June 19, 2004

Moral Council Suspends Justices Members of the Electoral Court

(From el-nacional.com)

The Moral Council unanimously decided to declare admissible the request of qualification of serious offense interposed by the deputy of the National Assembly, Ismael García, against Alberto Martini Urdaneta, Rafael Hernández and Orlando Gravina because of the sentences through which they declared fitting the request of a caution measurement and admissible the demand of nullity, interposed by leaders of the main opposition parties against the repairs of signatures that endorsed the president revoking referendum.
The Moral Council declared that these justices acted with serious and inexcusable ignorance of the constitution, the law and the right and diminished the fundamental principles set in the Constitution. He added that on the 11th of May 2004, the three Justices were notified of the process against them and were asked to submit writings of their respective defenses.
Urdaneta, Gravina and the Hernandez responded and alleged, among other aspects, that the Republican Moral Council was incompetent to know the interposed requests because it is not a jurisdictional instance superior to the Judicial Power and it is not a disciplinary board nor has it power to punish; that the caution measurement dictated by the Accidental Electoral Court was according to right and that this Court had competence to know the electoral contentious resource interposed by the deputies César Pérez Vivas, Henry Ramos Allup and others.
In view of the pleas of the aforementioned justices, the Republican Moral Council argues in his decision that articles 265, 273 and 274 of the Constitution attribute to the Citizen Power the qualification to categorize serious offenses by justice men or justice women of the TSJ, which is also established in articles 1, 2, 10, 11, 29, 32 and 33 of the Statutory Law of the Citizen Power, valid from the 25th of October of 2001.
On the essence of the matter, the Moral Council emphasized that, with its decision, the Accidental Electoral Court broke the independence between the Public Powers, since it not only suspended the regulatory norms of the CNE, but substituted it to dictate rules on validation of signatures that are the exclusive responsibility of the Electoral Power.
(Translated by Pedro)
If it is confusing you can read Francisco's posts about the justices here and here.

June 18, 2004

Why Chavez hasn't said a word?...coz' Rosales is the Governor of Zulia?


View from an extraction tower, thanks to Juanchon, for the pics.
a thought for our Zulianos, may the govt. do something, FAST!!

Good friends in the right places..


Human Right Watch said Thursday that the new Law of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice of Venezuela is a clear evidence that the country's judicial system is not independent.

The organization's Americas Division Director José Miguel Vivanco underlined that Venezuela's current government has an enormous responsibility in the weakening of the autonomy and independence of the Judicial Power in the country.

Vivanco said that during his organization's investigations in Venezuela in May last year, the president of the TSJ, the Attorney General and a pro-government legislator tried to calm his concern about the poor independence of the judges.

"(They) insisted that those who have authority on the judges and magistrates demonstrate moderation and respect for the rule of law. However, this is totally irrelevant because a State that depends on the good will and self-control of those who exercise power is not truly a state of law," he said.

June 17, 2004

Why revoking Chavez is an uphill battle:

The total number of registered voters is roughly 12 million. Due to its importance we can assume the RR will motivate a high voter turnout of maybe 65%. So we are talking about a net voting universe of roughly 7,800,000 voters.

According to data from INE, the distribution of population according to social classes for 2002 is: Alta: 8.5%, Media: 15.8%, Baja: 45.4%, Muy Baja: 30.7%. This would indicate, assuming the abstention numbers remain constant throughout social classes (probably not true but good enough for this simple analysis), that there will be 663,000 voters from the highest social class, 1,232,400 voters from the middle class, 3,541,200 voters from the lower class, and 2,394,600 voters from the very low social class. Assuming the Yes vote is 80% for the highest class, 60% for the middle class, 40% for the lower class, and 30% for the very low social class, the total number of Yes votes would tally 530,400 from the highest social class, 739,440 from the middle class, 1,416,480 from the low social class and 718,380 from the very low class for a grand total of 3,404,700 votes.

Not enough to end Chavez's presidency!

Registered Voters % Voting Universe Voting
12,000,000 65.00% 7,800,000

Class % of Population Voters Si Vote Total Votes

alta 8.50% 663,000 80% 530,400
media 15.80% 1,232,400 60% 739,440
baja 45.40% 3,541,200 40% 1,416,480
muy baja 30.70% 2,394,600 30% 718,380



(Just a note: I'll never make it as a blogger. I don't know how to make the numbers appear in order).

Rigging the Rule of Law: Judicial Independence Under Siege in Venezuela

(By Human Rights Watch)
I Summary
When Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frías faced a coup d'état in April 2002,
advocates of democracy in Venezuela and abroad roundly condemned the assault on the country's constitutional order. Today Venezuela faces another constitutional crisis that could severely impair its already fragile democracy. This time, though, the threat comes from the government itself.
Over the past year, President Chávez and his allies have taken steps to control the country's judicial branch, undermining the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary in ways that violate basic principles of Venezuela's constitution and international human rights law.>>

Mujica on Union Radio

From Union Radio
Mujica: We should make definite the political project we have and work for the 'Yes'

The president of the Movement to the Socialism (MAS), and spokesman for the Democratic Coordinator (CD), Felipe Mujica, states that the immediate task of the opposition, "is to go immediately to make definite the task that implies to transmit clearly the intention of the political project which we have. They can have the confidence that we are going to get rid of Chávez ", He said.
Mujica expressed that the names of those who will constitute the commando for the campaign will be decided this Thursday, " it is an unwonted problem the fact that this has still not been done, we know that the pluralistic feature of the Venezuelan opposition has this problem. Nevertheless, the fact that this commando is still not constituted, does not mean that there is total paralysis, there are a pile of jobs and tasks that are being fulfilled at the moment ".
He maintains that the Democratic Coordinator cannot waste time discussing whether the question is well formulated or not, "we must assume that what we must do is to look for the 'yes' and to convince the Venezuelans for the alternative that we are looking for".
For the CD spokesman, the first thing that "we will do is to send directions regarding what we want from the campaign, it is an important point because we have assumed and we understand that the main thing is not only to revoke Chávez but to propose to the country a long term project".

Translated by Pedro, to move on with the topic.

June 16, 2004

We have the Question Ready....really?

The CNE aproved the question for the Recall.Globovision

¿Está usted de acuerdo con dejar sin efecto el mandato popular otorgado mediante elecciones democráticas legítimas al ciudadano Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías como presidente de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela para el actual periodo presidencial?. Se darán dos opciones de respuesta: 1) No y 2) Sí.

Do you agree to nullify the current presidential period of Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias' popular position reached through legal, democratic elections(blah, blah bombos y platillos).

1)NO , 2)SI.

You think this way of presenting the question will disconcert voters?...
you bet

June 15, 2004

Some archetypal reflections...

In youth my wings were strong and tireless,
But I did not know the mountains.
In age I knew the mountains
But my weary wings could not follow my vision.
Genius is wisdom and youth.

(Alexander Throckmorton)

Edgar Lee Masters
The Spoon River Anthology

From a very superficial point of view, archetypes work as blueprints, like a map of the bottom of the sea. There are underwater mountains and valleys, coral ridges, things that are unchanging or that change quite slowly. If you don't have the least notion of those peaks and valleys you can't see, you'll surely flounder, no matter how much you pray or how sure you are of the route. One of those archetypes (again, superficially put) is the Shadow, which sums up all the things about oneself one is unable to see because one is too damn sure about oneself. The image is this: consciousness is like a lighted candle; it illuminates just a part of the whole, so the rest (that is still part of the room) is cast into shadows one cannot see. (Please keep that notion in mind).
But the archetype I wanted to talk about in relation to Venezuela's present predicament is quite another one, and a very difficult one at that, mostly because it's a two-sided one: the puer-senex archetype.
While a lot of attention has been given to the Puer Aeternus and its negative traits (Marie Louise von Franz wrote a whole book about it), James Hillman introduced the idea that both archetypes are in fact a double fronted image that works, psychologically, as an axis that joins what is under with what is over. On one extreme is the Puer, the divine child, pure energy, pure creativity. Like a winged creature, it jumps from one project to another; like a Messiah, it can bear the sins of the world as his cross; like a warrior, he can courageously go into battle without calculations, strategies, even weapons. On the other extreme is the Senex, the Old wise man, clinging to valued traditions and symbols, full of knowledge, hoarding wisdom. It mistrusts and dislikes change, so, like Kronos or Saturn, he eats his own children (they say the revolution devours its own children too). Working together, the Puer acts like a dynamo, a motor, while the Senex, with its knowledge, indicates the way, prevents the energy from being misused, gives the Puer's energy a purpose.
The problem with these polar archetypes is that, when both sides aren't working together, there is a split, and the polarity becomes a polarization. In that polarization the negative or destructive aspects of each part of this archetype come to the forefront. Each side takes on itself the rightness and the light, so the other becomes the shadow, the monstrous oppressor or chaos that has to be overcome. Try to remember the sixties and the so called generational gap and you'll see what it means socially. Some forces are proposing a change, and some are opposing it. Creativity and the idea of purpose and design are unconnected, working separately, so where there could be a kind of order there ensue chaos and strife.
Before Chávez came to power, we all knew that Venezuela needed a change. A form of government had grown old, petrified, leaving most people outside its dynamics (think Caldera and Alfaro Ucero and you'll get what I mean). In that bleak panorama appeared the figure of Chávez. He spoke a different language, spoke his mind, seemed energetic, sincere. He had many of the more charming characteristics of the Puer (as a matter of fact, many older women felt he was like their own son, the younger felt him as the man they wanted), which can be equated to the winged figure of Eros. He embodied the new against the old, and so was welcome by the majority that felt the older regime was exhausted, dying (la moribunda constitución). I'm not saying that Chávez created the schism, but we have to recognize he took advantage of it, with all his qualities as a charmer, to impose a one-sided proceso which he is unable to explain clearly. He was then (and is still, for himself and many that still believe in him) the "new kid on the block", the Messiah. Taking advantage of the "polarization" produced by the split inside the archetype he cast over all those who oppose him his own shadow: they are "fascists", "coup-mongers" (forgetting he was a "coup-monger" himself about a decade ago). That is exactly what the Shadow archetype means: as he embodies all that is good, new and desirable, all the negative epithets go to the other side. The same thing works for the opposition in its blindness: there have been several moments in which the solution, pure Puer style, had to be immediate, automatic: "Chávez vete ya".
Going back to Chávez: he had then, and has now, a lot of the "negative" qualities of the Puer. Creative he is; nobody can doubt it: there's a new project, a new "mission", a new "commando" every other day. That none of those impulses result into anything worth mentioning is none of the Puer's or Chávez's business: he is there to be creative, to be adored (as a newborn child), not to show results (surely you've met people always full of projects and big ideas that come to nothing because they cannot stick to things long enough to make them work). Think, for an instant, why on hell did Chávez won the elections: he had an old cunning man on his side! Luis Miquilena gave him all his experience, directing his "creativity" towards the goal: power.
As I said before, when the schism in the archetype happens, the "destructive" aspect of each side comes to the forefront. See who is Chávez's most valued ally now: Fidel Castro, a perfect image of an old mean Senex who can devour a whole country so to keep power to himself, to prevent any change. The image is so obvious it's appalling we didn't notice that before. James Hillman says, in "Puer and Senex", that the negative qualities of both archetypes are the same: in short, things don't move. Energy without purpose spends itself in its own expression; purpose without energy is simply like a rock standing by itself.
Hillman also says that when both faces of the archetype work together there comes a movement that in the Renaissance was called "Festina lente", to make haste slowly (though for some it can also mean "to feast slowly", "let's go slow 'cause I'm in a hurry"). I think we, in the opposition, have learnt something about "Festina lente". There is energy, one supposes (or expects) unquenchable, in the swarm of young and old volunteers pushing silently for a Referendum. There is also, and I have to stress that, a sense of purpose and of urgency, that makes us go slow when we are really in a hurry... So, maybe taking the flower path, and by that I mean the flower-eating path, has been a kind of learning how to "make haste slowly"... I hope it works, and, moreover, I hope this text makes sense, 'cause I'm trying to be brief so as not to tire you, and feel I'm not saying all I want to say clearly.

World's least convincing slur

[OK, I'd pledged to lay off the blog during my trip, but this one I can't resist.]

Dear Al,

I guess the effort it would have taken to slide your mouse all the way to the "about the author" link and then click might have given you a hernia - if you'd risked it, though, you would have found out I didn't come to Europe to go camping, I live here!

Just to set the record nice and straight, here's how it is:

Ryanair tickets from Brussels South Charleroi to Venice-Treviso.....44 euros(tax included)
Pitching a tent at an Italian Campground.....3euro50 (split two ways)
Bread, butter, cheese, ham and apples for today's lunch and dinner.....4euro80
Half an hour's net café access to post this.....75 eurocent
Getting slammed in NarcoNews as a bloodsucking oligarch for traveling like this.....priceless


A city is made of fragments. It is made of the memories we share as a community. Although individuals use, perceive and understand the city differently, there are common experiences, urban events that make the cities we live in, the cities we live in. It is hard, for instance, to picture the city of Caracas without the constant presence of the Parque Central towers in our midst as an urban landmark.

It is common to a lot of different perceptions and ways to use the city and it is a huge part of the quilt work that comprises the city of Caracas. A better example is the Avila Mountain which pervades collective consciousness of the city of Caracas and that of its individual inhabitants. Caracas cannot be understood and or experienced without the Avila because it serves as background and common thread too all our narratives. It is indeed what makes Caracas what it is.

Disclosure: I studied 10 years in a school that was smack dab in the Avila?s foot. I was never a climber or hiker, but I loved sitting around the school?s yard and watch the unobstructed view of the Avila the school had, for hours and hours.

Cities, of course, are affected by its inhabitants and their circumstances. Cities rise, grow and fall mirroring the destinies of their dwellers. And politics, especially political strife and war (which is no more than diplomacy gone wrong) affect cities in ways that are not always predictable. Beirut, Berlin, Havana amongst a long list of cities, are prime examples of how war and/or politics can affect a city to the point where those common narrative threads that give cities their texture and depth are simply obliterated or affected in such ways that any notion of the same city ceases to exist or is at least cast into oblivion. Berlin for instance spent at least two thirds of the XXth century being first capital to the Nazi State, then war prize for the Allied Forces and lastly more than 30 years as two completely different cities divided by a very real, very absurd and abusive act of political confrontation.

One Berlin became a recluse center of power for a Soviet proxy regime with the worst Political Police known to man after the KGB; the other one became a virtual island of capitalism in a sea of collectivist nightmares, it was indeed a billboard for the western way of life. The fall of the Berlin Wall, and the subsequent reunification of Germany presented Germans with a very curious situation: a single city so deeply torn, that it took years for people to accept the very possibility that they were all Berliners in the end.

Beirut still bears to this day the scars of a confrontation of decades between different factions of what was a very civilized francophone country torn from within by religious extremism. And Havana which once was the Bordello of the Caribbean has become after decades, well, the Bordello of the Caribbean. The clientele and the reasons behind prostitution have changed, but seems to be stuck in time: 1950's time. Well, a very distressed 1950's time. In fact, Havana seems to be crumbling under the pressure of its own failure, or should I say the failure of its tyrannical political model. Havana seems to be paying a revolutionary punishment for its dissolute fame in the arly 1900's.

In the 5 years this government has been in power - yes, despite their constant promising, this government has been in power for almost 5 full years - Caracas has suffered a process of visible decay that has turned the budding Metropolis of the 90?s into a city that is at best a nightmarish shadow of its former self.

I'm not implying, by any means, that Caracas was a perfect city: it was unsafe and violent, traffic was always terrible, and the city was a patchwork of crappy half-assed solutions to problems, addressed without regards for consequences.

Despite all of that, Caracas was "La Sultana del Avila" and "La Sucursal del Cielo". It was not perfect, but it was somewhat liveable. We cannot blame this decay solely on chavismo. It would be stupid to overlook the obvious responsibility of previous administrations, but under no other government had we been robbed of so many urban icons and common spaces that were once the playgrounds not only of the Venezuelan ?oligarchy? as Chávez likes to call everyone who does not agree with him, but by the disenfranchised poor he?d like to convince of his dedication. There are virtual walls in Caracas that have become quite real. They have even transmutated into barbed wire and armed soldiers, or into unruly groups which attack any person, group or thing which does not fit into their molds of revolutionary purity. Plaza Venezuela, the Plaza Bolivar, amongst others have become the turf of violent mobs and gang wars for domination of whole zones of the city.

I propose we take a deep look at ourselves, and decide if we want let this madness go on. I propose we steal this city back from them and make it liveable once more. Even if it takes destroying the Wall that crosses Caracas in all directions and separates the city that is from the city it could be.

María Lionza's last stand

Penultimate vision of Maria Lionza
by Federico Vegas

That custom of leaving to chance and the Bible the solution to our problems, I exercise with the complete works of Jorge Luis Borges.

When something mortifies, astounds or confuses me too much, I open one of its tomes and can always find a good piece of advice.

Looking for enlightenment as a result of the tragedy of Maria Lionza?s repair, I came across one of Borges? first essays: The penultimate version of reality.

The title already has something to teach us: The story of María Lionza is missing its most important chapter. The word "version" also conveys a big load: in its medical meaning it refers to the "procedure to change the posture of a fetus that presents itself incorrectly for birth". For Maria Lionza that change in posture entailed an absolute torsion of her womb, while her birth continues.

Borges starts his essay referring to the theories of Count Korzybski. He adjudicated three dimensions to life: vegetable, animal and human. The vital style of plants is pure quietness and storing of energy. The vital style of animals is free movement and amassing space. Man hoards time, which is memory of the past and the prevision of the future.

This quote is pertinent to understand that the issue of the fragile Maria Lionza is perceived by the Mayor's office as an issue of space when its main significance lies in time. And space means nothing to us without the dimension of time. Without it, velocity and acceleration do not exist, neither do so haste nor slowness, and much less the memory of that we have visited. Without time we can perceive space but we cannot convert it into experience and reflection, thus losing the link with what's most human and humanist of our condition.

By defining this limitation to our perception to pure space as an animal facet, we do not want to qualify the labor of the Libertador Mayor?s office as an animal act, and we do not qualify it because it should be the exception and it is rather the rule.

We all become blind animals of prey slowly, so much that we've abandoned the visual in our urban travels and promenades. In our transit the aural is predominant and radio reigns. Sight, which has always been the principal sense in a stroll, has become opaque and indifferent, as if the glazing of cars and people's glasses were covered in butter. We concentrate ourselves in hearing and not in seeing. By stripping the city of time, i.e. its history, space loses its sense and is rendered indeterminate, tedious.

This is the reason behind the insistence for removal of Maria Lionza from the route for which it is paradigm and principal protagonist in the perception of space and the structuration of collective memory. The animal does not understand time and despises it. He thinks all spaces are equivalent for urinating or bury bones. Things are placed "where" they can be and it does not matter "when" they have been.

The animal does not perceive the value tradition gives to a specific place, does not comprehend the value of Maria Lionza's sculpture lies in the fusion with its surroundings, that it is inseparable from its landscape, that its stage is the freeway of which she is the principal episode.

Besides, Maria Lionza is a sculpture in which time predominates in its most caring and sentimental version. The disheveled works of Otero and Soto manipulate pure space. It is at least difficult, for those who pass these works to modify their feelings according to them; even being sentimentally involved with them. Conversely, Maria Lionza has born witness to a thousand things we have lived: she has seen us grow and has grown in front of us.

Thirty years ago I found her kitschy and démodé, later luxurious and tempting, then beautiful and emblematic, later still revealing and fundamental. I?ve come to feel for her tenderness and jealousy I don?t usually feel for inanimate objects. I believe today she is the best sculpture in this valley, and certainly the most loved, the most eloquent. Now that she has opened her interior to the sky and all of us, as symbol and sign of our profound division and incompetence, she deserves more than ever her sacrificial place: time and space we will not be able to forget anymore.

The ongoing argument on where to fix her is purely spatial and non-transcendental. Something tells me that she must be poured again to make her last another fifty years; it should be done where it can be done more practically and economically (and they should start repairing the other works of Colina as well).

But, where to place her? By God!
Let time speak and listen to it!
The sense of sight needs episodes to hang on to in a city that is sinking like a ship. Politics are not enough, we need to circulate and remember what we have been.

At this time I wonder what master Colina would say.

Perhaps his answer would be:
"Leave her, how and where she is!
She is finally alive and speaking to our times!"

June 14, 2004

Dilemmas for the campaign

The remake of the Comando Ayacucho is facing one dilemma after other in deciding a strategy for avoiding a considerable defeat in August.
1) To incite abstention or to attempt a massive vote in their favour.
2) To direct their message to the poorest ones or to get some possible votes from the middle class people.
3) To accept international observers or to reject them provoking doubts with regard to the results.

In my opinion, the opposition will have less problems to design a winning campaign.

PS. Just to test my posting attributes. Also to bring something new to the discussion

June 13, 2004

From NarcoNews: See what the "Illuminated left" does...

por Al Giordano...

"When it comes to ex-New York Timesman Francisco Toro (remember his exit as a Times correspondent because of his conflicts-of-interest as an activist for the "opposition" in Venezuela?), watch what he does, not what he says.
Toro, who has been among the bloggers who have claimed they want a referendum in Venezuela, apparently got what he wanted, now that Venezuela goes to the polls on August 15th.

So, it would follow that with just two months left in the campaign, Toro would be working hard for the victory that he always claims is in sight.



No sooner did Toro and his troops "win" the establishment of the referendum that they say they wanted (but really did not), then he's leaving on a "camping trip" ...to Europe!

Toro writes to his blog buddies:

"I am preparing to leave town on a camping trip to Slovenia and Italy. (Rough life, I know!)
Now, there is a man really committed to his cause, eh?

Do you think that Toro knows what he won't admit to his readers? That rolling up his sleeves and campaigning - like he urges his readers to do - is useless because the "opposition" is a minority in Venezuela and he knows damn well it is.

I mean, if the referendum were really winnable by his side, don't you think he would stand and fight?

No. Instead he sends the gullible into battle, while he goes off on a camping trip... in Italy...

(Gee. I didn't realize that operating an opposition blog in English could bring such perques and leisure opportunities! Where does the money for his Italian camping trip come from anyway?)

Sigh. And they take such indignant exception when Chavez and others call them "the squalid ones."

Captain Toro of the Titanic sees the iceberg ahead and, rather than be honest with his sailors about the need to reverse course, has commandeered himself a lifeboat, sailed off to the Mediterranean, and waved "hasta la vista, suckers" to the troops he leaves to fight his battles for him.

Watch what they do. Not what they say.

Narco News, on the other hand, will be covering the historic August 15th vote live from Caracas".

por Al Giordano (link to this beautiful piece of "information" was provided by J. R. Mora...)

(By the way, you CC bloggers, Quico WILL be here for the RR, so get your facts right! A little attention to the comments section will do, but then, yes, you only want your side. This stinks of people like Eva "Golilla" Golinger and the likes of her.)