Caracas Gringo

'When the tree falls, the monkeys scatter'

Archive for January 2010

Terrified, Hugo Chavez threatens mass slaughter

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President Hugo Chavez, terrified, has threatened on national television to unleash a bloody pogrom against his political opponents and anyone who opposes him, meaning over half of the civilian population.

These are his precise words:

“I warn, make no mistake, that the response that I would command would be radical at the hour that these sectors manage to or continue machine gunning guards, sending youths to throw rocks at garrisons, calling for rebellion openly…keep going as you are, and you will see… I come almost from the grave, almost from death (after the coup of 2002) due to weakness and I saw dead persons here in front due to the weakness of a goverbment that I was leading, that will not happen again… If they continue along this path they will force me to make radical decisions.”

For at least the fifth time since the start of 2010, Chavez also called on his political opponents to organize another presidential recall referendum.

Yesterday, President Chavez said the political opposition “…still have the idea of killing me.”

Then he said, “If they start an offensive of hard violence that should obligate us to hard action…something I do not recommend… our response would sweep them away.” If the “oligarchy’s plans to assassinate me are successful, there will be a frightful reaction against the East of Caracas. “If you get desperate, it will be a thousand times worse for you,” Chavez said.

Since the past weekend, different regime thugs including Diosdado Cabello and Jose Vicente Rangel (JVR) have made similar threats of mass slaughter against the middle class of Caracas.

Writing under the pseudonym “Marciano” in the pro-regime tabloid “Vea,” JVR says “estamos llegando al llegadero,” which translated to English means roughly, “we’re coming to a reckoning.”

The situation in Venezuela has become a “question of life and death,” he adds.

Marciano writes, “…the other face of the coin is death. This is what would happen in Venezuela if that opposition rotted by hatred should reach power. It already demonstrated this in the short-lived stage of Chavez’s ouster when the fascist pack launched itself against the chavistas do finish them off. If Chavez were to be toppled, blood would flood the streets of Venezuela’s cities. It is no small thing this chronicler is saying, but lamentably this is what would happen. Let no chavista be fooled and let no one think of peaceful transitions. Life or death.”

Diosdado Cabello, referring to recent popular protests against Chavez at the Venezuelan baseball championship games at Central University’s stadium in Caracas, asked menacingly, “¿What will happen if those who accompany the revolution go to the stadium and start a war? This is what they are provoking.”

A few words in the president’s rant today caught our attention: “…continue machine gunning guards…”

No guards have been machine gunned in the street battles which have erupted countrywide, since RCTV Internacional was shut down on 23 January, between unarmed student protesters and heavily armed National Guard and Metropolitan/National Police thugs.

So, what was Chavez referring to? Or was Chavez exaggerating and lying, as he is wont to do?

Caracas Gringo’s sources within the armed forces report that there was an aborted uprising less than two weeks ago. Reports that at least three generals are under arrest are true. In fact, the number of detained army officers is reported to be much larger than the regime has let on. The sources also say at least that one officer – an army lieutenant colonel – was killed.

Moreover, the abrupt resignation of Vice President/Defense Minister Ramon Carrizalez is believed to be linked to the alleged aborted revolt within the army. It’s not clear what, if any, role Carrizalez might have played in the alleged revolt. But the “correo popular” inside the army reports that Carrizalez believes Cabello is gunning for his head and was trying to set up Carrizalez.

Cabello, Rangel. These are the president’s most dangerous enemies. Rangel, who like the cockroach survives everything, is the link between the old Fourth Republic financial sector bottom-feeders and the Bolivarian Fifth Republic’s rats. Cabello reportedly has more influence in the army than Chavez. Both men recently may have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in wealth when Chavez intervened the Bolibourgeois banks this blog has written about since 3 August 2009 (remember Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco?).

It is odd that Cabello and Rangel – after Chavez – should be uttering the darkest threats of bloodshed, mass slaughter and war against the regime’s political opponents, and against anyone who doesn’t support Chavez, considering that the chief plotters against Chavez are, precisely, Cabello and Rangel.

Written by Caracas Gringo

28/01/2010 at 17:15

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Shoulder to Shoulder with RCTV

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Caracas Gringo is privileged to personally know for over 30 years some of the men and women who manage the 1BC Group, which owns RCTV. They represent the best of Venezuela – integrity, honor, honesty, imagination, creativity, entrepreneurship, respect for the rule of law and democracy, commitment to fostering sustained growth and a strong democracy in which everyone can get ahead.

RCTV has never curried the favor of any government. RCTV has never sought any special benefits, privileges or concessions from the Venezuelan state. Unlike its biggest longtime competitor Venevision, which is owned by billionaire Cuban-Venezuelan brothers Gustavo and Ricardo Cisneros, RCTV has always stayed far from Miraflores, and has never cultivated “special relationships” with any Venezuelan president.

Cisneros helped to get Chavez elected in 1998, conspired against Chavez in 2001-2002, and finally made a face-to-face deal with Chavez that was brokered by former US President Jimmy Carter. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting, where – it’s rumored – Chavez reportedly gave Cisneros two options: decapitation or submission to the Chavez regime. And Cisneros immediately kowtowed.

But the RCTV people have never kowtowed to any government. RCTV has rightfully enjoyed the largest audience ratings for over 50 years because Venezuelans of all socioeconomic levels have always recognized the excellence of RCTV’s national programming, and the objectivity and accuracy of its journalists and political commentators.

RCTV’s strong principles as a privately owned broadcast group, and its fierce independence, have always pained Venezuelan presidents including Carlos Andres Perez, Rafael Caldera, Luis Herrera Campins, Jaime Lusinchi, and above all, President Hugo Chavez, a paranoid and despotic personality who recoils when confronted by persons of true integrity, courage and patriotism.

Chavez knows that as long as RCTV lives, he will never be able to completely control Venezuela’s public airwaves, silence dissent, and cover up the systemic corruption, mendacity, ignorance and despotism of his regime. So, Chavez has decreed that RCTV must submit or be murdered by the regime.

Venezuela’s cable television providers took RCTV’s signal, and the signal of four other cable TV channels including TV Chile, out of their programming as of midnight on 23 January 2010. Conatel ordered the cable providers to block RCTV and the four other channels on the spurious grounds that they violated norms requiring all “Venezuelan” TV and radio stations to broadcast the interminable daily diatribes of President Chavez.

RCTV maintains that it has not violated any laws or rules, but that the Chavez regime certainly is violating the constitution and laws of Venezuela in an effort to silence freedom of expression.

Conatel actually did not have any legal authority to force the cable providers to suspend RCTV and other broadcasters. But the Chavez-controlled National Assembly obligingly “updated” the unconstitutional/illegal Resorte Law to entrap RCTV. And then Diosdado Cabello, the head of Conatel and also public works and housing minister, threatened to close all the cable provider companies if they did not black out RCTV’s signal.

Cabello says that he did not threaten anyone, but besides being a top thug in the Chavez regime’s gangster hierarchy, Cabello is also a liar.

However, there is more behind Chavez’s efforts to kill RCTV than imposing total censorship.

As the protests in Caracas and other cities since 23 January have shown, many Venezuelans love freedom and despise tyrants. The immense public support for RCTV is not just about supporting the premier independent broadcasting group, but about fighting for what’s right in Venezuela: democracy, freedom of expression, private property rights, and the rule of law.

RCTV executive Marcel Granier hit the nail squarely when he said that it’s time for the Venezuelan people to say “enough” to the Chavez regime, which apparently thinks it owns everything in Venezuela including its citizens, as if people were cattle.

But make no mistake. Chavez wants his suspension of RCTV’s cable signal to trigger larger national protests. He wants to stoke a political conflict and create increasingly tense conditions that could benefit his Bolivarian regime by creating an excuse to postpone National Assembly elections now scheduled for September 2010 because he knows the revolutionary PSUV’s losses will be very substantial, leaving no option except to rig the outcome inside the Chavez-controlled CNE electoral authority.

Alternatively, Chavez hopes to use his confrontation with RCTV to open cracks in the political opposition, which has a tragicomic history of disorganization, infighting, disunity, and placing individual ambitions above the common good. Chavez figures that the “oppo” is a herd of sad sacks that can be easily manipulated, undermined, intimidated and bribed.

Written by Caracas Gringo

25/01/2010 at 19:00

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Blameless Bolivarian Revolution

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New Electric Energy Minister Ali Rodriguez Araque, aka “Comandante Fausto” and longtime henchman of the Castro brothers, has unveiled the Bolivarian regime’s “plans” for managing the national power crisis: Blame the political opposition.

Rodriguez Araque, who has been the electric energy minister since 15 January 2010, announced after the first ten days in his new post that the regime of President Hugo Chavez is moving decisively to contain the national power crisis. Fausto says:

“This is a problem that we can resolve.” [CG's translation: The regime is clueless.]

“The government will invest $14 billion from 2010 to end-2015 to add 14,000 MW of power generation capacity to the national grid, including $4 billion 2010 to add about 4,000 MW of generation capacity to the grid.” [CG's translation: The revolution has big plans as always, but no cash or human capacity to execute anything of substance; heck, even the much-ballyhooed 'Arepera Socialista' already foundered on the shoals of Bolivarian ineptitude.]

“The process continues of recovering and evaluating generation plants with the objective of making significant contributions to the national electrical system.” [CG's translation: The regime doesn't even know where to start fixing the problem it created.]

“The government is studying the design of a new conformation of the entire national electrical system in order to resolve existing problems and provide a response to the problems that have been presenting themselves.” [CG's translation: The regime plans to move the deck chairs to new positions on its sinking Bolivarian revolution.]

“The electricity savings campaign must continue…waste must be done away with…all sectors adverse to the government should join these (savings) efforts.” [CG's translation: The regime will turn out the lights nationally, no matter what.]

“If the opposition’s counter-campaign against electricity savings is successful, iy would be a national disaster.” [CG's translation: Since the regime's power plans are doomed to fail, it's never too early to set up the opposition for a political lynching.]

“If that is what the opposition wants, it should say so clearly to the people.” [CG's translation: The power crisis is everyone's fault but the Chavez regime's.]

“Details of a rationing plan for Caracas are being fine-tuned for the plan’s application.” [CG's translation: The regime is looking for a way to ration power in the greater Caracas area without further enraging the poor millions living in the barrios; good luck.]

It’s clear where ARA is trying to shift the public opinion matrix: (a) the power crisis is fixable, (b) the government will fix it with massive new investments, (c) but meanwhile everyone must save energy, and (d) if the government fails to end the power crisis it’s the fault of the political opposition, which is seeking national disaster for Venezuela.

However, reading between the lines of ARA’s Bolivarian BS, the real message is: (a) the power crisis cannot be contained, (b) the regime hopes to spend billions more if it can find the cash, but don’t bank on anything being commissioned on schedule, (c) compulsory power rationing nationally will continue indefinitely, and likely will be expanded very soon, (d) the 6 million-plus residents of Caracas must learn to live increasingly in the dark, and (e) when it hits the fan, the regime will blame the political opposition.

Venezuelans have nothing to gain by “cooperating” with the regime’s power conservation plans. These will fail anyway, and extended power outages will disrupt Venezuela months ahead of September’s legislative elections. The regime will expand the rationing program soon, likely to daily rolling outages lasting over four hours.

As things stand now, the four-hour rolling outages every second day translate, de facto, into outages of 6-8 hours because (a) Corpoelec’s subsidiaries are incapable of doing anything by a strict schedule, and (b) it takes some time for manufacturers to power down and then power up again. Factories don’t spring to 100% production at the flick of a wall switch.

Even worse, the rolling power outages have not prevented continued daily outages due to equipment malfunctions – a problem which has plagued the interior of Venezuela since 2005 at least, with an average of 300 major outages per year (100 MW-plus per outage) for the last five years in a row.

But the blameless Bolivarian revolution has a plan ready to explain its failure to fix the power crisis before the lights go out: Blame the opposition!

Written by Caracas Gringo

25/01/2010 at 15:24

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Bolivarian Gallows Humor

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The power crisis Venezuelans will suffer for the next two or three years (under a best-case scenario) is an unparalleled tragedy in the country’s history. Strategic sectors like petroleum, gas, steel and aluminum that were built over several decades by successive democratic governments are collapsing, literally being killed, by the awesome incompetence and economic ignorance of President Hugo “It isn’t my fault” Chavez. However, one cannot help but laugh in a grim way as the chain reactions of the power crisis ripple through the economy and populace.

Why laughter? Because it’s gratifying to watch the Chavez regime choke on its own incompetence and stupidity. Watching the increasingly desperate contortions of President “It’s not my fault” Chavez reminds one of a death tableau in which a world-renowned actor was found dead last year in a Bangkok hotel with one end of a rope tied around his neck and the other end around his testicles.

Here’s one example of a chain reaction: the new power conservation measures forced on the populace and productive sectors by the Chavez regime already are causing a spike in local demand for diesel and fuel oil. Local demand is rising because more consumers are resorting to small thermal power generation units to cover their individual electricity needs. These power generation plants burn diesel or fuel oil. Diesel currently sells for close to $3 a gallon in the United States but practically nothing in Venezuela.

It’s too early to predict how quickly, and how much, local demand for diesel and fuel oil could increase. But the national power crisis will last at least three years by the Chavez regime’s admission, so it’s plausible that there could (will) be a significant jump in local diesel and fuel oil consumption for two reasons:

First, the regime’s plans to add over 4,000 MW of new thermal power generation capacity between February 2010 and July 2012 will require substantial and growing volumes of fuel oil to generate power because Pdvsa’s gas development programs currently are running about a decade behind schedule. If the regime completes these thermal power plants on schedule (which is doubtful given its abysmal 11-year track record), they will burn diesel/fuel oil because Pdvsa doesn’t have the gas production capacity.

Second, business owners are being told to find ways to simultaneously reduce their power consumption and generate their own power supplies. In practice, this means that imports of small mobile power generators should start to rise very quickly over the coming months. However, these small generators burn diesel, mainly.

This implies that Pdvsa, which already fails consistently to fulfill its contractual export commitments by itself and so must buy oil internationally to fill its increasing supply gaps in Venezuela and abroad, has several options, all bad from a financial and/or political perspective.

(Of course, anything bad for the Chavez regime is probably good for Venezuela, eventually, if it hastens the demise of the Mad Hatter in Miraflores Cave and the tribes of parasitic gangsters embedded in the Bolivarian regime like ticks and leeches under a buzzard’s tail feathers. But we digress…)

Option #1: Increase diesel and fuel oil supplies to the local market, and consequently reduce exports, Pdvsa’s oil revenues and the regime’s fiscal take;

Option #2: Import diesel and fuel oil purchased at international prices, and sell it at local subsidized prices, placing Pdvsa financially more deeply in the red. Local fuel subsidies already cost Pdvsa about $10 billion a year, and that was before the power crisis finally boiled over.

Option #3: Impose tighter power consumption restrictions to reduce consumption of diesel and fuel oil. But this option means that Venezuela’s overall economic output would decline, with all of the accompanying chain reaction effects like higher inflation and unemployment, longer periods in darkness for many Venezuelans (days or even weeks at a time?), more crime and chaos, an unhappier populace.

Written by Caracas Gringo

25/01/2010 at 11:48

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Diosdado Cabello Demands Justice

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Diosdado Cabello, president of national telecommunications commission Conatel and minister of public works and housing, wants justice.

Cabello called a press conference to say that he has formally asked Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz to open a “criminal investigation” of remarks made on 14 January 2010 by Fedecamaras president Noel Álvarez during an interview broadcast by RCTV Internacional’s “La Entrevista” program.

Álvarez reportedly said that a “military solution” could be a way of dealing with the “government’s pretensions of hegemonic control over the means of solution.”

If Álvarez indeed said that, he’s a useful fool – er, tool – for the Chavez regime’s conspiracy disinformation campaign.

A military solution?

Chavez ruined Venezuela with the willing assistance of corrupt and incompetent retired and active duty military officers, many of whom are former “golpistas” who betrayed their nation and lost all honor/integrity in 1992. Cabello is one of these Bolivarian homeboys – one of the very worst in the bunch.

Asking today’s broken, politicized, corrupt military leadership to provide a “solution” to Chavez would be like moving the deck chairs on the Titanic, or placing a ravenous pack of foxes in charge of the henhouse.

Cabello said at the presser that the investigation should include all of the players involved in promoting the alleged “golpista” sentiments voiced by Álvarez, including the program’s host and RCTV Internacional, which is broadcast by cable.

It’s to be expected that AG Ortega Diaz will respond obediently to Cabello, the second most powerful figure in the regime after President Chavez.

However, the person that ought to be the target of a serious criminal investigation is Diosdado Cabello. A few of the alleged irregularities and potentially criminal activities by Cabello that richly deserve to be investigated include:

*Cabello’s direct participation in planning and executing a strategy to commit mass murder in Caracas on 11 April, 2002.

*Cabello’s business associations with recently-disgraced Bolibourgeois impresarios like Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco, who did many dirty “negocios” which benefited Cabello financially until late 2009, but who but now is detained at military intelligence (DGIM) headquarters, in the clutches of DGIM chief Hugo Carvajal. Fernandez Barrueco was leading the push to build a Bolibourgeois financial empire in which Cabello was the secret top dog. Also, Fernandez Barrueco and Carvajal are implicated in the abduction almost a year ago of banker German Garcia Velutini.

*Cabello’s role in the award of turnkey contracts worth over $4 billion on paper to Spanish contractors Duro Felguera, Iberdrola and Elecnor. Duro Felquera reportedly will build the 1,620 termocentro thermal power plant in the Tuy Valleys, and Iberdrola-Elecnor will build a 1,000 MW thermal power generation plant in Cumana. Analysts who crunched the numbers say they add up to a huge overpayment, which means someone is pocketing a few hundreds of millions of dollars.

Cabello is a top kingpin in the crime groups entrenched at the highest levels of the Chavez regime. He has been loosely associated in crime, politics and business since 2001 with former Interior & Justice Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin.

Cabello is fiercely loyal to President Chavez. His motto is “I’ll do whatever the president says/decides.” This unflinching loyalty, until now, has bought Cabello impunity to do whatever he wishes as long as Chavez’s will is done. But Machiavelli certainly would advise Chavez to keep Cabello closer than his closest friends and blood relatives.

Written by Caracas Gringo

21/01/2010 at 15:16

Posted in Uncategorized

Israel: Chavez shipped arms to Hezbollah

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Israeli army intelligence officials tell Israel Today that President Hugo Chavez was involved in a shipment of missiles and other heavy weapons seized by Israeli commandos off the coast of Cyprus in November 2009. Israeli intelligence concluded the weapons were shipped from a Venezuelan port aboard an Antigua-flagged ship that stopped at an Iranian port before traveling through the Suez Canal en route to Hezbollah in Lebanon. More evidence that Chavez and the gangsters/narco-terrorists entrenched in his regime are actively violating international law and supporting terrorist groups. Chavez can be expected to respond with lies and insults. However, will there be any response from the OAS, the UN Security Council, Unasur, and/or the Obama administration?

Written by Caracas Gringo

21/01/2010 at 12:00

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President Hugo Chavez: Sack of Lies

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President Hugo Chavez is a desperate liar trapped in a maze of his own manufacture.

Chavez faces a crisis from which he cannot extricate himself. But credit him for pulling out all the stops. Since Venezuela’s national power crisis finally exploded on 12 January, Chavez has been on a tear:

*The US caused the earthquake in Haiti with a secret weapon and now is occupying Haiti militarily under the guise of providing humanitarian aid, says Chavez.

*Military and civilian foes of the regime are again conspiring actively to topple Chavez violently, says Chavez propagandist and disinformation wizard Jose Vicente Rangel (aka Grima Wormtongue). Three generals are being held under arrest at DGIM (military intelligence) headquarters. True or false, no one can say.

*The wussie (“culilludo”) opposition doesn’t have the stones or heart to call a new presidential recall referendum, says Chavez, adding, go ahead, I dare you to try again.

*The “Exito” megastore chain in Colombia, owned by the Casino Group of France, was expropriated without cause or legal basis. Hundreds of Exito workers tried to protest at several stores and were swiftly repressed with violence by the Bolivarian National Guard and other armed regime thugs.

*The power crisis is a small problem, not a crisis. It was caused by El Nino and the squalid former rulers who vanished from power over 11 years ago, after never making investments in new power infrastructure. The CIA is coordinating the oppo disinformation campaign that seeks to blame the Bolivarian revolution (i.e. Chavez) for the power crisis, according to Chavez.

“With rationing we’re preventing Venezuela from staying in the dark,” Chavez told Pdvsa workers on 20 January. “The squalid opposition is trying to confuse the people…make it appear it’s our fault…they want Chavez to be alone and weakened so they can finish off Chavez…but if anyone is to blame for the electric crisis it is the ‘escualidos’ who governed for 50 years and did not do anything so that the country would have adequate structures for the electrical topic.”

President Hugo Chavez is a “lying sack of shit.”

(The Urban Dictionary defines a person who is a “lying sack of shit” as:

“n. (metaphorical, yet, often simultaneously literal) one who habitually and effortlessly utters falsehoods in a most blatant and profane manner, all the while maintaining a lackadaisical appearance of ingenuousness; despite, or perhaps, due to the fact that their entire corporeal membrane is filled to bursting with an inexhaustible supply of foul, though nitrogen-rich fecal mendacities waiting to be excreted into their victims’ ears.”

Coincidentally, as President Chavez spews his desperate lies in every direction, a group of veteran Edelca professionals and workers calling itself the “Comité de Vigilancia de EDELCA, perteneciente al COMITÉ DE PROFESIONALES Y TÉCNICOS DE EDELCA,” issued a lengthy communiqué that confirms President Chavez is a sack of lies.

Regretfully, at post time we didn’t have a functional link yet to this document. But here are some of the key points in the communiqué:

*Venezuela is immersed in a power crisis from which it probably will not emerge for several years. [Anticipate at least another three years of daily power outages due to equipment failures and rationing.]

*The power crisis was not caused by El Nino, but exclusively by President Chavez’s decision in 1999 to kill further hydro-power investments, and by his regime’s complete failure to build/commission any of the new thermal power generation and transmission projects that Venezuela required.

*Water volume in the Caroni River averaged 4,153 cubic meters per second in 2009, only 14% less than the river’s historical average flow of 4,813 m3/s. Further, from January-April 2009 the river’s water volume was substantially higher than the historical average for those months. For example, volume in January 2009 was 5,467 m3/s or 133% higher than the historical average of 2,350 m3/s for that month.

*The Army generals Chavez appointed to head Edelca – Daniel Machado, followed by Hipolito Izquierdo – politicized Edelca, derailed the hydro-power utility’s planned investments, looted its annual budget to fund regime-mandated ideological indoctrination and propaganda programs, and allowed gangsters disguised as “labor leaders” to take control of the Tocoma hydro-power project. Tocoma now is some three years behind schedule and infested with drug traffickers and armed thugs who sell job openings to poor workers.

Written by Caracas Gringo

21/01/2010 at 00:54

Posted in Uncategorized

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