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As seen on Venezuela's TV and sometimes even live

By Daniel Duquenal

I am back tonight in San Felipe and I must confess that although back in the country since Monday I have had no time to really catch up. Though, predictably, the news were all the “tricks” used by the chavista side of the Electoral Board (CNE) to at the very least postpone the Recall Election until August. Besides a few glances on TV and some conversation snippets I am not ready to write a summary. However, the little bit of TV I watched was worthwhile.

Carter reads, delicately, the riot act

During his visit which started when I left for the US last week, Carter did not miss the opportunity to let Chavez know that he better watch out. I do not know the details but the clip from Globovision was priceless: Carter stating clearly that he has no serious report of any significant fraud that might have been committed by the opposition in December. Translation: Listen Chavez, if you are going to claim fraud you better deliver real hard data or shut up. Otherwise get ready for the consequences.

I wish I had been the mosquito on Miraflores when Chavez saw Carter's TV appearance. And apparently the CNE has been afflicted by some turmoil since that visit which proves Carter right.

Don King makes a fool of himself

So, what else is news? But why did he needed to do so in Venezuela? He was invited at a Chavez party to celebrate Feb 2, the 5th anniversary. He took up to himself the ditty "Uh! Ah! Chavez no se va" (Uh, ah, Chavez does not leave, sounds better in Spanish). But instead of using NO he used SI. It was hilarious watching someone getting on stage to try to correct him. If with TransAfrica Forum and Don King that is all what the African American community can send to Venezuela, I am starting to understand some of the image problems that African Americans have in the US... Meanwhile we had another priceless clip in Globovision.

Live from the highway

As I drove back to San Felipe I was able to count at least 150 buses parked on the highway, buses that were carrying people to the pro Chavez march and rally of today. Indeed Chavez has been trying to make February 4 a national holiday to try to erase his failed coup of 1992. A coup against a democratically elected government, a failed coup that left around 90 killed and who knows how many injured, way more that the pseudo coup of April 11, the coup that Chavez would like us to believe happened according to his tall tale.

For this I will translate the initial part of today’s editorial in Tal Cual:

ME, A COUP MONGER?

There was a coup on April 11 Not on February 4 On April 11 the only tanks in the streets were those sent by Garcia Carneiro [currently defense minister] to protect Chavez February 4 became etched in memory with the small assault tank breaking the door of the White Palace through orders of the now president. The party in office today keeps crying over what happened on April 11 2002. As if they would have never broken glass. It is their permanent double standard. That double standard that condemns human right violations in Afghanistan while offering a blind eye when violations happen in a given Caribbean place [read Cuba of course].

And so on. Indeed, that double standard discourse of chavismo is growing tired, stale, and desperate as the Recall Election looms closer, more difficult to ban as once thought. Too bad I was in traffic and could not pull out my camera to take a pic of the buses lining up the highway near the Hippodrome of Caracas, once the finest of South America and now transformed in some kind of "cour des miracles" of chavismo, turned into a personal dependency of the autocrat as many an official place. Not that I defend horse betting, but since it is there might as well respect it and make good usage of it. After all if well managed it does produce income for social programs.

Meanwhile, at the other end of town the opposition did a rather significant march in spite of the rain. No drunken party there, most were dressed in black for mourning the deaths of February 4. And as I far as I know no buses ferrying folks to give density to the rally. The opposition does not need to spend taxpayer money to fill up its marches and rallies. But Chavez pays for at least 150 buses parked on the highway, and who knows how many more parked in the nearby streets that I could not see.

I was welcomed in San Felipe at 7:30 by yet another cadena this week, with Chavez berating the same old tired themes and promising yet more free spending programs, shamelessly buying votes. And it seems to work up to a point as it is reflected by polls. Maybe we do deserve to get such a president if we are so willing to buy his cheap language and hollow promises, futureless promises. Woe is us.



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