Archive for January 16th, 2013

The Movement to the Center Behind The Presidential Transition In Venezuela

| January 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
DefOnline

BY R. EVAN ELLIS

Behind the public controversy in Venezuela over the constitutionality of the delay of President Chavez’s inauguration for a third term as President, contrary to conventional wisdom, the balance of power between the key actors involved is moving the country toward an outcome that is surprisingly predictable, and ironically centrist.

First, may God bless his soul, President Chavez will soon die. All of the reliable rumors suggest that the cancer that has devastated his respiratory system has spread throughout his body, and now is little by little destroying his other vital organs. The machines that currently maintain his respiration cannot continue to keep him alive for more than a few weeks—or perhaps months—longer. When he dies–albeit in controlled conditions in a hospital in Cuba—the world will find out within a few hours. In the age of twitter, it is not possible to replicate the achievement of Leonid Brezhnev, ex-president ... Read More

¿Venezuela gira hacia el centro?

| January 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
DefOnline

POR EVAN ELLIS

Detrás de la polémica pública sobre la constitucionalidad de la demora en la jura del presidente Chávez, contra lo que se cree, la balanza de poder entre los actores principales lleva al país hacia un resultado que es sorprendentemente predecible, e irónicamente, centrista. Escribe Evan Ellis (Especial para DEFonline)

Primero, que Dios le bendiga, el presidente Chávez morirá pronto. Todos los rumores confiables indican que el cáncer que ha destruido su sistema respiratorio se ha expandido, y ahora está poco a poco destruyendo sus otros órganos vitales. Las máquinas que ahora le mantienen la respiración no lo pueden mantener con vida para más que unas semanas más, o quizás, meses.  Cuando se muera, aunque en condiciones controladas en un hospital en Cuba, dentro de unas horas, el mundo lo averiguará.  En la época de twitter, no es posible repetir lo que pasó con Leonid Brezhnev, ex presidente de la Unión ... Read More

México debe apoyar a antichavistas

| January 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
Felipe Trigos

María Corina Machado, reconocida diputada de la oposición en Venezuela, recientemente pidió ayuda tanto a México como a Brasil para recibir apoyo en estos momentos tan difíciles para la democracia en Venezuela.

Desde que Hugo Chávez partió a La Habana hace poco más de un mes para someterse a una complicada operación, el vacío de poder en Venezuela se hizo evidente y así mismo la intención de los chavistas por continuar gobernando Venezuela por cualquier medio.

La realidad es que Chávez se encuentra en un estado de suma gravedad que le impedirá retomar sus actividades como presidente. El cáncer que lo aflige ha vencido por completo al dictador venezolano y no existen posibilidades reales para su recuperación. Esta situación se hizo aun más evidente desde que no pudo tomar posesión para su nuevo mandato el pasado 10 de enero.

Los chavistas, sin embargo, ya estaban preparados para un escenario de este tipo y ... Read More

Meeting in Cuba Angers Venezuelan Opposition

| January 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
The New York Times

BY WILLIAM NEUMAN

CARACAS, Venezuela — With the president absent and ailing, the country on edge and the government eager to portray a sturdy sense of continuity, there might be nothing unusual about the most powerful officials in Venezuela meeting over the weekend, except for the location they chose for the sit-down: Havana.

It has been five weeks since President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela went to Cuba for his fourth cancer-related operation, and the normally garrulous leader has not been seen or heard from in public since — a closely guarded silence that underscores the extremely tight relationship between the two countries.

Venezuelan officials have worn a path between the two nations with frequent trips to Mr. Chávez’s bedside. But for opponents of Venezuela’s government, who have long warned of the extent of Cuba’s influence, the weekend meeting was simply too much.

The Cuban newspaper Granma reported that the officials met with Fidel ... Read More

Argentina and its creditors: A languid Tango

| January 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Economist

THE Argentine government was caught completely off-guard last October when authorities from the Ghanaian port of Tema seized the Libertad, a frigate used for training naval cadets. The country had already spent years sparring in the courts with investors who own bonds on which it defaulted in 2001. But its officials never anticipated that one New York-based hedge fund would manage to secure an order from a Ghanaian judge to hold the vessel in port because of Argentina’s failure to pay its debts.

After months of legal wrangling, the country wriggled out of its creditors’ grasp when the UN’s Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered that the ship be released, on the grounds that military vessels are immune from impoundment. Cristina Fernández, the president, tried to save face by celebrating the Libertad’s return on January 9th as a national triumph. As propeller planes looped between the ship’s masts and flares lit up the ... Read More

Ecuador Opens Probe Into Banks After Tax Dispute With Correa

| January 16th, 2013 | No Comments »

BY NATHAN GILL

Ecuador is investigating whether banks violated antitrust laws when they warned customers that anti-poverty taxes proposed by President Rafael Correa risked undermining the country’s financial system.

Pedro Paez, the nation’s chief anti-monopoly watchdog as head of the Superintendency for Control of Market Power, said he’s probing whether the South American country’s largest lenders acted in concert last year when they sent e-mails about the levies. Violations may result in fines of as much as 12 percent of annual sales, he said. He didn’t identify the banks.

“We’ve got a collective, simultaneous action from the most important banks, the dominant operators in the market,” Paez, a 48-year-old former economics professor, said in an interview at his home in Quito. “We began the investigation. We still don’t know all the facts.”

Correa, 49, has criticized banks for using their financial clout to influence national politics as he runs against former Banco de Guayaquil SA (GYL) Chief ... Read More

Quick, what’s the capital of Venezuela? Havana?

| January 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
From AFP

BY VALERIA PACHECO

CARACAS — Has Venezuela’s capital — and decision-making process — moved to Havana? For all practical purposes, and insultingly to Venezuelans, the answer is yes, say parties opposed to President Hugo Chavez, who underwent cancer surgery a month ago in Cuba’s capital and remains there, recovering.

What is worse, these parties say, Venezuela is not only being run from Havana — the vice president and several ministers went there, again, over the weekend — but rather it’s all happening under the influence of President Raul Castro and his brother Fidel.

“The Venezuelan government moves to Havana to make decisions, and not with the president because evidently he is in no condition to take part in those meetings, but with the Castro brothers,” said Leopoldo Lopez, leader of an opposition party included in a coalition whose Spanish acronym is MUD.

“For us, this is interference, and a lack of respect for our ... Read More

Nicolas Maduro steps in for Chavez, names Elias Jaua foreign minister

| January 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro took the place of ailing President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday by delivering a short speech and turning in a state-of-the-nation report amid legal debate about his legitimacy.

Maduro submitted the report in writing from Chavez’s government while the president remained in Cuba undergoing treatment after his fourth cancer-related surgery. Opposition politicians argued that the annual speech should have been postponed because the president is supposed to deliver it, and about a dozen walked out in protest.

Maduro announced during the speech, a day after visiting with Chavez in Cuba, that the president designated former vice president Elias Jaua as the new foreign minister. Maduro had kept the foreign minister’s post after his appointment as vice president in October.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said the naming of Elias Jaua as foreign minister should be reviewed because it was unclear under what authority the vice president was acting when ... Read More

Rights groups criticize Venezuela sanctions on TV station

| January 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
From the Los Angeles Times

BY CHRIS KRAUL & MERY MOGOLLON

CARACAS, Venezuela — Press freedom advocates Saturday came down hard on the Venezuelan government’s sanctions this week against Globovision, the country’s lone remaining opposition TV station, in what some described as officialdom’s latest attempt to squelch dissent and free speech.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch condemned the government’s order that Globovision cease transmitting video spots questioning the constitutionality of the government’s decision to grant an open-ended medical leave of absence to ailing President Hugo Chavez, who is being treated in Cuba following cancer surgery. He was to have been inaugurated Thursday for a fourth term, but the oath-taking has been put on indefinite hold.

“Venezuela should end censorship and intimidation of media that challenge the official line regarding President Hugo Chavez’s health and inauguration,” Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of the group, said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch followed statements by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Inter-American Press Assn. ... Read More

La relación Cuba-Venezuela, en cuidados intensivos

| January 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
ABC Madrid-01

LUDMILA VINOGRADOFF

Cada vez que las autoridades venezolanas visitan al presidente Hugo Chávez, hospitalizado en La Habana desde el 9 de diciembre, y se reúnen con los hermanos Fidel y Raúl Castro, regresan a Caracas hablando con ese acento cubano inconfundible. Y es que las relaciones entre ambos gobiernos, ahora en cuidados intensivos, buscan ir más allá de la formal cooperación bilateral para darle una «continuidad» por tiempo «indefinido».

La plana mayor del gobierno venezolano, integrada por el vicepresidente y canciller Nicolás Maduro; su mujer, la Procuradora General Cilia Flores; el presidente de la Asamblea Nacional,Diosdado Cabello y el superministro de Energía y presidente de Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa), Rafael Ramírez, celebró una cumbre con el jefe de Estado cubano, Raúl Castro, la segunda en los últimos quince días. Por este motivo, sectores de la oposición se preguntan preocupados «si Venezuela es una colonia de Cuba».

«Cumbre roja»

Gustavo Mujica, subsecretario general del Movimiento al Socialismo, criticó la «cumbre roja» celebrada ... Read More

Key Players in a Post-Chávez Venezuela

| January 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
What's Next Venezuela

With each passing day of silence, the prospect that cancer-stricken Hugo Chávez will recover becomes less likely. Chávez has been absent from Venezuela for over a month and rumors about his death or incapacitation are rampant, leaving many wondering who will take over the presidency if he dies. On January 10, the constitutionally-mandated date Chávez was to be sworn in, government officials planned – and executed – an inauguration. International leaders flew in for the festivities, attended by thousands of Chávez supporters and government officials.  But the main attraction – Chávez himself – was nowhere to be found, apparently still convalescing in a Cuban hospital. In lieu of the president, the president’s supporters took the oath, donning presidential sashes a well as signs and t-shirts that read “I am Chávez.”

Government officials announced they would go forward with a symbolic event in the president’s honor just one day before the inauguration, when the Supreme Court voted to delay the president’s ... Read More