Tarjei's Boy Chavez
- Probably a neocon conspiracy against poor Hugo.
They call it "Plan B."
As Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez further tightens
control of the South American country's economy,
wealthy Venezuelans who once thought they could live
with his socialist edicts are turning to their backup
plan flight to the United States, particularly
Venezuelans have long gobbled up condos and
pre-construction deals in Florida as investments, but
the latest buyers want homes where they can live and
business properties that will help them earn a green
"First the people who come are the businessmen in the
highest circles, then the losing politicians, then the
military and then the professionals," said Miami-based
immigration attorney Oscar Levin. "You're beginning to
see the (Venezuelan) professionals."
This latest and largest potential group of emigrants
say they fear the effect Chavez's socialist policies
will have on the economy and on proposed educational
reforms that could mirror the ideologically imbued
education of Chavez ally and mentor, Cuba's Fidel
"There is so much insecurity, political insecurity,
economic insecurity," said Venezuelan Miguel Medina, a
business executive who moved to the Miami in August.
"You don't know if a contract you signed today will be
honored by the government in the future....This was
definitely my plan B, but it was time to do the plan
Between 2000 a year after Chavez took office and
2005, the number of Venezuelans living in the U.S.
doubled to about 160,000, according to the latest U.S.
Census numbers. Nearly half live in Florida.
But those numbers are deceptive.
In 2005, 10,645 Venezuelans received their green cards
allowing them to live in the United States, almost
doubling the 6,222 who received them in 2004,
according to the latest Department of Homeland
Security statistics. And another 400,000 Venezuelans
came to the United States in 2005 on business and
tourism visas. It is unclear how many stayed.
Colombia, with nearly twice Venezuela's roughly 27
million residents, sent the same number that year.
Anecdotal evidence suggests even more are seeking to
come here since Chavez's recent nationalization of
Venezuela's largest telecommunications company and the
electricity sector. The Venezuelan Congress also
recently gave him special powers to decree laws for 18
months, and Chavez is threatening to expropriate
supermarkets, stores and other businesses caught
hoarding food or speculating on prices.
Medina said six family members visited him in the last
two months seeking ways to relocate to the U.S. Unlike
previous cycles, those seeking to leave and bring
their money to the U.S. now are coming from around
Venezuela, not just from Caracas, said Medina, an
account executive for the credit group ExpoCredit.
Meanwhile Ralph Gomez, who heads the Miami area Tower
Investments group and has long specialized in real
estate for South American clients, said he's received
more than two dozen calls since the year began from
people interested in coming to the U.S. Other agents
report a similar spike.
Upper-class Venezuelans and their money flowed out of
the country after Chavez was elected in 1998 and again
when he quashed an unsuccessful coup against his
government in 2002, but many professionals still hoped
the climate would remain friendly to business. Then
came the latest nationalizations. Chavez still pledges
to maintain a business-friendly climate, and analysts
say the government has paid fair market prices to
nationalize the electric and phone companies.
Yet, with 17 percent inflation pushing the Bolivar to
more than 4,000 per dollar on the black market,
compared to the official rate of 2,150 Bolivars per
dollar, many Venezuelans are looking to move their
businesses to the U.S. or to set up a new one here.
Those who can afford it often opt for business visas
that require a minimum of a $500,000 investment in a
company that creates jobs in an underdeveloped area in
About 33,000 Venezuelans received some kind of work
visa to come to the U.S. in 2005 nearly a quarter of
all such visas for South Americans compared to about
17,000 in 1999.
Those who come are received with open arms in Miami,
where their money is welcome and the Cuban exile
community views Chavez as the next Fidel Castro. As of
2004, Venezuelans tied with Germans and Canadians as
the second biggest group of foreigners purchasing
homes in Florida, according to the National
Association of Realtors. Only the British bought more
But moving to the U.S., even for the wealthy, isn't
simple. Medina moved his family to the Miami three
years ago, but it took him until last summer to tie up
financial ends, obtain a visa and a job in Florida.
"I would travel back and forth when I could," he said.
"It was hard, but I know I am among the lucky ones."
And while Venezuelan emigrants cite the political and
economic instability of the country as their main
reasons for leaving, many also talk of rampant and
Marbelia Font, 47, and her husband landed in Miami in
September from Caracas to close on a newly built
investment property. They thought their two daughters
would enjoy the brief vacation.
But when two friends were fatally shot back home in
Venezuela, Marbelia and her 13- and 8-year-old
daughters stayed. Her husband returned to Venezuela,
hoping to earn a visa by moving his manufacturing and
construction business to the U.S. Font said he has
struggled to obtain necessary legal documents from the
She now lives in the half-furnished home they'd
planned to rent in Doral, just west of Miami. It is
decorated only with a picture of her husband and the
girls. She and her daughters struggle with loneliness,
and she is unable to work as she waits for the
family's visas to come through.
"It is so hard because the girls were very close to
their father, and now they only see him once every
three months," she said.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights
reserved. The information contained in the AP News
report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or
redistributed without the prior written authority of
The Associated Press.
Frank Thomas Smith
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- You seem to have missed my point on this issue completely, Frank.
As you know, I'm basically an anarchist preferring absence of
governments and certainly absence of supreme commanders. Iran has a
supreme commander, but that does not give the goons in the White
House and the Pentagon the right to bomb the country, to assassinate
the leaders, and to repeat what they did in 1953, when they overthrew
a democratic government there and installed a Quisling regime with the shah.
By the same token, Rice has no business badmouthing and threatening
Venezuela, where the government has broad popular support, which is
why the US failed in their attempted coup in 2002. One may disagree
ever so strongly with Chavez' domestic politics and sympathize with
those who emigrate to Florida and chant with disgruntled Cubans. But
Venezuela is no threat to the United States. It has never been a
threat to the United States. As a sovereign nation, Venezuela has the
right to choose its business partners and also to choose who not to
do business with. If AT&T and Exxon and Coca-Cola and MacDonalds are
not welcome, so be it. Why not just do business elsewhere?
In other words, I would have preferred to see an anarchist Venezuela,
an anarchist Scandinavia, and an anarchist North America with no
leaders whatsoever. You know that very well from our previous
discussions, Frank. My point is that the US represents the greatest
threat to world peace, and it sees fit to intervene and change the
regimes of any country they choose. Who's next? Switzerland? Norway?
So what's this "Tarjei's boy" got to do with anything? Why not
"Tarjei's boy Stoltenberg," Norway's prime minister? I don't agree
with his politics, but that gives the US no right to assassinate him,
to arrange a coup, or to bomb us in order to take him out. And the
Venezuelans have the same right to be left in peace that we have, and
the right to be left alone by Rice's big bad mouth that seems aimed
at setting the stage for public acceptance of an invasion so they can
crush a nation once more to create revenues for their own oil
companies. Norway is also an oil nation, and the country's oil
revenues are nationalized, the state owns the majority shares of
Hydro-Statoil (the new merger of the two leading oil companies). And
I bet that when the US is through raping Iraq, Iran, and Venezuela
and emptied their oil wells, they're coming for Norway, leaving us
poor, broke, sick, uneducated, starving and desperate.
- --- Tarjei Straume <straume@...> wrote:
> You seem to have missed my point on this issueActually I confused you with someone else (not on this
> completely, Frank.
list) who thinks Chavez is "progressive" - probably
because you recently mentioned a disagreement with me
about him. So sorry.
As far as the Bush administration's relations with
him, they are as stupid or more so than their
relations with everyone else. Luckily for him, though,
Bushy has other things on his mind at the moment - and
he has a lot of oil and the U.S. is his best customer.
Chavez has broad popular support among the poor, yes,
because they have been downtrodden since forever and
he's a populist with dictatorship ambitions a la
>Frank Thomas Smith
> As you know, I'm basically an anarchist preferring
> absence of
> governments and certainly absence of supreme
> commanders. Iran has a
> supreme commander, but that does not give the goons
> in the White
> House and the Pentagon the right to bomb the
> country, to assassinate
> the leaders, and to repeat what they did in 1953,
> when they overthrew
> a democratic government there and installed a
> Quisling regime with the shah.
> By the same token, Rice has no business badmouthing
> and threatening
> Venezuela, where the government has broad popular
> support, which is
> why the US failed in their attempted coup in 2002.
> One may disagree
> ever so strongly with Chavez' domestic politics and
> sympathize with
> those who emigrate to Florida and chant with
> disgruntled Cubans. But
> Venezuela is no threat to the United States. It has
> never been a
> threat to the United States. As a sovereign nation,
> Venezuela has the
> right to choose its business partners and also to
> choose who not to
> do business with. If AT&T and Exxon and Coca-Cola
> and MacDonalds are
> not welcome, so be it. Why not just do business
> In other words, I would have preferred to see an
> anarchist Venezuela,
> an anarchist Scandinavia, and an anarchist North
> America with no
> leaders whatsoever. You know that very well from our
> discussions, Frank. My point is that the US
> represents the greatest
> threat to world peace, and it sees fit to intervene
> and change the
> regimes of any country they choose. Who's next?
> Switzerland? Norway?
> So what's this "Tarjei's boy" got to do with
> anything? Why not
> "Tarjei's boy Stoltenberg," Norway's prime minister?
> I don't agree
> with his politics, but that gives the US no right to
> assassinate him,
> to arrange a coup, or to bomb us in order to take
> him out. And the
> Venezuelans have the same right to be left in peace
> that we have, and
> the right to be left alone by Rice's big bad mouth
> that seems aimed
> at setting the stage for public acceptance of an
> invasion so they can
> crush a nation once more to create revenues for
> their own oil
> companies. Norway is also an oil nation, and the
> country's oil
> revenues are nationalized, the state owns the
> majority shares of
> Hydro-Statoil (the new merger of the two leading oil
> companies). And
> I bet that when the US is through raping Iraq, Iran,
> and Venezuela
> and emptied their oil wells, they're coming for
> Norway, leaving us
> poor, broke, sick, uneducated, starving and
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