Why Don’t I Want to be “Federated”?

Photo: Silvia Corbelle


The Congress of the Cuban Women’s Federation (FMC) ended a few days ago. At its closing ceremony, a man uttered the final words. But this wasn’t the only, nor the last, mistake of an antiquated organization marked by ideology.

After listening to the sessions in the Palace of Conventions, I affirm my decision not to be “federated.” Why?

Here are my reasons:

  • I reject the creation of an “eternal president” in the figure of Vilma Espín, Raúl Castro’s deceased wife, because this whole display of perpetuity in a position seems to me, at the very least, ridiculous.
  • I don’t want to be part of an organization whose flag shows a uniformed individual. I am not a soldier, I don’t see myself represented in a gun-carrying militia member.
  • I don’t believe that a woman’s organization should have as its principles fidelity to an ideology, a party and a man.
  • I suspect that a part of the four million women who make up the FMC have entered its rank purely automatically, as a mandatory process that takes place when you turn fourteen.
  • I distrust a federation that benefits from the lack of freedom of association which prevents Cuban from creating other organizations.
  • I’m aware of the double standards of the FMC, which says it rejects violence against women but which has never condemned the acts of repudiation against the Ladies in White.
  • I consider inefficient the work of an organization that, in its 50 years of existence, hasn’t managed to place women in the positions of power where the decisions that affect the country are really made.
  • I’m tired of women being reduced, in these female congresses, to beings concerned with pots and pans, soldiers who are willing to offer up their children as cannon fodder or production parts… selfless, beautiful and obedient.
  • I am a woman of the 21st century, I carry my ovaries not with victimhood but with pride, and I can’t be a member of an organization that transmits the directives of power to women.
  • Of course, when it is legal to associate according to one’s beliefs, affinities, genders and many other points of similitude, I will be there with my progesterone and my demands for a true female federation.

125 thoughts on “Why Don’t I Want to be “Federated”?

  1. WHAT IS MIDDLE CLASS IN SOCIALIST CUBA

    In the wake of the Cuban revolution, many middle class Cubans emigrated to the United States. But in the intervening decades, Cuba’s universal public education has spawned new middle classes, of government officials, professional engineers and accountants, and in increasing numbers today, private entrepreneurs.

    Here’s how many Cubans fit the category of “middle class.” Middle class can be defined by certain social achievements or values, such as educational attainment; women’s participation in the labor force; indices of economic security; and consumption baskets or aspirations:

    • Education

    For the Latin American middle class as defined in a major World Bank survey, the mean years of education was 10.4.[1] For all Cubans, the mean years of schooling is nearly the same (10.2).[2] Thus, if educational attainment—possessing human capital—is given a large weight in defining middle class, as is often the case, most Cubans would qualify.

    • Female labor force participation

    Female labor outside the home is a mark of modernity as well as a source of household income. In Latin American households considered middle class by the World Bank, roughly two-thirds of the women work. The female participation rate in Cuba is only moderately lower, at 60 percent.[3] More broadly, Cuba scores well in the “Gender Inequality Index” of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), virtually tied for best performance in the Latin American and Caribbean region with Barbados and Costa Rica.

    • Fertility rates (or size of households)

    Lower fertility is associated with middle class status and Cuba displays the low rates characteristic of developed societies. Nearly 100 percent of Cuban women report access to contraception techniques and fertility rates are under 2.0, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.[4]

    • Home ownership and enrollment in social security systems

    In these two indicators of economic attainment and security, Cuba scores highly, reporting that over 80 percent of Cubans own their homes (albeit too often in deteriorated status) and nearly all Cubans are enrolled in the national social security system.

    So by several measures—such as educational attainment, women working outside the home, women’s access to contraception and reproductive rates, and common indices of economic security—Cuba looks very much like a middle class society.

    But there is one measure whereby Cuba would certainly not qualify: access to individual consumer items. Frustrating for many Cubans, their homes lack all the “stuff”—an up-to-date basket of final consumption goods—associated with middle class consumerism. Few Cubans own their own cars or computers, any appliances they are lucky enough to possess are often in disrepair, and their access to well-stocked retail stores and private services is incipient only. As of 2010, a mere 19 percent of Cubans had telephones (fixed or mobile), compared for example to 97 percent in Costa Rica.

    Yet many Cubans display the middle class trait of aspiring to consume. As one wry young man noted, “We’re not comunistas anymore, we’re consumistas.” Asked by the author for her goals in life, one Cuban in her early twenties blithely responded, “Of course we all want the same things: a car that starts, a smart phone, a computer with internet access, and a decent home.” Even if they cannot afford them, a surprising number of Cubans are aware of global brands, ranging from Nike shoes to Nestlé ice cream. A common motivation for emigrating is the desire to experience the middle-class lifestyle associated with the consumer society.

    There are few surveys of consumer tastes or of individual attitudes published in Cuba. But one recent academic publication confirmed what one might anticipate: that many Cubans are now pursuing strategies of upward social mobility. According to this study, these individualistic strategies seek advancement by movement into the private sector, by supplementing state incomes through moonlighting, and by the use of social networks. Upwardly mobile Cubans “offer an optimistic narrative, feel they are better off than their parents and will further improve their situations”—perceptions and aspirations so characteristic of the middle classes worldwide.

    The emerging private sector in Cuba—numbering as many as two million or 40 percent of the labor force—and these middle classes—consisting of the majority of Cubans by some characteristics—are already redefining the new post-Castro Cuba. The old narrative, that Fidel and Raul Castro had to pass from the scene before real change could occur, has been discredited by current trends.

  2. WAIT A MINUTE! I THOUGHT COMMUNISTS WERE SUPPOSE TO SHARE ALL AND ALL ARE TO BE EQUAL! OOPS, FORGET THAT “COMMUNISTS” ARE ALSO THE MOST HYPOCRITICAL ANIMALS IN THE PLANET!

    BLOOMBERG: Cubans with money revel in booming social circuit – by By Peter Orsi

    It’s still a small segment of the population, however, and a far cry from the scene along the Malecon seafront boulevard where working-class Cubans gather by the thousands on weekends to sip from 90-cent cardboard boxes of rum.

    “Here on the Malecon to have fun, look at girls,” said Adan Ferro, a 20-year-old street sweeper, adding sarcastically: “Where else am I going to go? The Habana Libre?”

    HAVANA: It’s Saturday night at El Cocinero, a chic rooftop bar that has arguably become Havana’s hippest watering hole in the year since it opened, and there’s no getting in without a reservation.

    There are plenty of foreigners, but also not a few sharp-dressed Cubans lounging in the butterfly chairs, sipping $3 mojitos and talking art, culture and politics. It’s an image that stands in stark contrast to common perceptions overseas of Communist Cuba as a poor country where nobody has the disposable income to blow on a night out.

    Cuba’s nouveau riche are coming out of the woodwork, if not quite flaunting their personal wealth.

    It’s a departure from years past, when Fidel Castro fulminated against newly rich Cubans who were getting ahead of their compatriots during an earlier economic opening.

    Cuba is still far from a consumer’s paradise. Nonetheless, there are more things here every day to spend money on, from home improvements and beach vacations to the hordes of smartphones and Xboxes imported for resale by islanders who are traveling abroad in record numbers.

    Foreigners visiting and living in Cuba have long been able to afford such luxuries. So have Cubans like Triana who work for foreign companies or embassies that pay hard-currency salaries competitive with elsewhere in Latin America.

    Then there’s the art-world elite, which historically has been a core part of Cuba’s monied class. An artist who sells a single painting for a few thousand dollars or a musician who performs on an overseas tour is already earning hundreds of times what most Cubans make.

    It’s a phenomenon that New York visual artist Michael Dweck documented in his 2011 book “Habana Libre,” the product of nearly three years photographing the unlikely fashionable lives of Havana’s hip creatives.

    “They are part of the elite. Not because they are in banking or importing or real estate — these people are the creative class,” Dweck said. “There is a privileged class living a pretty good life in Havana, which is the opposite of what we were told as Americans about what’s going on in Cuba.”

    It’s on the bar circuit that Cuba’s Yuppies are most visible.

    Artists and intellectuals abound at places like El Cocinero and the Fabrica de Arte Cubana next door, opened last month by renowned musician X Alfonso as a combination gallery, concert hall and bar with a $2 cover. Others head to Bohemio, a breezy porch-turned-bar, to nosh on cheese and serrano ham tapas, or Cafe Madrigal, which began the private bar boom when it was opened by a filmmaker in 2011 and is now a favorite of the film and theater crowd.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-03-24/cubans-with-money-revel-in-booming-social-circuit

  3. OMG Nick! AMIGO! WHY SO MAD!! WHY SO TESTY! WHY ALL THE INSULTS THROWN AT LITTLE OLD ME?? ARE YOU LIKE Nicolas Maduro MAD THE THE TRUTH ABOUT THE VIOLENCE AGAINST THE VENEZUELAN PROTESTERS IS GETTING OUT INTO THE WORLD’S ATTENTION? IS THAT WHY YOURE MAD AT ME BABY?? GOOD! I BATHE IN YOUR ANGER DEAR! RUNS OFF MY BACK LIKE WATER!! JE JE JE!

    BUSINESS INSIDER AUSTRALIA: This Tech Company Made Its Product Free In Venezuela To Fight Government Censorship – by Dylan Love

    Times are complicated in Venezuela right now. Citizens are protesting the government in response torising inflationand increased criminal violence (such as the high-profile murder of Monica Spear, former Miss Venezuela). Meanwhile, theVenezuelan government has taken to censoring parts of the Internet, blocking Twitter images in an attempt to make the protests seem less widespread.
    “The government blocks everything it considers affecting its reputation, without administrative process or rules,” Jorge Salazar Lamas told us via email. He’s a 38-year-old financial analyst who lives in Caracas. “Here you can see a list of sites blocked, but there is no transparency to the process. We can imagine that there is much more of the Web that we cannot access from Venezuela.”
    Enter a company called AnchorFree, which makes a product called Hotspot Shield. This is a VPN service, short for “virtual private network.” When browsing the Web through Hotspot Shield, your traffic is rerouted through AnchorFree’s servers first, before they deliver it directly to you. You might use a service like this for a number of reasons, but many people use it to protect themselves from malware and to mask their geographic locations.
    Because Hotspot Shield successfully curbs Internet censorship in Venezuela, the company decided to make the premium version of its iOS app free for those affected by it.
    “AnchorFree’s mission is to provide freedom to access all of the world’s information for every person on the planet,” said company CEO David Gorodyansky. “We made our premium Hotspot Shield [app] for the iPhone free for users in Venezuela to be able to get to Twitter and other Internet services without any censorship. We continue to be committed to provide secure access to the world’s information for 7 billion people.”
    Hotspot Shield boasts 200 million users worldwide and is finding an especially grateful user base in Venezuela right now. Jorge Lamas is one of many people helping get the word out on how to get around the censorship: “Venezuelan penetration of Twitter is very big, one of the highest in the world [so we] spread the information [on Hotspot Shield] using social networks …
    We are very grateful to AnchorFree.”

  4. CASTROFASCIST IMPERIALISM IN VENEZUELA! AND IN LATIN AMERICA!
    Are Cuban Special Forces Shooting at Venezuelan Protesters? – by Alice Speri

    “We know there are Cuban officers within our National Guard,” said Barreto, repeating widespread but unconfirmed reports that president Nicolás Maduro’s government might have tapped its island neighbor for help in protecting its Bolivarian revolution. “Can you imagine Russian officers joining the US National Guard to shoot at American citizens there? That’s unacceptable.”

    Barreto says he has no doubt that at least some of the officers he has come across are Cuban. Early on in the protests—before guards started shooting at him—he brought them water bottles to cool off while they watched over demonstrators.

    “They were in the streets standing in the sun all day, and I wanted to be friendly,” Barreto said. “One of them, when he thanked me, had a Cuban accent. I know a Cuban accent; I have uncles there.”

    Venezuelan officials have neither acknowledged nor denied the accusations. But reports like Barreto’s have multiplied over the last several days, also fueled by Ángel Vivas, a retired Venezuelan general and government critic. The embattled former military man tweeted to more than 200,000 followers that “Cuban and Venezuelan henchmen” were coming to his house after Maduro ordered his arrest, according to several reports.

    VICE News reached out to both Cuban and Venezuelan officials, but neither was immediately available for comment.

    But if the Cuban government is watching Venezuelan protesters—and rather closely, if the accusations of infiltration are true—so are its critics.

    “There must be much nervousness in Havana’s Revolution Square,” Cuban blogger and activist Yoani Sanchez recently tweeted. “Venezuela is taking it by surprise.”

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE, VIDEOS & PHOTOS!

    http://www.vice.com/read/are-cuban-special-forces-shooting-at-venezuelan-protesters

  5. OMG Nick! AMIGO! WHY SO MAD!! WHY SO TESTY! WHY ALL THE INSULTS THROWN AT LITTLE OLD ME?? ARE YOU LIKE Nicolas Maduro MAD THE THE TRUTH ABOUT THE VIOLENCE AGAINST THE VENEZUELAN PROTESTERS IS GETTING OUT INTO THE WORLD’S ATTENTION? IS THAT WHY YOURE MAD AT ME BABY?? GOOD! I BATHE IN YOUR ANGER DEAR! RUNS OFF MY BACK LIKE WATER!! JE JE JE!

    BUSINESS INSIDER AUSTRALIA: This Tech Company Made Its Product Free In Venezuela To Fight Government Censorship – by Dylan Love

    Times are complicated in Venezuela right now. Citizens are protesting the government in response torising inflationand increased criminal violence (such as the high-profile murder of Monica Spear, former Miss Venezuela). Meanwhile, theVenezuelan government has taken to censoring parts of the Internet, blocking Twitter images in an attempt to make the protests seem less widespread.

    “The government blocks everything it considers affecting its reputation, without administrative process or rules,” Jorge Salazar Lamas told us via email. He’s a 38-year-old financial analyst who lives in Caracas. “Here you can see a list of sites blocked, but there is no transparency to the process. We can imagine that there is much more of the Web that we cannot access from Venezuela.”

    Enter a company called AnchorFree, which makes a product called Hotspot Shield. This is a VPN service, short for “virtual private network.” When browsing the Web through Hotspot Shield, your traffic is rerouted through AnchorFree’s servers first, before they deliver it directly to you. You might use a service like this for a number of reasons, but many people use it to protect themselves from malware and to mask their geographic locations.

    Because Hotspot Shield successfully curbs Internet censorship in Venezuela, the company decided to make the premium version of its iOS app free for those affected by it.

    “AnchorFree’s mission is to provide freedom to access all of the world’s information for every person on the planet,” said company CEO David Gorodyansky. “We made our premium Hotspot Shield [app] for the iPhone free for users in Venezuela to be able to get to Twitter and other Internet services without any censorship. We continue to be committed to provide secure access to the world’s information for 7 billion people.”

    Hotspot Shield boasts 200 million users worldwide and is finding an especially grateful user base in Venezuela right now. Jorge Lamas is one of many people helping get the word out on how to get around the censorship: “Venezuelan penetration of Twitter is very big, one of the highest in the world [so we] spread the information [on Hotspot Shield] using social networks … We are very grateful to [AnchorFree].”

  6. Hi HUMBY!!
    You really are getting disturbingly excited recently.
    You are working yourself into a copy and paste frenzy over these troubles in Venezuela.
    You are like someone who’s Christmases have all come at once.

    It is somewhat worrisome to see a grown man in California gloating over these deaths and trying to use these tragic events as ammunition for his own petty propagandising.
    What is beyond worrisome is the unpleasant smell of a grown man in California trying to persuade the world at large that all the killings have been carried out by one particular faction.
    And guess what ????
    It’s the faction that he doesn’t like. What a surprise !!!

    Then after all this copy and paste frenzy aimed at the particular faction that he doesn’t like, cuddly old HUMBY accuses others of singing the same old tune.
    Here’s a tune for you HUMBY:
    It’s not very pleasant to witness the spectacle of a grown man, from his safe little home in California, gloating and revelling to such an extent over this bloody and tragic violence hundreds of miles away.

  7. http://www.noticias24.com
    Hinterlaces: valoración positiva del presidente Nicolás Maduro subió a 57%
    (Caracas, 23 de marzo. AVN) – De acuerdo con el último Monitor País de Hinterlaces, subió a 57% el porcentaje de los venezolanos que califica como positiva la gestión del presidente Nicolás Maduro.

    In other news….protestors burned books in a couple of universities…..government describes this as an attack on civil society….Right Wing extremists behaving like Nazis….Maduro claims….

  8. Humberto: No tactics, no hidden agenda….the truth without bias….my prediction is that the protests will be over in 3 months time…inflation will be reduced….join ventures in the oil industry will revitalize the petroleum industry in Venezuela…gas exports could be in the future of Venezuela. Venezuela is going to continue to have the lowest rate of inequality in Latin America at GINI Index of .42. One important statistics in this crisis that it is not mentioned much is the fact that the unemployment rate of Venezuela is at 6% even though they are in a recessionary environment. The lack of dollars available to the private sector to pay for some imports will create the opportunity for nationalization or to eliminate alternatives in the economy and thus creating an economy of substitutes which is the right type of economy to have. Subsidized domestic gasoline prices will increase in a three years plan that will be implemented once the inflation in the country is reduced to more normal levels for Venezuela (24 to 32% has been normal for Venezuela for quite some time). Venezuela’s economy is expected to grow in 2014 at a 4% of GDP rate. This is slow for Venezuela…between more join ventures, lower supply to the PetroCaribe countries (increasing supply of oil for other customers that will pay the $96/97 dollars per barrel). The devaluation of the bolivar affecting people traveling and certain industries who participate in the SICAD exchange rate of over $11.30/$dollar plus the eventual reduction in the domestic gasoline prices, Venezuela will get their economic house in order. The anti-crime plan called Safe Homeland Plan and the newly created Minister of Happiness should bring down corruption and crime to respectable levels and with the end of protests in the near future, the risk of investing in Venezuela will be lower.

    Humberto, as you can see the government of Maduro is addressing the concerns of the protesters…Capriles should step up and tell the protestors to go home….no regime change necessary to address present concern of the middle class and Rich in Venezuela. Only Right extremists, who entice violence by infiltrating the peaceful student demonstrations are the problem. This is not only my view (after research in the internet), but, the view of American think tanks, American Investment house, U.S. bank and Latin American countries….hopefully wisdom will win over Man’s stupidity and greed. Ukraine just lost part of its country because of stupidity and greed….let’s hope the Venezuelan People are wiser and don’t make a decision based on a bankrupt vision that is not sustainable.

  9. DONT MESS WITH THE GOCHOS Nicolas Maduro!! TODO ESTA DOCUMENTADO! ITS ALL DOCUMENTED!

    YOUTUBE: FACE OFF IN TACHIRA, VENEZUELA 3/22/2014 – In San Cristobal the marchers made the Venezuela police back out.- Clashes between GNB (police) and the Resistance in San Cristobal (GOCHOS) in Edo, Tachira ..!

    In the vicinity of the palace of the governor of San Cristobal Tachira in a picket of the National Guard had to retreat before an unstoppable tide of people who were protesting. Moments later the demonstration was dispersed with tear gas which caused fainting and convulsions in some of these. Youtube Video Melo received via Carlos Alberto Calderon. MARCH 22, 2014
    ENFRENTAMIENTOS TÁCHIRA 22/03/2014 – SAN CRISTOBAL marcha hace retroceder a piquete de la GNB – Enfrentamiento entre la GNB y la Resistencia de los GOCHOS en San Cristobal Edo Táchira..! en la Gobernación

    En las inmediaciones del palacio de la Gobernación del Tachira en San Cristobal un piquete de la Guardia Nacional debió retroceder ante una indetenible marea de personas que marchaban. Momentos después la manifestación fue dispersada con gases lacrimógenos lo que ocasionó desmayos y convulsiones en algunos de los presentes. Video Youtube recibido vía Carlos Alberto Melo Calderón. 22 DE MARZO DE 2014

  10. THE GUARDIAN UK: Three more killed in Venezuela protests . Shootings in Caracas, Valencia and San Cristobal amid clashes between demonstrators, security forces and armed gangs

    Three Venezuelans have died from gunshot wounds during protests against socialist President Nicolás Maduro, witnesses and local media have said, pushing the death toll to 34 from almost two months of demonstrations that have been answered with deadly force from both security forces and armed pro-government gangs.

    Troops briefly clashed with a small group of protesters who attempted to block a highway in an upscale neighborhood of Caracas after thousands of opposition supporters marched to demand the release of students imprisoned during the unrest.

    Demonstrators complaining of soaring prices and product shortages have vowed to remain in the streets until Maduro resigns, although there are few signs that the country’s worst turmoil in a decade will force him from office.

    Argenis Hernandez, 26, was shot in the abdomen as he was demonstrating near a barricade in the central city of Valencia and died early on Saturday in a nearby hospital, according to local media reports.

    A motorcyclist attempted to cross the barricade and opened fire on demonstrators when they would not let him through, wounding Hernandez.

    Bus driver Wilfredo Rey, 31, died on Friday night after being shot in the head during a confrontation between demonstrators and hooded gunmen in the western city of San Cristobal, according to local residents. Rey had not been involved in the protests, they said.

    Forty-year-old Jesus Labrador was hit by a bullet on Saturday in the Andean city of Merida during a shootout between armed protesters burning tires and hooded gunmen on motorcycles, according to a resident of the area.
    Labrador died minutes after arriving at the hospital. Four others suffered bullet wounds in the incident.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/23/three-more-killed-in-venezuela-protests

  11. YOUTUBE: Video that OAS did not want to see – This video was brought to the Organization of American States yesterday March 21st, but they cowardly decided not to discuss Venezuela, so that they never had to see this video.

  12. AS YOU CAN SEE, OUR DEAR CHAVISTA/CASTRO AGENT Omar Fundora IS HERE TO DEFAME THE PEACEFUL PROTESTERS IN VENEZUELA. BOTH THE CHAVISTASFASCISTAS AND THEIR LORDS THE CASTROFASCISTS NEED NOW TO START THEIR DEFAMATION CAMPAIGN BECAUSE THEY DID NOT COUNT ON SOCIAL MEDIA TO BE ABLE TO LEAK SO MANY VIDEOS, PHOTOS AND INFORMATION ON THE CARNAGE IN VENEZUELA. THIS IS THE MODUS OPERANDI OF THE DICTATORS, LIES, LIES, LIES, DEFAMATION, DEFAMATION, DEFAMATION. BUT MOST OF THESE CRIMES HAVE BEEN DOCUMENTED AND JUSTICE WILL COME VERY SOON TO ALL THE VICTIMS. CARRY ON Omar Fundora WITH YOUR VERY TRANSPARENT TACTIS!

    YOUTUBE:Así se desbordo la Francisco de Miranda en Marzo 22. This was the overflowed march in Francisco de Miranda on March 22.

    This is how the Francisco de Miranda on March 22 overflowed. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets this Saturday 22 March to tell dictatorship Nicolas Maduro that they Will Fight To Win.We show that we are the majority who want this regime out, one that impoverishes us and imprisons us! We will continue with Unit On The Streets, peacefully but firmly and Constitution in hand!

    Así se desbordo la Francisco de Miranda 22 Marzo. Cientos de miles de venezolanos tomaron las calles este Sábado 22 Marzo para decirle a la dictadura de Nicolas Maduro Yo Lucho Hasta Vencer. ¡Demostramos que SOMOS MAYORÍA quienes queremos La Salida de este régimen que nos empobrece y encarcela! ¡Seguiremos impulsándola con Unidad En La Calle, pacíficamente, pero con firmeza y la Constitución en la mano!

  13. Venezuela Summary

    PROTESTS
    The protests were caused by Nationalization, economic scarcity, violence. Protesters are the minority in the country. The majority of the killing have being carried out by the citizen violence on citizens instead of by the government on its citizens. Lopez and Machado arrested and threaten with arrest respectively. Government pacification policy continues. Collectives- pro government groups helping control the contra revolutionary activities in the country. But, political unrest is undermining investments in the country.

    ECONOMY: (inflation, scarcity(recession) and devaluation )
    Inflation at 56%, new exchange rate SICAD 2 will create two exchange rates. Devaluation of the Bolivar (a tax on imports basically). In exchange rate $11 bolivar/dollar….national rate for public expending at $6.83/dollar. Shipment of oil to PetroCaribe have been cut (Cuba by 23000 barrels a day. Cienfuego Refinery in Cuba, joint profits by the sale of refined crude to other countries in PetroCaribe. China, Russia and India have investment interest in Venezuela. China reaffirm loans to Venezuela. Russia to a lesser degree. India $65 Billion dollars. Maduro’s government creates e-cards for people to shop for food in government stores. Investments by join ventures with companies from China, Russia, India, French…others too should allow Petro Venezuela to obtain the dollars it needs for expansion in hydrocarbons and bring in more dollars into the country to continue the transformation to the Socialist Model. Price of oil set by OPEC at $100/barrel. Petro Venezuela Oil company profits are being used for social programs and private investments. Main source of dollars is Oil Revenues and Tourism. Expenses of Petro Venezuela due to PetroCaribe subsidies, social programs and domestic investments and domestic fuel subsidies is preventing company from investing all it needs with its own dollars to expand production (World demand for Oil too). Pacific Trade Alliance which Cuba is part of it can help Cuba diversify from its 40% dependence in trade from Venezuela.
    Venezuela, where the situation is even more perilous, is heading in the other direction. On January 22nd the government unveiled new rules under which a higher rate for non-essential transactions is set weekly (it stood at 11.36 bolívares to the dollar this week). The old rate of 6.3 still applies for government imports and basic items such as food and medicine, so reserves will keep falling as the government defends the currency.
    Venezuela is running out of dollars to pay its bills. Although payments to its financial creditors of around $5 billion this year do not appear to be at risk, the country’s arrears on non-financial debt are put at over ten times that sum. These include more than $3 billion owed to foreign airlines for tickets sold in bolívares, and around $9 billion in private-sector imports that have not been paid for because of the dollar shortage. “Under the current economic model, and with this economic policy,” says Asdrúbal Oliveros of Ecoanalítica, “this [debt] looks unpayable.”
    The effects are already apparent. Foreign airlines have placed tight restrictions on ticket sales; some have suspended them altogether. Many drugs and spare parts for medical equipment are unavailable. Car parts, including batteries, are increasingly hard to find; newspapers are closing for lack of paper. The country’s largest private firm, Empresas Polar, which makes many basic foodstuffs, is struggling to make some products. In a statement Polar said the government owed it $463m and that production was “at risk” because foreign suppliers of raw materials and packaging were threatening to halt shipments.
    The government blames the crisis on private businesses and “irresponsible” use of hard currency by ordinary Venezuelans. It has ordered drastic cuts in dollar allowances for travellers, especially to popular destinations like Miami. Remittances to relatives abroad have also been slashed. In a bid to curb runaway inflation, it has introduced a new law restricting companies’ profits to 30% of costs. Long jail sentences await transgressors.
    Without a big injection of dollars from the state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, which brings in 96% of foreign earnings, the crunch will continue. Better terms for foreign investors in the oil industry would bring in much-needed cash and boost stagnant production. But unless the government abandons its antipathy to private capital, the prospect of new investment is dim. Shortages of goods are only likely to worsen. If Argentina is an outlier, Venezuela risks straying into a different category entirely.

    POLITICS
    Maduro’s government continues to roll out the Socialist Model. Public support is good. Violence control in Venezuela needs to be better. Safe Homeland Plan and Ministry of Happiness with the help of $10 Million available for plan should help bring structural crime problem under control to more normal levels.

  14. THE SAFE HOMELAND PROGRAM RECEIVED ADDITIONAL FUNDING TO ADDRESS THE CRIME PROBLEM. This along with the 56 point economic plan agreed with the opposition will address the main issues with the protestors: inflation, scarcity, crime. Criticism of government only constructive criticism….

    Nicolas Maduro became the “Safe Homeland” program, a massive police and military campaign to build security in the country. 3,000 soldiers were deployed to decrease homicide in Venezuela, which has one of the highest rates of homicide in Latin America.[28] Most of these troops were deployed in the state of Miranda (Greater Caracas), which has the highest homicide rate in Venezuela. According to the government, in 2012, more than 16,000 people were killed, a rate of 54 people per 100,000, although the Venezuela Violence Observatory, a campaign group, claims that the homicide rate was in fact 73 people per 100,000.[28] The government claims that the Safe Homeland program has reduced homicides by 55%.[29][30]

    In October 2013, Maduro requested an enabling law to fight corruption.[31][32] Maduro also said the law was necessary to fight an ‘economic war’.[33] On 24 October, he announced the creation of a new agency, the Vice Ministry of Supreme Happiness, to coordinate all the social programmes.[34] In early December a blackout occurred during a speech in which he spoke on television about plans to reduce inflation battering the automotive industry. He then suggested an act of sabotage and called for the military to be on high alert.[35]

    In response to media coverage of the 2014 Venezuelan protests, Maduro expelled CNN.[36]

    Maduro has threatened to bar from the country any airlines that stop flights because they haven’t been paid

  15. An important piece to the situation in Venezuela is the Pacific Trade Alliance. Latin American countries that have joined this alliance can help buffer their economies to a certain degree from situations like the Venezuelan Crisis. Cuba had issues with Cargo in Transit. It claimed that it inhibits trade for developing countries….

    the Pacific Alliance will continue moving forward—deliberately, if slowly. Each founding member state’s commitment to the agreement has already been tested, with each surviving a turnover in head-of-state since the alliance’s inception. Though not yet fully formed, in short, the Pacific Alliance is at the very least both robust and resilient.

    The contrast between the Pacific Alliance and other regional initiatives past and present is sharp—particularly in light of Venezuela’s recent economic troubles and the ensuing political crisis. And with each successful step, the Pacific Alliance validates its own model as a potential mechanism for regional cooperation—a model based on economic pragmatism and liberalized trade. The results shown by the alliance’s vigorous effort for economic integration demonstrate an opportunity to assured development. So who will be the next to jump on board?

  16. Venezuela: Who You Gonna Believe, the New York Times or Your Lying Eyes?
    Written by Mark Weisbrot
    Saturday, 15 March 2014 19:25

    Today’s report from the New York Times trashes the government for “combative tactics” and “cracking down” on protesters, but if you watch the accompanying video, all you see are protesters attacking police, and the police – without venturing forward, defending themselves with water cannon and tear gas.

    One can criticize the decision of the government to block the march from going to hostile territory, but given the continuous presence of violent elements among the protestors, and that Venezuela is a country with a very high homicide rate and many armed civilians, it could have been the prudent thing to do. The government also believes, with some justification, that these protests seek to provoke violence in order to de-legitimize the government. Their stated goal is to overthrow the democratically elected government, and given that the vast majority of the country is against the protests, this really is their only chance of getting anywhere. And the government also knows that the media (both national private and international) will generally blame them for any violence.

    In the United States, and especially here in Washington DC, you have to get a permit for marches like this, and they are often denied or re-routed; and if you try to defy this the police will generally beat you and throw you in jail. And these are actually peaceful protests here.

    As for the violence so far associated with the protests since they started on Feburary 12, the statistics show that more people have died at the hands of protesters than security forces:

    Of the 29 people killed (full details here),

    — 3 appear to be protesters allegedly killed by security forces; 1 other was killed by security forces but it’s not clear if he was a protester.

    — 5 appear to be protesters allegedly killed by civilians (the opposition always alleges that these civilians are somehow taking orders from the government, but there has not been any evidence linking the government to any killings by armed civilians; and in a country where there are on average more than 65 homicides per day, it is most likely that these armed civilians are acting on their own).

    — 11 civilians appear to have died at the hands of protestors: four of them shot, and the rest killed by various barricades or other obstructions (e.g. motorcyclist beheaded by wire allegedly strung by protesters).

    — 3 national guard appear to have been killed by protesters

    — 1 pro-government activist appears to have been killed by security forces

    — 5 have died in circumstances that are too unclear to determine if they were really related to protests, but they are often included in press reports.

    At least 21 security officers have been arrested and remain in jail for alleged violence against protesters, including the incidents described above.

  17. Beyond loans and joint ventures, Chinese support to Venezuela’s petroleum sector
    includes a $843 million Wilson Energy Services contract to supportthe Puerto la Cruz
    refinery in eastern Venezuela and CNPC’s construction of a 400,000 barrel per day
    refinery in Guangdong to process heavy Venezuelan crude.While CNPC is formally
    partnered with PDVSA on the refinery, it has had to fund the venture on its own, with
    PDVSA committing to pay its share through future petroleum deliveries.
    Finally, Petrochina’sis supplying eight new oil tankers to PDV Marine through the joint
    company CV Shipping, also paid for through the China fund by Venezuelan oil
    deliveries. The tankers are important to control PDVSA’s freight costs as itships
    increasing volumes of petroleum across the Pacific to China and India.While the first of
    such tankers, the Carabobo, never left China following its September 2012 christening
    in (now scheduled for delivery in May 2014), the second, the 2 million barrel Ayacucho
    arrived in Anzoátegui in October 2013, andthe third, the Boyacá,overdue as this article
    went to press.

    Russia is also engage in the trade with PDVSA…..Russian companies remaining in Venezuela have decided to continue with PDVSA and “ride out the storm.” In November 2013 Gazprom agreed to loan PDVSA $1 billion to help it to bring production on line.At an industry conference the
    same month, Rosneft committed to invest $65 billion in Venezuela through 2022,
    although industry experts are doubtful of the credibility of such commitments.

    western companies electing to stay for the moment include Chevron, Spain’s Repsol, and Italy’s
    Eni.Indeed, the estimated $10 billion in loans provided to PDVSA by its partners this
    year (although some are simply conversion of accounts receivable with PDVSA to debt)
    includes an announced $2 billion from Chevron, $1.2 billion from Repsol, and $1.5B
    from Schlumberger.

    Looking toward the future, Venezuela experts consulted for this article generally
    agreethat the country’s present trajectory is unsustainable.Perhaps the greatest cause
    for hope is suggestions by persons close to PDVSA that the current crisis is forcing a
    greater role of foreign firms in the operational, financial, and strategic management of
    joint ventures.
    The complex truth is that PDVSA will be able to bring up production in some areas, and
    address some problems in refining, transportation and other areas.It will not, however,
    be able to meet all of its increasingly desperate future commitments to its partners, while
    simultaneously passing enough money to the government and society to stave off public
    disorder.The calculus of government and industry actors is thus arguably evolving from
    desperate attempts to save the ship of state to an ugly struggle over “who gets the last
    lifeboat.” In this game, the only rule is ruthlessness, and competitors and partners alike
    are the enemy.Someone will eventually end up in control of 300 billion barrels of
    recoverable oil, even if market developments in other areas like shale gas diminishes
    their value, and even if, in the process, Venezuela descends into chaos and bloodshed

  18. Venezuelan Vice-President for Economic Affairs and President of state-run oil holding Pdvsa, Rafael Ramírez, arrived in Venezuela on Monday after a tour of Russia and China which gave new financial and political support to the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

    Ramírez informed that he visited Beijing and Moscow in search of financial support and in order to review new energy projects.

    “With the Vice-President of China, Li Yuanchao, we agreed on new borrowing facilities for our country and reviewed energy projects,” the Pdvsa president twitted.

    “China has expressed every support to the Bolivarian government of President Maduro and all the Venezuelan people. We will win! We also visited Moscow for a meeting with President (Vladimir) Putin, where the maximum support to our government and people was expressed,” he added, DPA cited.

    On Monday evening, President Maduro had claimed that nationwide demonstrations, taking a toll of 18 fatalities and more than 250 injured people, seek to destabilize the country and overthrow his government.

  19. As expected, Venezuela cuts oil delivery to PetroCaribe

    Via the Guardian, published on Tuesday, March 11, 2014
    Dispatches of crude and combustibles to Cuba decreased between 23 and 32 per cent and the cut for the other Caribbean and Central American countries was 14.8 percent in 2013 versus 2012.
    Figures for the delivery of crude and combustibles to Cuba and the other nations of PetroCaribe show that last year (2013) there was a reduction in dispatches of between 42,000 barrels per day (bbls) and 52,000 bbls.

    Last year, deliveries from state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to Cuba reduced between 23 and 32 per cent versus the 104,000 bbls of 2012. “We have a total of 70,000 to 80,000 bbls that we are sending to Cuba. We process it and we are attending to the Caribbean market from there,” Venezuela’s Petroleum and Mining Minister Rafael Ramirez said during the Venezuela-Cuba Intergovernmental Commission meeting this month on an undisclosed date. This means Cuba is getting between 24,000 and 34,000 bbls less, Ramirez said.

    The reduction of deliveries to the rest of PetroCaribe was 14 per cent, which translates to between 121,000 to 103,000 bbls. The report out of Venezuela said the reduction for the most part was in the dispatch of combustibles, particularly diesel, because of the need to satisfy the domestic (Venezuelan) demand to power its thermo-electric generation plants. PDVSA delivers to the rest of the Caribbean from the Cuban refinery at Cienfuegos, Cuba. The refinery is owned 51 per cent by Cuban state-owned oil company Cupet, and 49 per cent by PDVSA. Exports that come from the company Cuvenpetrol are booked as Cuban.

  20. Venezuela economic crisis can be reverse. Specially if PDVSA gets the money it needs to expand production capacity of hydrocarbons:

    In 2005 a new Organic Hydrocarbons Law was enacted in Venezuela, ordering the end of the Apertura operating service agreements and their transition to new partnerships, termed “empresas mixtas” (joint companies), in which PDVSA needed to have at least 51% ownership. In April 2007, the previous Apertura strategic alliances of Petrozuata, Ameriven, Cerro Negro and Sincor (which included the participation of Conoco Phillips, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron-Texaco, Total, Statoil, and BP) were ordered to be converted into empresas mixtas. By June 2007, all these companies, except for Conoco Phillips and Exxon-Mobil, made agreements with Chavez’s government that allowed them to remain in Venezuela for future projects and signed agreements with PDVSA for the transition. Conoco Phillips and Exxon Mobil’s legal battle in international arbitration courts continues. PDVSA’s Strategic Plan and Recent Auctions PDVSA’s strategic plan, as outlined by its 2008 financial report, includes:
    a) Increasing oil production to 4.94 mbpd by 2013, and to 6.5 mbpd by 2021,
    b) Exporting 3.8 mbpd of oil by 2013,
    c) Increasing installed oil refinery capacity to 3.6 mbpd by 2013 and to 4.1 mbd by 2021, and
    d) Increasing natural gas production to 12.57 million cubic feet daily (mmpcd) by 2013, converting
    Venezuela into a natural gas exporter.
    This strategic plan requires investments of about $120 billion, an amount that will require significant foreign investment. The Orinoco Oil Belt and the Future of Venezuela’s Oil Development
    At a time when many oil reserves are approaching their midpoint, the Orinoco belt is still
    underdeveloped, particularly given its potential.

    Recent reports by the U.S. Geological Survey assign Venezuela’s Orinoco oil belt up to 513 billion
    barrels of technically-recoverable heavy oil, which would be one of the world’s largest recoverable oil accumulations. The new 513 billion amount more than doubles original estimates and proven reserves of 130 billion barrels and eclipses both Canada’s 178 billion barrels (also composed almost entirely of heavy oil) and Saudi Arabia’s 264 billion barrels, which were thought to be the highest in the world. The recovery factor for these Venezuelan reserves has been estimated to be between 25% and 70%, depending on the available drilling technology.
    More recently, in an attempt to attract new foreign investment to exploit the Orinoco oil belt reserves, PDVSA opened the rights for auction in the form of partnerships in which PDVSA needs to have at least 60% of ownership (higher than the 51% technically required by law).
    At first glance, the conditions proposed did not look particularly attractive to investors. Though PDVSA was required to own at least 60% of the partnership, the foreign company was expected to fund 100% of the investment in return for their 40% stake. Further concern stemmed from the 50% tax rate, 33% royalties, and international arbitration clauses in contracts being dropped by PDVSA. Repeated delays in the auction of the Carabobo blocks reflected investor concerns about political risk, onerous financing costs and the profitability of the projects. Legal security remains the top concern, given that tax rates have been increased four times since 2004 for oil projects and that Venezuelan government has taken over more than 150 companies since 2009, including 70 oil service companies. PDVSA has also been negligent at paying dividends to partners in joint ventures. The unstable political climate in Venezuela and the unpredictability of Mr. Chavez’s socialist revolution also create risk and concern.
    However, analysts argue that the Orinoco belt is too large to pass up, particularly given its lack of
    geological or exploration risk (since reserves have already been found), and its huge potential–it might be the last project of its size left in the world. Additionally, production costs are estimated to be lower than in other places where heavy oil is extracted, despite the high start-up costs for complex and expensive refineries known as upgraders (necessary to process the tar-like “extra-heavy” oil found in the Orinoco).
    The auction was eventually opened for three blocks of the Orinoco’s belt, called the Carabobo blocks 1,2, and 3. Chinese, Malaysian, Russian, Indian and Brazilian state oil companies competed alongside oil majors such as Shell, British Petroleum, Chevron-Texaco, Total, Eni and Statoil for access to the blocks, which could require collective investment of between $30 and $50 billion in three projects potentially producing up to 1.3 mbpd.
    On February 2010, the results of the first auction on the Carabobo projects were announced, with two of the three blocks awarded. Carabobo 1, with production expected to be 0.48 mbpd, was given to a consortium including Repsol from Spain, the Malaysian state company Petronas, the Indian state company Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, and the Indian private companies Oil Indian Limited and Oil Indian Corporation. Carabobo 3, with production expected to be between 0.40 and 0.48 mbpd, was awarded to a consortium that included Chevron Texaco, Mitsubishi and Inpex from Japan, and Suelopetrol from Venezuela. Carabobo 2, the other project in auction, was reserved for PDVSA itself.
    This auction output shows a mixed result. On the one hand, some of the big names in oil showed
    interest, despite the risk, and two out of the three projects in auction were awarded. On the other hand, one of the projects was reserved for PDVSA, an indication of no interest on that particular project. The question that remains is if Venezuela will be able to substantially develop its energy potential to meet its own strategic goals. What is quite certain is the success of these partnerships will play a pivotal role in determining its oil production future in the foreseeable future.

  21. HMM! LOOKS LIKE CHAVISTAFASCISTA “PRESIDENT” Nicolas Maduro DIRTY LITTLE SECRET IS COMING TO LIGHT!

    BREITBART BLOG: Maduro was born in Colombia and presented the nation with a fake birth certificate, according to one of Spain’s largest newspapers. – by Frances Martel
    ABC reports today that deputy Walter Márquez, who initially revealed his concerns that Maduro was not legally able to run for president last autumn. While Márquez and fellow deputy Abelardo Díaz had accused Maduro of lying about his birthplace in the past, they revealed the results of a year-long research project on Thursday. They interviewed relatives and witnesses and concluded that Maduro not only has dual citizenship, but gained his Colombian citizenship at birth. The 50-page study (published here in Spanish) contains Maduro’s parents’ marriage certificate, birth certificates, and interviews with a number of neighbors of Maduro’s parents at the time, all of which requested to remain anonymous. Miami’s El Nuevo Herald reports that Márquez spoke to “more than ten neighbors” independently, all who testified the same way. The study concludes that Cuban nationals had tampered with the records in Bogotá, the Colombian capital, to destroy evidence that would link Maduro’s birth to the city. “Cuban agents have made disappear all sorts of clues so that we could not trace the exact place and time of his birth, both in Colombia and Venezuela,” Márquez alleged in a press conference today.

    Márquez also announced that the birth certificate presented by election commission chair Tibisay Lucena before the elections last October was false, according to two verification experts consulted by the study. Márquez added that he had not found any leads pointing to Maduro’s Venezuelan citizenship outside of Lucena’s documentation, just as he had not six months ago. Márquez did find that the official birth certificate was filed two years after the alleged date of birth, an anomaly that triggered the need for further investigation, according to the deputy.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE POST!

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/03/21/Venezuelan-Deputies-Find-New-Evidence-Nicolas-Maduro-Was-Born-In-Colombia

  22. THIS IS THE RIGHT VIDEO! EVEN THOUGH THE PREVIOUS ONE IS IMPORTANT AS IT SHOWS THE TWO MEN WHO ARE TRYING TO CENSOR THE YOUNG STUDENT’S PRESS CONFERENCE THAT WAS ALLOWED BY THE PANAMANIAN GOVERNMENT’S AUSPICES!

    THIS VIDEO HAS BEEN VIEWED ALMOST 500,000 IN ONE DAY! ESTE VIDEO SE HA VISTO MAS DE 500,000 EN UN DIA! TODO SE SABE! Y TODO ESTA DOCUMENTADO!
    YOUTUBE: Video que llevó María Corina a la #OEA

    Video Maria Corina to the OAS – The Bolivarian government’s oil-sucking buddies blocked the participation of Maria Corina Machado in the permanent council of the Organization of American States. This is the video that the OAS does not want to show the world. They forced a private session, very rare in this democratic body, which in this case was not!

    Una sesión con total claridad que quieren hacer privada. Los petrosocios del gobierno bolivariano bloquearon la participación de María Corina Machado en el consejo permanente de la Organización de Estados Americanos. Este es el video que la OEA no quiere mostrarle al mundo.

  23. THIS VIDEO HAS BEEN VIEWED ALMOST 500,000 TIMES IN ONE DAY! ESTE VIDEO SE HA VISTO CASI 500,000 EN UN DIA! TODO SE SABE! Y TODO ESTA DOCUMENTADO!
    YOUTUBE: Video que llevó María Corina a la OEA
    Video Maria Corina to the OAS – The Bolivarian government’s oil-sucking buddies blocked the participation of Maria Corina Machado in the permanent council of the Organization of American States. This is the video that the OAS does not want to show the world. They forced a private session, very rare in this democratic body, which in this case was not!
    Una sesión con total claridad que quieren hacer privada. Los petrosocios del gobierno bolivariano bloquearon la participación de María Corina Machado en el consejo permanente de la Organización de Estados Americanos. Este es el video que la OEA no quiere mostrarle al mundo.

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