Saturday, December 24, 2005


From stolen radioactivity to the incredibly slow CNE: two low-key news from the chavista kingdom of Venezuela.

Originally published here
I grew up in Venezuela, so I am quite used to amazing news and a Macondonian way of life. However, since the arrival of President, soon to be King, Chavez, the amazing happenings are considered non-news, maybe because there are so many of them. This week, doing my job while Miguel is away, I came across these two pieces of news that left me speechless.

First, let us talk about radioactivity.

The Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias reports that the State of Lara police is desperately searching for stolen radioactive material. It seems that a truck that belongs to a radio inspection company was stolen in the State of Yaracuy by two individuals. There was radioactive material left inside. Now, this naïf ghost blogger asks the following questions: did the thieves know about the radioactive material or was it just bad luck for them? If they knew about it, why were they interested in it? Is it possible that radioactive material be transported without any signs of it? Why is just the regional police of the Lara State the one that is interested in this event? Why is there just one small article in the ABN about this? Why is the minister of the interior not talking about this?

A quick search on Google provides some alerts on the Internet, particularly on environmental sites. Reuters even reports a state of emergency called by the chief of the Defensa Civil in Venezuela. (see ) and another search in EUD gives just this small news item. Even after these results, I am still amazed at the little importance this very serious piece of news is been given both by the government and the media.

The second news that I want to comment on is the incredibly slow CNE. On December 22nd , El Nacional reported (page A4) that in a press conference Jorge Rodríguez said that there will not be a definite bulletin about the December 4 elections UNTIL after January 16!!! They have not verified the “actas” of some centers in 22 states!

So this humble ghost blogger asks the following: what is the use of tens (or is it hundreds?) of millions of dollars worth of electronic machines if the final results are available a month and a half after the election? Beats me!

Unless the CNE needs extra time for some creative vote counting....

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