Excerpts of column "Runrunes" (Rumors) of Tuesday, November 6
BADUEL & RANGEL SILVA. Omar Mora Tosta, the attorney of ex Defense Minister Raúl Isaías Baduel, confirmed that the General, detained at Ramo Verde military prison, was visited by Minister of Penitentiary Affairs Iris Varela. The minister offered him freedom provided that he would waive his critical stance towards the Venezuelan government and the retrograde communist socialism. Baduel refused any settlement as he has claimed not guilty. Instead, he asked for the freedom of other political prisoners, such as commissioners and police agents behind bars after rigged lawsuits as instructed by President Hugo Chávez, and confessed by ex magistrate José Eladio Aponte Aponte. It seems that the caudillo is most upset because his former comrade-in-arms holds evidence of having warned him and refrained from joining him in some of his most dangerous decisions for the army. (...) The former minister asked the president "to start a thorough investigation into and audit the assets of Army Brigadier Henry Rangel Silva." Chávez not only ignored his "compadre Raúl," but later on he appointed Rangel Silva as minister. As Rangel Silva is accused in the United States, Chávez gives unconditional support and absolute confidence.
RUSSIANS. The ordeal undergone in Fuerte Tiuna fort not only stretches out to contractors, workers and people left homeless, but also army officers. The contracts to build dwellings at Fuerte Tiuna awarded to Russians, Chinese and Belorussians allow them to outsource, make their own projects and manage costs. However, this time I will focus on Russians. Incidentally, the Chinese brought more than 5,000 workers from their country. The Russian project is worth USD 800 million. It relies on Venezuelan companies for hiring, budgets and execution. They make no technology, technical, or administrative transfer, as announced by the President Commander. Russian companies are unsecured portfolio firms with no experience or advantages... Most terrible, for military officers and civilians, is the issue of onsite security. Military officers do not take part in that matter and they let the National Guard do it despite being a military zone. A report in the hands of military authorities includes drug and arms trafficking and prostitution in the area of the works delivered to the three countries, friends of the "robbery-lution."
WILL THE DTT COME? Journalist Víctor Suárez is the Venezuelan guru in technology. Víctor has tracked the issue since the system intended to be implemented by the red government was embraced. Víctor relates that Chávez had promised the business to Brazilians, Japanese, Chinese, Belorrusians and Argentineans, for them to bring technology, decoders, and so on. Today, nobody knows who will accomplish the dream of the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT). After taking the business away from the Brazilians to give it to the most corrupt Argentinean Minister Julio De Vido (the one of the suitcase scandal), last week, upon the visit of Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, the Venezuelan leader gave his blessing again to Brazil. Improvisation and cash, as usual in these 14 years of government.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
As late as Tuesday, February 25, there was some visible response from Gabriela Ramírez's office. Representatives of the Office of the Ombudswoman would visit independent human rights watch groups to find what happened in connection with repression of protests. That day, they visited NGO Provea. The next day, they met with the attorneys of NGO Venezuelan Criminal Forum. They pursued specific data because -they argued- no claims of human rights violations of demonstrators had been filed with the Office of the Ombudswoman.