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Venezuela: News Review

By Daniel Duquenal | Venezuela News and Views

05.11.05 | Well, I had a very busy day and finally coming back home at 7 PM I see that a lot of things are going at the same time. Let's focus fast on the two main ones.

Chavez and Bush in Mar Del Plata

The Americas summit is being held in that Argentinean resort town. Bush, everyday more and more contested in Latin America, even by many who oppose Chavez vehemently, is meeting with protest in Argentina that are surprisingly more violent than expected. Unfortunately the politics of Argentina with the "piqueteros" fringe has become quite troubled, with basically Kirchner being a semi hostage from their constant road blocks and other disruptive activities.

Chavez, fishing as usual in troubled waters, has managed to have a "counter summit" meeting held. The whole thing smacked of a set up for grabbing headlines and one wonders how come the local host let it go that far. Is Kirchner in trouble in spite of rather good electoral results a week ago? Is Kirchner blackmailed by Chavez through SIDOR, bonds and what not? One does not what to think but one cannot help becoming suspicious. Interestingly only two figures were in attendance at that meeting where Chavez wailed for over two hours. Evo Morales of Bolivia and Maradona where the only "luminaries", one because he does as Chavez and Fidel say in order to try to win Bolivia's coming elections and the other just because he is certified crazy. But do not think that other leftist leaders were not in attendance because they disapproved of Chavez (though I am pretty sure that Lula or Lagos would never be caught dead in such a Latin trash rally). I know the man well enough that he probably arranged things and put the stakes high enough to be sure he would be the only one on stage. He has stopped long ago sharing stages, even with Fidel Castro who is letting him take the front line more and more!

You doubt me? I have further evidence.

Yesterday I watched VTV for a few minutes (something I do no more than once a month). Well, they were calling for a support march for Chavez as he would be attacking Bush a continent away. It was a bust, El Universal reporting around 2000 people at Plaza Morelos and a friend of mine mailing me that even VTV did a very discreet coverage of the event, a sure sign that even their expert cameras could not create the illusion of enthusiastic crowds. The good news is that with a few million dollars Chavez can still get the adoring response his megalomaniacal personality does crave so eagerly: in Mar del Plata there were indeed several thousand of people cheering (while here we were stuck with another endless cadena). (1)

Indictments in Caracas

What surprised me more than this Argentinean only too predictable show was that the general prosecutor office chose today to release the first "serious" indictments on the Anderson case. I write "serious" as I am far from convinced that at least 2 of the 4 named ones had any reason to kill or help in killing prosecutor Anderson one year ago. I mean, why would Patricia Poleo want to kill Anderson, or even need to kill Anderson? She might, but really, I would want to see the proof! This is something that I have a hard time believing, and I am not the only one as Gerardo Blyde was already publicly visiting Poleo at home and declaring that this was just a whole bunch of trumped charges to try to find fall guys where other should be the ones indicted. It is to be noted that Isaias Rodriguez is on record saying that Patricia Poleo was out of the investigation, about two weeks ago.

But let's look at another declaration of Isaias. "A lot of people are involved". Huh?! So, a notorious prosecutor is killed, a lot of people are involved and only now, one year after, some apparently ludicrous charges are brought forth? Ludicrous enough that they surely could have been brought up much earlier than today? Adding further that his dispatch "cannot prove the guilt of so many people"? Does Isaias realize how his own words establish HOW INCOMPETENT his office is and what a liar he has become?

Yes, I think Byde is right. The morochas. The Halloween arrests. The Isaias out of the blue indictments. It only makes sense if we see that as a desperate last minute electoral ploy. Look at the meager crowds in Caracas today and you will know why the government is so frantically trying to create some emotion.

Surprising footnote: of all people, Carter was the one lamenting Bush bashing. He even said that Chavez was a "demagogue" and that he had no reason to attack Bush the way he did. Does Carter know more than what he tells? Nah... He was such an impartial observer in August 2004!

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1) Update: a friend of mine who works downtown Caracas, the one that serves me of guide when I must venture in this living hell, wrote me to tell me that the chavista rally was a sad drunken affair. They set up some stage with loud music (on a working day!) to try to attract people. The only result was that all stores and business around closed as they simply could not work with the racket, and the insecurity. He had to cross the area on an errand, not aware that the rally was on his path. But that did not deter him as he quickly saw that the rally was only about a block long, almost everyone in the red shirt of circumstance (read: the regular paid for attendance, not enough "spontaneous" to dilute that impression). Many, too many were drinking, some even making out, noone really paying much attention to whatever was coming from the stage. As the Latin trash rally (expression that has been much appreciated in another blog) in Mar del Plata was going on, downtown Caracas had a real trash rally of its own....

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