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Sunday, August 19, 2007


Now that Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez has shown his hand and officially announced that he will seek to become president for life, let me offer some suggestions on what the Venezuelan opposition, Latin American democracies and the United States should do to return democracy to that country. Read my suggestions here, and let us know what you think.


Blogger Carlos Erban said...


I have voted in every election process, signed and re-signed the petition for referendum, every single time against Chavez. Although I made line for 10 hours for the referendum and 6 hours for the last elections at the Venezuelan Consulate in Miami, it easy for me to do so because I live in the U.S. and do not work directly or indirectly for the Venezuelan Government. However, many millions of people who would vote against Chavez are afraid to do so.
First, there is the “cheat” factor. As demonstrated by Professors Housemann from Harvard and Rigobon from MIT in their “ Cisne Negro” study, the referendum results were manipulated at
Second, there is the “scare” factor. In my view, this factor could have turned the elections to Rosales if everyone would have voted without being scared for retribution. I am sure you are familiar with the “capta huellas” (digital finger print) used to link the who voted for whom at the polls. You also can find the MaiSanta-Tascon list of all the people who signed the referendum. They cannot work for any Government institution or worse yet cannot even get the necessary permits to operate a private enterprise. You can find the list and the video where Chavez threatens anyone “signing” at You can also find in video filmed at PDVSA where employees where threaten to be fired by the President Ramirez if they did not vote for Chavez.
I wish you would mention these factors in your article so that your readers know what we are up against.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears highly unlikely that the opposition will succeed in revealing the nature of the beast "hugo chavez" to the majority of the Venezuelan people if they don't change their tactics... they are trying to make educated arguments within their group while Chavez simply lavishes goodies on his masses of poor countrymen. What should be done is a more convincing campaing for patriotism, demonstrating that the nationalists' thunder is only being used to take over the country as a dictor, he is Julius Ceaser.
The opposition does not seem to be making friends in the millitary or government, and without the masses of the population realizing that their country's freedom is at stake and that a replacement of chavez won't hurt them as much a chavez' own reliance on oil prices and spooking away of foreign investors... then what do they have/ A few educated elites supporting each other and not organizing effectively to bring in the key venezuelan power-brokers. they need friends in the millitary, they need an alliance with the church, they need to reach the poor, and they need to unite venezuelans for venezuela.
Goodluck, Chavez has been consolidating power for years and people have stood by and watched or protested... so little hope for their current small-scale resistance.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


All the OAS countries can post all the observers that they want here but they will never see the voter fraud because it occurs electronically after the votes are cast at the local precincts. The elections here are stolen when the vote tallies are transmitted to the location that the votes are electronically counted. The government knows exactly how many people are registered to vote in a given "precinct". When the voting closes they know how many votes have been cast. They then subtract the actual votes from the number of registered voters and a large part of that difference is given to Chavez.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from: Paul Thørsen

Come on, åndêrš, if Venezuelans want Hügo Chavéz to be their President forever, then good for them. I respect their wishes. And the vast majority of Venezuelans love Hügo Chavéz.
Don't be blaming the USA as you always do, for buying oil from him. Bottom line, åndêrš, if Venezuelans don't want Hügo Chavéz to be in power, he wouldn't be. Hügo Chavéz hasn't done anything wrong.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: Alejandro Ferro

Paul Thørsen
You might find nothing wrong with his going to China all the time proposing to them to make a military alliance with him in order to attack us BUT I DO.
You might find nothing wrong with his threatening Mexico's government all the time with getting pricked and then financing and aiding a "mystery ERP" attack on one of their gas pipelines, BUT I DO.
You might find nothing wrong with his sending illegal political contributions all over the place, as most of the countries in the region have legal prohibitions against foreign donations, BUT I DO.
You might find nothing wrong with his CUBA-VENEZUELA military alliance where he gets to tap into the tens of thousands of subversive agents which CUBA trained, while it was an annex of the Soviet Union, and are responsible directly still to the Castro brothers government so that Hugo can now relaunch all those subversive agents at his will in a repeat of the armed conflict operations of the cold war which throughout Latin America killed hundred of thousands and displaced millions of people, you might find nothing with any of that buddy, but I sure as hell do.

And on, and on and on.

Yep, nothing wrong all right. Either they do his bidding or he starts a civil war on them or some other retailiation such as the "trashing" attack on the Brazilian Senate which was launched at his behest.

Hugo has turned Venezuela into a BUFFONY and he deserves to be condemned for that not praised.

He should be taken into account for his threat to restart civil wars all over the continent and all over the world ...

I find something very wrong with this guy, very, very wrong.


8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't know what you are talking about when you say
that, Venezuelan opposition should vote at the
We have had rigged elections since this regime is in
power. Our voter registration system is based on the
manipulation of the CNE and the reporting of voting
results are impossible to monitor, much less audit
Oposition witnesses at voting stations are harassed
and their work is made impossible by the military.
Granted, the U.S. should stop importing oil from
Venezuela. But it's an action that is " A dollar short
and a day late".
I am very pessimistic about the future of Venezuela,
at this point, Chavez will not leave without a

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assuming your $34bil figure is correct re. annual oil imports from VZ; that represents a rather small % of total US imports – and in the global sense, could be easily sold somewhere else at the same prices – Chavez still gets his petrodollars. Your argument/suggestion fails 1st test.

2. WH to impose $2/gal tax on “gasoline” from petro dictatorships. How? WH cannot impose taxes unilaterally. Congress, specifically the House must initiate tax legislation. WH can support and/or encourage. Still, how do you impose that tax on the proportion of gasoline refined from crude produced only by “petro dictatorships”? Gasoline sold in the US today is the distillate of crude that is still almost 40% domestically produced combined with the fact that the vast majority of our crude imports come from two sources; Canada and Mexico. Neither of which, even accounting for all of Mexico’s current and historical problems, could be considered a “petro dictatorship”. So even applying a simple weighted application of such a tax would not in effect produce too great of a disincentive to consume gasoline, which I assume is your goal to somehow “punish/harm” Chavez. I guess I am trying to figure out how Pigouvian taxes on US consumers negatively affect Hugo. In fact, Greg Mankiw only recommends a $1 gas tax, recognizing the disincentives that taxes create. I would argue that such a tax will not harm Chavez in the least; unless the implication is that by their imposition one strives to severely curtail consumption in the US thereby inciting recessionary affects in the US in the hopes that such will depress the overall price of crude. It won’t work in the 2000’s like it did in the late 70’s/early 80’s. There is just too much excess demand out there for crude to take up the slack – the US economy does not have the same influence on those markets that it did 25 years ago. 2nd test failed.

3. 50% tax on Hummers/SUVs. Same issue as the one above. Worse, I think it betrays your bias against such vehicles and their purchasers in the global warming debate, which quite frankly is somewhat separated from the “future of democracy in Venezuela” debate. Write another opinion piece about that if it is your passion, which I am inclined to believe that it is. 3rd test is moot due to irrelevance.

4. Detroit carmakers should double fuel efficiency. I agree. But they should do so when the market demands it. And they will. But this argument is best preserved for a different opinion piece, not one on Venezuela’s democratic future. 4th test – again moot due to irrelevance.

I really think that you had some great arguments relative to Venezuela’s entrance into Mercosur. Follow that line relative to what the US can do about Chavez’s power grab. But the argument that US tax policy and/or importation practices relative only to VZ will somehow severely impact Chavez are just naïve given today’s economic situation worldwide and domestically as well as the nature of global hydrocarbon markets.

You may post this response to your blog. But be sure to post it with the entire correspondence so that others will understand the question better.

Thomas Cole


12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the discussion regarding a large tax on dirty petrodollars and reducing our reliance on foreign oil imports is right on the nose. However the general American public, almost totally ignorant of all things foreign, has demonstrated time and time again that they will not be willing to change their driving habits or other forms of excessive energy consumption except at the point of a gun. That gun is pointed at the US today primarily in the form of our catastrophic Iraqi misadventure, which has the potential of destroying our economy for generations ahead.
As for Mr. Chavez, his spotty record of achievements (i.e. much progress for the poor of Latin america, countered by regression of democratic principles), it is almost impossible to have a rational discussion about him considering the sustained propaganda attack made by the very same people who have brought us so many of our current foreign policy atrocities. These people are in no position to cast stones considering their own record of coming to power in a virtual coup d'etat in 2000 and staying there in 2004 by virtue of an election in which voluminous data points to massive electoral fraud, and the theft of 6 states and upwards of five million votes. This comes alongside the dhredding of our constitution, and the suspicion of many that Mr. bush and those around him arealso taking steps to make him president-for-life.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty good piece until: The White House should impose a $2 a gallon tax on U.S. gasoline imports from petro dictatorships around the world, or a 50 percent tax on Hummers and other needlessly gigantic SUVs, or demand Detroit carmakers double the fuel efficiency of American cars.

Why should the american public pay a tax over some dictator wanna be? That is a very elitist statement and utterly nonsensical.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: Alejandro Ferro

Actually the tax on gas can be more easily readied and targeted. If we are willing to impose a tax on Brazilian alcohol of $55.00 a barrel -- a much friendlier country to our overall interests -- the least we can do is impose a $55.00 per barrel tax on imported oil. Say, imported oil from outside of the NAFTA agreement, that is, which of course would exclude Mexican and Canadian oil. We can even make a trade deal with Trinidad-Tobago (we get oil, gas from there). As well as some other lesser producers, like Colombia.

As far a high consumption vehicle tax, we could switch the current luxury car tax to some kind of engine displacedment tax (by the cubic inches or by the tenth of liters; the smaller the engine the smaller the tax; the larger the engine the higher the tax -- one can use a multiplier for larger engines ). That would certainly send a signal that the government wants to push for energy efficiency.

And yes my two suggestions here would require acts of Congress.

Of course neither of these things would help the Venezuelan voter which is being intimidated with daily threats or the Venezuelan government worker being cowered into shouting epithets to the glory of Hugo the know it all, in a choreography reminiscent of North Korea.


3:37 PM  
Blogger Cogito Argentum said...

Pat Robertson was right!

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


CARACAS.- Más de 100 personas se preparan en Caracas para cocinar el sancocho (guiso) más grande del mundo en una olla de 20.000 litros, bajo la supervisión de un juez del Guinness de los Récords que constatará que se supera la marca establecida en México en julio pasado.

Click para ampliar
Una olla gigante de sancocho preparado el 16 de agosto de 2003 en Panamá.

Herreros y forjadores construyeron la olla con capacidad para más de 20.000 litros en la que se cocinará la sopa el próximo viernes. La olla tiene 3,66 metros de altura, 2,69 metros de diámetro, 46 cm de base, 3 mm de espesor y una tapa con dos secciones de apertura de 90 grados.
En la elaboración del sancocho participarán más de 100 personas, que deberán limpiar, pelar, cortar y preparar 7.000 toneladas de verduras, incluyendo zanahoria, patata, yuca, ñame, ocumo, cebolla y ajo. También se usarán 1.500 kg de pollo y 1.500 kg de carne de res.
La olla se encenderá en la tarde del viernes, para luego vertir la verdura limpia y picada junto a la carne. Se estima que la cocción dure más de 13 horas: el sancocho será servido a primera hora de la mañana del sábado.
Para revolver la olla durante la cocción trabajarán 10 hombres preparados con equipo pertinente para el calor. El sancocho será luego servido por más de 30 personas, encargadas de repartir un plato a unas 40.000 personas.

10:29 PM  

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