EFE suckered. Again.

I'll take the trouble to get their logo right when they take the trouble to get their stories right.

We should be clear: a growing economy and an entirely predictable cancer-sympathy spike have given Chávez’s popularity a real bump in the polls. But Spanish news agency EFE’s decision to mainstream GIS XXI’s “polls”, without even a cursory health warning about the firm’s track record of being crazy-wrong, borders on journalistic malpractice.

Not for the first time, EFE fails catastrophically to differentiate between a real company and an outright fraud.

Dear EFE editor guy/gal, if you’re reading this, kindly get it through your head: GIS XXI is not a pollster. It’s a propaganda organ. Ni es lo mismo ni es igual. 

81 thoughts on “EFE suckered. Again.

  1. I think these EFE journalists are so lazy they won’t even wonder why you say that and dismiss it as yet another oppo remark.

    So, you have to give away at least one or two tiny items like: Jesse Chacón, the head of that “pollster” company, is one of the coupsters from 1992 and a former Chávez minister.

    I think BBC English also referred to that poll. I just wrote to them. They just wrote “polls say Chávez has 60% intention of vote for 2012″ or the like.

  2. Isn’t EFE the same one who reported the phony oil deal with the Chinese?

    Great track record.

  3. I doubt they are lazy. I smell oil money under the table (I wouldn’t be surprised, I mean it is RB Venezuela, who would?). I obviously do not have any evidence to support this, but I do remember this:
    http://vcrisis.com/?content=letters/200602180822

    “Venezuelan journalists believe that Emilio Arrojo, EFE’s bureau chief in Caracas, is more chavista than Hugo Chavez. Although every person is entitled to its own political opinions / tendencies, journalists, such as Emilio Arrojo, have a duty of care and responsibility. Due diligence must be exercised, especially when dealing with disreputable information and sources, such as the ones cited above. Could Mr. Arrojo convincingly argue that he was unaware of the rather evident conflict of interests at play? ”

    I am not sure if the guy is still around or if the above article is just an aspersion, but this sort of rumours are still worth reminiscing.

    BTW, what a disgrace to see the logo of one of my favourite ice cream companies related to that spanish news agency sham!

    • Emilio Arrojo left some time ago. But let’s not forget that it was also Efe that gave credence to the unadulterated bs served up by ‘North American Opinion Research’, another sham pollster cooked up by the government. And I don’t know about now, but certainly back in those days, Efe had a contract with … you guessed .. the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Coincidence, maybe. Efe used to be known in the BBC World Service newsroom (and maybe still is) as ‘iffy’.

  4. But what about Datanalisis and Hinterlaces ?? Their major trends are in agreement with those of GIS XXI !! .
    Although painful and sad, it is better to avoid self-deception and accept our reality.
    We need to face reality, the reality of the mainstream of the society where we were born: authoritarian, sadomasochist and specially with a very low self-esteem (just like Iran, Belorussia, Syria, and so on).

  5. There was a popularity bump, which should naturally help president Chavez come election time, but the general trend is of a significant distaste for another reelection (especially considering growing dissatisfaction with core pro-government issues, like health and education).

    The president has been a bit more active this week, and has come back with some fiery rhetoric: but the Gran Polo Patriotico (diminishing the PSUV’s “protagonismo” and branding it with less red and less in-your-face socialism) show that they feel there are segments of non-alligned voters which are -if not our of their reach- still not completely swayed to vote blue. But the approval of the Unidad is still as high as it has been, and there’s almost a dead tie in preferences, with one year to go.

    Remember where were we six years ago? 40% behind…

  6. “…The president has been a bit more active this week,…”

    While that is true he is again headed for Cuba later this week for more “check-ups”.

  7. My head is spinning after trying to make sense of the numbers by the 3 pollsters. Ok, so one is pure propaganda by Chacon, but some of it’s numbers are in line with the other 2. About 60% popularity and would comfortably win the election if held now, but 6 – 7 of 10 persons disapprove of his and the goyernment’s job. Now how can this be reconciled?

    Then the post starts out that Chavez got a spike due to his illness (ok – fair enough) and a growing economy. A GROWING economy? How so? Somebody is lying, because how can an economy grow, if the everyday news are about businesses closing, the expropriated ones in shambles together with traitional government owned large petrochemical as well as steel and aluminum firms producing at half or less capacity or nothing at all? Plus chronic shortages of cement, cars and spare parts for cars, etc. etc?

    Is the economic growth based on overall higher oil prices vs. last year alone?

    I am at the point of believing nothing anymore, and I have the feeling that’s exactly what Chavistas want. Kind’a like the exchange rate that nobody knows anymore what it really is, or which one to apply for what. Very similar to Cuba btw. It’s however a great tool for the government to manipulate economic an financial data.

    Speculation by definition equals not facts yet the possibility that something is true, has in Venezuela become something like a shot in the dark: useless.

      • And we need to put this in context: average oil prices went up by about 20% from one year to the other. It takes more than 6 months and less than 12 for these changes to be felt in the GDP. Whereas Venezuela got GDP growths of more than 8% thanks to 10%-20% oil price increases after 2005, it is getting now meagre 2.8% for the price increases of the last 2 years.

        This 2.8% is also less significant than in other countries given our demographic growth, which is still among the highest in South America. Bear also in mind this 2.8% is the lowest rate in South America.

        Hugo is still distributing sweeties to the people.
        Thousands upon thousands of Venezuelans – not in Caurimare or Chacao, mind- are getting now part of the Chinese cargo in the form of “productos para el Buen Vivir”.
        So: even if the lástima effect has some influence in the mood of the average Venezuelan, we can safely say 海尔集团 has more.

        The economy is so conked out that the government gets nervous with oil prices under 100 now and the military have to get a 4billion dollar loan from the Siloviki…I suppose to protect the achievements of the rhevolushion in a similar way as Assad is doing right now.

        Venezuela will die from a petrodollar overdose or from the withdrawal effects

        • Great writings again Mr. Kepler; -Question -really -why does Venezuela
          “have to get loans” -now frequently? And of course, it is billions that
          Chavez decides from his bed that he wants? Not, necessities for Venezuela…
          And, noone discusses it – just wham! 4 billion owed -on top or billions more…

      • FT: Sorry, I did not mean to imply that you pulled the economy growth numbers out thin air, or in other words that you are the liar. I was sure you had a source. It’s just hard to believe given all the stuff that’s going on as mentioned in my post.

        • Gotcha Mike. Listen, I don’t think it’s such a mystery. We just got through 6 straight quarters of contraction – amid a growing population – and only returned to growth two quarters ago. But economies do bounce back, even very madly mismanaged ones, especially with the petrodollar spigot cranked up to 11. The government spends. Things get imported. Money circulates. Things get bought. That shows up as GDP growth.

          It’s the kind of GDP growth you’d have to be a fool to mistake for “development”, but growth is growth, and some measure of well-being follows in its wake like night follows day.

          The bigger Conceptual screw-up in the EFE piece is failing to differentiate between Chávez’s personal popularity and people’s willingness to continue to vote for him. The same polls that show Chávez is personally very popular show strong reticence to yet another re-election. Contradictory? You betcha! But it’s like that…

  8. “Then the post starts out that Chavez got a spike due to his illness”

    This may be a classic case of peaking too early.
    We are a year away from the election & 4 months before there is even an official oppo candidate.
    These polls have no future validity. I far more believe the numbers of dissatisfaction

    “…are getting now part of the Chinese cargo in the form of “productos para el Buen Vivir”.”

    Here in Margarita some of the lucky receipients of new homes & these appliances are doing exactly what one would suspect from people who don’t want to work – they sell them.
    http://www.elsoldemargarita.com.ve/Noticias.aspx?NoticiaId=88805&SeccionId=1

    .

    • “People who don’t want to work”!?! Sorry, but that’s the kind of reactionary kneejerk that’s made the opposition a toxic brand for so many people.

      What that story shows is what Torres (and others, like LL, Ocariz and yours truly) have been saying all along: people prefer cash!

      When you give people something other than cash – like appliances, say, or gasoline – you’re abrogating to yourself some privileged knowledge about their preferences, about what they *really* need. But you have no basis on which to do that. And more often than not you’ll get it wrong, give people something they don’t want – or not nearly as much as they want something else.

      When you do that, rational people will trade the junk you gave them for the stuff they really need, and step one in that process is trading the junk for cash.

      The only social policy that genuinely respects the autonomy of the individual is a cash-based social policy.

      • Well said. But, it’s not only what people need, but what they really want. Many years ago, I was studying abroad and I received a visit from my parents. My father brought me a pair of sneakers made in Venezuela. He said that they didn’t have anything to envy those being made abroad at the time. It turns out (Like Chavez with Chinese products), he had a vested interest in that company: it was a client. Of course, me and probably half a billion people on the planet knew that there was no comparison between those shoes and the ones made by, say, Adidas. I tried to sell the shoes, but nobody wanted them so I just gave them to someone in need, and ended up saving money to buy me a pair of Adidas. If people had the money, they wouldn’t be buying Chinese appliances. They would be buying LG or Samsung, or whatever brand is best. The problem is Papa Chavez. He wants the people to have Chinese products, because that is what he considers best for everyone else. Meanwhile, appliances in Miraflores are surely made by the best brands. It’s that narcissism, I tell you.

        • Every gift is part of a political front.
          Hell, a bowl of rice should not be given for a vote, c’mon people.
          Zimbabwe-style…look for this in2012.

      • “The only social policy that genuinely respects the autonomy of the individual is a cash-based social policy.”

        No comment; just needed repeating.

      • However, sometimes I think there should be some boundaries in terms of on what people would be allowed to spend that cash. It is true that oil belongs to all of us and that we shouldn’t be begging for that money because it is ours. But, I am afraid, Venezuelans, being highly uneducated people, would be spending that money on twisted priorities. Wouldn’t be better to make the cash transfer operational only for matters related to housing, health, and education? That is, if there is a certain amount of money that each Venezuelan has a right to each year, then wouldn’t it be sound if by law we only would be allowed to spend it on those priorities? It would be goodbye underdevelopment in two generations.

        • This makes the most sense to me. In fact, I’d say the boundaries for spending that cash should be fluid within those three categories, and none other. If people then want to buy their LG or Samsung refrigerator — the frills, pues — they can work for it.

          As for the goodbye to underdevelopment, well that might take 2 generations — if the funds went into education, and if the country exhibited sound fiscal management and stable economic growth, during that time.

          • Exactly. Kids like to learn by nature. If oil revenue is used to build the best educational system to be had, the country would be on track to a brilliant future. But first, we have to get rid of the Chavezes and copycats. I don’t know what would be the best way to do so, but right now I am feeling very violent …

          • How about clothing? How about food? Those might be the priorities for some mothers that can’t feed their kids.
            I don’t think it’s doable.

        • That sounds good but I hardly doubt it could be implemented. If it’s cash there is no way to track it down nor should it be, for me there is something wrong regarding tracking down the expenses of people, even uneducated ones.

          • The government wouldn’t need to track down anything because people wouldn’t be receiving actual cash, just its monetary value. People would then be told that by law those funds could only be employed as a permanent solution for the problems of housing, education, and health. Sure there are other no less important priorities, but when you get all those three out of the way essentially for free, then you are infinitely better equipped to deal with the other ones, wouldn’t you? You could concentrate your efforts on them. In extreme cases, you could also include food. But you also would have to tell people that they have to work hard to satisfy any other need. Unless we are prepared to have a chunk of our population living forever without working.

            • I undesrtand your point, but I’m just concerned if we are tackling all this subject from our own needs and perspective and not from the poor’s real needs. In any case, I have to think about it.
              I also wanted to share a personal experience about cash returns to people. Few years ago the premier of Alberta at the time, sent out to everybody what they called “prosperity cheques”. Welcomed by many, very critized by others. We all did whatever we wanted with them. Some people donated them to charity (remember that charity donations are deductible from taxes), some people put them into RSP’s, and some others…just drank it all.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_Bonus

            • that’s why I’d love to know about how other countries have handled give aways of cash or substitutes.

              In the past two years, I’ve had access to a $10,000 tax credit, imposed on the Canadian population in order to stimulate the construction industry, which was in the doldrums then.
              (Unfortunately I could not use it at the time.) The tax credit was specifically geared to the household construction/renovation products (not tools) and services, and had to be supported with receipts. No receipts, no tax credit.

              This past spring I completed a government-sponsored energy efficiency program. I got a nice chunk for retrofitting my home (more insulation, new much-needed furnace, etc.). But it was not a free pass. To get to that point, I had to have two energy efficiency audits (the first one at my cost, the second one reimbursed). I had to supply receipts. And I had to achieve a 10% increase in efficiency from the first audit to the last. After complying with all the necessary steps, which were audited, cheques were mailed – one from the feds, a matching amount from the province.

              I know of a few other benefits – there was a baby bonus at one time, created to stimulate the population, so to speak. And for awhile I was involved in the immigrant sponsorship programs, at a bank level, where high net worth individuals had to invest 250K or more in a rural project, in certain areas of Canada, in exchange for a Canadian passport and a 5-year tax holiday.

              What all this means is that the government benefits had conditions, some more complicated than others, some targeted to specific demographics.

        • There is something inherently wrong with one adult (i.e., you) telling other adults (i.e., the poor) on what they can or cannot spend their own money. Your calling their choices twisted priorities is on what they base themselves vote for chavez. You are not their parent.

          I’m willing to buy the idea that the debit cards of minors are limited to purchases of items listed under cesta básica, but that’s as far as spending control of cash can really go.

          Aside from the conceptual reason, it’s just impractical. Keeping it simple is the first step in preventing points of failure.

  9. ““People who don’t want to work”!?! Sorry, but that’s the kind of reactionary kneejerk that’s made the opposition a toxic brand for so many people.”

    We have a situation here in Margarita, & I assume other parts of the country, where prior to Dec. 2010 people were living & surviving without government assistance.

    Ok, in Dec. 2010 we had excessive rains which forced people out of homes built in illegal areas. They were moved a few hundred yards away into a local hotel for which, to the best of my knowledge & the last news reports, the Colombian hotel owners were not reimbursed for.

    The hotel is now adorned with PSUV slogans & drawings of Che & Chavez.

    These people then proceeded to strip the hotel of any thing valuable that could be carried away, TVs, A/C, pool equipment, etc., etc.

    They then complained about the food they were given.

    Let me ask you. What were these people doing before the rains? Why do they need the government to give them food?

    If I sound harsh it’s because I’ve never depended on anyone in my entire life & I get a little impatient with the political correctness that doesn’t allow criticism of these lazy self righteous greedy thieves. Some one needs to tell them to get off their asses & go find work or return to the work they did before the rain.

    Just like the people that were moved to Macanao & then sold the free stuff given to them by the government. I stand by what I said Reactionary knee jerk – I don’t think so.

    • I am with you 100% Island Canuck.
      “get off their asses & go find work “.
      I am an old man, a heart patient and I continue to work
      six days a week and even some on Sunday and holidays..
      With respect – on this issue-as extorrres knows -I totally disagree.
      Maybe this is “toxic” -and turns people off- and the feeding programs, etc.
      nobody dares mention-it’s taboo. Yeah, right. It’s b.s. in my opinion.
      (I am the most caring person around so- don’t start saying I’m so mean)

      • CharlesC,

        I would venture to bet that given the old age you claim that you can remember examples of times and places at which there is scarce work to be found for certain people.

        By the way, saying that you’re caring does not imply that you’re not being mean. And if you’re the most caring person around, I suggest you look into the cause.

        • Yes- I was very lucky often -even in very bad times. “Certain people”?
          I know and see too many -who are smart enough and healthy enough
          to find SOMETHING to do- anything.-but,..they are not, will not.
          I believe in helping those who truly need it, of course.

    • I’ve never depended on anyone in my entire life

      There was Romulus and Remus. Then along came Island Canuck. All raised by a she wolf.

    • island canuck: “Some one needs to tell them to get off their asses & go find work or return to the work they did before the rain.”

      Firstly, let’s not use this one case that you describe to generalize to all people without work and asking for help. It’s just not representative. Most people in need are not thieving, nor are they asking for help out of greed, nor are self-righteous, nor are lazy. Emphasis on the word “most”.

      Secondly, your argument seems to assume that there are an endless number of jobs, that there is a job for everyone. That is not true. Job supply goes up and down as does demand for them. On top of that, not everyone is apt for every job, so sometimes there are jobs, but employers don’t employ just anyone. On top of that, given the current business context, employers are trying to employ as few people as is necessary, not as many people as possible. Even in the specific case, businesses are not sure what the future holds after the rain, so they tighten up the job offers instead of being more likely to hire.

      Thirdly, I a glad to read that you’ve never depended on anyone in your “entire life”. Forgive what seems like semantics, but perhaps you can’t remember your childhood years. And perhaps you cannot see your future, but most people (and I emphasize the word “most” once again) are just a few months away from going broke. I don’t know where you live, but I’m sure you’ve heard that there are many areas where you’d be surrounded by people without jobs, people who have worked all their lives looking for jobs, and simply not finding them. They depend on family, friends, and strangers.

      Fourthly, is your alternative to let them rot? My proposal of cash distribution for all should be a godsend for someone who thinks like you because if it were implemented, no one would have the excuse to ask for money. As things are now, you’d always be left with a lingering doubt as to whether someone asking for money is in fact needy or just lazy. With the cash distribution, we would *know* that they have at the very least sufficient income to cover the poverty line needs.

      Lastly, consider the effects on tourism between the following two scenarios: A) an island of lazy people but no poverty anywhere, versus B) an island of lazy people but poor, greedy, thieves all over. I suggest you get on board with A. A is good for you and them; B is bad for you and them.

      • This is a superb analysis. There is a book written by Malcolm Gladwell called “Outliers.” It asserts in no uncertain terms that everyone’s successes always depend in part on someone else. The part about Bill Gates is particularly enlightening: at one point he was the only person in the planet to have access to what at the time was considered a personal computer. I am telling you, that “self-made” narrative is always bullshit. You always owe what you are to someone. Of course, there are people who would never acknowledge that. We all know what to call that kind of people …

      • Extorres,

        As I have already said previously, I have conditionally accepted accepted that unconditional cash transfers are a superior method of alleviating (not eliminating) poverty than the various other schemes and mechanisms tried. However, is it wise for the long-term social health of any human society to institutionalize such dependency?

        In fact, the modern world is so productive, that the efforts of 20% of the population can easily support the remaining 80%. As productivity improves, this ratio will become even more acute. But what is the effect of such dependency on the human psyche?

        Will we eventually create two distinct classes: The working productive, and the non-working dependent? Will we migrate back and forth between the two classes, as our mood strikes us? Or, will the non-productive class become a permanent condition?

        I honestly don’t know the answers to these questions. It has only been in the last century that human productivity has increased to levels that required us to invent complex and costly leisure-time activities for the middle and lower classes.

        When Island Canuck says, “Some one needs to tell them to get off their asses & go find work…”, I find myself in visceral agreement. But this is because I was raised with a strong set of values that makes me tend to look on those who don’t support themselves with contempt, or at best, pity. It is possible that new conditions need to generate new value systems.

        So, to Extorres and all the other proponents of unconditional cash transfers, I ask you to look down the road about a couple generations, and describe to us how will society look under your scenario. Would it be stable and sustainable? Would it create fulfilling lives for the majority? Will it promote further human progress, or limit it? How will it affect population growth? Tell us about this “Brave New World” you promote.

        • Roy,

          I hear you. I’ve been there. When I first thought of this I had to argue with myself because I didn’t find anyone trying to sell it to me. But it is a new paradigm. We are trying to judge that new society with our old paradigm. The reality is that a diminishing percentage of people will be providing for a growing percentage of people. Assuming that there will be productive occupation for all is unrealistic. Creating menial jobs just to keep people busy just to justify giving them money is worse, in my book, because it is disrespectful of equal human rights. Instead, allowing people to never stress over food or shelter again will liberate them to really dedicate themselves to inventing, creating, developing. I foresee a surge of the expressive arts with such a plan. Imagine painters and musicians being able to dedicate themselves 100% of the time to their craft! Imagine the advancement of philosophers and historians, in it for the love of it, not for the pay…

          Even if some people decide to stay home all day, stresslessly spending time with family and friends, doesn’t that make for a better world, with kids growing up in environments of less arguments and pressure?

          Regardless of my romantic views, boiling it all down comes to two choices, either we accept it, or fight it. Fighting it is not working. We need to embrace this new paradigm, ‘cuz that’s where it’s headed, whatever else we prefer. Technology and science are going to force us to adapt to this new reality. And if we don’t the inequality will continue to increase, which will simply translate to a breeding ground for chavezes.

          I hear you. I would prefer people to work than not work. Of course. But that stance is becoming more of a religious fervor than a realistic option. We must start to accept some people simply not working. I rather focus on those who, because their basic needs will start to be are covered by cash distribution, will be able to divert 100% of their time to their callings. New renaissance…

          • Robert Heinlein wrote a sci-fi novel in 1942 called “Beyond this Horizon” that addressed some of this. It wasn’t the primary focus of the book, but in this novel, he painted a socioeconomic scenario very similar to what you are proposing. His scenario was largely positive, but then Heinlein was a romantic optimist, despite his claims to the contrary.

            Note: This is not a recommendation of the book, other than in connection with the topic.

            • Heinlein alludes to something like this in Stranger in a Strange Land, too. I see the romanticism in cash distribution, but I’m also accused of being a pragmatist. Every time I see movies placed in poverty stricken nations, I can’t help but think how much better they would be with a UCT system in place. Even in top nations, I see how people putting up with abusive bosses or husbands would be free, not to be lazy, but to seek a better life if they were guaranteed that neither they nor their children would ever fall below the poverty line. Even when I try to see the bad in UCT, I just can’t see a more effective, efficient, fair, inexpensive, corruption-proof alternative.

        • I think this is a false dilemma. We don’t have to look down the road a couple of generations. The history of human kind has been riding this scenario from the beginnings of time. If you’re a caveman you would have to hunt & gather your own food, make your own clothes and tools, walk everyday the distance to get water (instead of having water going to you). When was the last time anyone of us had to kill what they eat? (except for sport). Fact is with electricity, running water, cars, markets, modern society in general, we have so much more time at our disposal compared to any other time in history that there is really no comparison. Yet the same thing would’ve been true if you lived in the middle ages or in the roman empire.

          I don’t know what it is that you do for a living but I’m willing to bet that profession didn’t even exist a thousand years ago. I know mine didn’t exist 50 years ago.

          • You make some good points, but you are mistaken on one key point. Not all technological advances result in people having more more free time. In fact, the very first rung on the technology ladder to human civilization, agriculture and sedentary populations, was fraught with problems. People had to work harder and longer, than hunter-gatherers, and were subject to diseases from bad sanitation, among other things. The only advantage it had over hunter-gathering was that it allowed much larger populations that were able to defeat the roving bands of hunter-gatherers by the force of shear numbers.

            Likewise, the industrial revolution created conditions in which the majority had to work very long hours in appalling conditions, worse than they had experienced before the new technology. I suspect all new technologies initially create poorer working conditions and quality of life, before they eventually bear fruit for the average man.

            Perhaps our current excess of free time means that our society is ripe for the next major technological revolution that will plunge us all into the next cycle of overwork and misery.

            • “Not all technological advances result in people having more more free time.”

              Actually my point is that technological advances create new jobs for some and free time for others. That way fewer people can now do a job that required maybe ten times more people than before. Of course those fewer people now are working harder than ever and it seems like the rest are going to have nothing to do. But history has showed that those that have more free time find new ways to be productive.

              It’s a pattern that has been repeated countless time in history. Many innovations and inventions have produced this:
              – Agriculture (before this every one had to procure food one way or another)
              – Wheel
              – Aqueducts
              – Transportation
              – Printing press
              – Construction
              – Banking
              – Industrial revolution
              – Cars
              – Computers
              – ….

  10. Island canuck,
    great comment !!
    the naked reality !!
    Of course, not “politically correct”, not matter if it is true !!

    • Fortunately for the world, his example is not a representative sample. Unfortunately for the world, you and others do not seem to see the lack of representativeness of his example.

  11. “You can measure the health of democracy in a country is by looking at the governments that country’s leadership prefers to support. Right now we read that diplomats from Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba are in Syria to support the bloody dictatorship”
    copied from Venezuela and Europa today- This is shameful and waste of time and money
    “diplomats”- this is doing Venezuelan people no good, never did and never will. Just the fuel bill alone for these kind of trips would feed lots of poor in Venezuela-
    How many on this blog support Syria? How many Bolivians support Syria?
    I know -ALBA -Chavez dream lovers group-all one mind sick.

  12. ExTorres. Anyone. Don’t you agree- Venezuela needs at least a few good companies
    who are expanding, who are hiring workers, do you know any? I don’t.
    How many good jobs have been lost under Chavez? So, how can anyone ANYONE
    claim things are better -or growing..Name a few new, good companies ?
    I have tried for years to get some new businesses started -those who know me can verify
    this- and everyone is scared -SCARED of Chavez. (I don’t live in Venezuela..)

  13. Just think for a moment- that $4 billion dollars borrowed from Russia- will it create any
    jobs in Venezuela- no -HELL NO. It will probably create lots of jobs in Russia.
    How about the aid to Cuba- will it create any jobs in Venzuela- no.-Hell NO.
    How about money paid to Iran-same story- Bolivia, Nicaragua, China..
    What is wrong with this picture? Easy – billions wasted and no jobs for Venezuela
    and who is responsible -CHAVEZ. What do you think Mr. Extorres-
    do youlike supporting Cuba? Feeding Cubans?
    Mr. Extorres-do you think Cuba and Venezuela are one country?

  14. Finally, you send a dangerous message, Mr. Extorres- what I read from you is
    sit back and do nothing and wait for your free cash. Nothing in Venezuela will
    ever get fixed, will it? You will not put that ring in my nose.

  15. Socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money.
    Do you think the oil under the ground in Venezuela is your oil?
    It belongs to the earth- and whoever pays and works hard enough to extract it
    and turn it into something useful. You have zero entitlement to it unless you
    are working on this or have stock in the company that does.

    • Chavez’s borrowing billions – but -not to feed the poor-mostly billions for weapons.
      So -your oil money will have to pay that back plus interest-don’t you know that?
      So- when will you get your money- before the Russians,Chinese, Cubans, or after?

    • Hmmm, you raise some interesting thorns, CharlesC, regarding conditional cash transfers and the ownership of natural resources on national soil. Let me chew on this.

  16. How will a country ever stop being an underdeveloped nation if almost nobody in that country knows that the country/the government/everybody is working towards ultimate development?

    Let’s face it: a country is destined to eternal failure if you do not consider the average citizen can grasp or should know there should be a vision and a set of actions to transform the country into a developed nation.

    Slogans such as “we will eliminate poverty” are not enough. Remember Chávez has also said that and if anything he has only increased it in the long term as Venezuela depends more than ever on oil.
    The best I have seen from the others so far is “we will create more jobs and opportunities for (foreign) investment”. Is that the best you can come up with?

  17. The question is-will Chavez tighten the screws, purge and punish Venezuela and blame it on the Yanquis in 2012. Less money and Chavez exploits the crisis for political purpose of increased expropriations, his “speeding up” of socialism. Whereas most expected a cornucopia of handouts in election year -to steal the election,the opposite may occur-and Chavez will use shortages as
    “proof” that he is right-it is all the empire’s fault,so, Chavez must be reelected. His fanatical
    followers will “buy it”..

  18. CharlesC,

    I get the impression that you have me all wrong. I am a die-hard capitalist. But I don’t confuse capitalism with social darwinism. The reason many companies make many and hefty donations is because it’s good for business. Similarly, a nation with zero poverty is good for business. I’m not suggesting cash distribution as a socialist ideal; but as a capitalist ideal. Even those earning no other income will spend their share of cash distribution on something offered by someone else. Helping business.

    Please note: the main complaint against cash distribution is wrong; even if cash is unearned money, it is money that is being put to work towards rewarding *capitalistically* those who offer the best goods and services at the most convenient prices.

    Which brings me to the second angle on the cash distribution: it’s no about just giving handouts; it’s already their money. The government wouldn’t be giving them anything that’s not already theirs. Though I believe other countries should implement cash distribution to eliminate poverty, in Venezuela’s case, I’m just suggesting that the government should stop grafting its citizens’ money as if it were from taxation. The money from natural resources belongs to the people. The government is simply deciding to spend it instead of forking it over, and that is wrong.

    Please note: all your arguments against giving people unearned money apply 30million-fold to giving the government the people’s unearned money. The government needs to live exclusively off of taxation income, the same way that people should try to live from their own money. But it just so happens that natural resource revenue *is* their money!

    Putting it in a nutshell, I believe in a capitalism with zero poverty, one in which everyone is given the same *amount* on a daily basis while taking the same *percentage* from everyone on a daily basis. It’s simple, it’s efficient, and it eliminates poverty without sacrificing any aspect of capitalism. In Venezuela’s case, however, you don’t even have to give them new money, you just have to start giving them what’s already theirs.

    To answer your questions, I hope you can see that I believe that by implementing the above, Venezuela would achieve, not just “a few good companies who are expanding, who are hiring workers”, but *many*, small and large, local and international. I do not believe *anything* is better with chavez. All claims of improvement are masking worsening aspects. The billions that you refer to, going to Russia, Cuba, etc., exemplify the waste that only happens because the government is spending unearned (i.e., untaxed) money.

    As to what you consider a dangerous message, allow me to turn the question around. What is a better option:

    A) distribute cash, letting some people ride out their lives at poverty line, while the rest will rise above the poverty line on their own through capitalistic competition, and preventing the government from wasting natural resources on self-serving, ideological policies, and forcing it to live off of taxation which would give it incentive to help the market develop, or

    B) what we have now: a petro-state model and it’s consequences.

    Finally, I ask you to look further into the future. Do you realize that allowing people to live decently without working or earning it in any way is a necessary consequence of technological and medical and scientific advancement? The slippery slope of accomplishing more with less materials and fewer people, or reducing the number of needs, is as simple as that. We need to have a system in place that accommodates this change. Giving the same amount to all while taking the same percentage from all, is such a system: Capitalism with zero poverty. It’s a new paradigm. Venezuela is at a perfect moment to embrace it.

    • However, how would the almost sudden surge in monetary mass not produce a great inflationary pressure in a country that produces practically nothing?

      • JMA, I don’t understand why there would be a sudden surge of monetary mass. The way I see it, it’s the same monetary mass going directly to the people, then trickling up as they spend it, rathern than it going to government spending projects, hoping it trickles down to the people, which it doesn’t.

        Besides that, the implementation that I suggest is far from sudden. I suggest that all natural resource revenue enter a buffering fund from which money can *only* go out to cash distribution at the same rate as the average rate at which the money has been coming in over time, and this should be daily.

        Besides that, money in hands of consumers causes a market activation, which would spur production of the goods and services most wanted by the most people. Exports would follow. The reason you don’t see goods and services directed at the poor is because the poor have no money to sustain businesses offering them. With this distribution, those are the businesses that would flourish. Then the money gets taxed for all other things…

  19. “The money from natural resources belongs to the people” said Extorres.
    I disagree and repeat from above-“Do you think the oil under the ground in Venezuela is your oil?
    It belongs to the earth- and whoever pays and works hard enough to extract it
    and turn it into something useful. You have zero entitlement to it unless you
    are working on this or have stock in the company that does.”

    Extorres said “The billions that you refer to, going to Russia, Cuba, etc., exemplify the waste that only happens because the government is spending unearned (i.e., untaxed) money”
    Yes- but more specifically it is Chavez – not “the government”.The government has no controll of Chavez and -honestly -do you think Chavez -REPRESENTS the people?

    Extorres said “Finally, I ask you to look further into the future. Do you realize that allowing people to live decently without working or earning it in any way is a necessary consequence of technological and medical and scientific advancement?”
    I prefer to stay here and now- and find everyone a job now. I prefer training programs for
    real jobs. I prefer people picking up trash and planting trees to doing nothing…

    • CharlesC: “Do you think the oil under the ground in Venezuela is your oil?” Actually, the Venezuelan constitution does imply that. As to your summary that it belongs to the person that extracts it, there is a slight problem with your logic. The oil extracted does not only lie under the land you purchased, you’d be taking oil that belongs to a neighbor. And, unlike air or water, oil is not getting replenished. So, the constitution provides that the government administer these natura resources that belong to all of its citizens. I do, however, agree that the persons extracting it make the profits they can from it, but they must purchase it from the citizens of Venezuela by way of the government.

      CharlesC: “do you think Chavez -REPRESENTS the people?” Heck, no. I see all his oil money spending, and the oil money spending the government does either under his direction or on its own as pure graft. But your not wanting the oil money to be distributed to the people leaves only the alternative of the caudillo in turn to spend it at will. That’s just the nature of the Petro-State model, which is what I want to eliminate with cash distribution of all natural resources revenues.

      CharlesC: “I prefer to stay here and now- and find everyone a job now. I prefer training programs for real jobs. I prefer people picking up trash and planting trees to doing nothing…” That is contradictory at several levels. Here and now, we have a problem that there are not enough jobs to go around, yet you prefer to find people jobs than to give people enough cash to survive at the poverty line, which would create jobs because their very spending would activate the market. Then you prefer to train people for –and you chose the word– “real” jobs, but there aren’t any, so you’d be wasting the training, unless by real jobs you only mean giving jobs to people who do the training for jobs that are not here, now. But deep down you seem to know that because then you mention menial jobs, or otherwise unnecessary jobs, in fact, non “real” jobs. You are unwittingly admitting that you just need people to earn their living through work. It’s a paradigm. I hear you. But soon enough, reality will catch up to you. The way the world is headed, we simply have to accept that some people will be providing for all others, and that group will be doing so because they *want* to, not because they have to. Anyone who doesn’t want to can simply live at poverty level. And that’s just going to have to be fine. Your alternative is what is breeding chavismo…

      • Thank you for your nice manners, Extorres. Sorry if I offend you personally
        I wish you could have met my father-in -law who died in February at age 93
        in San Juan de los Morros. He built houses, schools, taught all his children to
        work -was a great father. (His father had a farm outside of town -still in family-
        where they made cheese, etc.) These are the kind of people I respect so much
        even though I have spent most of my life in cities and working for big companies-I still dream of the honest hardworking people like that and love them so much…

        • CharlesC, I never met him, but I admire him already. But we can’t expect everyone to be like that. It’s people not like him that has us appreciating people like him. As the number of lazy goes up, the demand for non lazy goes up, and vice versa. Balance. Or like a taoist priest may say: “you can’t make the whole world a temple; there has to be an outside.” In this case, some who produce for all others. And that is quite simply, OK.

      • Extorres said-“the alternative of the caudillo in turn to spend it at will. That’s just the nature of the Petro-State model,”
        You said the only alternative is “the caudillo to spend it at will”- no it is not.
        Another alternative would be a responsible government that represents the people
        and spends money wisely.
        “It’s just the nature of the petro-state model” -no it is not. THis is a military dictatorship
        who uses Venezuelan precious funds for lunatic garbage projects in Iran for example..
        I don’t care if it was a corn-state model- the point is -it is not NATURAL.
        It is a lying, freak, thief ALBA thug-a madman who breaks all rules.

        • CharlesC: “Another alternative would be a responsible government that represents the people and spends money wisely.” If that were an option, I may even vote for it. But the definition of Petro-State model involves the State receiving and using funds that it did not “earn” through taxation. I has no incentive to either improve the market to increase its taxation, nor to serve its citizens because its citizens are the ones willing to serve a rich McState. I refer you to Quico’s lengthy, but worthwhile explanation at:

          http://caracaschronicles.blogspot.com/2007/07/torres-in-bethlehem.html

          So long as that is the model, the responsible government model is wishful thinking, if only because the voters are supplicants, not citizens…

  20. Just how many Generals are there now in Venezuela? What do they do?
    And, why are they so silent -esp. when Chavez claims to spend billions on
    weapons- ?
    Isn’t it very strange- so secret about the Military and the involvement for example
    with Iranians- did you see anyone from the Press talking to the Iranian “advisors’
    or Russian “trainers’ or Cuban Generals-of course not.
    It really bugs me everyday-my relatives- many say ” I don’t care”
    and “You are always looking for problems” “everything will be all right”

  21. May I suggest we write the Generals and inform
    them a. You are criminals.
    b. You are traitors to Venezuela
    c. One day you will face justice.
    d.Move to Cuba if you like it so much, or Iran or Russia.

  22. What I know is this.

    That the current regime uses designated hand-outs, thereby establishing a “gimme” precedent, perpetuated for a number of years.

    That the oppo has to come up with a better electoral mousetrap, so to speak. One that obviously has to be rolled out, subsequent to a win.

    That the CCT issue is a hot potato, not yet solved. Some say it will indulge the needy, rather than create incentives for work. This line of thinking presumes that there is plenty of work offerings in the marketplace, and that through this process, the indigent can lift themselves up by their own bootstraps. This line of thinking also presumes that there are no government hand-outs (or substitutes like tax credits) to the public in the industrialized world.

    The natural resources-R-us argument is a related ball of wax, one for which I still have no answers.

    • I think all royalties from oil should be put into a fund – to be used only ONLY
      for things beneficial inside INSIDE Venezuela. Health care, eduction, infrastructure
      and NONE NONE NONE for military or any international affairs.Simple.
      And -if this includes helping poor and training programs -it has to be-but
      with goals and yes- real jobs. And it is not up to government to create jobs,
      to provide housing,,,
      Specifically- individuals start with zero-except of course -what their family or friends
      give them- after that – education andhealth-care assistance -if needed from government
      but-not “free healthcare for all, not free education for all…
      I say the main problem -past 12 years is -CHAVEZ SPENDING-agreed.
      Chavez making and breaking laws, Chavez siding with evil around the world…

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