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Archive for the ‘Bolivia’ Category

This article is from March but it is really important to read

If any doubts remained about President Hugo Chvez’s plans for Venezuela’s destiny, they have been erased by his decree to “rescue” unproductive lands and assign them to “groups of the population” and “organized communities” from rural areas. Private property is history, so Chávez is proceeding to strengthen the failed agrarian reforms of socialist Venezuelan governments from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, renaming them the “agrarian revolution.”

The new Land Law authorizes the government to expropriate land that bureaucrats consider underutilized and to do the same in those cases in which the government discovers an error in a title of land. Venezuelans already know the modus operandi of Chvezs bureaucracy. In trying to obtain a birth certificate, an identification card, a passport, a certified copy of any legal document and even in registering the elderly to receive pensions, each “mistake” represents a potential source of income for each official, and at the same time, a delay of several months for each citizen’s request.

TCS Daily : Technology – Commerce – Society

At the same time, you can read about the similarities between Ibero-American populism and fascism here:

The Iberoamerican nowadays populism have a lot of things in common with both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. For example, the discredit of former regimes, the organization of confrontment groups (such as Bolivarian guards, associations of “owners of no-land”, “Cocalean Unionist Policemen”…) the racist retoric, the revolutionary militarization of the society, etc.

These tendencies are very dangerous because, using the motions of numeric control and the electoral manipulation, they only have one and only destiny: the the cult of the personality of the “supreme leader”. The closing of RCTV is another proving evidence that these iberoamerican supporters of populism have adopted the nazi-fascist methods. Their announced purpose to establish the model of the so-called “socialism of the XXIst century” to perpetuate themselves in power is another symptom of their totalitarian raptures.

At the same time: the Venezuelan channel Globovisión continues its critics against Chávez. Its president said yesterday that in Venezuela, the decadence of Hugo Chávez has begun. This is not the first time, Mr Ravell targets Chávez: when RCTV was closed he stated: “I prefer to die standing than to change only to satisfy Hugo Chávez“. Bolivarian President threaten then to close Globovision.

At the same time, Opposition leader Manuel Rosales and other Venezuelan democrats will take RCTV closing to the Interamerican Court for Human Rights and to the Hague Tribunal.

Also see this two videos posted by The Devil´s Excrement, in which we see the National Guard blocking the students to prevent them from demonstrating for freedom of expression.

See also the Bolivarian V-P saying: “Of course, we want a dictatorship, the dictatorship of democracy, of the Government of you and of us. We want to build a new country“. Found here.

Looking at Bolivia, I posted that Evo Morales was imitating Chávez,  and, as a result there is a grave crisis involving Bolivian judicial power. Well, among critics from judiciary system, Evo has continued his bullying on the Judicial power:

Morales, far from changing his position in front of the strike announced for last Tuesday by the Judicial Power, has said that with this measure a “new unjustice is made upon the Bolivarian people”.
The Bolivian President condemned the actions of the Judicial Power and said that it normally resolves for the people “with money” and very rarely by those who don’t have money.

Demagoguery in pure style…

Ecuador’s President Correa has also menaced with judicial measures against the newspaper Diario la Hora, which had accused him of governing with “tumults, sticks and stones”. The President of Diario la Hora has announced that he will not ask for forgiveness to Correa, who has asked for a compensation of $5 million, while questioning his fellow countrymen where should be invested. He said he is not interested in money, but that “he is really disturbed by impunity and bank abuse. We have them furious and I am not going to abandon to impunity this matter, but I will do with the money what you want, fellow countrymen“.

It is not rare then, that Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela are the targets of the Interamerican Society for the Press. Ricardo Trotti, its director, said:

A lot of or several State Chiefs are trying to divide the society, of making the people live in confrontation, and they have blamed this confrontation on the MSM, specially in their owners and on the journalists, who have already problems in those countries.

Related News: Bolivia, infiltrated by Islamists according to Bolivian politician José Brechner, who has had to fled Bolivia due to security concerns.

I had forgotten to post this:

TVchávez

h/t American-Israeli Patriot.

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Chavez: Troops to escort oil takeovers – Yahoo! News

President Hugo Chavez said Thursday that soldiers will accompany government officials when they take over oil projects in the Orinoco River basin next month.

Chavez has decreed that Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, will take a minimum 60 percent stake in four heavy-oil projects in the Orinoco River region and invited the six private companies operating there to stay on as minority partners.

On May 1 we are going to take control of the oil fields,” Chavez said. “I’m sure no transnational company is going to draw a shotgun, but we will go with the armed forces and the people.”

The projects — run by BP PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, France’s Total SA and Norway’s Statoil ASA — upgrade heavy, tar-like crude into more marketable oils and are considered Venezuela’s most promising. As older fields elsewhere go into decline, development of the Orinoco is seen as key to Venezuela’s future production.

Isn’t it wonderful??? He invited, how sweet, how understanding of the situation…





PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts writes about this:

In all seriousness, while I do not think that Chávez is as pernicious as some do (I see a lot of what he does as far more bluster than reality), I can’t help but think that he is going to, in the end, damage Venezuela’s economy just as he has severely damaged its democracy.

Well, if he has “severely damaged its democracy” then he is really pernicious…

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Chávez ha decretado que petróleos de Venezuela tomará un mínimo del 60% del total de varios proyectos muy importantes que se desarrollan en la región del el río Orinoco e invitó a las seis compañías privadas que operan en él; a que permanezcan allí como; socios menores.; Anunció que van a invadirlas el día 1 de mayo y que para prevenir cualquier enfrentamiento, “iremos con las fuerzas armadas y el pueblo“.

Poliblog comenta que no tiene una idea tan mala de Chávez, pero que no puede dejar de pensar que va a dañar la economía de Venezuela tanto como ha dañado la democracia.

Como digo arriba el hecho de que haya dañado la democracia de forma grave, a mí me es suficiente para considerarle alguien pernicioso.


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But we continue: from NoisyRoom.net » Blog Archive » Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Calls Reconciliation With the U.S. ‘Impossible’

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, threatening to cut off oil shipments to the U.S. if its government supports any efforts to oust him, said that reconciliation with Washington was impossible.

Chavez said a thirst for oil motivated both the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and a failed 2002 coup against him. The outspoken leader has often accused the U.S. of being behind the coup, and Washington has repeatedly denied the allegation.

“There is no possibility of understanding for our revolution with the government of the United States, with U.S. imperialism,” Chavez said during a news conference to mark the fifth anniversary of his return to power two days after the coup.

Yes, yes. Hugo, we know that you only care for love, and that US hates Venezuela: that is why trade balance between the two states is favorable to … Venezuela.



But the cenit of Hugo’s malevolence comes when he says:

Chavez also said that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were “a gift for (President) Bush” because they enabled him to wage war.

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Para continuar haciendo amigos, Hugo Chávez ha amenazado a EEUU con no mandar más petróleo si el gobierno apoya cualquier movimiento para echarle y añadió que la reconciliación es imposible con el “imperialismo americano“.

Pero el colmo ha sido cuando ha dicho que los atentados del 11 de septiembre fueron un “regalo para Bush” porque le permitieron iniciar una guerra.

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From EldiarioExterior.com

Ex vicepresidente sandinista pide un socialismo tolerante y no tan radical como el de Venezuela El modelo socialista ´´debería medirse por su institucionalidad democrática y su tolerancia´´ para alejarse del ´´viejo modelo autoritario´´, opinó el ex vicepresidente sandinista Sergio Ramírez, en una entrevista en la cual criticó al actual gobierno de Daniel Ortega en Nicaragua.

Ex-vicepresident from the Sandinista Government -Nicaragua- has asked for a tolerant socialism and not so radical as Venezuelan one. The socialist model should be measured “by its democratic institutionality and its tolerance” to abandon the “old authoritarian model“, said the ex-vicepresident Sergio Ramírez, in an interview in which he critisized the actual government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.

For me, the revolution is a buried project in history, in the past. The revolution was made for some ideals which did not survive. The Sandinista Front is a party that uses the traditional political mechanisms of Hispanic America to obtain power and not respect the institutions“.

In Nicaragua the Constitution is being reformed for Daniel Ortega could be re-elected, the same that it’s happenning in Bolivia and tht certainly conveys intolerance for critics and independent opinion. We are not viewing a model of neosocialism but in front of an old neo-authoritarian model which has been so damaging for Hispanic America“.





And now Chávez confronts Chilean President Bachelet from Noticias24 :: Actualidad » Dura crítica del diario ‘El Mercurio’

“La concentración de poderes de Chávez no tiene parangón en ningún país del sistema interamericano que pretenda mantener la condición democrática”. Así cuestion hoy el diario chileno “El Mercurio”, en su editorial, el carácter democrático del Gobierno de Hugo Chávez.

A 48 horas de la visita de Michelle Bachelet a Venezuela, el Presidente Chávez se permitió atacar públicamente al Senado de Chile, a raíz de haber éste acordado solicitar a aquélla que presente ante la OEA, en nombre de nuestro país, una protesta por el arbitrario término de la concesión a la estación independiente Radio Caracas TV. La mayoría del Senado -por 18 votos UDI, RN, PPD y DC (incluido el del ex Presidente Frei, actual presidente de la Cámara Alta), contra seis votos PS y PPD- estimó que eso atenta contra la libertad de pensamiento y de expresión, y no puede ser aceptado por estados democráticos.

Continúa haciendo amigos, vamos…



Chávez’s concentration of power has no equal in any other country of the interamerican system that pretends to maintain its democratic condition“.that is the editorial of the Chilean newspaper EL Mercurio, about the “democratic” condition of Hugo Chávez Government.

48 hours before the visit of Michelle Bachelet (Chilean PM) to Venezuela, President Chávez attacked publicly the Chilean Senate, because of the protest it made about the arbitrary ending of Independiente Radio Caracas Station TV concession.

The majority of the Senate -18 votes (including the ex-president Frei) against 6- esteemed that Chavez´Government attitude and procedure is an attack against the freedom of thought and expression, and cannot be accepted by any democratic Government.



As you know, Chávez has Bolívar as a hero. There is a very good article about his figure at EldiarioExterior.com

Bolívar tenía un concepto muy extraño de democracia. Él creía que los pueblos sudamericanos no podían practicar virtudes democráticas como los europeos9. Cuando en Bolivia se le presentó la oportunidad de escribir una constitución, Bolívar la aprovechó para escribir una a su medida: presidencia vitalicia (él), senadores hereditarios, diputados elegidos por el pueblo y “Censores” con el deber de “proteger la moral, las ciencias, las artes, la instrucción y la imprenta” (10).

“Si esto no es legítimo es al menos popular y, por lo mismo, propio de una república eminentemente democrática”, le dijo Bolívar a Francisco de Paula Santander cuando éste se opuso a que la constitución “democrática” de Bolivia fuese aplicada a la Gran Colombia (11). ¿Cómo se puede creer que alguien que asumió poderes dictatoriales en Caracas en 1813, en Angostura en 1817, en Lima en 1824 y luego en Bogotá en 1828 era un demócrata? (12).

Álvaro Vargas Llosa dice que Bolívar encarnó el “pecado original” de las repúblicas latinoamericanas: “el elitismo, el totalitarismo, y una pasión desmesurada por lo que nosotros conocemos como la construcción social” (13).

Bolívar had a very strange concept of democracy. He believed that the South-American people could not practice the same democratic virtues European had. When opportunity came to write a constitution for Bolivia, Bolívar wrote it to his own benefit: life presidency for him, inherited seats at Senate, MPs elected by the people and censors with the duty of protecting the moral, the sciences, the arts and the instruction and printing”.

If this is not legitimate, it is popular at least and, because of that, it is a consequence of being eminently democratic“, he told Francisco de Paula Santander when the latter opposed the application of the Bolivian “democratic” Constitution to the “Great Colombia”. How on earth can anyone believe that someone who was given dictatorial powers in Caracas in 1813, in Angostura in 1817, in Lima in 1824 and afterwards in Bogotá in 1928, was a democrat?

Alvaro Vargas Llogas considers that Bolivar incarnated the “original sin” of all the Latin-American republics: “elitism, totalitarism and giantic passion for what we know as the social construction“.


From Fausta’s Blog:

Speaking of Chavez, Miguel has a post on fudged statistics on highway deaths, and one on CANTV and Electricidad de Caracas and the end of an era. Investor’s Business Daily explains how Chavez Blows Venezuela’s Fortune

Venezuela’s state oil company is a mess. Revenue in 2006 came to $101 billion, down 26% from the year before, and profit was only $4.8 billion. The poor results were due in part to the $13 billion of investment money that Chavez diverted to handouts for the poor. It is estimated that the company needs to be spending at least $3 billion a year on infrastructural maintenance and capital improvements.



Chavez is also giving away at least 100,000 barrels a day to Cuba, something the ruling Castro brothers sell on the open market at their own profit, draining Venezuela’s finances further.



The biggest reason for the decline in exports is falling production, the inevitable result of a long string of broken contracts and private-property expropriations. The investment that’s been chased out is not being replaced, not even by other state oil companies that Chavez claims to favor. Investment from U.S. companies has fallen more than 90%.

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La compañía de petróleos de Venezuela ha disminuido su total de ventas un 26% y su beneficio ha caído hasta 4,8 millones de dólares. Los pobres resultados se deben a que Chávez desvió dinero de inversiones para darlo a los pobres. La sociedad precisa al menos 3 billones al año en mantenimiento de infraestructura y mejoras.

Además Chávez está dando 100.000 barriles por día a Cuba, dejando a los hermanos Castro que lo vendan en el mercado para su propio beneficio.

A todo ello se une que se ha disminuido drásticamente las inversiones tanto del país como extranjeras (las de USA cayeron un 90%).



Y para terminar resulta que:



Venezuela is also giving money to Bolivia and the Evo Morales’ tour: EldiarioExterior.com

Acusan a Evo Morales de repartir el dinero de Venezuela

El presidente de Bolivia, Evo Morales, continuó la gira en su país en la que reparte a alcaldes dinero de la cooperación venezolana, según fuentes oficiales, lo que ha hecho que la oposición lo acuse de hacer campaña para su reelección en el 2008. ´´A título de qué el gobierno venezolano estaría poniendo plata a esta gira en un país que es soberano´´, dijo la jefa de los diputados de Podemos, Lourdes Millares, y comentó que “es peligroso que un país dé plata con tanta facilidad´´.

El prefecto (gobernador electo) de La Paz, José Luis Paredes, de Podemos, insistió en que los viajes de Morales por las regiones no son más que la organización de una “campaña para la reelección presidencial.

Morales is making a tour throughout his country and is giving away money [1,7$ million] to the majors, money which comes from the “Venezuelan cooperation“. Bolivian opposition is not very happy with it asking “why the Venezuelan Government is giving lots of money to this tour in a country that is sovereign. Giving away money so easy is dangerous“, said the chief of the MPs from the Party Podemos.

Another MP Mr. Murillo, from , added that the President “has issued a supreme regulation which lets the Majors spend more money with no permission, something which is going to raise corruption“.

The elected Governor of La Paz, José Luis Paredes, from Podemos, insisted that “the trips of Morales by the regions are no more than a campaign for presidential reelection“.



Some months ago the Venezuelan blogosphere was already angered by Chávez’s expenses (read my post here). We have also to consider the important expenditure in weapons he had made and which had not finished.


Very interesting the link of Devil’s Excrement mentioned by Fausta above:

Chavez woke up one day and decided to “nationalize” CANTV and Electricidad de Caracas, just because he felt like it. The Ministers scrambled and explained to him that Venezuela has lost all arbitration cases in international Courts, owns CITGO in the US and the Government could not “nationalize” anything without creating problems all over theplace. So, the Government negotiated a high price for Electricidad de Caracas and a cheap price for CANTV, the latter indicating Verizon wanted to get out of here as fast as possible. Funny thing was, the Government ended up paying less that Mexican Carlos Slim was willing to pay for CANTV, about 18% less. Who gets hurt? First, international investors who held the stock and will be paid less. More interesting, the second largest chunk of shares after the international investors is owned by the company’s workers. So, in this era of “shared-ownership”, “coops”, “Co-management” and the like, the revolution is buying back the workers shares at around $2 per ordinary share. Funny things is, the workers paid around US$ 4 for them in 1996 and some of them had to pay financing. You got to love the workers paradise of the XXIst. Century!

The Devil’s Excrement se refiere a la nacionalización de la empresa Electricidad de Caracas, nacionalización que se le metió en la cabeza a Chávez a pesar de que todos los ministros le dijeron que se lo pensara porque habían perdido todos los procesos de arbitraje. El gobierno, después de una negociación, en la que se acordó un precio muy pequeño para la empresa de telecomunicaciones CANTV, porque Verizon quería irse lo antes posible, terminó pagando menos de lo que el millonario mejicano Carlos Slim estaba decidido a pagar.

La nacionalización ha perjudiciado a los accionistas internacionales a los que se les pagará menos. Y a los trabajadores a los que se les habían vendido acciones en 1996 a 4$ la acción y ahora se les están comprando a 2$.

El gobierno bolivariano no les está tratando muy bien a los trabajadores que se diga…


Related posts:

  1. Is Venezuela rationing food.
  2. London is going to get foreign aid.

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I posted yesterday about Bolivian President Evo Morales’ intention to be in power till 2018. Today I have found this article in Christian Science Monitor in which they explain the Bolivian citizens exodus mostly from middle-class.

(Photograph)

Like scores of his friends and family, Cesar Torrio (photo, right), a lawyer in Cochabamba, voted for change – for Evo Morales in Bolivia’s presidential election in December of 2005. “We all wanted change,” says Mr. Torrio, “and Evo was the only one who could bring it.”

Now he shakes his head. “This is not what we wanted. He is re-creating a nation with just one identity.”

President Morales, an Aymara Indian and former coca-leaf grower, ushered in a new era of hope in Bolivia, quickly becoming a symbol of the poor in his alpaca sweater and promising a new nation for the long-oppressed indigenous majority. Across Bolivia the indigenous celebrated the promises they had fought so long for: a new constitution, control of natural resources, and a shift away from free-market policies in a nation where two-thirds of the population still lives in poverty.

But the indigenous were not the only ones to rejoice. Thousands of middle-class voters, who were tired of the deep divisions in the country, reached out for a figure they likened to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. Analysts say that without their support, Morales could not have won 54 percent of votes.

Today, some of those voters are questioning their choice. While Morales remains a popular president, lawyers, teachers, police officers, and taxi drivers interviewed across the country claim he is governing for the indigenous only and say they disagree with his policies. Many are going to Spain. Others wonder where they fit within the “new Bolivia.”

“It is impossible to understand [Morales’s large mandate] if you don’t see what the vote of middle class was,” says Gonzalo Chavez, a political analyst at Catholic University in La Paz. “Many people feel like he is losing the middle. In Bolivia we don’t have a huge middle class. … but politically it is very important, and has a lot of influence in public opinion.”

The exodus to Spain is booming [link in Spanish] as next April is going to be applied a new visa by which immigrants will have to be provided with a job contract and the employer will have to pay Social Security. There are 300 people asking for visas per day and around 250 actually given per day. This visa is already applied to people from Colombia or Peru. [I wonder why it is not applied to pther nationals? Especially Maghrebis…].


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FT:

Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, could stay in power until 2018 under constitutional rules proposed on Friday by his supporters.

The proposal will fuel concerns that Mr Morales is bent on concentrating his power, emulating Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan leader, his closest regional ally.

The governing MAS [Movimiento al socialismo = Way to socialism] party’s representatives in an assembly that is rewriting Bolivia’s constitution have proposed that the new document allow presidential re-election.

The MAS also confirmed that Mr Morales will be a candidate for the presidency in elections likely to take place next year, under new rules currently being discussed in a constitutional assembly.

That appeared to contradict statements made last week by the president, who suggested he would not stand in the 2008 elections. But MAS politician Carlos Romero on Friday clarified that Mr Morales would also be allowed to stand for a third term as president in elections in 2013.

Mr Romero told the EFE news agency that “2008 would not be a re-election, but a new election” under a new constitution, implying that Mr Morales could seek re-election for another five-year presidential term, which would end in 2018.

My goodness… But it goes on:

The MAS proposal echoes the rule of Alberto Fujimori, the authoritarian leader of Peru from 1990 to 2000, who was able to override a presidential two-term limit to stand in the 2000 elections thanks to the congressional passage of a “law of authentic interpretation” which suggested that Mr Fujimori had in fact only run for the presidency once under the existing constitution.

And then he is copying Fujimori….

Also FT reports about the sacking of YCFB [Bolivian Petrol Company]’s chief Morales Oliveira because of an scandal with the contracts with foreign investors [including Spanish-Argentinian Repsol YPF]:

The basis of the scandal is a string of irregularities in new gas contracts the government submitted to the legislature. The lower house of Congress – which is dominated by the pro-government MAS party – last November approved the 44 contracts signed last year with 12 foreign investors, including Respol of Spain, Petrobras of the US, Total of France and BG of the UK.

However, when the contracts were examined by the Senate, in which the opposition has a slim majority, it was discovered that the contracts submitted to the legislature were substantially different from those signed with international energy companies. Among the differences were errors in the names of the companies involved and in the location of natural gas reserves.

Because of the irregularities, the new contracts – which are slated to introduce higher tax rates for multinational investors – have still not come into force, five months after they were signed. The result has been that foreign investment in the sector has been frozen since last year

Related news: I did not treated it here -I just did not have time…- but some days ago I read a woman had been stoned to death in Bolivia, after being accused of adultery h/t Blogbis and Desde El Exilio. The Bolivian Constitution has forbidden the death penalty, yet some people are condemned to it by comunitary justice. Of course no trial, no lawyer…. And there are people who justify this:

Felipe Quispe, ex-peasant leader and today leader of his community Ajaría Chico (Omasuyos), said that the death penalty comes when the victim does not modify his/her behaviour after a first reflection and a second, after some chicotazos -I figure this is like beats but I am not sure..-

There are times in which they are expelled from community and some others they are condemned to death, he/she can be anihilated, hunged more than everything“, he revealed coincidentally with Callisaya [MAS deputy], who assures that “these extreme cases” happen when someone is “contaminated, polluted” and cannot be reiserted.

I think no comment is necessary…

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El presidente boliviano, Evo Morales, podría estar en el poder hasta el año 2018 bajo las nuevas normas constitucionales que ha presentado su partido. Emulará así a Chávez, el líder venezolano, su aliado más cercano en la región.

El político del MAS, Carlos Romenro, dijo que se permitirá a Morales presentarse no sólo a un 2º mandato, cuyas elecciones se celebrarán en 2008, si no también en 2013, pudiendo presentarse a un tercer mandato.


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One of my preferred South-American blogs is Argentinian Blogbis (in Spanish) because of their innate irony and realistic approach. I really read it nearly everyday.

So yesterday I found this:

Today was released a report from the State Department that assures that the Bolivarian Venezuela has been transformed into the main country for the transport of drugs to Western countries, and adds that the main cause for this is that there is a “frail justice” and a “corrupt atmosphere”.

Bolivia, at the same time, confirms its position as 3rd world producer of cocaine, raising its production, as they have lowered the goals of elimination of producer fields.

Even if you do not believe the State Department, UN decentralised body International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), has released its annual report (English, Español), in which they state their worries about Bolivian intention to raise the “legal” production of coca and confirms the Venezuelan role as the distributor and logistical expert.

And guess what?:

In Colombia, despite eradication efforts, the total area under illicit coca bush cultivation in 2005 increased by 6,000 hectares to 86,000 hectares. That represents a decline of 47 per cent compared with the peak annual estimate of 163,300 hectares in 2000. Illicit coca bush cultivation in Colombia spread rapidly to areas where it had not been detected before. The most significant increase was noted in two areas bordering Ecuador and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of). A total of 170,070 hectares of coca bush were eradicated in Colombia in 2005, mainly through aerial spraying. The intensive eradication efforts in Colombia continued also in 2006. By mid-September 2006, 150,600 hectares of illicitly cultivated coca bush had been eradicated in that country.

Now search for Venezuela and:

In the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, following the use of a satellite monitoring system for the detection of illicit crop cultivation, 80 hectares of coca bush were eradicated at the country’s northwestern border with Colombia during Operation Sierra, conducted in November 2005.

Yes, I know, Colombia has huge drug plantation but Venezuela only has 80 hectares?

But let get on with it:

According to the European Police Office (Europol), every year almost 250 tons of cocaine enter the European Union, the second largest market for cocaine after the United States. Most of the cocaine is transported by sea from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Suriname and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) to the main European seaports. Sizeable amounts of cocaine are also smuggled into Europe by air courier.

[…] 407. In the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the total volume of cocaine seizures increased in 2005 by 87 per cent, to 58.4 tons; a further 23 tons of cocaine were seized in the first nine months of 2006. Most of the intercepted cocaine shipments were destined for Spain and the United Kingdom.

And:

Heroin seizures have been reported in recent years in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of). The most significant increase in the volume of heroin seizures has been recorded in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: in that country, heroin seizures rose steadily from 196 kg in 2000 to a record 658 kg in 2004.

What they are not saying is an estimated number of the drug that actually they could not seize. Normally, for what I know -I am not an expert ;)-, if the captures rise so severely is not only because police is more effective, but just because there is much more drug quantity passing through.

The cocaine smuggled into the United States is derived from coca produced mainly in Colombia but also in Bolivia and Peru. Mexico continues to be used as the principal trans-shipment country for cocaine entering the United States. Cocaine abuse is increasing in Mexico.

So this morning I was searching on the Internet and I discover this (HT Castro Death Watch):

Venezuela does not plan to sign an anti-drug accord with the United States, local media quoted Venezuela’s top anti-drug official as saying on Saturday, days after Washington criticized Caracas for failing to crack down on drug traffickers.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a close ally of Cuba who has promised to fight U.S. “imperialism,” cut off cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2005, accusing the group of spying on him.

The South American nation had promised to renew the accord on different terms but repeatedly postponed signing it.

What timing, eh? Venezuela is considered the logistic center for drug distribution and about the same time they declare they are not interested in signing an anti-drug agreement… Curious, isn’t it?

Continuing with the report. About Bolivia:

The situation in Bolivia, which for many years has not been in conformity with that State’s obligations under the international drug control treaties, continues to be a matter of particular concern to the Board. Bolivia is a major producer of coca leaf, and national legislation allows the cultivation of coca bush and the consumption of coca leaf for non-medical purposes, which are not in line with the provisions of the 1961 Convention.

172. In addition, some of the coca leaf produced in accordance with national legislation in Bolivia is diverted and used for the illicit manufacture of cocaine. There is also information indicating increase in the illicit manufacture of and trafficking in cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride in recent years, as well as an increase in trafficking in precursor chemicals used in cocaine manufacture.

173. The Government of Bolivia has indicated its intention to review existing national drug control legislation, with a view to using coca leaf for a wide range of products, some of which might be exported. The Board has followed closely the developments in Bolivia and has communicated to the Government its concern that some of the measures that the Government is about to take are not in line with the provisions of the international drug control treaties, particularly the 1961 Convention. The Board is also concerned that policy developments in Bolivia could have repercussions in other countries in South America.

Attention, Spanish colleagues:

African countries are being targeted for transshipment of cocaine. The smuggling of cocaine from South America into Europe through Africa continues unabated, with countries in Western and Central Africa being used as transit and storage areas for cocaine destined for Europe. Cocaine is trafficked from South America in large shipments along maritime routes leading predominantly to the countries surrounding the Gulf of Guinea, where it is re-packaged and smuggled by air by couriers into Europe or dispatched via parcel post. The most affected countries are Benin, Cape Verde, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Togo, while Ghana is serving as a major trans-shipment area and logistics base. Increasingly, Guinea-Bissau is being used by criminal groups from Latin America for the trans-shipment of cocaine. In September 2006, police in Guinea-Bissau seized 674 kg of cocaine and arrested two suspected smugglers, together with arms and radio and other equipment. Senegal has also become a transit country. Another matter of concern is that criminal organizations from South America involved in cocaine trafficking are reportedly linking with criminal groups involved in cannabis trafficking in Morocco and Spain.

Does it have something to do with the huge illegal immigration Spain had last year, especially from Senegal? In the report it is said that they are not only using the ships to transport the drugs but also people. I am not saying this is the only cause, though. But are drug mafias using this poor immigrants to transport the drugs and help them to pay for the trip in the cayuco?

Also: relationship of Turkey, Russian Federation, Afghanistan and Iran in world production and distribution of heroin:

Most of the heroin found in Europe comes from Afghanistan. According to the World Drug Report 2006, in Europe seizures of opiates rose by 49 per cent in 2004 to 29 tons, the highest figure ever recorded. The increase in seizures of opiates in Europe was mainly attributable to the fact that such seizures doubled in South-Eastern Europe, especially in Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. Record seizures of opiates were also made in the Russian Federation. Most of the heroin continues to be smuggled in trucks. The heroin on the illicit market in Europe is mainly smuggled from Turkey along the Balkan route, via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. In addition, a southern branch of the Balkan route has developed: heroin and other opiates from Turkey are smuggled via Bulgaria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia into Albania, Italy, Austria and Germany. There have been reports of shipments of opiates from Afghanistan to the Islamic Republic of Iran being smuggled through the Caucasus into Ukraine and then into Romania before reaching their final destinations in Western Europe. The northern route through Central Asia is increasingly being used to transport heroin to other major illicit markets for heroin, such as the Russian Federation and countries in Eastern Europe. A new route for smuggling heroin from East Asia into the United Kingdom was recently uncovered, resulting in the interception of heroin consignments at ports in the United Kingdom.

Has someone from the Euroweenies (he, he, I love this term) reflected about the enlargement of EU, the freedom of circulation of goods and people and the easier it is to transport this kind of goods? No control of frontiers, huge number of illegal immigrants of whom we do not know even their real names, no real cohesion… and lots of mafias controlling huge profitable and illicit products…

Marvellous…


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… ta …cha cha … tchan…

the climate change, and the rich countries, and the fault to comply with Kyoto:

The floods have killed nearly 40, with tens of thousands of people forced from their homes. Health officials have also reported outbreaks of dengue fever.

While aid has arrived, landslides are delaying the evacuation of flood zones.

President Evo Morales blames the floods on developed states failing to tackle climate change. Meteorologists say the El Nino phenomenon is the root cause.

Issuing an appeal for $9.2m, the UN described the flooding as the country’s most devastating disaster ever, warning that water supplies and sanitation conditions have been severely contaminated.

The first shipment of international aid has now started arriving in Bolivia from Venezuela and neighbouring Peru, with Argentina, the United States and others also lending assistance.

The International Red Cross says that more than 350,000 people have been affected, many of them poor indigenous people in remote areas of the country.

One of the main difficulties we’re facing is actually to help proper access to the most forgotten and most affected areas,” said Giorgio Ferrario, the head of the regional delegation for South America of the Red Cross.

Health officials have reported more than 1,600 cases of dengue fever and 1,400 cases of malaria since the current crisis began.

Speaking about the devastation, Mr Morales, an outspoken critic of the US, accused wealthy countries of ignoring the Kyoto Protocol which seeks to halt climate change.

He said poorer nations were being made to bear the brunt of what he described as the uncontrollable quest for industrial growth by richer ones.

This type of action, he said, demonstrated a lack of concern on the part of the developed world in altering climate change and the fate of the planet.

However meteorologists say the extensive rains are connected to El Nino, the periodic phenomenon which begins with a warming of waters in the eastern Pacific.

In its 1997 incarnation, El Nino brought drought to parts of Asia and Australia, and heavy rains and floods to Latin America.

It is not thought likely to reach the same strength this year.

So, he is wrong: this is said to be a consequence of El Niño phenomenon, nothing to do with Kioto or climate change.

This comes to complicate even more the Bolivian situation: last week, some Bolivian miners were to defend their mine with shots and dynamite.

Also the new Parliamentary Regulation obliges MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo, that is Movement to Socialism, Morales’ Party) to seek agreements with the opposition. Another opposition’s conquest is that two thirds of all the Parliament seats are going to be needed to approve the new constitution. Debates for this will begin on Monday.

Bolivian Exterior Minister is going to declare in the Parliament about Evo Morales’ party and government’s relationship with terrorist groups’ such as ETA. The opposition says is very worried about the prespective of their country being converted into a terrorists’ sanctuary.

Resumiendo: ha habido una serie de inundaciones en Bolivia (podeis leer el Mundo), que pueden producir una catástrofe humanitaria porque hay dengue (400 casos confirmados y 1.300 sospechosos) y malaria (1.500 enfermos) y no hay suficientes infraestructuras para que puedan llevarse los medicamentos apropiados. Tampoco están ayudando los corrimientos de tierra, que dificultan o impiden el tránsito hacia Beni, la zona más afectada.

Los metereólogos han señalado que es una consecuencia de El Niño, pero Evo Morales ha echado la culpa a la “búsqueda incontrolable de crecimiento económico por los países ricos y la negativa de éstos a controlar sus emisiones.

Por cierto, que mañana empiezan los debates para la nueva constitución, para cuya aprobación será preciso los 2/3 del Parlamento en una conquista de la oposición. La otra conquista importante es que el nuevo Reglamento Parlamentario obliga al MAS a buscar acuerdos con la oposición.

Asimismo el Ministro de Exteriores Boliviano deberá declarar en el Parlamento sobre la relación del partido y el Gobierno de Evo Morales con grupos terroristas (entre ellos ETA).

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