We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Once again, President Chavez is in a pickle. The PDVSA (petroleum company of Venezuela) is missing billions. No one knows where the dollars are and Hugo's cousin is in charge.
"Today in the Venezuelan blogosphere, writer after writer, some of whom do not even know each other, reach the same conclusion: Venezuela’ s state oil company, under the regime of Hugo Chavez, is being systematically looted by Chavez’s cronies so badly it’s affected production. And hundreds of billions of dollars have been lost. These sums are like Argentina’s default numbers, triple digit billions. It’s coming to a head as a powerful indictment of the Chavez regime, and try as he might to use diversions, like Posada Carriles, Bush, the Norwegians, the IRS, the foreign oil companies, it all comes down to the elephant in the room - the state oil company is bleeding money and Chavez is responsible. And Venezuelans are very angry, angry to the point that Chavez is trying to distract them."COLLAPSE OF VENEZUELAN OIL | www.vcrisis.com
"Mr Chávez's hand-picked managers at Petróleos de Venezuela, or Pdvsa, are facing an avalanche of questions about the location of billions of dollars in unaccountable export revenue."Where's the money?" asks César Rincones, president of the congressional comptroller commission. "We could be on the brink of a financial crisis because of the mismanagement of the oil industry."FT.com / Home UK - Chávez faces claims of oil revenue cover-up
This for the Spanish speaking readers. Hugo Chavez' type of Socialism is the type that subjugates and makes poor its citizens. His socialism is of the Castro kind: the kind influenced by the former Soviet Union and Leftist European states, the kind incorporated by the decrepit Caribbean dictator.
"Cuando Chávez habla de socialismo no se refiere al Estado Social de Derecho, como anuncia la Constitución del 99, ni al Estado de Bienestar, como existe en una parte importante de los países capitalistas europeos, no importa que quienes estén en el Gobierno sean liberales o conservadores. Se refiere al único socialismo que ha existido y se conoce. Al que ha empobrecido y sojuzgado a los pueblos donde se ha implantado. Su socialismo es el que lleva la etiqueta de Fidel Castro: combina los rasgos que tuvo ese sistema es la Unión Soviética y en los países de Europa del Este, con los que le incorporó el decrépito dictador caribeño." Opinión y análisis - Fatal ignorancia
USA-1 and Venezuela-0
Posada Cariles is safe for the moment but should he be? It appears there will be some tight rope walking for the State department.
MIAMI, May 27 -- The diplomatic tangle surrounding Luis Posada Carriles grew more complex Friday as the Bush administration rejected Venezuela's request to arrest him as a suspected terrorist, while a high-ranking State Department official questioned whether Venezuela sincerely wants custody of the accused Cuban militant.The Bush administration may be in a classic no-win situation because it may have to choose between extraditing Posada to a nation led by one of its most strident critics -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez -- or being labeled "hypocrites" for talking tough about terrorism but refusing to extradite a suspected terrorist, said Jennifer L. McCoy, an expert in U.S.-Venezuela relations at Georgia State University.
From what I have seen, Chavez and his administration are not being accused of corruption by any credible sources. The investigations that are being launched have to do with contracts that were written before Chavez took power, tax avoidance by transnational oil companies and kickbacks paid by transnational oil companies.
All of this buzz about PDVSA missing money and putting the blame on Chavez smacks of a quasi-organized smear campaign. His opponents (including such shady organizations as the CIA backed NED) have not been able to remove him from office either forcibly or through elections. So their latest gambit is to smear him as corrupt which will either make if vulnerable in elections or a possible target for some sort of intervention. My prediction is that the opposition has bungled pretty much everything they have tried because their deceit and corruption show through and they will end up bungliing this one too. Besides, Roger Noriega is a dufus and if he gets anywhere near any of this it will simply blow up in his face.
Glad to hear you are following the Latin Beat. Have you been to Venezuela? I understand you believe that Chavez is the victim of a smear campaign however if you read the Latin American Papers like El Universal you will see there is a lot of funny business going on in Chavez' government. The PDVSA is state controlled and the strike that crippled PDVSA and Venezuela occurred because of Chavez and the takeover. Clearly, the Chavez government appeals to the lower economic strata but at what cost? The opposition has its corrupt members as has always been the case in Venezuela and graft is a way of political life but presently there is no improvement for any citizen and freedom is a term that is losing its meaning. Chavez is moving toward a dictatorial government in the same vein as Castro's in Cuba.
The Energy and Petroleum Minister and President and CEO of PDVSA, Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno spoke for an hour denouncing international companies as tax evaders and accomplices of former petroleum managers( which were never indicted and worked for Chavez) as robbing Venezuela of its petrloeum wealth. In his speech he denounced them as robbers of the nation's treasury.
Carreno's four titles allow him to only answer to Chavez and to act as his mouthpiece. Presently in Venezuela, Chavez and his cronies are above the law. Please keep Maggie's Farm informed of any insider knowledge you may be privy to as we are always interested in learning the truth too.
Ya, PDVSA is state controlled - Chavez nationalized the oil industry. But I see that as a good thing. If a country is blessed with such a profitable natural resource, it makes sense to me that the people of that country as a whole should benefit from the profits gained from that resource, not a few multinationals and elites. And it is quite apparent that Chavez is sharing the wealth. State ownership in itself is not bad. After all, the highway system in the US is state owned and I don't think it would work very well any other way. They've tried privately owned highways here in OC, CA and it was quite a failure. I'm basically a capitalist but you need more than one tool in your tool box.
So since Chavez was elected president and nationalized oil one could say that the PDVSA strike was because of him. But in actuallity it was a power play by PDVSA management to 'starve' Chavez of the control of oil, read money. It really wasn't a strike, it was a lockout by management (read opposition) to stop the flow of oil (read cash). The oil workers backed by Chavez and his army broke the lockout, kept oil flowing and management lost out. Management pretty much lost their jobs as after the strike as Chavez purged the ranks and put Carreno in charge. I have read some of Carreno's writings and he comes off as an intelligent and reasonable man. By the way, Carreno also kicked out SAIC who was doing outsourced IT for PDVSA after the Gartner Group did an assessment and concluded that SAIC was overcharging and not providing services of value. SAIC is run by a bunch of ex-government types - Defense and State Department mostly. SAIC was a hold over from the previous management so it just adds credence to Carreno's statements that previous management was corrupt.
So if I put my common sense test to work and ask whose picture of reality fits with what I know, I have to vote for Chavez and Carrreno.