreat in the capital.

This is not passive generosity. It's classic directed political support for the hard left. One way to compete against it would be to spend as hard as Mr. Chávez. A better way would be to bring oil prices back to earth by dng dollar liquidity.y of  decisive action on the monetary front is that it would weaken the Venezuelan tyrant while at the same time making U.S. consumers (and ultimately Venezuelan ones, too) better off.

Peru Ex-Spy Chief Says Candidate for President Aided His Escape

Por Venezuela Real - 27 de Mayo, 2006, 20:25, Categoría: Injerencia de/en Venezuela

Peru Ex-Spy Chief Says Candidate for President Aided His Escape
NYT. May 21, 2006


The disgraced former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, told a court on Friday that Ollanta Humala, a presidential candidate in next month's runoff, helped him escape from the country six years ago by staging a fake military rebellion.

Mr. Montesinos, the intelligence chief under former President Alberto Fujimori, made the statement in court during one of his many corruption trials. He is serving a prison sentence outside of Lima.

An audio tape of his statement was replayed on nightly television and radio newscasts.

Mr. Humala, a retired army lieutenant colonel, burst onto the political scene when he led a short-lived military uprising in Oct. 29, 2000, against Mr. Fujimori, whose government collapsed a month later engulfed by corruption scandals centered on Mr. Montesinos.

Mr. Humala has repeatedly denied suggestions that his bloodless rebellion was a diversion to cover Mr. Montesinos's escape from Peru on a private yacht.

Mr. Montesinos, who controlled the military during much of his decade as Mr. Fujimori's security chief, was captured eight months later in Venezuela.

Mr. Montesinos called Mr. Humala's uprising a "farce, an operation of deception and manipulation" designed to "facilitate my exit from the country on the sailboat Karisma. That is the reality of those events."

Mr. Humala, a populist in the mold of Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chávez, trails former President Alan García in the polls ahead of a June 4 runoff vote.

Mr. Humala responded by angrily accusing Mr. Montesinos late Friday of making a deal with Mr. García's center-left Aprista Party to undermine his candidacy. The candidates are scheduled to face off in a nationally televised debate Sunday night.

"I want to declare my indignation at the statements," Mr. Humala told reporters. "Who benefits from the declarations that stain the honor of Ollanta Humala? Evidently they benefit Alan García," Mr. Humala added. "I ask Mr. Alan García, what's the deal? What is this about? Everyone knows Montesinos wants and is fighting for his liberty. I won't give it to him."

Jorge del Castillo, Aprista's secretary general, called Mr. Humala's suggestion that Mr. García was behind Mr. Montesinos's statement "nonsense."

Already serving a 15-year sentence on various corruption convictions, Mr. Montesinos still faces dozens of charges including extortion, arms smuggling and directing a paramilitary death squad.

Mr. Humala's uprising began when he and more than 50 followers took over a mine in Toquepala in southern Peru, commandeered food and fuel, and then disappeared into the mountains taking an army general hostage.

That same day, Mr. Montesinos, who had been in hiding for weeks, boarded the yacht Karisma in Lima's port of Callao and sailed to Ecuador's Galápagos Islands.

Before Mr. Montesinos left, investigators have said, he made several calls on his satellite telephone to the Locumba army base, where Mr. Humala was stationed, raising suspicions that the security chief orchestrated the mutiny.

Mr. Humala's candidacy has tapped into a powerful vein of discontent among Peru's poor majority.

An admirer of Peru's 1968-75 left-wing military dictator, Gen. Juan Velasco, he promises heavy state intervention in Peru's free-market economy, which most Peruvians view as benefiting only the rich.

Finanzas de Chavez

Por Venezuela Real - 27 de Mayo, 2006, 20:25, Categoría: Economía

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Finanzas de Chavez

Por Venezuela Real - 27 de Mayo, 2006, 20:23, Categoría: Prensa Internacional

Andy Webb-Vidal in Caracas
Financial Times
07 de abril de 2006

Venezuela is diverting almost $20bn from its oil bonanza into an opaque fund over which President Hugo Chávez has discretionary powers to spend as he sees fit on development and politica causes at home and abroad. The huge international slush fun is being created ahead of elections in December, when Mr Chávez expects to be re-elected, and as he seeks to extend his influence across Latin America.

Mr Chávez, who has
governed the world‚s fifth-largest oil exporter for seven years, often sees himself as the standard-bearer of left wing opponents of Washington´s imperialis policies. However, his discretionary spending purse would appear to be dozens of times larger than that available to President George W. Bush under the White House appropriation rules, which has congressional oversight. In recent days Venezuela‚s central bank has begun transferring $4.2bn (3.4bn, £2.4bn) from foreign reserves to a special fund called Fonden, which will have accumulated about $12.5bn by May.

government estimates that Fonden will have $17.5bn by the end of 2006 equivalent to about 40 per cent of this years official budget of $46bn. An additionalfund called Fondespa already has about $2bn.  Fonden was created last year under a law that obliges the central bank to divert excess  reserves into the fund, with an initial deposit of $6bn last July. Since then about $100m per week has been transferred to Fonden from Petróleos de Venezuela, or Pdvsa, the state-owned oil company. Analysts allege that the fund is technically illegal, because the constitution prohibits extra-budgetary spending. Money from Fonden is quasi-fiscal expenditure but it is enormous and how it is spent is completely discretional, said Orlando Ochoa, an independent economist in Caracas. Only Chávez decides how the money is spent.  Domingo Maza Zavala, a central bank director, said last month that Fonden funds should be used to pay off foreign debt. Analysts doubt that will happen. The government could use more of the Fonden to reduce external debt but there are indications that Fonden is geared to other priorities, said investment bank JP Morgan in a research note last week. Economists also warn that Fonden expenditure will lead to an increase in monetary liquidity, feeding into higher inflation.

Fonden is being managed by the Banco del Tesoro, a
state-owned bank created last year and run by Rodolfo Marco Torres, an army officer who participated in Mr Chávez´s 1992 military coup attempt. Mr Marco did not return calls seeking comment. According to a recent finance ministry presentation, Fonden‚s current balance, about $9bn, is held at HSBC, the UK-based bank.

Opaque financial management of Fonden is adding to
doubts over the transparency of Venezuela‚s public finances. Some of the money in Fonden is believed to have been spent, possibly on sophisticated operations, such as the purchase of more than $2bn in Argentine sovereign bonds, as well as on more rudimentary tasks.
Venezuela regularly signs oil and project-financing
deals with political groupings or governments in the region. This week it signed a deal with leftwing mayors in El Salvador to provide cheap oil to the poor. But there have also been persistent rumours of cash being given in used dollar bills to left-leaning political candidates in elections.

President Evo Morales of Bolivia has denied receiving
financing from Mr Chávez before his election last December, as has Ollanta Humala, the radical nationalist candidate running in Peru‚ selections on Sunday.

Andy Webb-Vidal in Caracas
Financial Times
07 de abril de 2006

In a Country Far Away by Alex Beech

Por Venezuela Real - 27 de Mayo, 2006, 20:18, Categoría: Prensa Internacional

Alex Beech

Milanzuelans had more than enough to eat and drink. Surrounded by other  European countries, Milanzuelans often traveled to Rome and Paris to shop for their luxury goods. Europeans called them the  "give me twos" because many Milanzuelans often purchased two of everything.  There were also poor Milanzuelans, because the wealth derived from their magical liquid - called  The Golden Fuel - wasn't evenly distributed. That disturbed many Milanzuelans.

Over time, Milanzuela's rich grew richer, its poor grew poorer, and its thriving middle class disappeared, as the cost of  living ate away at their savings.

Even though Milanzuelans had enjoyed a peaceful  democracy for decades, Milanzuelans blamed their president. They didn't understand how this humble man could possess luxurious homes in Cannes and Marbella.

As the social conditions deteriorated, some in the  military began to rumble. Nobody paid attention, since Milanzuela's military  was considered the most democratic in Europe, viewing itself at the service of democracy, and not of politics. Milanzuela's military model was studied throughout the world.
However, the rumblings grew louder, until one day, an army captain led an uprising against the Milanzuelan president.  Milanzuelans watched in horror as young soldiers perished. Some Milanzuelans, tired  of the inefficient government, celebrated. But the country mourned when they saw t blood and the many lost lives. When the uprising was quelched, the cap;

While imprisoned, the captain read books and met his future was also visited by his present wife, as well as by some of the country's academics. In the silence of his cell, he planned a future presidency. If blood had failed, his only recourse was elections.

The day finally came when a new president, his Godfather, pardoned the captain. Now that he was free, he could pursue the presidency with all his resources, and that's exactly what he did. He campaigned, often sleeping in the back of a van. Since Milanzuelans were desperate for change, but too lazy to vote, a small segment of Milanzuelans elected him with an overwhelming majority. Winning was the happiest day of his life.

At first, Milanzuelans were happy with their president, and their European neighbors celebrated with them. Change was as palpable as the seasons which visited the Alps. If other European countries could pick themselves up from ruin, so could the Milanzuelans.

Since the captain was anxious to achieve h he gave himself extraordinary powers. In one fell swoop, he passed fifty new laws under a  measure called the Enabling Law. In any other European country, some Milanzuelans said, a president wouldn't be allowed to pass fifty laws in one fell swoop. Where was the legislative system? Where was the judicial system? But their concerns were drowned by the engines of change.

The captain president also decided to change the constitution, and a constituent assembly was formed. To fill the assse who agreed with him, the captain president devised a campaign called "The Captain's Keys" He then rhymed themes of his supportg, which many Milanzuelans sang. When they voted, they hummed the names, remembering each one. Thus the ay pase caps always leak the tapes to the media. Members of the European press, except Le Monde, were concerned. After all, the European press often protested the actions of European governments. The conflict between the media and the government was the crux of a healthy democracy! But their complaints were drowned by the engines of change.

Thus, the captain president once again met with his ruling party lawmakers, and a law was designed to curb the media's freedom. At this brainstorming session, one lawmaker joked that the television networks should be forced to run cartoons. Another lawmaker saould be forced to air nature shows. Eventually, a law was passed which threatened any media outlet which incited violence. The law was so nebulous that many media outlets started censoring themselves. When journalist associations  around the world expressed concern, their voices were drowned out by the engin.

As he gained more power, the captain president eliminlitical enemies. To gain friends in Europe, he began to sell The Golden Fuel at favorable prices, so that voices questioning his  governmen;down. As more and more governments purchased The Golden Fuel at bargain rates, many started to consider the captain a saint. To increase his profile, the captain launched a series of high  profile social programs in his country, making sure that many photos were taken in the process. He also opened "information offices" in capitals throughout the world, to "educate"  the world about "what was taking place" in Milanzuela. Eventunbsp;supported the captain.

The final triumph came during a meeting with a group of entrepreneurs, who  convinced the captain president that they could create voting technologysp;that would ensure his victory for ages to come. Immediately, his government became a shareholder in their company, and their  promise came true. He won the two successive elections.

The machines also recorded how each Milanzuelan voted, so now he had the names of gle Milanzuelan who voted against  him. Armed with this "list", he ordered mass firings from the public sector. Europeans were outraged, but they didn't say anything. When members of his government were questioned, they simply said, "nobody who voted against the president deserves to work for the government. When the listsan eye sore for the government, the captain declared: Retire the  list. It has served its purpose. This time, it was Milanzuelans who complained, but their screams were drowned out by the engines of change.

As the years passed, Mlanzuelans stopped voting, so   that the legislative system fell into the captain's grip.bsp;as well as The Court of International Opinion, the captain preside no one dared to say it to his face, many called him His Majesty. When someone would note that poverty was still rampant, the international information offices would issue fancy press releases stating  that his government had eradicated poverty. When dissidents were imprisoned, the Information Ministry would immediately claim that they were "terrorists" When writers characterized the captain as a "dictator", they were labeled Scotland Yard operatives. Some were imprisoned.

Finally the day came, when everyone was silent.


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