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That is not how you treat a friend mate.

5 March 2013 Last updated at 22:43 GMT

Hugo Chavez leaves Venezuela in economic muddle
By Robert Plummer
Business reporter, BBC News

One of the most damning verdicts on the late Hugo Chavez's leadership of Venezuela came from a doctor who made a name for himself by claiming to have inside knowledge of the cancer that eventually killed the president.

Dr Jose Rafael Marquina, a Venezuelan based in Miami, repeatedly predicted that Mr Chavez's illness would prove terminal, providing detailed accounts of what he said was the president's course of treatment.

His statements were given extensive coverage by the opposition media in Venezuela, eager to fill the vacuum left by the lack of official information about Mr Chavez's condition.

But whatever the truth of Dr Marquina's medical diagnosis, his broader criticism of the president's record hits home. As he said during an interview with the Tal Cual newspaper in December 2012: "Chavez dealt with his illness the way he dealt with the country - in an improvised fashion."

That habit of impromptu policymaking was integral to Mr Chavez's style, right from the start of his 14 years in power.

Time and again, the president would make major decisions on an ad hoc basis, often during the course of his rambling and unscripted weekly TV broadcast to the nation, known as Alo Presidente.

He was particularly prone to quick-fix solutions in economic policy, resorting to regular currency devaluations, expropriations of private firms and inflation-busting public-sector pay rises rather than tackling the economy's underlying structural problems.

This fire-fighting approach continued even as Mr Chavez lingered on his Cuban sickbed, with Vice-President Nicolas Maduro implementing a 32% devaluation of the bolivar in February.

As a result, Mr Chavez bequeaths a nation beset by crumbling infrastructure, unsustainable public spending and underperforming industry.

Thanks to his social programmes, poorer Venezuelans have certainly benefited from the country's oil wealth more than they did under what he called the rotten elites that used to be in charge.

But there are strong suspicions that much money has been wasted - not just through corruption, but also sheer incompetence.

Are you better off than in 1998?

During Hugo Chavez's time in office, from 1999 to the present day, income inequality in Venezuela gradually declined, as it did in most of the region.

The country now boasts the fairest income distribution in Latin America, as measured by the Gini coefficient index.

In 2011, Venezuela's Gini coefficient fell to 0.39. By way of comparison, Brazil's was 0.52, in itself a historic low.

So every Venezuelan now has a more equal slice of the cake. The trouble is, that cake has not been getting much bigger.

"Venezuela is the fifth largest economy in Latin America, but during the last decade, it's been the worst performer in GDP per capita growth," says Arturo Franco of the Center for International Development at Harvard University.

As Mr Franco says, it depends on how you measure Venezuela's progress.

If you compare life under Mr Chavez with the previous 20 years, under a now discredited two-party system widely blamed for rampant corruption, the Chavez era is preferable.

But if you look at the superior economic performance of neighbouring Brazil and Colombia during the same period, it suddenly doesn't look so rosy.

And given that the price of a barrel of oil is now roughly 10 times what it was when Mr Chavez was first elected, his opponents say that he could and should have done more.

Venezuela's economy: Oil takes the strain

Mr Chavez's failure to diversify Venezuela's economy means that oil is still its mainstay. In fact, it accounts for more than 90% of the country's foreign currency inflows.

About 50% of government revenues come from the petroleum industry, mostly from state company PDVSA.

Mr Chavez's government took firm control of PDVSA in 2003, when it fired 40% of the workforce in the aftermath of a general strike aimed at forcing him from power.

But critics have accused the firm of neglecting maintenance while it funnelled oil revenue into government social programmes, especially after an explosion in August 2012 at the Amuay refinery, the country's largest, in which 42 people were killed.

Instead of investing in PDVSA to increase production, Mr Chavez treated it as a cash cow, milking its funds to finance his social spending on housing, healthcare and transport.

Finding out just how that money has been dispensed is not easy. But the government has become steadily more involved in every sector of the economy, to the detriment of the private sector.

In September 2012, Reuters news agency published a special report into a state corporation, Fonden, that now accounts for one-third of all investment in Venezuela.

It found a string of abandoned or half-built facilities, including a paper factory, an aluminium mill and a fleet of unused buses - all of which apparently received money from Fonden.

Fonden has absorbed $100bn of Venezuela's oil revenues since it was founded in 2005.

At the end of January, the government cut PDVSA's contribution to Fonden by 19%, a move which seems to presage a round of public spending cuts. But until the post-Chavez political landscape is clearly established, the president's successors can hardly afford to alienate the people with austerity programmes.

Public spending: Can the boom last?

In the run-up to his presidential election victory last October, Mr Chavez made low-income and social housing a priority, launching a plan to build three million homes by 2018.

The housing drive fuelled big increases in public spending - and big expectations among those yet to be housed under the programme.

According to Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, government expenditure rose 30% in real terms as a result over the 12 months leading up to the election.

But all that largesse took its toll on the public finances. Capital Economics, a research company, estimates that Venezuela's fiscal deficit widened to 9% of GDP in 2012, while Morgan Stanley reckons it could have reached 12% by now.

According to the World Bank, the Venezuelan economy is estimated to have grown by more than 5% during 2012. However, it forecasts a slowdown in 2013, with just 1.8% growth expected, while many analysts are expecting the country to fall into recession this year.

The latest maxi-devaluation of the Venezuelan currency will help the government's financial position. Since oil is priced in dollars, a weaker bolivar increases the local value of oil revenues, giving the government more cash.

In theory, it should also help Venezuela to export more goods from other sectors of the economy. But observers reckon the country's manufacturing sector is too small to benefit much - another consequence of Venezuela's concentration on oil to the exclusion of all else.

In the words of Michael Henderson at Capital Economics: "The current malaise is the product of years of capital flight and under-investment, which has hollowed out the country's productive base."

Borrowing against oil

So how did the government finance its pre-election spending spree? Foreign private investors have certainly stayed away since Mr Chavez's nationalisation drive began.

High inflation, still nudging 20% a year, doesn't help either.

As survey organisation Consensus Economics says: "Soaring inflation and government spending - coupled with currency and capital controls - have created a widening fiscal deficit.

"The authorities are increasingly reliant on external debt to finance this."

For "external debt", read loans from China. According to Bloomberg news agency, the state-run China Development Bank has lent Venezuela $42.5bn over a five-year period.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said in September 2012 that of the 640,000 barrels of oil a day that Venezuela exports to China, 200,000 went towards servicing the country's debt to Beijing.

Unless PDVSA's underperformance can be remedied, those debts will remain and will probably grow as the country's gap between spending and income widens.

The impact for the region

It certainly doesn't seem hard to uncover evidence of waste in government expenditure during the Chavez years.

But the overspending doesn't stop at home. In an effort to spread the influence of his Bolivarian revolution, Mr Chavez allowed Cuba and other countries in the region to benefit from cheap deals and soft loans under the Alba and Petrocaribe programmes.

The next administration will have to decide whether or not to continue funding that extensive network of petro-diplomacy.

In the meantime, most countries in the Caribbean, already suffering from a decline in tourism because of the global economic downturn, will be hoping that Venezuela's economic lifeline is not about to disappear.

I will split this analysis into several sections:

1) Integrity check.
2) Sources.
3) Observations.

1) Integrity Check.

Let us start with an Integrity check.

The title says that Chavez left Venezuela in an economic muddle.

Yet the text right after the title has nothing to do with the title, at all. In fact it has do to with giving details about some doctor that gave a rumour.

This alone broke the style of the article but there are more problems in the form of the article.

Then it touches the Gini coefficient but that has nothing to do with the services a nation has.

In short:

It does NOT care about hospitals & health care.
It does NOT care at all about education
It does NOT care about food.
It does NOT care about job stability.

If that is not included then it is certainly a very bad way to cover the issue that is specified in the title which clearly says: "Are you better off than in 1998?"

If someone is going to talk about being better then he has to cover all the variables that form part of quality of living, not only the gross income. Equality does not mean a better standard of life, so this part of the text is seriously flawed & I would say even biased.

Another issue that is seriously wrong with that news is that it focuses on foreign investors as a way of developing, which is absolutely wrong simply because no one invests 1 penny if he does not receive at least 3 pennies in return, which effectively bleeds the country out of it's resources, making this a cruel statement: "hollowed out the country's productive base".

Venezuela is not productive by investments, but by education. The entire article has NOTHING to do with education, at all. Nor the improvement of the work force and it does not show the fact that international companies are still investing in Venezuela, but under a fair agreement with the government simply because we do not need the capital to be be sucked away, we need investments that are actually positive to us, not negative that leave only loses.

They "forgot" to include that not all oil is sold to China and that the money that comes from China is being paid on time and it is not used to pay regular monthly expenses but in infrastructure, which means that that money does not represent a desperate attempt to pay bills, as the BBC portrays it or allows it to be shown that way, which is serious since that article is about business.

2) Sources.

If someone has to make an ethical analysis and not some junk news that person has to not only gather information from an ethical source, but also from a dignified source.

If the information is not taken from where it should be taken and we get accustomed to that and we allow this to happen the end result is that journalism as a whole looses the valuable data sources that are NOT enforced because of the awful practice of getting used to spreading the facts, which makes all analysis harder for everyone else.

The first thing an ethical journalist should do is ask the most credible or at least official source, if that information is not available then, and only THEN can data from other sources be used. The reason for that is to stimulate among journalist a practice that improves the sources of information, making it easier for all of them.

The source, which is the Venezuelan Government was never mentioned, simply because they don't care AT ALL about the proper respect they should have to the Venezuelan people and I will talk about that later.

But lets check the sources they used, just to see if it is even ethical:

Dr Jose Rafael Marquina

Ethics is just respect to integrity. If you want to be ethical you have to use sources that at least have a scientific value as a credible source to most of the parts involved. An ethical fact or reference is thus a scientific reference.

Jose Marquina does NOT enjoy credibility among a HUGE part of the Venezuelan population, scientifically it would not be a credible source of ethical information. But even so, the BBC used a man who only gave RUMOURS without any scientific evidence as a support in a news that does not even have anything to do with the title and the rest of the content of the news.

Tal Cual newspaper

That newspaper has strong rejection in Venezuela precisely because it has made a name for itself as a pathological abuser to the principles of ethics...

A source that has serious evidence of lack of ethics or even a newspaper article should NOT be used by any newspaper or media that wants to at least pretend it has any ethics.

As I read this junk I remind my readers of one of the principles for a correctly structured Academic News, and that is to include the source of the data being used in the relative or limit sections. This gives way to a better a more scientific approach to journalism.

Everything that I marked in blue above, inside the content of the news has unaccountable sources. I repeat, unaccountable sources, that means that type of journalism is CORRUPT.

Since it has no sources, then it has no scientific value and thus it is unethical JUNK.

If they want to cover a news from another country the least they can do is have the proper RESPECT and DIGNITY to be ethical and being ethical includes showing the sources, like you would do in a TRIBalance system.

This is why this type of JUNK journalism must be stopped and replaced with REAL PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISM in order to achieve better harmony and peace in society.

To me ANY part of a news that is NOT accounted for is simply: BULLSHIT. We have to get used to thinking in that way, it's good for our own intelligence and self respect, specially when we read journalists AND media that do NOT respect their users properly or even use the media to ABUSE other countries.

Arturo Franco of the Center for International Development at Harvard University

If the United Nations and the International Law states clearly that every country in the world is a sovereign state then why is there an International Development Center fully functioning AWAY AND AGAINST the sovereign decisions of sovereign countries?

They can't even have the ethics to respect the dignity & sovereignty of other countries, thus they are obviously NOT an ethical source at all because ethics demands respect & dignity not just to other countries but to the International law.

By the way look at this:

milking its funds to finance his social spending on housing, healthcare and transport.

It never says education... Probably it's done on purpose or the author simply does not care AT ALL about education, which by the way speaks volumes of his academic level...

The fact is that under President Chavez there was a strong investment in education.

Reuters news agency published a special report into a state corporation, Fonden

First of all, Reuters is a News Agency, it has news, not the hard facts. To get the facts you would have to use the official data from the government or a government employee. At least they have to mention the fact that they could not get the data because there was no reply, like it's usually done in normal journalism.

Being that news agencies like Reuters were doing research that is NOT EVEN THEIR PROBLEM and in total disregard for the Venezuelan people and Institutions that is NOT an ethical source at all.

I will prove it:

It found a string of abandoned or half-built facilities, including a paper factory, an aluminium mill and a fleet of unused buses - all of which apparently received money from Fonden.

It says: "apparently" which clearly means that it is unethical data that could be just BULLSHIT, this made even more serious by the fact that they are clearly snooping around in things that should not and is not even their problem.

It is, by the way, an act of aggression to throw "apparently" rocks at another country. If any person wants to talk about any other person in a negative way, specially when countries and governments are involved then they should at least have the decency to communicate with REAL FACTS (scientifically accounted for).

I don't have to say that this fact is enough to prove that Reuters was NOT being an ethical source.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, government expenditure rose 30% in real terms

It is clearly NOT THE BUSINESS of a Bank to see and distribute the government expenditures data of another country, specially when it is not even present in that other country or when it is giving data that was given for the purpose of investor analysis and not for awful, unethical journalism. That in itself speaks volumes of how serious that bank is.

At any rate, even if it was grabbed from a web page that we do not know if it was revised by the Venezuelan Government we do not have a link to the source to check it out, all we have is an educated rumour that it said it, no way to check if it is true and to make matters worse, no effort was made to ask the entity that should give these details: The Venezuelan Government.

Lets rate this one as a "moderate" ethical transgression.

Capital Economics, a research company

There we go again... Another company that steps right over Venezuela and wants to control it's information... Just what we need, more commerce with the data instead of getting it from the source or at least try to get it...

Another abuse to Venezuela.

Morgan Stanley

Yet another source to step over Venezuela with, like if there was no Venezuela at all or even a government.

This one is serious because they are not only giving information, but it's not even information at all... Its just a wild guess. Observe: "reckons it could have reached 12% by now". See it says: "it could have reached 12%", that means there is NO CERTAINTY that the data is real, so it is clearly NOT ETHICAL.

World Bank

Observe this:

"it forecasts a slowdown in 2013, with just 1.8% growth expected, while many analysts are expecting the country to fall into recession this year"

Where is says "forecasts" it means that it is GUESSING, and since it is a GUESS then it is not certain and because it is not certain it is not ethical, this added to other transgressions that make the offence apparent.

It gets worse, observe: "expected". That means it is uncertain as well.

That is not all, observe: "many analysts". What many analysts? Many analysts of what? Is it even analysts of the World Bank? Do they even have a name?

For all that matters, it's many GHOST ANALYSTS. A strong sign of crappy, offensive & aggressive journalism.

And then: "expecting", that means they are not even sure.

Four "maybe" words in a single line! FOUR!

That means there is clearly an intention to make a point out of totally uncertain data. That is a clear sign of intentional aggression.

That "forecast" or probability is not an ethical source, its a guess, a probability.

Observe this: "In theory, it should also help"

Even MORE suppositions... Even more evidence that the journalist does not know what he is talking about or lacks the proper information to even write about it at all.

There it goes again: "But observers reckon".

More GHOSTS without a name!

As survey organisation Consensus Economics says

Yet another way to get that from any other source that is NOT the source itself... Stepping over Venezuela like if we did not even exist and not even specifying if they could not access the data from a legitimate and obvious source.

Bloomberg news agency

Well, well, look at here, if it isn't the hellish hell hole of vultures Bloomberg, mentioned at my site as a MAJOR transgressor to the most elemental principles of Ethics and one of the great media gangsters of Venezuela. Also responsible for interfering directly with the Judicial & political system of Venezuela.

I do not even know why a news agency is considered a credible source, if all they do is redistribute information and in that case he would have to inform of the bottom source anyway. Like for example: "Person X said this at a Bloomberg news". A news agency by itself is NOT a source, unless the news has to do specifically with the Agency and this is not the case so this is, once more, a transgression to ethics.

Let is check what we have:
Dr Jose Rafael Marquina Seriously questionable reputation.
Tal Cual newspaper Seriously questionable reputation.
Center for International Development at Harvard University Serious. Obvious inherence (Violates sovereignty of nations).
Reuters news agency Serious. "apparently"
Bank of America-Merrill Lynch Unreferenced.
Capital Economics Unreferenced.
Morgan Stanley Serious. "it could have reached 12%"
World Bank Serious. forecasts, expected, many analysts, expecting
Consensus Economics Unreferenced.
Bloomberg news agency Seriously questionable reputation.


Do I need say more?

3) Observations.

Today President Chavez died.

He was a national hero to millions of people, dozens of millions of people if we add people in his country and abroad.

He was also very liked in South America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Central America.

The moment he died, at least a million people cried.

It even hurts me to write this right now. Like him or not he was like a father to Venezuela. Some might say he was a good father, some might say he was an awful father, but he was still the paternal figure.


This attack of the BBC goes beyond the concepts of:


This is certainly NOT the type of friends Venezuela needs and I doubt this is the type of friends ANY country needs at all!

Even if he had the facts correctly structured, which he did NOT, because he made an attack over suppositions & wild guesses based on unethical sources and procedures, even if he did it was STILL NOT THE TIME TO DO IT.

This is the type of behaviour you would expect from a person that has NO CONSIDERATION for the Venezuelan people AT ALL.

I could care less that all the sources had something to do with capital, I do not believe in the existence of Capitalism but what I just saw was a pure, inhuman act of EXTREME CORRUPTION OF JOURNALISM & even of their own HUMANITY.

This is one more reason why we need Academic TRIBalance Journalism. Simply because we deserve more than BRUTAL JUNK from LAME, UNETHICAL, INHUMAN & BRUTAL MEDIA.

If the BBC even had honour, it would at least fire that ASSHOLE!

And yes, I had to use that word, I have feelings, not like the BBC, it's the only way you know how outraged I feel.

Now look at this:

Propaganda Wars – BBC Radio Blocked in China

World Propaganda Wars

Whilst China is certainly one of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to media censorship – ranking at 173 out of 179 countries on a World Press Freedom Index compiled by campaign group Reporters Without Borders – this is part of a much broader propaganda war whose tentacles stretch across the globe.

The BBC has also experienced shortwave jamming of its Persian-language radio service in Iran.

“The deliberate and coordinated efforts by authorities in countries such as China and Iran illustrate the significance and importance of the role the BBC undertakes to provide impartial and accurate information to audiences around the world,” says Peter Horrocks, the director of BBC Global News.

Meanwhile in Europe the Iranian state television Channel Press TV has had its broadcasting license taken away, effectively silencing it. Lord Nazir Ahmed, a member of the upper house of the British parliament, said of this: “Its very obvious that its a political decision.”


Need I say more?

But then again, draw your own conclusions...