Monday, January 30, 2006

Is Bolivia's New Oil and Gas Minister Really that Stupid?

I had earlier talked about how Soliz Rada, Bolivia's Minister in charge of Hyrdrocarbons sounded, almost....ignorant of some really basic things. Now this AFP article, as well as this Bolivian government communique expounds a bit more on what Soliz Rada said. This reminds me of two true stories

At the beginning of the last century a Bolivian lawyer-slash-politician, gave a speech on the record on some controversy going around that body. He furiously demanded an explanation of how the senate had passed the "law of supply and demand" without his knowledge and vote.
My dad in the 80's, went to some conference/seminar for government officials of developing countries in Venice. One of the delegation was this Peruvian political hack, a very pompous and pretentious lawyer. Impressed by some land mark in the Italian city, he gave an impromptu speech, in quite florid language about how Cervantes had seen his first sunset near said monument, or something to that effect. Fortunately for the honor of Peru, Spain, and the entire Iberian-American world, few people present spoke Spanish, and lawyer boy did not speak English. Unforunately for my dad and the few other Latin Americans, they did understand what he was saying. Can't remember if my dad called him out, but I do know that he exrticated himself and instead hung out with some interesting folks from Sri Lanka.

Anyway, Soliz Rada is cut out of that same cloth as the Bolivian and Peruvian lawyer-politicians. Like other some-what educated South Americans (and the old Southern rural politicans in the United States) his grammar is good, his speech florid, and he can pull big words out of his rear. And like them, all he does is blab incessantly and pompously about things he knows nothing about, without any clue that he is absolutely and utterly wrong.

Soliz Rada has no clue part 1.

Here is my own translation of this first nugget.

Bolivia's gas reserves, he claims are used as "backup by some oil companies", "through some sort of "special registrar" in the New York stock exchange.
Quite indignantly he defends Bolivian soveirgnity claiming that if "these reserves (gas) have to be registered with the stock exchange by anyone, it is by us Bolivians".

Soliz Rada As the master of...... 20/20 hindsight, who Knows? .

So the man that Evo says is "an expert" tells us he is glad because the (2002 Gas War causing) Liquid Natural Gas Project to export liquid gas to the US died, because in his view if it had been ratified, the consortium Pacific LNG would have been able to "register" Bolivian gas as its own, much like Repsol did recently.

So genius boy, it is somehow a good thing that Bolivia does not have a pipeline to the pacific and the ability to produce liquid gas for export, because the scary alternative would have been that SEC filing. I mean that piece of paper would have certainly wiped out any benefit received from thge "consortium" which was prepared to spend billions of dollars in infraestructure and improvement. Pity, those poor Russians and Indonesians who ended up getting this and similar contracts, they now have their entire soveirgnity compromised by quarterly statements. Billions of dollars and revenue be damned.

Soliz Rada CPA, Quick Get Spitzer on it!!!

And of course, our corporate finance and accounting expert, then goes on to say that this registration is an "accounting fraud" and I presume that violates Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, the laws of the State of New York, as well as the offside rule in soccer.

Idiot-boi said what? again

Tu Du Duh!! Ask for the special registrar at the stock exchange, yeah just take the short bus from Queens, ask the driver he will get you right there. LOL.

Yeah, the special petroleum and gas police are going to go down to Bolivia to enforce YPF's "Special Registration". This is funny material, where does he get this stuff from?

Tell you what Solis Rada, go ahead and file something with the SEC. Even better, send me a ten grand retainer and I will go ahead and "register your claim" with the "stock exchange", and for a couple of grand a month more, I might even stop callling you a retard.

Soliz Rada's first law of mutual corporate and government benefit through frozen investments in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

He found it logical that BP was stopping its investments in Bolivia, saying that it was good both for the companies and for Bolivia?????? Not only that, but he thought that Repsol YPF freezing 476 million dollars was also a good thing. He suggested that they should freeze their investments, until they have become fully "transparent", and that they do not have those problems. And by "those problems", in his own circular logic, he is again referring to the SEC filings.

So, we now have the most important sector in Bolivias economy, being ruled by a reporter and lawyer, who does not have a frickn clue about basic corporate finance and the gas industry, and whose views of business are colored by blind leftist dogmatism of the worst kind. Hmmm. I am a lawyer and blogger, and according to some of you I am pretty dogmatic, maybe they should have made me kingpin instead of him, I look much better on TV.
Seriously this is not good at all, we are talkikng about compromising the ability to deal toughly, intelligently, and effectively with big oil multi-nationals and their resources. And, it also is embarrasing as all hell, which is probably why it has bugged me so much. This is the type of Tercermundismo you expected to hear in the immediate post-colonial periods in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. At this stage of the game, no one with any serious responsiblity in a modern industry,talks like that, be it in Jakarta, Johanesburg, Almaty, or Trinidad and Tobaggo. Throwbacks like Soliz Rada just show an old bad side to Bolivia in front of the world, and a side that can cost the country dearly in monetary terms.

So Evo has placed Soliz Rada in charge of "refunding" YPFB, before that they might want to try to "refund" the good ministers brain, cause it ain't working.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bolivia: Evo Appoints Cocalero To Anti-Drug Post!

This blurb in the Miami Herald, shows that Evo might be leaving the fox in charge of the henhouse. Is it possible this was his agenda all along? Political payback to his backers?


LA PAZ -- Bolivia's new leftist government swore in a coca grower as Deputy Minister of Social Defense, a post that oversees the fight against drug trafficking in this impoverished Andean nation.

Felipe Cáceres, former mayor of Villa Tunari town in Bolivia's coca-growing Chapare region, was inaugurated as deputy minister late Friday in a ceremony led by Alicia Muñoz, Bolivia's first female interior minister.<

Evo-apologists from the stupid-left like Jim Schultz, routinely gloss over the shenanigans of the cocaleros in Chapare. But the facts are undisputed: most of the coca produced there goes to illegal cocaine production. The Cocalero unions, who control local municipalities and represent many growers, have fought efforts to erradicate this illegal coca production through bribery, intimidation and outright violence. Farmers who sign on for alternative crop programs have been intimidated and attacked, alleged informants have been summarily executed by Cocalero thugs, and alternative crop posts have been burned and ransacked. In sum, MAS operates as a mafia in Chapare, and this is the culture from which this official emerges.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bolivia: Repsol YPF Freezes 400 Million in New Investments, Bolivia's Oil Minster Says Moronic Things

Taken from

400 million dollars which Repsol was going to invest in Bolivia have been frozen until the regulatory framework is clarified.

Bolivia's rather idiotic minister of gas, Andrés Soliz Rada probably contributed to this by suggesting that the company was somehow committing "accounting fraud" by "registering" its gas reserves in Bolivia with the "stock exchange in New York". Somehow this is an attempt to claim this gas as belonging to the company and not to its legitimate owner the Bolivian people. This moron is seriously deluding himself by claiming that SEC filings are somehow certificates of ownership.

Soliz Rada, sounds downright stupid if he seriously thinks it improper to list gas reserves in fields it is exploiting, in its list of assets. That is a standard practice, and failure to do so would result in an undervaluation of its assets that could get it in trouble, for failure to disclose assets under its duties to its shareholders under SEC regulatory rules. It is a very simple principle, understood by anyone with half a brain and a cursory understanding of elemental corporate finance, corporate rules, and the oil and gas industry. It is routine practice to list and give a valuation in dollar amounts to any executory, long-term contracts you have. If it involves

Soliz Rada got all fired up about a routine filing with the SEC, and which involved more than the reserves the company listed in Bolivia, it included its global holdings. And in Bolivia they revised downward the estimates of what it thought it could extract from gas fields it is exploiting in Bolvia. That depends on economic factors such as increased taxes and/or royalties, as well as key investments which could help its existing efforts. Having trigger-happy morons in command of key ministries definitively does not help.

Soliz Rada, though, doesn't stop there. He now somehow suggested that the companies revision of its reserves somehow constitutes a "giant step towards nationalization" of hyrdocarbons. How in the world that is, I don't have a clue, what I do know is that the guy is a real piece of work.

Repsol congela $us 400 millones de inversión en Bolivia

El presidente de la petrolera hispano-argentina Repsol YPF, Antonio Brufau, ha señalado que las inversiones de 400 millones de euros en Bolivia van a quedar congeladas "hasta que se clarifique el marco regulatorio" de la nueva ley de hidrocarburos, aunque subrayó la disposición de la petrolera al diálogo con el nuevo Gobierno del país andino.

Según Brufau, las inversiones están en 'stand-by' porque en la situación actual "es difícil comprometer inversiones a largo plazo", dijo en declaraciones a la prensa internacional.

El máximo responsable de Repsol YPF restó importancia a la decisión del gobierno boliviano de revisar la inscripción de las reservas de gas natural de la compañía en la bolsa de Nueva York.

Según Brufau, el problema no radica en la titularidad de las reservas, ya que en la mayor parte de los países productores son propiedad del Estado, sino en la capacidad de las petroleras para anotárselas, algo que se hace habitualmente.

Por otro lado, la petrolera hispano-argentina ha anunciado una reducción de sus reservas de gas en el país andino en un 25%. La mitad de esa reducción corresponde a las reservas de la compañía en Bolivia.

Mexico: "EZLN Warning, Penguin On Board" Pinguino and Marcos

Talk about the motorcycle diaries. So Pinguino is touring Mexico with Marcos, now known as Delegado Zero, on the "Sup's" 2006 tour.

Apparently when he first left on motorcycle, he had a special container for the bird, which bore a warning site reading: "EZLN Warning, Penguin On Board" LMAO.

Pinguino, according to Marcos groupies, now has a title: El pingüino de la Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona translated roughly as The Penguin From the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle
Stories about it, here, here, and here.

Subcomandante Marcos Appears In Houston!!!!!

WOW, this is huge!

For the past couple of years, Marcos has been mostly out of the media spotlight, and has just recently started making noise again.

The reason for those years of silence is that he quietly slipped away from the Selva Lacondana, moved to the U.S., Houston specifically, and assumed the personality of rapper Chingo Bling. Whenever "Marcos" was needed back in the jungle he would fly back incognito.

Sounds weird, but think about it people.

Both Marcos and Chingo are relentless self-promoters, hustlers, and ladies men. But the real smoking gun is that both travel with a rooster, Marcos' Pinguino and Chingo's Cleto bear an amazing resemblance. Pinguino for angrily attacking deviationist guerillas at ELZN basecamps, and Cleto for killing pitbulls.

Anyway, you be the judge, pics are attached, and these are about five months apart, which in Rooster years is big.

Marcos and Pinguino

Chingo Bling and Cleto

Entertainment: Can Somebody Please Fix AOL Latino?

AOL is like Bally's Fitness, one of those annoying over-priced things you seem to sign up with for life. Whatever, I admit it I am a long-time AOL subscriber, maybe its the convenience of having the same main email addy there for the past decade or so.

So they do the whole AOL Latino thing, so I put it up as my preference. '

Content wise, they are months behind everything else, be it Univision, Es-Mas, or Yahoo.

Like today they have "Super Estrenos" or supposedly new tunes.

Check out the listing:

'Don't Bother' - Shakira
'I Don't Care' - Ricky Martin
'La cadena de oro' - Cabas
'Reggaetón latino' - Don Omar
'Baby Blues' - Andrea Echeverri

Admittedly, they deserve major props on the Andrea Echeverri tune, she is a genius, and the Shakira single qualifies as new.

Bu WTF is up with the Don Omar, Ricky Martin and Cabas songs? Those were on heavy rotation on Mun2, MTV, and "Hurban" radio, months ago.

Not that AOL Latino doesn't have some truly neat features, such as the Sessiones @ AOL, which is top acts like Bacilos and Juanes in private sessions. They have also aired music by acts like Plastilina Mosh, Volumen Cero, and Kinky when these were pretty much ignored by the Univision/Televisa cartel.

But ultimately, new is new, and these people need to keep their content extremely fresh, if they really want to make serious inroads among Latinos in the US of A, particularly young kids. you need to keep the content at least as current as what you can see or hear on TV or the radio, in order for it to be relevant. In an ideal world, AOL Latino's music section would complement what a Miami or Houston resident would be able to see on Mun2. Maybe it is the fact that the content part can actualy be good sometimes, but it is maddening to see them so far behind in some respects.

Hamas and MAS the Ugly Side of Democracy (HA - MAS)

Well Hamas wins in the occupied territories and Evo Morales takes the elections in Bolivia. While Evo is a throwback to some of the most outdated and stupid socialistic doctrines, he is nowhere close to being a violent terrorist, but there is a lot in common in both recent votes, besides freaking out Washington.

Both victories owe a lot to the "throw the bums out" feeling in populations frustrated by the inability of their elected officials to govern honestly. Clientilism and corruption in government is fairly new to Palestinians, given the fact that they have not governed themselves for too long, but it is old hat to most Bolivians. And like Fatah, the traditional Bolivian parties (and by definition the upper class elites) had a long and tarnished history of governance. And they were clearly not able to get their house in order for this election, in the same way Fatah presented a divided and confusing face to the Palestinian voters.

At the very least it is a truism in both cases that the freedom to express ones self and the right to vote have given both populations options they did not have 30 years ago. The people have spoken, and the message they have given is that it will not be business as usual. That ultimately should act as a wake-up call to the Bolivians and Palestinians that they must shape up if they ever want to be in power again. And it also is a message to the new rulers that they must govern efficiently and make compromises that befits statesman.

What is crucial in the long run, is how well the institutions on which a democracy depends can survive. Elected governments, can devolve into paralysis, mob rule, and/or single party rule. But, fortunately for Bolivia, its state has been pruned down from its earlier excesses, and power has been spread out to the provinces. Bolivias democracy has been surprisingly resillient, and the new centers of power in places like Santa Cruz will ultimately keep Evo honest, or the golden goose will simply move away and become another country. If MAS stops being the party of economic nonsense and stupidity and embraces economic reality, the long-term future of Bolivia might not be compromised.

Hamas is more complicated, it will have to change its stated goals and terrorist methods, and live up to its reputation as an honest administrator. It faces the might of the Israel Defence Forces as a brake on any attempt to continue to behave as a terrorist organization. The Palestinians certainly deserve both good government and peace.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Evo Mugabe????

The guy appointed by Evo to be energy minister is a socialist dinosaur, and a total moron. Ditto for some of the third rate academics, who are entrusted with public finances. The good news is that Bolivia has had incompetent ministers for most of her history.

There is a huge rush to get the traditional goodies associated with government, namely jobs and appointments. Expect some extremely incompetent people to come to office, as well as the carpetbaggers from Bolivia's old left (MNRI, PS1), who rode the Evo bandwagon. In other words, expect the same type of old-school corruption and and a nouveau riche bureaucrats at the top.

Some of the folks at some minor posts, with experience in local governance, might do a surprisingly good job. Thank Goni and US-AID for that, it was his innovative Popular Participation law in the 90's, combined with US AID funding that helped develop local governance in municipalities, many of which ended up as MAS strongholds.

So-called Neo-liberalist policies, have actually produced a much leaner State, whose finances are much more transparent than they have ever been in Bolivia's history. Any attempts to enlarge these institutions will be subject to much public scrutiny, some of it, paradoxically coming from the social movements themselves.

As for Evo, it is one thing to bring down the government, it is another to run it. He will confront reality pretty soon. And the reality is that no matter what the retread left says, sound macro-economic policy including an anti-inflationary monetary policy, limited government spending, and freedom for foreign investment - in sum the Neo-liberal bogeyman - is a good thing. Reversing some of the will get you nowhere near "social justice", and will only plunge you into more poverty. Bolivia can not afford any such failures.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Axis of Stupidity

LOL, now we have the trifecta completed, of pathetic uber-leftist idiots in power.

So Evo Morales, fresh after praising Mao, and claiming that Fidel is a democrat finally gets his wish and now runs at least half of Bolivia. Starts off nicely too, appointing some total ignoramuses to high posts. Don't know what is worse: the inevitable corruption and clientilism, or someone actually trying to impelment the outdated socialist crap these retards are spewing.

In sheer stupidity he rivals Hugo Chavez who recently accused the Jews of somehow ousting Simon Bolivar from power a couple of centuries ago, something straight out of the Lyndon Larouche book of paranoia.

It was the Illuminati Hugo.

And Fidel is Fidel of course.