Sunday, May 11, 2008

To the James Baker III, Rice University

I heard this speech was cancelled. Anyway, I wanted to show what Gustavo Coronel wrote, related with it He is very good.
GC wrote: This is not what Chavez has been doing. He has installed in Venezuela a government of gangsters, mostly for the political and economic benefit of the 200 or so members of the gang. Today Venezuela is in political, economic and social ruin, as evidenced by all major indices in the hands of independent analysts:
vdebate reporter
FromGustavo Coronel
To the James Baker III Institute for Public policy, Rice University
Dear Sir or Madam:
I have seen in your website the notice of an event on 'Governance of Oil in Venezuela' to be held by invitation only. I can not attend since I do not live in the Houston area but I wonder what are the requisites to be invited to this type of events, where, presumably, you would be trying to find the truth about the topic under consideration and should welcome people holding different perspectives on the subject.
Looking at the explanatory summary that accompanies the description of the event, ready to be distributed to all media, I sense an explanation for the 'invitation only', since whoever put this summary together is definitely playing with loaded dice.
In other words, the event seems to be designed only to preach to the converted and to be one more official event organized by the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC, as part of his annual propaganda campaign.
Why would I suspect this?
Let us see what your summary (see below, your program) says:
'Venezuela is undergoing a process of dramatic political and economic change of sufficient magnitude to merit the overused term 'revolutionary'.
To describe the Venezuelan process, as a political and economic 'revolution' could be acceptable only as a major caricature of what 'revolution' should mean, a radical change in the foundations of social life and in the philosophy of government. This is not what Chavez has been doing. He has installed in Venezuela a government of gangsters, mostly for the political and economic benefit of the 200 or so members of the gang. Today Venezuela is in political, economic and social ruin, as evidenced by all major indices in the hands of independent analysts: inflation, crime rate, unemployment, social inequality, corruption in government, free market practices, competitiveness, foreign investment, country risk. To call this 'dramatic'and a 'revolution' is very black humor. An institution carrying the name of James Baker would deserve better than this travesty.

'Focused on both Venezuela domestic and international policy'.
The author of this summary is probably thinking of Chavez's alignment with the Colombian narcoterrorists or with Iran's Ahmadinejad or with Hezbollah. He is also probably thinking of the five Chavez ambassadors who were expelled from Latin American countries for their open intervention in the political processes of those countries, or in the handouts of Venezuelan oil to Castro, Morales, Ortega, Kennedy III, the Farabundo Marti Front in El Salvador and other parasites of our Venezuelan people. This could be called foreign policy, yes, but a tragic and corrupt one.
NO POLICY, on the other hand, is what characterizes the domestic policy of the Chavez's regime. There is no governance in Venezuela. No country that has had a president like Hugo Chavez and vice-presidents like Isaias Rodriguez and Adina Bastidas (one of your speakers) can be expected to have governance or a coherent set of domestic policies.

'Venezuela's vision is one of social justice that is oriented toward the provision of basic human needs to all its citizens and of political empowerment for the country' s hitherto forgotten lower social classes'.
I have no doubt that the author of this paragraph is in Chavez's payroll but I am appalled that a major institution located at a prestigious university would accept it at face value, to be used as factual information for an official event of the institution. Are you familiar, Sir or Madam, with the situation of the Venezuelan population? : The crime rate, the absence of the rule of law, the rampant corruption of Chavez, his family and his immediate collaborators (corruption defined both as stealing public funds and as the use/abuse of the public goods/ assets for personal use), the odious social exclusion of large sectors of the population that differ from Chavez's obsolete political ideas, the nepotism, the use of public funds for handouts to foreign governments and individuals, the lack of structural programs to solve poverty? These and many other characteristics of the Chavez's regime are the precise opposite of what this paragraph states.

'For the Venezuelan government, promoting social and revolutionary reforms while maintaining the advancement of the country's oil industry remains a major challenge…
' Again, this paragraph assumes as a given that there have been social and revolutionary reforms in a country that, frankly, has only been subjected to the madness of the inept. Do you know Sir, or Madam, that Chavez has received about $600 billion during his almost 10 years in total power and that the country has virtually nothing positive to show for it?
  • Have you been in Venezuela?
  • Have you seen the state of infrastructure, the situation of schools and hospitals?
  • Have you heard our 'president' speak?
  • Do you know that excessive numbers of our children die at birth in Chavez's hospitals?
  • That street beggars are routinely assassinated?
  • That the former Attorney General is a crook, just to mention one single example of the deplorable moral qualities of the Chavez's gang?
  • That abandoned children in the streets of our cities are in the thousands?
  • That commercial papers sold by the regime are fueling the greatest corruption in the history of our country?
  • That the proposed primary school curriculum is designed for political indoctrination of our children?
  • That Chavez just gave Danny Glover $30 million of our money to 'make a film' and has given Castro about $2 billion per year in subsidies for the last five years?
  • That, four months later, the Electoral Council still refuses to make public the final tally of the referendum lot by Chavez in December 2007?
  • That Chavez has said that if the opposition defeats him in the regional elections of October of this year 'there will be war'?
  • That the laptops of the Colombian narco-terrorist leader recently killed contains numerous references to Chavez's alignment with, and support of FARC?
I could go on and on, but these examples will suffice to illustrate my point. What the paragraph calls 'empowerment of the poor' is only a criminal policy of handouts that keep the Venezuelan poor acting like beggars, instead of acting like proud independent citizens, capable of being self-starters.
Chavez throws fish around but is not teaching Venezuelans how to fish.
This, Sir or Madam, is the opposite of social justice.The reference contained in the summary about 'the oil industry being maintained moving forward' will sound clearly fraudulent to any one who knows what has been going on within PDVSA: six presidents and boards in ten years, the loss of some 800,000 barrels per day of production capacity; the lack of maintenance and investment; the violation of contractual obligations and commitments; the corruption within the highest management levels; the politicization of the company; its conversion into a food importing and distributing outfit; its loss of international prestige and credibility; its financial disarray, its bureaucratic adiposity; its utilization as a political tool, all of these and more items indicate an almost total collapse of the Venezuelan oil industry.

'The Baker Institute is convening a major conference…
'Dear Sir or Madam: a major conference cannot be convoked under such biased preliminary assumptions. It should be properly convoked only by inviting people having different perspectives.
For example, I fail to see the presence of speakers from the previous PDVSA, someone like Alberto Quiros, Luis Giusti, Pedro Burelli, Ramon Espinasa, only to name just a few who could give the attendees a more balanced (and a more professional) picture of the Venezuelan energy situation than some of the chavista speakers.
The presence of prestigious members of academia such as Terry Karl and David Mares is welcome, although none of them, as far as I know, have studied Venezuela in detail during the last months or, even, years.
Let us hope that they take upon themselves to present the other side of the sugar coated fairy tale that will, no doubt be presented by Ambassador Alvarez and his entourage. As being planned, I believe your event will be somewhat incestuous.
Of course, incest is OK only as long as you keep it in the family.

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