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Whilst Chavez gets lithium Venezuela descends into chaos

By Aleksander Boyd

London 15.06.05 | Gossip has it that Hugo Chavez suffers from Bipolar (Manic Depressive) Disorder and is taking lithium. Those with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings between mania and depression. Manic episodes can begin abruptly or gradually, and are characterized by "significant insomnia, excessive talking, extreme confidence, and increased appetite." As the episode progresses, "the patient exhibits racing thoughts, extreme agitation, and incoherence, frequently replaced with delusions, hallucinations, and paranoid fears" [1]. Delusions, hallucinations and paranoid fears? Is there a clearer definition of Chavez's deranged personality than the aforementioned? Judging his latest rants about assassination plots by invisible people armed with neutron weapons one can safely conclude that the man has lost the plot. But the show must go on and so other events must substitute the presidential eloquence.

A wanted drug dealer walks from the DISIP HQs

So the revolution wants to fry Posada Carriles, they swear before their gods that he would be respected, his human rights won't be trampled upon and that Cuban agents won't practice the latest torture techniques on him. Fair enough. The US administration knows for sure that the alleged terrorist is and will be under their control whilst in US soil. Can Venezuela say the same? Mmm... let me think. Montesinos, Ballestas, Granda and now Jose Maria Corredor (a.k.a. Jose Adrian Rodriguez Buitriago, "Boyaco Chepe"), who according to Reuters was taken out the heavily-guarded DISIP headquarters early on Saturday in a car driven by a DISIP officer, have in common the fact that all four of them are/were high profile criminals wanted by international authorities and also all four of them were, at some point, under DISIP's 'surveillance and control'. The DISIP's actions, in all instances, were at best utterly inefficient and at worst simply criminal. Thus the Chavez regime can hardly claim severity in dealing with internationally wanted criminals considering such sloppy precedent.

Military revolts and unrest around Venezuela

Little has been said about the unease of the Venezuelan army. Reasons abound as pointed out by Miguel Octavio; Fidel Castro, commander of assassins of Venezuelan soldiers in former times, being appointed by Chavez as godfather or sponsor of a graduating class of high military officials; outright rejection amongst soldiers towards the creation of a rival and parallel reservists army; outright rejection towards Cuban commanders imposed from the presidency; fear of US reprisals, such as visa revocations that would impede the enjoyment of ill acquired condos in Miami; realisation of the sheer destruction brought on PDVSA, meaning a shortage of corruption money; in sum there seems to be a surging current of discontent towards Chavez and his policies. In any case Chavez may be attempting, yet again, to force a situation by way of imposing Castro's presence to identify those that are not fully committed to the revolution, that is to say those that still have an iota of dignity and respect for Venezuela left. One can only hope that whomever they may be this time round they do not fall in Chavez's trap.

15th of June Minister Ramirez, you've got 15 days left to hand in the SEC fillings

With great fanfare Venezuela's oil Minister and illegally appointed director of PDVSA said on May 24th that PDVSA would fill financial accounts with the SEC in June. Half of the month has come to pass with no filling in sight. Furthermore now the SEC is investigating PDVSA's US subsidiary CITGO on a number of issues namely inside dealing and some unidentified transactions, as reported by Bloomberg. Of course it would be foolish to think that Ramirez will keep his promise for that is the realm of men.

PDVSA's 'resistance' to increase production

This is due simply to PDVSA's ever failing output and also a rather pathetic attempt at maintaining inflated oil prices. Consumers the world over are picking up the Chavez premium tab. As Michael Rowan comments in his "It's all about the price of oil" article:

It is no coincidence that the world oil price increased in parallel with Venezuelan preparations for war, invasion, and assassination, and unilateral edicts hostile to foreign oil companies. The market reacted to these hyperbolic, paranoid rants in predictable fashion, by raising the political risk premium for investments in Venezuela -which Chavez doesn't care about- and cranking Venezuela's insecurity into the volatile world oil price calculation -which was his intention.

It worked. Speculators in the market agreed that Chavez might do something crazy. In the last year, Wall Street analysts estimate that about $10 per barrel of the world oil price resulted from instability in the Middle East and Venezuela. Chavez, who knows a lot more about manipulating free markets than he puts on, must have collected those premiums with a horse laugh.

But in May, the oil price sustained a continuous drop totaling 7.2% in just two weeks. The fundamentals of the oil price -reserves, production, refining and global demand- did not justify a price of $50 per barrel. So Chavez tried to ratchet up the speculators again, by threatening to close embassies over the Posada affair, kicking the oil companies out of the country unless they paid him more tribute, and planning a nuclear program with Iran. While most people follow the Chavez horror show on TV news, he's tuned into the oil quote prices on the Bloomberg channel to see if it worked.

Assassination plot discovery announcement No 15.765

Borrowing from a comment at Daniel's blog, Chavez, and most of his ministerial team, have announced, for the umpteenth time, that they have uncovered another assassination plot. Whilst the attempt No 1.347, organized by proxies of high military officials failed, the consequence being that the poor Colombian peasants that enrolled in 'Mision Danilo Anderson' are actually roting in Venezuelan jails for planning to take the presidential life armed with croissants, this time round we are promised that they have proof, uncontrovertible that is, that another group of Colombians -that missed the first Mision- are trying to kill him. Of course the whole world is expectant, glued to TV sets to see the evolving and unending continuation of the real life drama "the revolution will not be televised".

Jose Dirceu, Chavez apologist and former guerrilla dismissed by Lula

Now this is good news indeed, although not directly related to Venezuela's chaos. Not long ago Dirceu commented to Secretary Rice that Chavez did not listen to him. In the framework of conversations with respect to the recent chavista arms race Dirceu gave assurances to Rice that Chavez was no threat. Quite obviously the prospects of continuing selling airplanes to Venezuela and forging all sorts of saucy deals between Petrobras and the corrupt PDVSA had Mr Dirceu salivating and defending Chavez at every possible instance. So perhaps that question, that of Chavez's perilousness, ought to be posed to Bolivia's Carlos Mesa and Ecuador's Alfredo Palacio, who, sources report, was nearly killed by a mob of members of the Movimiento Popular Democratico, an alleged Chavez-financed outlet set to bring the 'glorious' Bolivarian Revolution to Ecuador.

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