Alek Boyd's blog
Got a call this morning from the BBC World Update programme, requesting my comment on the current spat between Hugo Chavez and the USA, over US Ambassador to Venezuela designate Larry Palmer.
After the parliamentary elections of December 2005, the National Electoral Council of Venezuela took more than 42 days to announce results. The CNE, at the time chaired by Jorge Rodriguez (later appointed Chavez’s Vice President), had trouble massaging abstention figures, which to this day are believed to have been above 85%. The current crop of people’s representatives were elected in 2005 by at best, 15% of Venezuela's electorate. Eventually, Rodriguez did come up with figures more amenable to the caudillo, decreasing the abstention rate to around 75%.
On taking special powers this week to rule by decree, President Chávez of Venezuela declared: “We’re building a new democracy here that can’t be turned back.” By describing these political changes as irreversible, he revealed the type of democracy that he had in mind: one person, one vote, where he is the person and his is the vote.
The arrest in Colombia of Venezuelan drug kingpin Walid Makled has exposed the underworld of drugs, corruption, and organised crime that surrounds President Hugo Chavez. As I wrote back in 2006, it is simply impossible to ship tonnes of cocaine to international markets without complicity at the highest levels. And complicity Walid Makled revealed.
So, did you think that statements given back in 2001 by Isaías Rodriguez, current Venezuelan Ambassador to Spain, to the effect that ETA and FARC were waging a "just and irreproachable" fight were just off the cuff remarks? Think again. See what Samuel Moncada, Venezuelan Ambassador to the UK, is doing on 6th November 2010.
A journalist from Diario La Verdad, in Venezuela. A journalist from The Christian Science Monitor, in Madrid. Another from Agencia COLPISA, also in Madrid. The director of PROVEA, a human rights NGO in Caracas. Venezuelan Ambassador to Spain. An ETA terrorist, Arturo Cubillas. A collective of so called journalists in Venezuela... What do these people have in common?
Some amazing news today.
I'm reading a book about an alleged infiltration into the world of transnational terrorism by an undercover Spanish journalist that goes by the name of Antonio Salas. While I am not prepared to take everything written by Salas at face value, there's an undeniable wealth of information in the book that allows anyone with a modicum of interest to follow leads.
A great exchange of ideas took place the other day in the comment section of an article published by Miguel Octavio. Miguel was basically pondering on the difficulties of explaining to foreigners the reality of our country, as cited below:
Pedro Burelli sent me Questions for the Record to Ambassador - Designate Larry Leon Palmer by Senator Richard Lugar, of the US' Senate Foreign Relations Committee. To be frank, I am pleasantly surprised by the level of detail of some of those questions (bold added):
As expected, it hasn't taken long since elections for outraged Filipinos to sue Smartmatic for negligence, incompetence, corruption, and unethical behaviour, in violation to various legislations. René Azurin argues:
In what could well be the final nail in the coffin of Hugo Chavez international standing, outgoing Alvaro Uribe has acted on the pile of evidence of Chavez - FARC links he's been sitting on, and ordered his minister of defence to release information that proves the presence of Colombian narco terrorists in Venezuela.
There was a time, not long ago, when bloggers such as your truly were frantically exposing the turpitude, the sheer corruption, the conflict of interests, and the galloping fascism of chavismo: a cult based on an untenable premise, which has it that its supreme leader, Hugo Chavez, is absolutely infallible. To chavistas, the Venezuelan caudillo can do no wrong. Simple. He is, in fact, beyond criticism, embodiment of some saintly figure.
Early in 2008 I started working for the Human Rights Foundation (no longer there). One of the first assignments I got was to investigate the human rights situation in Bolivia and Ecuador, a couple of countries that had fallen under the chavista formula of using democratic tools to destroy the very tenets, such as rule of law and due process, that sustain democracy.
Justice Eloy Velasco, of Spain's High Court, indicted a number of ETA terrorists, and shed light on the professional relationship that some of them have with the Chavez regime.