Excerpts of column "Runrunes" (Rumors) of Tuesday, November 13
CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY. Was not it the better constitution in the world? Is it that, as recommended by ex Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a successor is wanted? Are they agreeing with General Raúl Baduel, who gave the warning after the referendum of 2007? Is it uncovered, upfront communism?
SUGAR. Four years have passed after the raid by the National Lands Institute (INTI) and the National Guard into Turbio Valleys. Thousands of hectares and 29 farms with a production tradition older than 100 years, that is, one century, of sugar cane were seized. Then came the red, very red revolution championed by President Hugo Chávez; ex INTI president Elías Jaua and Minister of Lands Juan Carlos Loyo. Try it and see it for yourself: nil production; failed inventions; investments with no economic return, let alone social return; swept lands. In the meantime, government sugar mills are abandoned, with idle capacity. Imports of raw sugar are on the rise, unnecessarily hitting our international reserves. (...) Yes indeed, ask the Cubans and their Venezuelan partners about the earnings in US dollars, already abroad in their bank accounts, from Trinidad & Tobago to China and Luxembourg, following the construction and commissioning of imported sugar mills, all of them going for the few productive ones in the private sector.
RUSSIANS. In the next few hours a huge protest could break out against the sons of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin: the partners from Moscow who are constructing 20 out of the 40 buildings of (welfare program) Mission Housing in Fuerte Tiuna fort. The true "vertical henhouses" were devised fortnight and apportioned as well among Chinese and Belorussians. Russians are reluctant to acknowledge the additional costs of the works commissioned to Venezuelan subcontractors. There is a loss-making cash flow, as they have paid only 60% of the real amount. Half out of 3,000 workers are Russians. They have been taken even from health care. However, layoffs would be out of prophylaxis, as state-run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) exacted the recruitment of homeless without any control, not even checking their criminal records, for being "imperialist." Hence, the ordeal of crime and illicit drugs, in addition to sabotage "ordered by somebody." The applications for dismissals of unskilled workers filed at the Ministry of Labor have not been assessed for months. Things have reached boiling point...
Translated by Conchita Delgado
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.