Friday, December 30, 2005

Venezuela: Broad band for everyone

Electricidad de Caracas, the largest private power company in Venezuela, announced two months ago by it will offer its clients Internet broadband service over its transmission lines.
EDC operates in the richest markets, including the Caracas metropolitan area and the eastern city of Maracaibo.

Now, China's Zhongxing Telecom Equipment said it will provide the Venezuela's state-run power company CADAFE the internet service to private rival the planned powerline-broadband project.

Cadafe operates Venezuela's backbone power transmission network with an estimated 2.5 million customers. The broadband project involves an investment of $132 million and installation of about 5,600 miles of fiber optics.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Cuba: end of tirany nears

"Reconvening the Commission at this time sends an important message to the people of Cuba, the current dictatorship, and our friends and democratic allies: after 46 years of cruel dictatorship, now is the time for change in Cuba," said Rice.

While the United States is prepared to assist Cubans' efforts to create a democratic society in their homeland, "a genuine transition to political and economic freedom must be led by the people of Cuba," Rice added. "The work we do now will ensure that our government is fully prepared, if asked, to assist a genuine Cuban transition government committed to democracy and which will lead to Cuba's reintegration into the inter-American system."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

An eye for an eye…

…or some are more equal than others !

The OMC agricultural goods agreement enters in effect by 2013. For comparison see bellow all the advantages given to the Aussies in the USA-Australia free trade negotiations.

It is my opinion that there should be no action from developing countries on issues related to non-agriculture, including manufacturing, until 2013.

Agriculture: Duties on two-thirds of all agricultural tariffs - including on important commodities such as lamb, sheep meat and a range of horticultural products, will be eliminated immediately and duties on a further 9 per cent of tariff lines will be eliminated within four years. There will be greater access for two of Australia's key agricultural export industries, beef and dairy, including immediate elimination of in quota tariffs. The single desk arrangements for export marketing Australian commodities, and our quarantine and food safety regimes, have been preserved.

Non-agriculture including manufacturing: Duties on more than 97 percent of US nonagricultural tariff lines (excluding textiles and clothing) will be duty free from day one of the Agreement. By 2015, tariffs on textiles, some footwear and a handful of other items will be phased out, with all trade in non-agricultural goods free of duty. A mechanism to address non-tariff barriers will be established. Australian exporters have greater opportunities to understand and meet US requirements dealing with technical regulations and standards and a framework for exporters to work with government in tackling barriers will be established. Both Parties agreed to eliminate customs duties on almost all automotive products from the day the agreement enters into force, including the 25 per cent US customs duty on light commercial vehicles. Australian duties on passenger motor vehicles will be phased out by 2010.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bolivia: Se jodieron

Morales arrasa y será el presidente electo de Bolivia

El cocalero logró el 51% de los votos, según indicaba las encuestas a boca de urna. El resultado le permite llegar a la presidencia sin intervención del Congreso. Un triunfo por más de 20 puntos. En su primer discurso resaltó el aporte de los sectores medios y empresarios a su partido y lanzó un categórico llamado a los inversores a confiar en Bolivia.

El poco locuaz candidato habló desde Cochabamba, agradeció al pueblo y habló de 'depurar' a la Corte Nacional Electoral, luego de haber hecho durante todo el día denuncias de 'depuraciones' del registro electoral que supuestamente afectaron la elecció.

Me recuerda a otro candidato comunista ganador de elecciones que hizo un discurso bonito el primer día, se dirigió a "todos", dió la bienvenida a los inversionistas (extranjeros) y le puso el ojo al REP.

Comenzó mal, igualito que el dictador comunista de Venezuela...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bolivia: Exit polls were wrong

Two exit polls got it wrong. They said "none of the candidates got more than 50 percent of the vote" and Congress would decide in January 2006 between the top two finishers. The polls, released by Unitel and Television Boliviana, said Morales had 44%, while Quiroga had 34%.

At the end Morales had more than 50%.

WTO: NAMA - Non Agricultural Market Access

Members are far away from achieving full modalities. This is highly troubling. It will take a major effort by all if the objective of concluding the NAMA negotiations by the end of 2006 is to be realized.

It is crucial that Ministers move decisively on these elements so that the overall outcome is acceptable to all. This will give the necessary impetus to try and fulfil at a date soon thereafter the objective of full modalities for the NAMA negotiations.

Ministers should: Obtain agreement on the final structure of the formula to be applied for tariff reductions and narrow tariff ranges; resolve their basic differences over flexibilities and clarify whether the constant mark-up approach is the way forward, and if so, narrow the range of numbers.

WTO: The end to subsidies paragraph

6. We agree to ensure the parallel elimination of all forms of export subsidies and disciplines on all export measures with equivalent effect to be completed by the end of 2013. This will be achieved in a progressive and parallel manner, to be specified in the modalities, so that a substantial part is realized by the end of the first half of the implementation period.

We note emerging convergence on some elements of disciplines with respect to export credits, export credit guarantees or insurance programmes with repayment periods of 180 days and below. We agree that such programmes should be self-financing, reflecting market consistency, and that the period should be of a sufficiently short duration so as not to effectively circumvent real commercially-oriented discipline.

As a means of ensuring that trade-distorting practices of STEs are eliminated, disciplines relating to exporting STEs will extend to the future use of monopoly powers so that such powers cannot be exercised in any way that would circumvent the direct disciplines on STEs on export subsidies, government financing and the underwriting of losses.

On food aid, we reconfirm our commitment to maintain an adequate level and to take into account the interests of food aid recipient countries. To this end, a "safe box" for bona fide food aid will be provided to ensure that there is no unintended impediment to dealing with emergency situations.

Beyond that, we will ensure elimination of commercial displacement. To this end, we will agree effective disciplines on in-kind food aid, monetization and re-exports so that there can be no loop-hole for continuing export subsidization.

The disciplines on export credits, export credit guarantees or insurance programmes, exporting state trading enterprises and food aid will be completed by 30 April 2006 as part of the modalities, including appropriate provision in favour of least-developed and net food-importing developing countries as provided for in paragraph 4 of the Marrakesh Decision.

The date above for the elimination of all forms of export subsidies, together with the agreed progressivity and parallelism, will be confirmed only upon the completion of the modalities.

Developing country Members will continue to benefit from the provisions of Article 9.4 of the Agreement on Agriculture for five years after the end-date for elimination of all forms of export subsidies.

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'Modest' deal struck in WTO

A limited trade deal has been reached in Hong Kong after developing countries approved a European Union offer to end farm export subsidies by 2013. Negotiators from India and Brazil have welcomed the draft deal which would progressively end subsidies by 2013, while the EU said it was "acceptable". They hope it will pave the way for a global free trade treaty in 2006. However, only modest progress has been made in other key areas and the deal will be seen largely as a face-saver.

Better late than never...

WTO: Sets deadline to end subsidies

Excelent news for Bush and Lula.

Bad news for Fidel and Chavez.

WTO negotiators reached a breakthrough on the most contentious issue of the six-day talks, agreeing that wealthy countries would eliminate farm export subsidies by 2013, paving the way for a broader agreement to cut trade barriers across various sectors, according to a copy of the final draft agreement obtained by journalists."

Friday, December 16, 2005

Blind, deaf and speechless

Rich countries, like Shakira’s song, are blind, deaf and speechless.

They do not understand they are rapidly losing ground in South America but do not want to understand that they must reduce subsidies and tariffs in order to allow developing countries to compete in equal conditions, generate employment and reduce poverty.

It is poverty the basement for the "new" demagogues now assuming power one country after the other.

They are blind to read news like the two attached bellow. Deaf to listen to the middle and poorer classes complaints about the economic adjustment programs and mute when asked (like in the OMC) to speak out the truth of the high rates of subsidy to their agricultural producers and tariff and non tariff barriers to developing countries industrial exports.

The “new” southamerican political class in not made of angels but people are tired of poverty and unemployment. Those two are the subversives, not the communists.

Look at the press cuts:

"WTO talks going backwards"
By Malcolm Moore in Hong Kong, 16/12/2005
The world trade talks are on the brink of failure, as Europe warned that negotiations were going "backwards" and all sides agreed that almost no headway has been made in Hong Kong.

"Bolivian elections could move Latin America further left"
By Benjamin Dangl, December 16, 2005
In Washington, he’s been called a “narcoterrorist” and a “threat to stability.” In Bolivia, he’s simply known as “Evo.” For many in the Andean country, presidential candidate Evo Morales represents a way out of poverty and marginalization. He has pledged to nationalize the country’s natural gas reserves, reject any U.S.-backed free trade agreement, and join the growing ranks of Latin America’s left-of-center governments.

Morales makes the Bush administration nervous and corporate investors cringe. Yet, when Bolivians head to the polls on Sunday, Morales is expected to win. However, the range of scenarios that could result from the election suggests that the show may be far from over on Election Day.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Antes y después del “golpe” de la abstención

Parecía que la marcha del gobierno hacia sus llamados “Grandes Objetivos Estratégicos” iba muy bien, hasta el 4D 2005. No es que después del 4D se vaya a detener la gran la marcha o el gran salto hacia lo que me gusta describir como "el modelo fascista militar de revolución nacional socialista tropical". No, no es eso; sino que mientras más marchan, menos viable veo su llegada a alguna parte.

Sobre todo por que la esencia misma del proceso es una entelequia del siglo pasado. Fíjense que me solazo describiéndolo con una lista interminable de sustantivos y adjetivos. Realmente, un gran nombre para muy poca cosa, consecuencia inevitable de los nuevos paradigmas que tornan limitado el viejo vocabulario.

Veamos, cuales son -para mi- esos rasgos característicos y esenciales del famoso proceso.

"Fascismo" - Doctrina de cualquier régimen político de ideología dictatorial derechista, de carácter nacionalista y totalitario. Originalmente implantado en Italia por Mussolini, después de la Primera Guerra Mundial.

"Militar" - De la milicia, la guerra o relativo a ellas y/o persona que sirve en o al ejército.

"Revolución" - Cambio violento en las instituciones políticas de una nación y/o inquietud, alboroto.

"Nacional" - Que pertenece al Estado o es administrado por él.

"Socialista" - Sistema de organización social y económica basado en la propiedad y administración colectiva o estatal de los medios de producción y en la progresiva desaparición de las clases sociales: el socialismo trata de erradicar las diferencias económicas entre los diversos estratos de la sociedad.

"Tropical" - Sofocante, caliente, tórrido, cálido, bochornoso.Aclarado ese punto previo, vamos al tema.

Como decía, en términos generales y desde el punto de vista de un movimiento político caracterizado por los 5 elementos antes descritos, los grandes objetivos estaban siendo logrados, unos más otros menos.

1. Conformación nueva estructura social.

2. Articular nueva estrategia comunicacional.

3. Construcción del nuevo modelo democrático de participación popular.

4. Creación de la nueva institucionalidad del aparato del estado.

5. Activar una estrategia contra la corrupción.

6. Desarrollar la nueva estrategia electoral.

7. Creación del nuevo sistema económico.

8. Continuar instalando la nueva estructura territorial.

9. Conformación de la nueva estrategia militar nacional.

10. Impulsar el nuevo sistema multipolar internacional.

Los objetivos 2, 4, 6, 9 y 10 se ejecutaron “tan bien” y con tanta celeridad que han puesto al gobierno en problemas en todos esos campos. Es más, fueron tan eficientes en el objetivo 6 que la gente dejó de ir a votar. Más eficiencia no se puede pedir.

Los objetivos 1, 3, 7 y 8 son objetivos de largo alcance, así que se puede ser benévolo en la evaluación. Más, que lo poco hecho ha causado suficientes problemas a tanta gente como para alegrar al más “revolucionario”.Sobre el objetivo 5 no se debe hablar en público.

El problema está en lo que llamaré “efectos colaterales” asociados al logro de cada uno de estos objetivos. Por ejemplo, si la “nueva” estructura social es algo parecido a lo que hay en Cuba (con la nomenclatura militar en el tope de la pirámide y millones de “outcasts” (desclasados, sin derechos ni cédula) en su base, mientras más traten de avanzar, más problemas van a tener con los conspiradores, golpistas, etc.

Igual será cuando traten de imponer el “dedo participatorio”, imponer el socialismo “a trocha y mocha” o a desplazar gente hacia unos imaginarios polos de desarrollo endógeno donde no hay empleo ni servicios. En conclusión, no le auguro mucho futuro a este gobierno, siendo que “logre” sus magnos objetivos o que no los logre.

Comenzando de nuevo

Este blog desapareció cuando publicaron el nuevo codigo penal. Reaparece hoy para marcar la auto-paliza de la abstención. Un saludo para todos los antiguos visitantes y bienvenidos los nuevos...