Monday, 28 July 2014

Personenkult in Venezuela: Chávez' Geburtstag

Die venezolanische Regierung hatte den Mercosur-Gipfel in Venezuela so organisiert, dass das Ereignis mit dem Geburtstag des Caudillos Chávez zusammenfällt. In Caracas und anderen Städten Venezuelas werden Feierlichkeiten organisiert - inkl. Feuerwerke-, weil der gewaltsame Putschist, de im Jahr 2013 starb (oder Dezember 2012, wir sind noch nicht sicher) heute vor 60 Jahren geboren wurde.

Und so werden nun Mujica aus Uruguay und Vertreter anderer Regierungen Lateinamerikas den Geburtstag dieses toten Militärs mitfeiern müssen. Natürlich sieht man dies anders in Uruguay: ihre Vertreter gehen nach Venezuela, um am Mercosurgipfel teilzunehmen, wie man das hier auf Spanisch lesen kann.

So was haben wir fast

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Hugo Carvajal: persona non grata in the Netherlands (updated)

Hugo Carvajal is back in Venezuela. Why did the Dutch foreign minister Timmermans decide to release Carvajal on a Sunday night, very late in the Netherlands, when his functionaries and the judge in Aruba had said on Friday the detention was legit and Carvajal did not have immunity? Why so soon in spite of the request for extradition by NATO partner USA? Did Carvajal have immunity even if he presented a false passport? Were the US over-reacting thinking that false passport would be enough to get Carvajal or was it fair to consider the Dutch should have sent the man to the USA?


The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf says that according to an officer in Oranestad (Aruba) the order to liberate the retired general came from the foreign minister Timmermans himself. So: the man in charge of the foreign relations for the  Kingdom of the Netherlands took the decision to liberate a man who

  1. came in with a false passport, 
  2. had over $20000 with him and had not declared that money
  3. had not received the placet to become a consul, 
  4. was accused by the US of having tortured and murdered two Colombian officials, of having helped a terrorist organisation and being responsible for cocaine trafficking.


According to the Aruba officer Timmermans departed from the position of his functionaries based on "new information". Timmermans took the people in Aruba by surprise.

Venezuela's regime flew Carvajal directly to Caracas, where he was received by Maduro like a hero in front of masses of Chavistas gathering for the PSUV Congress. The state TV in Venezuela said "the Netherlands has recognised it violated the Vienna Convention".

The Venezuelan government hasn't said Netherlands has declared Carvajal persona non grata. He had to leave Aruba as soon as possible and that he will never be welcome in the Netherlands.

Some hypothesis:

  • The Netherlands only wanted to send a message that they didn't want a man with the history of Carvajal as consul. But: why the whole trouble?
  • Netherlands is afraid of what the mafiosi could do in the ABC islands 
  • Any other hypothesis? 

If you read Dutch, Alpha has collected some general information about this case.

Dutch in Sebrenica

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Die Nordkoreanisierung Venezuelas

Zur Zeit findet der Dritte Kongress der Sozialistischen Einheitspartei Venezuelas oder, wie die Linken in Wikipedia übersetzt haben, um böse Assoziierungen zu vermeiden, der Vereinigten Sozialistischen Partei Venezuelas, statt. Das ist die Regierungspartei, die vom Caudillo Chávez gegründet wurde.

Die 73-jährige Abgeordnete María León schlug vor, Hugo Chávez Frías zum Ewigen Präsidenten der Partei zu erklären. Da Herr Chávez seit 2012 nicht mehr spricht, ja seit April 2013 tot ist, schlugen sie und andere PSUV-Politiker vor, Nicolás Maduro zugleich zum Präsidenten der Partei zu ernennen. Also: der eine ist der ewige Präsident und der andere ist einfach der Präsident der Partei. Seit letztem Jahr sagen die Chavistas, dass Chávez nicht tot, sondern "im venezolanischen Volke gesät sei". Die meisten Venezolaner sagen nun mit Humor, wenn etwas im öffentlichen Leben schon wieder nicht funktioniert, dass Chávez da gesät wurde.

900 Delegierten werden bei den Diskussionen dieses Kongresses auftreten. 363 von ihnen sind delegados natos. Das heißt: sie sind "angeborene Delegierten". Sie werden nicht gewählt, sondern sind schon da: es handelt sich um die alten Bonzen.

Genossin León - eine dieser angeborenen Delegierten- erklärte, man würde unter anderem diskutieren, wie der Chavismus eine anti-imperialistische, sozialistische, bürgerlich-Militär- und feministische Doktrin" sei. 

Hugo Carvajal, a perspective

In January 2014 one of the best known Dutch newspapers, De Telegraaf, published an article about  the retired general Hugo Carvajal. A few of the issues it stated were:

  • Aruba is worried about the nomination of Carvajal, a general suspected of being involved in drug dealings as Venezuelan consul
  • Carvajal has been linked to the torture and killing of two Colombian military men
  • The US had him in the Clinton list since 2008 in relation to drug trafficking and the FARC

The Aruban Parliament had been discussing this back then. Opposition deputy Evelyn Wever-Croes from the MEP party had demanded from the Aruban government an explanation. The government responded it was up to Den Haag to decide whether to accept or not the man as a consul. 

Maduro had signed that nomination 16 January of 2014.

There are lots of Venezuelan "diplomats" in the Netherlands and in the ABC islands and it seems incredible none of them read that article. Why was Carvajal going to Aruba at this stage in a private airplane?

Hugo Carvajal was born in 1960. There are two versions about his birth place: Puerto La Cruz, Anzoátegui or Viejo Fresco, close to Maturín, in the Western Llanos (not far from where Diosdado Cabello was born). I believe the right location is the latter. His sister, Wilma Carvajal, is the mayor of the Cedeño municipality, close to Maturín. She won over Pedro Emilio Briceño. I mentioned Briceño's clan in another post about gangsters from the Maturín region. Nepotism was always an issue in Venezuela but we keep reaching new levels.

Back to Hugo Carvajal: he finished his military studies in 1981.

In February 1992 he took part in the bloody coup led by Hugo Chávez. Carvajal was called "the other Hugo" and he was in the same prison with the caudillo until president Rafael Caldera set them free in 1994.

He worked for the Venezuelan Military Intelligence (DIM) from 2002 and he became its head in 2004. In April 2002 he was in Russia for training when the coup against Chávez took place and he came right away from Moscow. He arrived in Caracas and, handling a machine gun, asked everyone he met in the state buildings who was against Chávez. He was one of the first who got into the Miraflores building. He became colonel and vice-head of the Military Intelligence. 2 years later, in 2004, he became the head of the institution. He remained there until 2011.

Carvajal was in charge with negotiating the liberation of Richard Boulton, who was kidnapped by the FARC.

In 2008 United States accused him of cooperating with the FARC. Chávez defended him.

In 2012 opposition deputy Ismael García wrote on his Twitter account someone told him Carvajal and a judge had left the country. This was false but: is there something about this?

24 April 2013 Maduro named him head of Military Counterintelligence, which is the new DIM. If you visit the site of that organisation you will see they don't even update the dates (2012 is the latest).

In 2014, when Maduro decided to send Carvajal to Aruba, he named general Iván Rafael Hernández Dala (born in 1966) the new head of the Military Counterintelligence. Hernández Dala had been colonel until mid 2013.

What game is being played here? What can Ismael García tell us now? Why did Maduro think it was a wise move to propose Carjaval as consul to Aruba? Or did he just sign something proposed by someone else? Who was that?

Friday, 25 July 2014

Let's guess: Hugo Carvajal

OK, fellow bloggers have informed already about the situation with the notorious Venezuelan general Hugo Carvajal. You can read them here or here or here.

Before I produced something new about that topic I want to ask all of you: what do you think will happen with him? Will the US get him or not?

My readers have already taken part in other polls and the average of the responses has more often than not turned to be the answer.

Thanks for your feedback!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Maduro's message to the military caste

Maduro had announced a "sacudón", a sort of "economic and political shakeup. I didn't expect but a couple of announcements of totally insufficient measures to tackle the economic breakdown and a lot of palaver about the Empire, the imaginary economic war and how good socialism was. We got absolutely no announcement but a lot of palaver. At the end the state channels showed a special video about the love story of Nicolás Maduro and Cilia Flores. It couldn't get more surreal. 

There was one real message and that Maduro's message to the military. He started his boring speech with threats against those who dare "offend" the army. This came after the opposition criticised Vladimir Padrino, chief of staff, who declared soldiers should be political and the army was to take a political position. 

Since February 1999 the regime has done everything to turn the military caste into full political actors and the managers of everything, in complete opposition to the very constitution the regime leaders introduced. The constitution was nothing but a facade to the outside world.

In any case, Maduro now said the opposition would not be able to divide the army because "the army knew what happens to those who went along with the opposition". He even explained the generals who tried to "take sides with the opposition" (that is, to criticize the current system) not only didn't get jobs with a new government but ended up in jail. He is right. Below you have a list of the Defence Ministers since Chávez became president in 1999. I haven't been able to find reliable information about what some of them are doing right  now, but you can see the pattern.

The first defence minister Chávez had broke with him but he is now basically retired and invisible. The only civilian  in that list, the extreme left oligarch Rangel, is playing his usual role as state journalist.

Two former ministers are ambassadors. One of them, Bellavia, was one of the worst students in his military studies and that really showed every time he opened his mouth, not that the others were precisely rhetorical models.

Four other ministers are currently governors to different states. One of them is currently on a clinch with the minister of Interior, another military coup monger, so he may have to go soon.

Now Maduro was telling the military caste that any official wanting to belong to the Bolivarian coterie needs to be an active agent of the regime.

The executive is now bluntly cocking a snook at anyone who demands respect for the rule of law or a little bit of separation of powers. The government is  nervous because it is running out of money. Yesterday Maduro received the Chinese leader, Xi, and was so submissive to him as not even Venezuelan presidents during the 1958-1998 period were towards US presidents.

More and more people are scunnered with the government. At the same time, they are disappointed with the opposition politicians' behaviour.

In this context, Maduro's message was basically for the military. Other than that, he kept procrastinating. 

Defence Ministers
Current Status
Raúl Alejandro Salazar Rodríguez
Feb 1999-Feb     2000

retired, critical of Chavismo
Ismael Eliezer Hurtado Soucre
Feb 2000-Feb 2001
José Vicente Rangel Vale

Feb 2001-Apr 2002

journalist (for the State)
Lucas Enrique Rincón Romero

Apr 2002-Jul 2004

ambassador to Portugal
José Luis Prieto
Jul 2002-Jan 2004
His nephew, a businessman, was married to one of Chávez's daughters
Jorge Luis García Carneiro
Jan 2004-Jul 2005
governor of Vargas
Ramón Orlando Maniglia Ferreira
Jul 2005-Jun 2007
Raúl Isaías Baduel
Jun 2006-Jul 2007
in jail
Gustavo Reyes Rangel Briceño
Jul 2007- Mar 2009
in jail in 2010

Ramón Alonso Carrizales Rengifo
Mar 2009- Jan 2010
governor of Apure
Carlos José Mata Figueroa
Jan 2010- Jan 2012
governor of Nueva Esparta
Henry de Jesús Rangel Silva
Jan     2012– Oct 2012
governor of Trujillo
Diego Alfredo Molero Bellavia
Oct 2012 - Jul 2013
ambassador to Brazil
Carmen Teresa Meléndez Rivas
Jul 2013
current minister

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Maduro anunciará

¿Qué puedes hacer en 5 minutos de ocio con tu motor de búsqueda favorito?

Puedes encontrar resultados como los siguientes:
  • 18 de marzo de 2013: presidente encargado Maduro anunciará nuevas medidas económicas
  • 6 noviembre de 2013: Maduro anunciará nuevas medidas para enfrentar inflación.
  • 14 de enero de 2014: Maduro anunciará nuevas medidas para enfrentar "guerra económica".
  • 23 de abril de 2014: Maduro anunciará cambios en política económica.

Si hubieras tenido cinco minutos más a tu disposición, habrías podido encontrar un par de anuncios más con un contenido semejante.

Maduro anunciará hoy, 15 de julio, nuevas medidas económicas. Esta vez se trata de un "sacudón". Desde 1999 los gobernantes tienen entretenidos a los venezolanos con "un verdadero cambio", un "ahora sí", un "cambio de verdad", "el comienzo en serio".

Ahora Maduro tendrá que anunciar medidas de ajuste mucho más fuertes de las que se ha atrevido a anunciar desde que Chávez lo dejó con el poder, pero es algo que se veía venir.

Abajo pueden ver un gráfico del PIB de Venezuela en comparación con el de Noruega. Lo he usado ya un par de veces en los últimos meses. En los próximos 12 meses veremos cómo la línea roja, que representa el cambio anual de PIB de Venezuela, volvera a hundirse...esta vez con mayor fuerza de lo que pasaba desde hace mucho tiempo.

Pero las cosas no serán totalmente "más de lo mismo". Estos tiempos se diferencian de los pasados en el grado de corrupción - récord-, en el aumento dramático de presión social producto del crecimiento demográfico, en un mayor  porcentaje de población afectada por la drogadicción, en  un aumento del autoritarismo y en la desaparición por completo de la ya de por sí débil división de poderes que tuvo el país.