Friday, March 31, 2006


Do not miss Chavez's latest live performance

Originally published here
Donkey, coward, genocide ("genocida"), drunk...those are some of the warm words that President Chavez got for President Bush on National TV.

You've got to watch it to believe it. Alfredo put the video on Tyromaniac. Here is the link.


Political Apartheid in Venezuela: what did Chavez know and when did he know it? (Part II)

Originally published here
When, in a few years, or in a few decades, people think about the Chavista era, they would probably remember that this was the first regime that institutionalized intimidation and apartheid in Venezuela.

When the President is shown on TV reminding his viewers that if they sign for a Revocatory Referendum their names and ID numbers will be known, that is called intimidation. And later, when workers are fired or citizens are denied access to jobs, passports or ID’s because they signed, that is a state of political apartheid.

That had never happened before in Venezuela and it is probably the darkest political and social legacy of President Chavez and of any president of the so-called democratic era. I certainly hope that History remembers Chavez on that account.

Last year, upon hearing president Chavez ask his followers to bury the infamous “Tascon” fascist list, I wrote this ghost posting demanding that Chavez assumes his responsibility and that the country asks a single question:

“What did Chavez know and when did he know it?”

Almost a year has passed since that post, and nobody has asked let alone answered that question. There has been no investigation, nobody put on trial, no one, except some private newspapers to register the abuses that the state of political apartheid has created in Venezuela.

However, in my view, two positive things have happened: the List has no longer been referred as the “Tascon list” and the documentary called “The list” has been created.

Referring to the list as Tascon’s, was a way to minimize the importance of the political blacklisting. A way to overlook the fact that the political apartheid system was instaured well beyond the petty views of a member of the National Assembly with fascist tendencies. We, Venezuelans, are happy people that do not take ourselves or our governments too seriously, so talking about the list as a local colorful issue probably helped us escape the reality that this was a serious matter that could change forever our everyday lives.

So when the Tascon list becomes “la Lista” we, as Venezuelans, are giving a step forward towards questioning the state of our civil liberties and questioning a State that submits its citizens to a systematic apartheid. Remarkably, this consciousness has happened in less than a year, which was also a year of high oil prices that greatly improved the economy of the country.

Today, I watched the short version of La Lista that appeared in Tal Cual multimedia and that you can see here.

I am not going to repeat what Daniel and Miguel have already written about that film, all I am going to tell you is that you should watch it and see that the country is little by little increasing its civic and political awareness.

Ironically, despite the depressing subject, I was more optimistic after watching it. I said to myself that maybe sooner than expected Venezuelans will ask and even question the government with my original question.

What did Chavez know and when did he know it?

Jorge Arena
Distinguished ghost blogger

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


An official note proving that there is no presumption of innocence in political trials in Venezuela.- The case of Capriles Radonsky.

Originally published here

Scanning the official Ministry of Information pages of the government of Venezuela (the MINCI pages), I found the following news:

“The Ambassador of Cuba will ask that the major of Baruta be investigated”

Here is the link:

I was quite intrigued by the title and, as a curious ghost blogger that I am, started reading and digging some information about the case.

Henrique Capriles Radonsky is the very popular mayor of the town of Baruta, in the East part of Caracas where the Cuban Embassy is located.

During the events of April 2002, a group of angry and radical anti-Chavez people were protesting in front of the Cuban Embassy. After being called by the Cuban Ambassador, Capriles Radownsky went to the site and talked with him. According to Capriles, he assured the Ambassador that he was going to do whatever was possible to insure the security of the diplomatic personnel and he asked the protesters to leave the place, which they did.

After those events, the Public Ministry started an investigation on the case and the Fiscalia accused Capriles Radonsky. Capriles was actually put in jail for several months supposedly to prevent his leaving the country because the prosecution said that he was not present on three occasions after being called. According to Capriles, his lawyers were denied the access to the file where the prosecution declarations were stated.

It follows a long and complicated judicial tail.

At one point even the TSJ declared that Capriles had been sent to jail in an unjustified manner, but somehow the case was reopened.

The Capriles version of the events can be found here and here.

Capriles asked recently that he be judged in an impartial manner and he denounced that the Cuban Ambassador had meetings with representatives of the Judicial Power (see here).

After this long introduction, I can take you back to the note that called my attention and that appeared on March 23, 2006, on the very official MINCI pages.

The page shows the communiqué of the Cuban Embassy not only denying the allegations of Capriles (which would have been the normal thing to do for a diplomatic entity) but also ASKING THE GOVERNMENT OF VENEZUELA TO INVESTIGATE WHY HE IS MAKING THOSE ALLEGATIONS…I mean, the guy was put in jail, has been harassed for several years for this event, his case has been reopened ….In my humble ghost blogger opinion the guy has every legitimate right to be concerned about the fairness of his trial and scared at the possibility that the Cuban representatives be in contact with anyone in the Venezuelan judicial system that is going to judge him…

But although I am quite bothered by the answer of the Cuban Embassy, that is not what bothered me the most. What really put me in the alarm mode and triggered me to write this post was the following paragraph that clearly demonstrates the current state of justice, fairness and separation of powers in Venezuela. It was written by the officials in charge of the Venezuelan Ministry of Information pages (I copy it verbatim in Spanish)

“El alcalde, que en los días del golpe de estado de 2002 tuvo una participación en los actos de asedio a la embajada cubana, al no impedir que la turba violenta mantuviera incomunicada a la sede durante 3 días, acusa al embajador de conspirar en el país.

A continuación la nota completa emitida por la sede diplomática:”

The translation :

“The mayor, that during the days of the coup of 2002 had a participation in the acts of siege of the Cuban Embassy when he did not prevent that the violent crowd maintained the Embassy without communications during 3 days, accuses the Ambassador to conspire in the country.

In what follows we present the complete note issued by the diplomatic see”.

So what we essentially have here is the OFFICIAL pages of the Goverment of Venezuela SAYING that a citizen that will stand trial is already GUILTY. The note is written in the affirmative, there is no presumption of innocence whatsoever in this note.

…And this is the same government that claims that there is justice and independence of Powers in Venezuela.

Reporting from Cyberspace,

Jorge Arena
Curious ghost blogger

Sunday, March 26, 2006


News from Jorge

Originally published here

While Miguel is away swimming somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean, your friendly ghost will be reporting on-and-off. I am quite busy these days trying to start my tomato plants. You see, bloggers grow orchids and ghost bloggers grow tomatoes. It is a fact of life and an Internet law. Actually, I have been thinking that while Miguel is away on his extended vacation among Polynesian sharks I should take advantage of his absence and open a new The Devil’s Section devoted to growing tomatoes…

So if you want me to keep ghosting as long as Chavez is in power ( I’ve got the most secure job anyone can dream of!) please prepare your messages of support for the new tomatoes Section and keep them handy. I’ll let you know if I need an outpour of spontaneous support when Miguel gets back.

As usual, there are many interesting news in the Chavista kingdom of Venezuela:

* a new Petrochemical company that we do not know how it differs from the previous one and that will develop Petrochemical technology in Venezuela (didn’t we already have one in place?);

* the Minister of Interior calls for a corruption investigation against an ex National Assembly member and now Supreme Court judge;

* an ex putchist; Chavez 1992 coup comrade and ex presidential candidate against Chavez is named Venezuela’s UN Ambassador.. .

but since I do not have much time to keep you posted on everything, I will start with the one that concerns me the most: the news that my tocayo, Jorge Rodriguez, is not running for the CNE.

This is sad news for this ghost blogger since Jorge Rodríguez is one of my favorite government characters, in particular because we share the same name. So I would like to propose to the 20 people that are electing the new CNE directive that the next President of the CNE is called Jorge as well.

What? Do you think that that is a totally arbitrary requirement? Why? If the new president is elected to follow strict Chavista rules we may as well impose that he has at least a charming first name. It should not be too difficult to find a good number of devoted Chavistas called Jorge. I would even think that it could be possible to find one called Jorge Miguel or Jorge Daniel but I do not want to push too much.

Of course, of course, I know I am being too pessimistic. Maybe the people that are electing the new CNE will find someone that is competent and truly independent. The problem is that out of the 20 members, 11 are members of the National Assembly, that is 100% Chavista. BTW Sumate has asked that those members have voice but would abstain from voting….In any case I will forgive them for not imposing the Jorge name if they truly elect an independent Council.

The interesting thing now is to know why Jorge Rodriguez is really stepping down. For weeks he was a sure bet for the new CNE and, all of a sudden, he says that he does not want to be a roadblock in the presidential elections. He does not want to be an excuse for the opposition to decide not to run in the forthcoming election.

You know what? I believe him. I think that Chavez is desperate to get any opposition candidate against him in December to avoid the international image that he is holding a plebiscite. So, in my humble ghost opinion, the order probably came from Chavez himself.

There have also been rumors about Jorge Rodríguez being a candidate to be the next Vice president.

Personally, I don’t believe those rumors. Chavez wants to preserve the idea that the CNE that has been running the last elections and the RR was fair and independent. If he nominates Rodríguez as a Vice president there is no way he can say that.

(Sorry Jorge, I know I just blew your possibilities for Vice president. When the MINCI guys read this they will be so convinced by my ingenious interpretation that, upon being informed, Chavez will change his mind on your nomination. But do not despair, keep reading, I’ve got a better idea for you).

This ghost blogger also learned that before leaving, Jorge Rodríguez put in place the list of all the Venezuelan voters by district in the web page of the CNE. However, in the VTV article cited above it is said that the personal data of the voters will not be made available in order NOT TO VIOLATE ARTICLE 60 OF THE CONSTUTUTION! So now, after the Tascón list and the Maisanta Program where the personal information of millions of Venezuelans voters was and is still used for blacklisting by the government, and is available from street vendors in Caracas, the same government says that it cannot reveal the voters’ personal data. Funny that now they discover there is an article 60 in the Constitution, which BTW is the same article 60 mentioned in this post….

Before finishing the post, I read that Chavez had some nice words for Jorge Rodriguez in today’s Alo Presidente, lamenting that he had to step down because of the bad publicity that he has been unjustly the object of and that was directed of course from the Empire…

So poor Jorge will have to step down with just a warm congratulation from the President, no goodies, unless we quickly forget about him and concentrate on the new CNE President. Maybe then, Chavez can give him more than his heartfelt congratulations for a job well done.

BTW, Jorge, here is the tip: I heard that the Paris embassy is now available.

You know, discussing and tasting the virtues of Moet Chandons, Foie Gras and Chateau Lafitte is much more interesting than dealing day in and day out with Maria Corina, the oligarchic media and stubborn bloggers and ghosts.

So go for it, tocayo, you deserve it!

Reporting from Cyberspace,

Jorge Arena
Distinguished Ghost.

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