Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Maria Corina Machado of SUMATE received by President Bush

Originally published here

The stunning news of the week, if not the quarter, is the reception today at the White House of Maria Corina Machado, the leader of SUMATE (1).

Poise, class and dignity at the White House
(interview of MCM with audio here)

I learned it on the radio on my way to a dinner engagement. If I could not write about it earlier, I can assure you that the meal was even more delicious than it probably was. This is a stunning coup for SUMATE and some of Venezuela's opposition, and yet another stinging hit for Chavez who is not having a good time at all these recent days.

Analysis of this spectacular move by the State Department will require days. So tonight this humble blogger, just arriving from a delicious meal will be brief in his speculations and analysis.

The message is clear at several levels:

  • By receiving the leader of SUMATE the US declares that in Venezuela there is a problem with free and fair elections (to Hell with the Carter Center who somehow managed to convince Colin Powell that all was fine and dandy down here).
  • By receiving SUMATE, the most organized and efficient and democratic component of the Venezuelan opposition, the State Department sends a clear message to the opposition: be democratic, be organized, work hard, and we will help you if needed to make sure that elections are fair.
  • By receiving Maria Corina Machado, the US looks at the new class of Venezuelan politicians, modern folks, not encumbered by the weight of the corrupted past AND present.
  • And perhaps most important, by receiving Maria Corina Machado, likely political prisoner of Chavez, Bush goes beyond extending protection: he tells Chavez that all his B.S. of recent weeks is having no effect on the US administration who will chose its friends as it pleases. He also tells that he is really far from receiving chavistas at the White House where we suspect that more than one would love to be seen. Indeed, a few days ago the US suspended its visa to the High Court chief Omar Mora who was greatly upset about it. Today's visitor must be compared to the non-visitor who wanted to go himself to the White House to demand the skin of Posada. In other words, bluntly, the US tells that Chavez better watch out his foul mouth or further humiliations are in stock for him.

And it hurts really bad in the chavista camp as a totally decomposed and hysterical Cilia Flores, a factor in the National Assembly, went out to say that Maria Corina Machado had better stay in the US, that she should be sent to trial for betrayal to the fatherland. The poor and deranged woman did not realize how idiotic, and revealing, her declarations were. And how they could easily be used against her cause in the US. For example such declarations could be used as an excuse not to extradite Posada Cariles since in a country with such deranged legislators justice is clearly impossible (2). Or it could be used to send Eva Golinger to jail under the Patriot Act as Ms. Golinger dealings are certainly not any less guilt free as the alleged ones of SUMATE that she so eagerly denounces. But we know that diplomacy is an alien concept to Chavez and even more to chavismo.

Well, at least there is something good for Chavez there: tomorrow Venezuela will talk less about PDVSA and its corrupt and inefficient management. See Hugo, always a silver lining.


1) Story speedily translated by El Universal.

2) At a moment, by the way, where Venezuela seems to have the greatest of difficulties to put together a dossier to ask for Posada's extradition. Indeed, the confusion in the Chavez camp is spectacular as some declare that the US is refusing to extradite Posada while the dossier has not even be sent complete to the US.... But rabble rousers seem to be in surnumerary these days.


Update: for some colorful local rejoicing, and to stress how important is the news of that visit for Venezuela, check the comment section of the Noticiero Digital thread. Venezuela's wit in display, to be compared to witless Cilia Flores and Iris Varela :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A new diplomatic set back for Chavez

Originally published here

In spite of efforts from Venezuela at the OAS to block the invitation of the SUMATE ONG to an OAS meeting, the council went ahead and ratified that SUMATE was invited along a few other Venezuelan ONG. The excuse presented by Venezuela's ambassador to block the invitation of SUMATE because this one was involved in events of 2002 was rather lame as SUMATE in those days barely existed. But of course the real reason is that chavismo cannot forgive that SUMATE organized the successful Recall Election drive in spite of ALL THE ABUSES committed by chavismo to derail the effort (and their own failure at raising a credible recall election for opposition assemblymen).

I think that Valero sensed the exasperation of his colleagues as he decided at the last minute to back down to avoid a full frontal vote second vote that would have established the growing isolation of Venezuela in the OAS.

The good news there is that the problems of the electoral system in Venezuela are now been noticed outside and SUMATE is considered as one of the best defender of the right to vote, and certainly technically the most informed one. Let's hope that this well deserved recognition of Maria Corina Machado and SUMATE's work will boost the growing movement inside Venezuela to put due pressure on the obscenely partial CNE.