Venezuela is a country of extraordinary diversity and natural beauty where the sun shines most days of the year. Nowhere else will you find such a fusion of heavenly tropical beaches, snow-capped giant mountains, steaming pristine jungle and a vast mysterious savannah.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Housing at Risk

VenEconomy: The National Assembly has the first debate of the bill for Standardizing and Controlling Property Rentals on its agenda. This is the first piece of legislation that has come from the "Legislator People," a new mechanism that permits the country’s citizens to draft bills and submit them to the National Assembly for approval.

Unfortunately this bill came into being with a number of handicaps.

The first, and the basis of all the excesses contained in the bill, is that it was drafted without consultation and unilaterally by one of the parties affected by the bill, which, in turn, is protected by the government. As a result, the outcome is a bill that ignores the rights of the other parties -- the builders and owners of the houses and apartments -- who are precisely the ones who invest and risk their effort and capital.

Moreover, it is a bill that is being promoted by the government for electoral reasons, with its eye on the 2012 presidential elections. The government is perfectly aware that millions of Venezuelans are desperate because they do not have a home and will grasp at any promise that might offer a solution to their problem, no matter how empty.

But the fact of the matter is that, if this bill becomes law, instead of solving the housing crisis, it will make it worse, as the few houses and apartments that are available for rent will disappear.

Here are just some of the nonsensical things the bill proposes:

Private builders will have to allocate 25% of new housing units they build to be put up for rent. It also establishes the contractual obligation that builders sell the house or apartment to the tenant after 10 years have elapsed, at a price to be set by the government.

The government and the National Tenancy Bureau will be empowered to set the selling prices, with discounts of up to 25% if the buyer is the tenant.

Eviction from the house or apartment, even when this is for causes attributable to failures by the tenant to abide by the terms of the lease, may only be carried out when the tenant has somewhere else to live.

The maximum profit that can be made on residential properties will be between 1% and 4% a year, depending on the value of the property, and this value will decrease based on parameters that will be decided by the Executive.

The rented property will be expropriated, if the landlord commits three offenses, as established in the bill, and also owns more than five rented properties.

In its present form, this bill will adversely affect both tenants and landlords and will also have a negative impact on the construction of housing for sale. No one will risk investing their money when, apart from not being able to make a profit, they could well end up without their property.

The Venezuelan President ... insensitive or cynical?

VenEconomy: One of President Chavez' strengths during these 12 long years in power has been his ability to connect with the population, rich and poor, town dwellers and country folk, men and women alike.

On March 30, he announced from Montevideo that Venezuela (read Chavez) had donated US$10 million to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Montevideo.

This is a slap in the face for the nurses from several of the country's states who have been on hunger strike outside the Embassy of Brazil since March 23 in protest at the low wages paid health workers in the public health system, the deplorable state of the public hospitals, and the Ministry of Health's inadequate budget.

This donation is also an affront to the students who held a 30-day hunger strike, with successful results, to protest at the strangling of the autonomous universities whose budgets today are less than five years ago in current bolivars, as if the President were totally unaware that in Venezuela there is spiraling inflation.

Medicine and university, two birds with one stone.

There are two possible interpretations to this donation by President Chavez. One is that he has simply become totally insensitive to his people's needs and concerns; that he no longer understands, neither is he aware of their desires and sufferings.

Donating US$10 million at a time when there are clear budgetary restrictions is, of itself, an offense for those who are waiting desperately for the government to release the funds for building homes, repairing power stations, fixing roads and freeways or attending to any other of the many needs that have been ignored over the past ten years. But the fact that those US$10 million have been donated precisely to a medical faculty goes beyond being offensive, for some analysts, it is proof that the President is losing his cool.

Then there are others who think that what the President is saying goes something like this:

Gentlemen, No one's going to twist my arm. I have other priorities that do not include giving the nurses substantial salary increases, much less the survival of the autonomous universities, which are constantly putting stumbling blocks in the way of the Revolution.

In other words, the President, a communicator par excellence, has sent a message.

Regardless of which interpretation is the right one, the fact is that this donation, sadly, bodes ill for the Venezuelan people.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro tried to repair the damage and, among other things, said that the donation was made five years ago so that Venezuelan students could study at the Universidad de Montevideo. From what he said it would seem that there have been two donations for equal amounts, one in 2005 and the other last week.

Explanations like that, far from clarifying the situation, simply muddy the waters still further.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In Venezuela, Chavez tries to boost Gaddafi

Washington Post (Juan Forero): Moammar Gaddafi is hunkered down, some once-loyal aides have abandoned him for the rebel side and President Obama and other leaders are demanding he step down.

But he still has a friend -- the man who received the al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Though uncharacteristically quiet as Libya slid into anarchy, Chavez has in recent days venerated Gaddafi for his revolutionary credentials and asserted that the United States is about to invade the North African country to seize its oil. He also convened a meeting Friday in the Venezuelan capital in which his allies, including Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia, agreed to a vague peace mission to end the violence in Libya.

"The countries of the Bolivarian alliance are demanding the United States and the world powers respect the people of Libya," Chavez said to cheering, red-shirted supporters. "No to imperialist intervention in Libya! No to a new imperialist war that looks for oil over the blood of innocents!"

Chavez' close allies in the region have also had plenty to say about Gaddafi.

Soon after the rebellion ignited in Libya, President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua announced that he had told Gaddafi in a telephone conversation that "difficult moments put loyalty to the test."

Cuba's Fidel Castro, busy writing columns and providing running commentary on world affairs as his brother runs the island nation, has condemned the "colossal campaign of lies" about Libya from the mainstream press. He also explained, in one essay, that the violence in Libya had little in common with the unrest in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere in the Middle East.

"Libya is first in the human development index in Africa," Castro wrote. "Education and health care receive special state attention, and the cultural level of its people is, without a doubt, the highest."

The camaraderie is perhaps not surprising. Nicaragua's Sandinista rebels received training from Gaddafi. Castro, like Gaddafi, has become iconic to some for resisting the United States.

Chavez, too, has forged ties to Libya since taking office in 1999. The two countries share little in common culturally, but both are powers with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"There's a common bond of anti-US sentiment that brings together Gaddafi with some figures in Latin America, including Chavez and Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua," said Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue. "There is a sense of standing up to the superpower, which is the United States, and that's created some sort of solidarity."

When it comes to Chavez and Gaddafi, two former army colonels who conspired against the governments they served, the links go beyond rhetoric.

There's the Hugo Chavez Stadium, for instance, just outside what is now the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, so named because of Gaddafi's fondness for Chavez.

And then there was Simon Bolivar's sword -- or rather, a replica of the sword used by Venezuela's venerated independence hero. In 2009, five years after Gaddafi honored Chavez with Libya's annual human rights prize, Chavez awarded Gaddafi a replica of the sword. "What Simon Bolivar is for Venezuelans, Moammar Gaddafi is for the Libyan people," Chavez said to Gaddafi, then making his first visit to the region.

Last week, Chavez said it "was a great lie" that Gaddafi's forces had attacked civilians, and he also stressed that Gaddafi would not be fleeing Libya anytime soon.

"It's a lie that Gaddafi is going to come to Venezuela or go to Nicaragua," he said to cheers from supporters. "Gaddafi is not going anywhere, I'm sure. Gaddafi is among those men who die fighting."

Margarita Lopez Maya, a political analyst in Caracas, said that Chavez is closely following the unrest in the Middle East because it could prove instructive for him.

"He can see what happens to a leader after so many decades controlling and concentrating power," said Lopez Maya. explaining that she believes Chavez intends to remain in power indefinitely. "These kinds of problems that leaders similar to him confront may serve as a lesson to him."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Could Venezuela really go bankrupt?

The Economist: Ever since Greece plunged into a sovereign debt crisis in 2009, investors have focused on which European country might be next.

According to Capital Economics, a research firm in London, however, the next trouble spot could be Venezuela.

"There is a growing risk that the government will default on its obligations in 2012,"its analysts wrote on February 17.

Some in the markets have taken fright, too: the country' credit default swaps imply a 50% chance of default by 2015.

That may be overblown. Even so, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's leftist president, seems to be pulling off a dubious achievement by causing the bond markets to fear for the solvency of the world's eighth-largest oil producer.

The chief cause of Venezuela's travails has been Chavez' pillaging of PDVSA, the state oil firm. He has packed it with loyalists, starved it of investment and used it for social spending, cutting its output from 3.3 million barrels per day in 1998 to around 2.25 million, according to industry estimates.

Of that, some 1 million is sold at subsidized prices at home or to regional allies, leaving just 1.25 million barrels per day for full price exports.

Meanwhile, the president's hostility to business has devastated the rest of the economy. He has nationalized hundreds of companies and trumped up charges against their owners, causing much of Venezuela's private sector to shut up shop and flee.

As a result, the country has seen vast capital flight, and must import many goods that it used to produce. Non-oil exports have ground to a halt: Petroleum now accounts for 92% of its dollar intake.

A misguided currency policy has exacerbated the malaise. In 2005, Chavez pegged the bolivar at 2.15 to the dollar. However, he also tolerated a legal parallel market that kept the country supplied with hard currency at a higher rate (providing countless opportunities for arbitrage).

Last year, he closed that market and created a new state body, which provides just over half the dollars that the old system did, at a price of 5.3 bolivares. Venezuela also reinforced its ban on black market trading, making it punishable by up to seven years in jail. (Merely publishing the unofficial dollar price, now around 8-10 bolivares, has long been illegal.)

As a result, foreign exchange is now scarce. Venezuelans have begun asking friends abroad to send them necessities like diapers, sanitary napkins and baby formula.

The government has tried to compensate for these woes by raiding one of its piggy banks -- this year it has grabbed all but $3 million of the $832 million in a rainy-day fund set up to even out oil price fluctuations -- and by leaning on its workers. Public employees have staged frequent protests over unpaid salaries, worsening conditions and a virtual freeze on collective bargaining.

But Chavez' main short-term solution has been borrowing. Since 2008, China has lent Venezuela $12 billion and is being repaid in oil shipments, cutting PDVSA's annual revenues by a further 20%.

The government's opaque accounting makes it impossible to know how it has used the money. Net public debt rose from 14% of gross domestic product in 2008 to 29% last year, and the Economist Intelligence Unit expects it to reach 35% in 2011. The country cannot continue borrowing at today's rates: PDVSA's latest dollar-denominated bonds pay a 12.75% coupon.

Yet even though things look bad now, a default probably does not loom in the near future. If oil stays at $100 a barrel, the Capital Economics report calculates, Venezuela's export revenues should just cover its foreign-exchange requirements -- $11 billion of debt service, $28 billion of capital flight, and $100 billion of imports -- over the next two years.

And even if petroleum prices drop, the central bank has $22.5 billion in cash and gold, and another $7.5 billion in further unspecified illiquid assets.

Moreover, since 2005 the government has squirreled away $39 billion in a separate, unaudited fund called Fonden. Although analysts do not know how much of this has been spent, some part has probably been saved.

There are rumours that the president is hoarding hard currency to prepare for 2012, when he faces a difficult re-election battle that will cost him money. The recent spike in oil prices caused by unrest in the Middle East will surely give Chavez some extra breathing room. And at a pinch, he could probably turn to his friends in Beijing for a new loan.

Nonetheless, that sovereign default is even being mentioned in the same breath as the name of a big oil producer in a fast-growing region says something about Chavez' economic stewardship. Even if he makes it past 2012, he will eventually either have to change his policies or deny bondholders what they are owed.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More lies from Venezuela's Government...

VenEconomy: In February, the Central Bank reported that the economy grew by 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2010 and that, therefore, the country had climbed out of the recession.

With this announcement, the government is lying to the Venezuelan people yet again.

A comparison of the final February figures and the preliminary figures announced in December last year reveals that, in order to achieve this view of an improvement in the economy, the Central Bank is claiming what seems to be three lies:

That oil activity grew by 0.8% in the fourth quarter, instead of 0.2% as reported in December. OPEC contradicts this when it reports that production fell by 1.4%.

That nonoil activity grew by 0.2%, instead of the 6% drop estimated in December.

That the main factor that altered the result of nonoil activity was the manufacturing sector, which went from an estimated drop of 33.5% to a reduction of only 0.4%. Could it be merely coincidental that the entries with the biggest adjustments are supplied by state-owned entities such as PDVSA and the CVG?

The falseness of these figures is more than evident.

Another lie with negative international repercussions for the country is that Venezuela is not "selling any gasoline to Iran." On February 4 this year, in support of this statement, the Energy and Oil Minister-president of PDVSA Rafael Ramirez explained that the government understood that "the Islamic Republic had already solved the problem of the fuel deficit it apparently had."

But this Monday, the US Department of State announced that the United States is investigating Venezuela for allegedly having violated the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA), passed in July 2010 after the Security Council of the United Nations issued Resolution 1929, which imposes military and financial sanctions on Iran, one of the outlaw states with close ties to Hugo Chávez.

What is more, US Congressman Connie Mack has stated that he has "documentary proof" of PDVSA's sales to the National Iranian Oil Company. Mack has also proposed that Venezuela be sanctioned for this and other violations of international laws.

If this proposal prospers, the lie will have cost the country very dear.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is Hugo Chavez the next Domino to Fall?

Amiel Ungar: Autocracies are under assault throughout the Middle East, but in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez remains sanguine and expects to steer his country into socialism. Venezuelan students have launched a hunger strike against his rule and have appealed to the Organization of American States and its head Jose Miguel Insulza to look into human rights abuses by the Venezuelan regime.

The US State Department urged Venezuela to allow Insulza's visit, but this approach was immediately rejected by Venezuela and its Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro who accused Washington of trying to destabilize the Chavez government. "They're trying to create a false scenario, something like a virtual Egypt,," he said. Chavez has attributed Mubarak's downfall to the state of poverty in Egypt, something that presumably does not exist in Venezuela.

The opposition does not appear ready to emulate the demonstrations in the Middle East, but they are banking on the fact that Chavez, despite his bravado, is weakening. One sign was Chavez going on TV (he has appeared approximately 10,000 hours since taking power 12 years ago) to lecture the people on energy conservation.

A liter of high-octane gasoline costs $.02 in Venezuela, the lowest price in the world, because the government subsidizes gasoline by 90%. This amounts to $1.6 billion a year in subsidies and is part of the reason for the country's economic problem. The cheap fuel not only goes into automobile tanks, but given the country's electricity shortages, into generators as well. A rise in gasoline prices will therefore have a severe impact on the economy. Venezuela's energy minister was quick to deny that a gradual price hike was in the offing.

Venezuela's cash cow -- the oil industry -- is also being indentured to Chavez' state owned enterprises that owe the oil company $1.6 billion.

Venezuela's biggest problem is the galloping inflation of 405% in the last three years. Even on the official market, the Venezuelan Bolivar has been devalued against the dollar by 168%. Chavez tried to bottle up inflation by price controls, but as occurred in Soviet Russia, such controls merely lead to shortages and the government had to give up the idea. To shore up his standing, Chavez has promised housing to Venezuela's poor, and while he has only built 300,000 apartments in 12 years, he promises to build 2 million in the next 6 years. If he fails to supply the actual houses, he can definitely expect to supply the paper deeds to his supporters.

The opposition is coming up with credible candidates. One such candidate is Leopoldo Lopez, who was slated to run for mayor of Caracas, but was denied the opportunity when Chavez' rigged judicial system disqualified him on trumped up charges. Lopez turned the disadvantage into an asset by moving into the Venezuelan periphery and building a power base for the opposition. He is also appealing the court ruling before the Inter American Court of Human Rights.

Last Tuesday, Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma announced his intention to run in the 2012 presidential election against Chavez. Ledezma's victory in Caracas was a major victory for the opposition in 2008 but Chavez immediately stripped him of most of his powers.

To make sure that the proliferation of candidates does not play into Chavez' hands by splitting and tiring the opposition, opposition leaders will seek to shorten the primary election period.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who can believe that Chavez will build 913 homes per day?

VenEconomy: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."

Here in Venezuela these words are all too true. Today the President is trying to fool enough people for long enough to keep him in office. This would seem to be the purpose behind of Hugo Chavez' "admirable campaign" to convince a large enough number of Venezuelans who are desperate for the home that he, after holding all the power in his hands for the past 12 years, will soon be giving them modern, clean, properly equipped homes.

This past Sunday, Chavez promised to build two million homes over the next six years, a lie that is pathetically self evident.

Chavez' promise is even more outrageous when we stop to think that during this long, 12-year period that he has sat in Miraflores, the average number of houses built per year has been only 24,300, or some 300,000 in all. This is the worst performance in the area of housing in all Venezuela's democratic history, made even worse by the fact that he is the President who has been in office for the longest period over the past 70 years.

Who, then, can believe that Chavez will be building 913 homes per day? Or that this government will be able to build 578 12-storey buildings, with four apartments per floor, every month?

To begin with, Venezuela lacks the wherewithal to achieve this housing feat. Home construction costs approximately Bs.F.5,000 per square meter, including utilities and land development. In other words this would require, at the very least, an investment of Bs.F.500 billion, the equivalent of 2.5 times the central government's annual budget.

Then there is the fact that, with his communist policies, he has also destroyed the production sector that supplied the raw materials, the inputs, and has worked to destroy the human capital and the companies working in the construction sector.

Equally serious is the fact that the few houses that the government does manage to build will be assigned, but without real property rights. This, however, will not stop Chavez and his people from handing out housing "IOUs" left and right in an effort to win over votes for the presidential election.

As Lincoln might have said, maybe he will be able to fool some of the people for long enough to be re-elected in 2012.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Is Chavez Going Down?

Newsweek's Mac Margolis //

Unlike the theocracies and unalloyed tyrannies of the Middle East and Northern Africa, Venezuela under Chavez is an odd but effective political hybrid, a semi-democracy that keeps its grip on society through a combination of fear, favor, and a modicum of liberty. In this way, Chavez marshals his political majority to suppress not crush rivals, games elections rather than steals them outright, and instead of steamrolling the courts, stacks them instead to insure friendly rulings.

As one Middle Eastern dictator after another comes under threat, Mac Margolis asks whether Latin American despots will soon meet the same fate.

If there's a garden variety message in the political turmoil shaking Egypt, Tunisia, and a half dozen other Middle Eastern autocracies, it is that repression has an expiration date. But apparently the word hasn't reached the Western Hemisphere.

Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua, all run by authoritarian populists, appear remarkably untouched by the street protests that are rewriting the politics of the Arab world. And now we know that Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez plans to stay in power for the rest of the decade. "The battle has begun" for the 2012 elections, Chavez announced last week in a nationwide broadcast on the 12th anniversary of his Bolivarian Revolution. If he has his way, as Chavez has until now, South America's ranking caudillo will remain in office until 2019.

But such confidence might seem premature. There are striking parallels between the Middle Eastern despots and the self-styled heir of Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar, who has ruled virtually unchallenged since 1999. Like Egypt's House of Sharm El Sheik and the Ben Ali dynasty, Chavez's oligarchy has purloined the wealth it hasn't squandered. An oil powerhouse, that claims more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, Venezuela produced close to 2.8 million barrels of crude per day in 2000. Now it produces around 2.4 million.

Today Venezuelans face chronic shortages of basic goods, forcing the country to import 85 percent of everything it eats. Prices are rising at 27 percent a year, the worst inflation in the emerging markets. And while the rest of Latin America is booming, Venezuela posted its second consecutive year of recession. Foreign Policy, in 2008, ranked Caracas as "the murder capital of the world," though no one knows for sure because the government no longer publishes crime statistics.

That sort of mayhem would be enough to topple any leader. So how does the "Comandante Presidente," as devotees call him, keep from falling? The Egypt effect, ironically, is part of the answer. With Cairo in disarray, and fears looming over political turmoil shutting down the Suez Canal, oil prices are surging again. All the better for Venezuela, which even in decline is still one of the US' top suppliers. It also helps to have a political firewall, as Chavez does in his ring of Cuban advisers, a Praetorian guard of Havana's best with half a century of practice in crowd control.

But perhaps Chavez' competitive advantage is his brand of authoritarianism. A newcomer to Venezuela expecting to see jackboots would be forgiven for wondering. How can a nation so boisterous and fearlessly irreverent be dismissed as a dictatorship? There are tyrants and there are tyrants, of course. And while the scholars' game of parsing autocracies may be lost on protesters caught on the wrong end of the nightstick, it's precisely the nuances that can topple or prop up a dictator when things get ugly.

In practice, the semi-democratic ruler may be as unyielding and arbitrary as the baldest tyrant. But its talent is to create the political escape valves -- the right to vent steam or vote one's conscience -- to engage voters and rivals even as it frustrates and finally thwarts them. And so Chavez jails and hounds critics, but keeps no gulag of political prisoners. Independent media are silenced (Radio Caracas) or harassed (Globovision), although ordinary Venezuelans may freely assemble and say just about what they want. The government does rig elections, but slants the outcome through gerrymandering as it did in September when the opposition won a majority of the popular vote but failed to gain control of the legislature. Not surprisingly, Chavez and his allies have won 14 of the 15 elections and referendums he has sponsored since coming to power.

By throwing in a dollop of asistencialismo fueled by petrodollars (selling gasoline at a few cents a liter) and putting on a bit of populist theater (expropriating a few mansions in the name of tens of thousands left homeless by rainstorms), the government has managed to prolong its public honeymoon even as the economy sinks. (He still boasts a 50% approval rate.) "Venezuela is an authoritarian but at the same time very chaotic [state] that is not tightly repressive," says Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue. "Many Venezuelans, especially the poor, continue to identify with him, even though disenchantment has grown."

Venezuela's easygoing political culture may even play a part in keeping Chavez on top. Laid back and imbued with a healthy sense of self deprecation, Venezuelans occasionally take to the streets to protest. But they would sooner laugh at the excesses of their eccentric Comandante than storm the ramparts or immolate themselves in the name of democracy. So far the only arena for "fundamentalistas" in Venezuela is the baseball stadium.

Gustavo Coronel, a Venezuelan energy expert and former founding member of the national oil company, PDVSA, has an anthropological explanation. "Most Venezuelans are descendants of the Arawaks not the Caribs," says Coronel. "The Arawaks ate mostly maize and plantains. The Caribs ate Arawaks."

Unlike the theocracies and unalloyed tyrannies of the Middle East and Northern Africa, Venezuela under Chavez is an odd but effective political hybrid

For now, Chavez is not on the menu. But if the rumblings in the Middle East hold any certainty, it is that the people's palate also changes.

A longtime correspondent for Newsweek, Mac Margolis has traveled extensively in Brazil and Latin America. He has contributed to The Economist, The Washington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor, and is the author of The Last New World: The Conquest of the Amazon Frontier.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Venezuela's PDVSA not to receive $20 billion in cash

The cash flow of the state-run oil industry Petroleos de Venezuela will fall until 2012 because of oil deals with Cuba, Petrocaribe and the Chinese Fund

El Universal: The cash flow of state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela's will plunge due to the preferential financial conditions granted by Venezuela and the exchange of crude oil and products for goods and services.

According to a report issued by Barclays Capital, PDVSA "will not receive in cash $9.4 billion in 2011 and $10.7 billion in 2012" due to the export agreement with Cuba and a 50% discount in the total invoice value of Venezuelan oil exports to the Caribbean countries (under the Petrocaribe cooperation agreement).

All of this includes preferential terms such as long-term funding, and the mandatory payments on loans granted by the bilateral Chinese Fund.

Egypt and Venezuela: Dictators, it seems, are not in fashion today!

VHeadline's Paris (France)-based commentarist Alfredo Bremont writes: While dictators, it seems, are not in fashion today, we can just say that the Middle East is in liberation mood and on its way to democracy, but as we already knew, the current dictator was democratically elected with the West blessing’s and red carpet honors.

For President Chavez this can be a blessing or a curse, as it presents the opposition with an ideal moment to label the President they dislike a common dictator.

What we must grasp from these events is the aftermath, and what we recognize is that modern Western culture has reached its end point.

However, we must clearly discern how this disintegration is taking place and where we position ourselves in respect to current world events.

Our present cultural collapse is developing in a unique manner. People can finally be free, and understand and experience what a free human being is. The first signs are that a civilized revolution is coming from Tunisia and the Middle East spreading towards the Horn of Africa and ultimately, ending in the Saudi Arabia peninsula. However, what is of most importance is that this revolution has been quite elegant, calm and in fact surprisingly, intelligent, as the Israeli lobby has acknowledged and Washington think-tanks are finally accepting.

What makes these exotic revolutions so exceptional is that the barbarians are no longer located in the Third World but are in fact further up North. Paris, Berlin, London, Washington and New York are the exact places that put the Egyptian dictator in power as they did for Saddam Hussein, Mohammad Reza Pahvlavi and the rest of well-know dictators of our world.

Nevertheless, we also know Western media and Western population call these Third World ordinary citizens terrorist, and second-class populations, uncultured and somewhat backward, sometimes considered by some as not even human but just animals.

The land of pleasure and tourism is where the sun shines, in Africa, the poor regions of Indonesia, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, or the Caribbean islands. It is where we Westerners dominate and dictate, buy cheap and despise. This is where the uneducated live and the wise Westerner sacrifices his life to help and save them from ignorance and diseases. These are the lands that need help from the IMF and the World Bank, FIO, UN, and advice from Washington and Paris. Economic advisers as the Chicago Boys and Goldman Sacks are sent to these far away regions. They need us, our technology, our culture, our know-how, the civilized West says repeatedly, and constantly echoes the same slogan endlessly. However, reality shows that these very uneducated folks are in fact a lot more sophisticated, that their Western counterparts. It’s the West that can do with a bit of example in humanity, social relationships, education, manners and citizenship.

The rich West, full of objects and empty of cognizance, still believes that it knows best. However, we must not blame the ignorance of Westerners but rather understand why they have adopted that position. We must as well discern a North-South realm that is right in front of our eyes and understand the meaning of it.


"I think therefore I am." (I think spending, I am a consumer until I die)

It can be of great help to the confused mind and brainwashed thoughts of the industrialized world when they do manage to understand the hiding meaning of the phrase. The fact is they were kept in ignorance for the simple purpose of conquest, (Plato’s cave ) shows that Parisians are nothing more than simple barbarians sent to the civilized world, "the Third World" (which they consider to be uncivilized) to conquer and dominate, subjugate, humiliate, and destroy the dignity of the peoples of those regions. A holiday in the south of Egypt is an ego trip and for the benefit of the masters. With the only purpose of corruption, they were programmed and still are now, to think, believe, act and obey.

These programmed robots do have a boss but it is not the CEO of Goldman Sacks nor the manager of Intel, or any corporation that roams the Western world. Their ruler is implanted on their brain by television ads, propaganda and the obligation of consumerism. They are servants of a system they neither understand nor accept as true. They are practically absent. All they know is to follow the ad, purchase, sob and complain, demand democracy from a system that does not practice democracy, justice from laws that are designed to be unjust, liberty from a culture that has evolved into repression, and knowledge from a system whose purpose is to keep you in ignorance.

As long as you do not know, you will obey, consume, work for less, get into debt and later, forget all you have work for, your benefits, pension social security benefits, all gone. They call this progress, growth, but it’s nothing more than corruption, from top level of the pyramid to the middle managers; corruption is all that there is. Politicians, bankers, religious leaders, theorists, philosophers, painters and preachers, and art dealers … all they know is corruption, despotism and greed.

Moreover, here this upside-down, middle-eastern realm blasts into the mind of the Western television screen. Theorists from Alex Jones to Gerald Celente claim they know the reason for the events and blame the government, the CIA, George Soros, and bankers as Naomi Klein says. Nevertheless, all they do is continue to empower the falling system. Bono and his African pledges serving propaganda do more harm than good. The so-called help brings corruption, despotism and destruction to Africa. What Africa needs is dignity and an end to Western racism, one of the keys of colonialism, exploitation and communal suicide.

*North is South. South is North. (A pole shift)

An upside-down world

What Egypt is showing western society is what they fail to perceive the cause of enslavement is in Western cities, the British parliament, in Washington DC. These Egyptians, Tunisians and Algerians are showing you the path towards your freedom, liberty, equality and fraternity.

Dignity does not depend on themselves, on their revolution or the new elected leader, it depends on you. Just as your own freedom depends on the perception of how to liberate yourself, their revolution is where the know-how is coming from. Moreover, your own liberty depends on the perception and discernment of events in the Middle East. What the Western mind is able to conclude will determine if the culture will survive its upheaval, and if eventually, its citizens will achieve at last freedom, democracy and dignity.


Means by which humans can indeed liberate themselves, take their proper place among all of us living organisms, and achieve their ends. Technology can liberate men as it can enslave him. A prosperous, artistic harmonious realm is possible, only if you want it and let your subconscious mind guide you to it … you will experience it sooner than expected.