*** POR LA MALETA SE DESCUBRE EL PASAJERO
POR EL MODUS OPERANDI SE DESCUBRE AL CRIMINAL
POR LA CAGADA SE DESCUBRE AL PAJARO.
VEAMOS QUIEN ESTÁ DETRÁS DE TODO ESTO?
|Friday, Feb 20, 2004||Print format|
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By: Edgar Hernandez - Venezuelanalysis.com
Caracas. Feb. 20, 2004 (Venezuelanalysis.com).- Costa Rica's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Culture, Mr. Roberto Tovar Faja, sent an official communiqué on Monday Feb. 16, to Venezuelan opposition fugitive Carlos Ortega, who lives in Costa Rica under political asylum, asking him once again to exercise restrain when making political comments that could violate his asylum conditions.
As president of the corrupt Confederation of Venezuela Workers (CTV), Ortega teamed up with the national Chamber of Commerce FEDECAMARAS in the Dec. 2002 lock-out, illegal strike and sabotage of the oil industry, in order to topple President Hugo Chavez. Ortega's actions caused losses of more than 10 billion dollars to the Venezuelan economy. On March of last year, Ortega was charged with several crimes in connection with his actions during the illegal strike. He eluded authorities and requested political asylum at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Caracas.
Ortega was also among the leaders of the April 2002 coup d'etat, but was not charged at the time.
Last week, Ortega was interviewed by a Venezuelan anti-government radio station, where he said that President Hugo Chavez was planning to stage a self coup d'etat in order to derail a potential recall referendum against him. Ortega made several anti-Chavez comments during the interview.
The Costa Rican government reminded Ortega to use the freedom of expression that he enjoys in that country in a responsible manner, and to abstain from making alarming and unfounded statements about the government of Venezuela.
Costa Rica has warned Ortega in the past for making other public political statements against the government of Venezuela while under asylum.
The letter, signed by the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Culture of Costa Rica, Marco Vinicio Vargas Pereira, indicates the following:
"Mr. Carlos Ortega
Following instructions of the Roberto Tovar Faja, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Culture, I am sending you this letter in relation to your statements given on the 10th of February of 2004 to "Union Radio Net" and reproduced by various media outlets in Venezuela and the international press.
As a matter of your knowledge, Costa Rica has a long and solid tradition in the matter of asylums and in repeated opportunities has defended the right of those in asylum status in our territory to freely express their political opinions, for as much that these opinions could be bothersome for the country where they are from. Nevertheless, the right of asylum is neither unlimited nor unrestricted, since it involves also for the person receiving the asylum status a series of obligations that you know well, and that this Ministry has reminded you of previously, just for the purpose of maintaining your legal status in Costa Rica.
In the referred statements, you said that the Government of Venezuela was planning to stage a coup d'etat to itself which would be carried out between Feb. 11 and Feb.13 of this year, in order to prevent that the recall referendum requested by the opposition could take place. Moreover, you described a series of measures that the Venezuelan Government would most likely take as part of the self-coup.
It is the opinion of the Government of Costa Rica that these statements are worrisome, in relation to the spirit of the rights to an asylum, and the behavior that people with asylum status must observe in our national territory.
Likewise, our legislation establishes that those under asylum status should be respectful of the internal legal code and of the good relations among two governments, as Costa Rica and Venezuela in this case. In consideration of the above, the Government of Costa Rica by this letter reiterates, one more time, a vehement request so that you make use of your freedom of expression in a responsible manner, and that especially your arguments to the press, you abstain from making unfounded statements.
Costa Rica and its authorities have always been in the best disposition to maintain and to defend the condition of those under asylum status and their right to express freely their opinions. Nevertheless, the Costa Rican Government also expects you to be respectful of the international obligations of this country and of the relations this country maintains with other states. Having said this, if you think that it is impossible for you to accept an adequate line of conduct and to correspond properly to the asylum status that Costa Rica has given you, the Government of this Republic judges opportune that you consider the possibility of transferring your residence to another country".
La cesión, en 1999, de la estratégica base aérea de Manta y de la soberanía ecuatoriana al Comando Sur de Estados Unidos
Ecuador es ocupado por EE.UU.
Publicado el Jueves, 19/02/04 07:21pm
Por la acciòn de la resistencia iraquì
Irak el nuevo Vietnam: Mueren dos soldados estadounidenses y cuatro resultan heridos
Publicado el Jueves, 19/02/04 06:28pm
POR LA MALETA SE DESCUBRE EL PASAJERO
POR EL MODUS OPERANDI SE DESCUBRE AL CRIMINAL
POR LA CAGADA SE DESCUBRE AL PAJARO.
VEAMOS QUIEN ESTÁ DETRÁS DE TODO ESTO?:
Cuando una nación productora de petróleo y otros minerales, ha elegido a un gobierno que supuestamente no garantiza o no esta a tono con los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica, dicha potencia decide enfrentarlo hasta someterlo física y psicológicamente a través de distintos niveles de presión.
Los Niveles son los siguientes: Nivel Rosa, Nivel Púrpura, Nivel Naranja, Nivel Rojo.
El primer nivel (Nivel Rosa): El sabotaje económico:
NOTA: Se autoriza a todos los venezolanos para la reproducción total o parcial de este escrito, no necesitan autorización, ni del autor, ni de su editor. Cópiese y distribúyase.
(*) Esto fue un pronostico que se cumplió cuatro meses después, ya que Saddam Hussein no supo sortear las provocaciones.-
“MAS CLARO NO CANTA UN GALLO”.
Ediciones: 1992, 1998, 2001, 2002,2003.
Ultima Edición 17-FEB-2004.
Welcome to Guyana, President Chavez
HIS Excellency Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias is coming to Guyana today on a State visit Guyanese see as being of profound importance to relations between Guyana and Venezuela.
As a neighboring country
with which they've had a long-standing border dispute, Venezuela has often
been seen by Guyanese as a "big brother" seeking to annex a large part
of its sibling's landscape. Interestingly, however, Guyanese attribute
Caracas's claim only to colonial wrangling.
And at least one account,
this by the U.S. Library of Congress, affirms that view. "When Britain
gained formal control over what is now Guyana in 1814, it also became involved
in one of Latin America's most persistent border disputes. At the London
Convention of 1814, the Dutch surrendered the United Colony of Demerara
and Essequibo and Berbice to the British.
"Although Spain still
claimed the region, the Spanish did not contest the treaty because they
were preoccupied with their own colonies' struggles for independence. In
1835 the British government asked German explorer Robert Hermann Schomburgk
to map British Guiana and mark its boundaries. As ordered by the British
authorities, Schomburgk began British Guiana's western boundary with Venezuela
at the mouth of the Orinoco River.
"A map of the British
colony was published in 1840. Venezuela protested, claiming the entire
area west of the Essequibo River. Negotiations between Britain and Venezuela
over the boundary began, but the two nations could reach no compromise.
In 1850 both agreed not to occupy the disputed zone."
Even without knowing
much of the history of the dispute, Guyanese never see Venezuela as a hostile
In fact, in the era
of 'guy lines,' when restrictions on imports by the Burnham administration
sent Guyanese scurrying abroad on a survival run, Venezuela provided them
with a cheap, sustained source of commodity supplies.
Today, that isn't
necessary. Yet, many of those Guyanese who risked their lives and well-being
smuggling commodities to feed their families and then to eke out a livelihood
have made Venezuela their permanent homes.
Others, claiming what
they call dual citizenship, shuffle back and forth across the Guyana/Venezuela
border. And all this has been possible only because the Venezuelan people
with whom the Guyanese regularly made contact accepted and encouraged their
compatriots to welcome them with open arms.
between Guyana and Venezuela are also very cordial at the macro level.
And the better for it, because Guyana shares as many similarities with
Venezuela as differences abound between them.
But development exacts
a big price. Though its image isn't tarnished by ethnic divisions - the
Venezuelan people comprise a combination of European, indigenous, and African
heritages with about 85 percent of the population living in urban areas
in the northern portion of the country - the Chavez administration is nonetheless
facing unrelenting pressure from the country's opposition to step down.
So is the Jagdeo administration
from opposition forces here.
In their discussions
later today, President Jagdeo and President Chavez should therefore be
able to inspire each other on ways to advance the mandate of their people
against those odds.
It is our hope that
by the end of his state visit here, President Chavez will have affirmed
his conviction that relations with Guyana can only get better. And that,
as the PNC/R pointed out in its statement welcoming the Venezuelan Leader,
steps will be taken allowing Guyanese to begin accelerating the economic
development of all of Essequibo.
Welcome to Guyana,
The State Visit by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
TODAY, the President of the Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, arrives in Guyana for his first State Visit to this country. Here, some citizens share their thoughts on President Chavez’s visit.
JUDITH GLASGOW - Businesswoman:
We welcome President Chavez to Guyana and we do hope that his visit would enhance the relationship between Guyana and Venezuela, and that it would benefit both countries economically and otherwise. There are lots of Guyanese who are in Venezuela, and a few Venezuelans in this country as well, especially in the border areas. It is indeed a good thing for leaders who have their citizens in other countries to come together and discuss plans for the benefit of their citizens. It would also be a good thing for President Jagdeo to visit Venezuela at the earliest opportunity, so that they could work out things for our mutual good.
KURT YORKE - Technician:
It is interesting - Mr. Chavez coming to Guyana right now, considering his stance on the international scene in respect of how he feels towards the United States, and his posturing with Cuba. It is interesting at times when one tries to find out where his position is on international issues - especially with the world dividing itself into blocks again. I still can’t figure out definitively just where he is. I can’t see why Guyana would want such a person whom we can’t pin down right to a particular block right now. I don’t think we need somebody who is sitting on the fence.
ROLEX BUTTERS - Supervisor:
We all know our history as regards our relationship with Venezuela as a neighbour. I think that a better relationship should be fostered between the two countries, particularly since we are neighbouring countries, and the world is becoming more of a global village in terms of trade and other relations. It would really be interesting to see what would come out of the visit.
ROLDON ROSS - Taxi Driver:
I would sincerely hope that coming out of President Chavez’ visit to Guyana, there would be improved bilateral relations between the two countries. When you really look at it, the Guyana-Venezuela’s relationship is not honky dory. There is still something left unsettled, and I do not know if Mr. Chavez’ coming here will solve that. If it does, that will be a big step forward. However, let’s trust the process and hope that things will redound to our mutual good.
MARILYN WILLIAMS - Housewife:
I join in welcoming President Chavez to Guyana and sincerely hope that coming out of discussions between himself and President Bharrat Jagdeo programmes can be arranged, and exchanges between the young people of that country and young Guyanese. We are thankful for the national gymnasium, which I understand, was a gift from the Venezuelans, and would like to see greater ties being forged in the area of sports and information technology.
ESTHER ENGLISH - Housewife:
I think it is a good time for Guyana and Venezuela to finally settle what ever differences might have existed between the two nations. Guyana and Venezuela are neighbours, and we all know that strained relations are not the best. So we sincerely hope that coming of President Chavez’ visit, our two countries can look forward to improved diplomatic relations.
Special traffic arrangements for Pres. Chavez visit
SEVERAL roads in Georgetown will be closed and arrangements governing traffic along the East Bank Demerara Public Road have also been made for today's State visit to Guyana by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
such the Guyana Police Force Traffic Department is advising drivers that
vehicles proceeding north along the East Bank Public Road will not be permitted
to overtake the Presidential convoy that will be escorted from the Cheddi
Jagan International Airport Timehri, Georgetown.
to an advisory from the Police, trucks will be detained at the Soesdyke
Linden Junction until the convoy reaches Georgetown.
drivers on hearing the Police siren must slow down, pull over and stop
on the near side of the road," a traffic advisory notes.
advisory also indicates that the under-mentioned roads will be closed to
vehicular traffic between the times indicated:
Vlissengen Road between Croal Street and Regent Street from 9:00 hrs to
High Street between Lamaha Street and Barrack Street from 9:00 hrs to 11:00
Middle Street between Waterloo Street and Main Street from 9:00 hrs to
Carmichael Street (eastern carriageway thereof) between Middle Street and
New Market Street from 9:00 hrs to 11:00 hrs
High Street between Barrack and Young Street from 9:00 hrs to 11:00 hrs
Main Street between Middle Street and Lamaha Street from 9:00 hrs to 11:00
New Garden Street between South Road and Regent Street from 9:00 hrs 12:00
Charlotte Street between Oronoque Street and New Garden Street from 9:00
hrs to 12:00 hrs
Kingston Seawall Road between High Street and Camp Street from 9:00 hrs
to 18:00 hrs
Young Street between High Street and Parade Street from 9:00 hrs to 18:00
Mandan mensajes de texto desestabilizadores en celulares TELCEL. Cisneros ataca de nuevo
Por: Alejandro Guerrero
Publicado el Jueves, 19/02/04 12:55am
Hallan medicinas escondidas en techos del Hospital Universitario de Maracaibo. Cirujanos tratan de parar el pabellón
Por: Panorama (Moisés Arévalo/Foto: Alberto Alvarado)
Publicado el Jueves, 19/02/04 03:39am
By: Omar Gomez
A series of transcendental changes that have come about in the past few years in Venezuela indicate that we are in the midst of a revolution. However, there are many who object to this formulation. Even the most radical say that “This government has not done anything.” Well, the works of the government are there, which, as the President says, whosoever has eyes may see. Even though it is not the point, it makes sense to say that the governments of other presidents have provided public works, in some more and in some less. In particular, under the dictatorship of General Marcos Perez Jimenez, public works were of such a magnitude that today they compete with those that were made during the so-called democracy of “puntofijismo.” What difference is there between the previous governments and the current one? What is it that allows one to speak of a revolution in progress?
Venezuela has undergone a radical transformation, one which is only possible in a revolution. Five years ago, the political consciousness of citizens was very low. Today, the great majority of Venezuelans have a political consciousness that is much higher. In addition, the degree of political participation is much higher compared to the past. This does not have to do with whether someone is in favor of or opposed to the revolutionary process, but it has to do with the fact that Venezuelans have been shaken by the eruption of politics in our everyday lives. Many had never participated in social organizations, demonstrations, discussions, rallies, cooperatives, etc., and certainly not in defending in the streets their ideas and political beliefs. Today Venezuelans have quite an active political life.
Now, it’s not just that Venezuelans talk more about politics than before. There are a series of political changes that make up the revolution. What was left behind was representative democracy in order to construct a participatory democracy within the framework of a social state with justice. This challenge is only possible in a revolution. Questioning globalization and neo-liberalism, condemning the state terrorism perpetrated by the United States, and leading with concrete proposals for regional integration, have only been possible within a revolution. Strengthening OPEC, whereby the government spoke directly with all of its partners, despite the disapproval of the US, the condemnation of the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas), the rejection of the invasions of Iraq and of Afghanistan, the efforts to construct a multi-polar world, have all come about by virtue of the revolution.
How else to explain that in less than a year the incredible goal of reducing illiteracy by more than one million, thereby practically eliminating illiteracy in Venezuela, was reached? In what country in the world has it been possible to convoke a constitutional assembly with such a high degree of participation and popular consultation as has been the case in Venezuela? How else can one make sense of the amazing feat of having dismantled a coup d’état that was internationally supported (by the U.S. and Spain, among others) and of having rescued democracy in less than 48 hours, without resorting to violence? In what other place in the world have such successful missions been designed, such as the Mission “Inside the Barrio,” which has been able provide medical attention to more than 15 million cases in less than a year?
Let’s recognize a revolution when it takes as its goal the fundamental transformation of society, not just via political changes, but also via changes in the sphere of education. In addition to the more than one million fewer illiterates, in five years of revolution it has been possible to include over one and a half million children in the school system. The education budget has been increased from 2.9% of GDP to 6.4%, 675 new schools have been constructed, 2,250 schools have been renovated, over 3,000 schools have been transformed into Bolivarian schools (where children receive meals, health care, and recreational facilities), over 35,000 new teachers have been hired, 240 infocenters (free public internet access facilities in the barrios and in other remote locations) have been opened; in sum, the achievements in the educational sphere reveal the development of a revolution.
Other indicators of the revolution are the incorporation of over three million people into access to potable water and of over one million into access to the sewage system, of having increased life expectancy by nine months and of lowering the infant mortality rate from 18 to 15 per thousand live births.
In conclusion, this is not about quantifying public works of the government, but about showing that changes so drastic, such as lowering illiteracy in six months to a larger degree than had been achieved in the forty years prior to that, are not achievable with traditional governments that our people have had until now. Paraphrasing the expression, “not being able to see the forest because of the trees,” we can say that the day-to-day struggles don’t let us see the revolution.
 “Puntofijismo” refers to the period between the end of the Perez Jimenez dictatorship and the beginning of the Chavez presidency (1958-1998), a forty year period in which the main parties of Acción Democratica and Copei agreed to limit political competition between their two parties.
Original source / relevant link:
By: Martín Sánchez - Venezuelanalysis.com
President Hugo Chavez, gives a speech at an event to promote State purchases
from medium, small bussinesses and cooperatives.
Recently declassified documents have recently revealed that Washington is providing funds through the National Endowment for Democracy to groups seeking to oust the South American leader. Though Washington has acknowledged providing the funds, it denied that they are directed to groups seeking to oust Chavez, but rather to promote democracy. The President said that one of the recipients of the U.S. aid is SUMATE, the company that organized the recall referendum petition drive against him last November. Other groups listed in the declassified documents have links to the political opposition to Chavez. The President said that the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy has provided funds to the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers union, and other groups that participated in the 2002 coup d'etat against him.
U.S. government finances conspiracy
"The Venezuelan government and the organizations that support it don’t need any money from the United States because we have dignity and sovereignty," said Chavez, adding that the U.S. government is using the American people's money to finance political opposition and conspiratorial activities to overthrow the Venezuelan government. Chavez demanded "respect for Venezuela."
"Apart from having lots of oil, Venezuela has abundant dignity," he said, adding that the people of Venezuela is willing to defend the country's independence, its land, skies and sea "at any cost, even if it cost U.S. our lives, because this is a free and independent country"
Bush administration behind 2002 coup
Chavez accused the U.S. government of being involved in the April 2002 coup d'etat against his government. "They met with rebel military officers, U.S. military officers acted in the coup, we have photos and evidence," said Chavez. "The U.S. ambassador was at the Presidential Palace after the coup to applaud the dictator [Pedro Carmona]. The government of the United States must answer before the world about the deaths that occurred here in April of 2002," added Chavez, saying that the Bush administration had a responsibility in the Puente Llaguno (Llaguno Bridge) massacre that helped trigger the coup.
The U.S. alleged involvement in the coup against Chavez has been documented by Newsweek, the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets. The U.S. was slow to condemn the coup, in sharp contrast with other countries in the hemisphere that refused to give recognition to the dictator who briefly replaced Chavez. At the time, the U.S. blamed Chavez for his own downfall.
U.S. lies about Venezuela
Chavez accused Washington of lying about his government, saying that Venezuela hosts guerrillas and supports terrorists; in the same way it lied to justify the war on Iraq. "Soon they may say that Bin Laden is hiding in here," said Chavez who sympathized with U.S. soldiers by saying that they were lied to by the U.S. government in on order to sent them to war. "They told them that Iraq had chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction. They lied to the world, to the American people, and to Europe." Chavez argues that the U.S. is preparing a campaign aimed at discredit his government in order to justify a new coup.
What does Bush have to do with a recall referendum in Venezuela?, asked Chavez, reminding the audience about Bush's promise at the recent Monterrey Presidential Summit of "ensuring the integrity of the presidential recall and referendum" in Venezuela. Chavez asked Bush to worry about the poor, about Social Security, and racial discrimination in the U.S., and not about Venezuela.
"DeShazo is lying"
Chavez accused the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Peter DeShazo, of lying, by claiming that U.S. funds have not only gone to opposition groups but also to pro-Chavez organizations. "I challenge him to say which organizations sympathetic to the (Venezuelan) government have received money from them," said Chavez. DeShazo visited the country on Monday and urged electoral authorities who are validating signatures gathered to demand a recall referendum on Chavez and other elected officials, not to violate the peoples' will due to "technicalities".
Venezuela's National Electoral Council is reviewing hundred of thousands of petition forms that appear to present irregularities. Chavez argued that the term "excessive technicalities" is being used to put pressure on electoral authorities to accept petitions filled by minors, foreigners, by third parties using death people’s data, and by people who signed several times. "Are those excessive technicalities or 'excessive fraud-acalities'," asked Chavez who on Sunday presented copies of forms with all 10 signature slots filled by the same person, an indication of fraud.
The President said to be astounded at the fact that international observers currently overseeing the signature validation process in Venezuela, have not commented on the "abundant" proof of fraud presented by him or groups that support his government.
Chavez criticized DeShazo for not expressing any preoccupation at the fact that no single leader of the opposition has vowed to respect any decision that electoral authorities may make with regard to the referendum, even if not in their favor.
FTAA: an imperialist project
The President said that in modern times no flotilla of ships like Christopher Columbus' or Marines are needed by superpowers to invade countries, as the invasion now is done in economic terms. "This economic invasion is aimed at taking our countries, our present, and especially our future, and turn us into colonies. That is the intention of the world's elites."
Chavez argued that programs such the one implemented by his government to favor small and medium-sized businesses and cooperatives, would be impossible under the FTAA. "Programs of State purchases such as this one would be impossible within the framework of Neoliberalism and the FTAA," he said.
"A country under assault cannot remain silent," said Chavez, adding "I really ask the government of the United States to dedicate to solve it own problems and let Venezuelans solve our problems."
Chavez's speech followed a long string of statements about Venezuela from Washington in recent months, which Venezuela says interfere in the country's internal affairs. Statements from Washington officials have increased in recent weeks at the same time that Chavez's popularity continues to grow, and signatures are being reviewed by elections officials for a possible recall referendum. The U.S. maintains that its only intentions are to help find a Constitutional and peaceful solution to the Venezuelan political crisis.
"no es tecnicismo, es fraudismo"
Mas denuncias "con rostro" contra el Megafraude
Por: Luis Pérez
Publicado el Miércoles, 18/02/04 06:02pm
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Consulta Pagina Luis Tascon con la Misma Cedula.
Chavez: Oposición venezolana apátrida pide intervención foránea
Publicado el Miércoles, 18/02/04 04:31pm
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The year has opened with warnings that China is lurching toward a major economic crisis that will inevitably have far-reaching global ramifications. While the Chinese regime is hailing the country’s 9.1 percent economic growth last year, analysts are noting that the growth itself has produced the type of overcapacity and rampant speculation that has characterised other economies before they experienced a severe slump.
The New York Times, for example, warned on January 18: “As 2004 begins, China’s economy looks as invincible as the Japanese, South East Asian and American economies of those earlier times. But recent excess—from the frenzy of factory construction to speculative inflows of cash to soaring growth in bank loans—suggest that China may be in a bubble now, especially on the investment side of the economy.”
Over the last decade, China’s combination of plentiful low-cost labour and a currency pegged to the US dollar has kept commodities manufactured in China cheap and competitive. This has enabled the country to become world’s primary destination for foreign direct investment, attracting $US53 billion last year. Driven by a desire to maximise profit and corporate dividends, the feverish trend to invest in China has spawned a number of serious problems.
The explosive growth of China’s export and industrial capacity has far outstripped market demands. According to a study in the December issue of the US-based Foreign Affairs magazine, China’s fixed asset investment grew 31 percent in the first half of 2003, almost triple the growth rate in 2000, but household consumption grew only by 8.8 percent to 10.1 percent in the same period.
China’s huge export sector, which is largely run by foreign-invested firms, increased 35 percent to $430 billion last year, with total foreign trade soaring to $840 billion—the fourth largest in the world. Industrial production increased 17 percent, the highest since 1995. Last year China produced 35 percent of the world’s cellular phones, 40 percent of its colour TVs and 55 percent of the world’s computer monitors.
The market, economists have warned, ultimately cannot absorb this production. The New York Times commented: “In fact, so many factories have been built that in industry after industry, from washing machines to cell phones, production capacity far exceeds domestic demand. Exports have not entirely absorbed the differences, so prices have plunged.... Business executives and economists often complain that factories are built with little attention to whether similar plants are being constructed elsewhere, or to how low prices will fall if all of them start churning out the same products at the same time.”
The World Bank’s investment arm, the International Finance Corporation, has stopped financing China’s manufacturing sector, declaring it is “already over-invested.”
The rapid growth is stretching China’s infrastructure to breaking point. Electricity generation, for example, is seriously lagging behind demand, with a shortage of at least 40 gigawatts—the amount of energy required to run Australia. In Shanghai, many manufacturers were ordered to switch to night-time production during December in order to ease the strain on power system.
The fear is that the overcapacity will trigger deflationary price falls in many industries, slashing into profitability and causing firms to go bankrupt. China’s auto industry for example, had undergone a huge expansion due to investments by the transnational car companies, reaching an annual production capacity of 2.8 million vehicles. Only 1.8 million are actually sold, however. Similar conditions exist in other industries such as steel and cement.
Under conditions where the export boom from China has become one of the main growth engines for other East Asian economies, an economic slowdown in China would be socially and politically devastating for the region as a whole.
The total exports from the rest of Asia to China—more than half of which is for reprocessing—grew from $72.1 billion in 1995 to $160 billion in 2002. A fall in demand from China would particularly impact on the South East Asian countries, which still have high unemployment and have not fully recovered from the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98.
A crisis in China could also trigger far more serious global financial turbulence. China has become one of the largest purchasers of US bonds over the past decade, playing an ever-greater role in assisting the US finance its gargantuan trade deficit. East Asian countries, including Japan and China, now hold $1.7 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, including half of all US government securities.
In an article entitled “China-US: double bubbles in danger of colliding”, the Asia Times commented on January 22 that the two interdependent “growth engines” of world economy were potentially heading into problems. “If the US economy sinks and Americans stop buying Chinese goods, then it will compound the US slump as China first stops buying US bonds that have inflated the American bubble and then moves on to selling them. On the other hand, if the Chinese economy falters and it stops recycling dollars into the US economy, then the boom stops anyway,” it wrote.
A potential trigger for such a scenario is the protectionist measures being advocated in the US against Chinese goods. Both Democrats and Republicans in the lead-up to the US election have demagogically declared that American unemployment is due to cheap labour competition from China. In the last three months, the Bush administration, motivated by short-term electoral calculations, has imposed trade sanctions on a number of Chinese import categories such as textiles, colour televisions and furniture.
Pressure is also being applied by US politicians and trade union officials for a revaluation of the Chinese currency, the yuan, which would make Chinese exports more expensive. The anticipation that China will ultimately back down to the US demands has fueled a speculative inflow of capital into China, with investors buying up yuan-denominated assets in the expectation their value will be increased by a revaluation.
The increased demand for yuan has caused an excessive growth of money supply and credit in China, fueling a real estate bubble in the country’s major cities. According to official statistics, investment in real estate reached $99.82 billion in the first 11 months of 2003, an increase of 32.5 percent. The irrationality of the property boom is demonstrated by the fact that at the end of November, vacant commercial building space exceeded 100 million square metres, an increase of 6.5 percent.
Like the periods preceding the Asian crisis in 1997-98 and the collapse of high tech stock bubble in the US in 2000, speculative investment is vastly inflating stock and property prices. So while manufacturing experiences deflation, the stock market and property sector are experiencing inflationary pressures. The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Hong Kong by China Green Holding, an exporter of vegetables, for instance, generated 1,600 times more buy offers than were available for sale—the most oversubscribed IPO ever in Hong Kong’s history. The share price of the virtually unknown company has soared astronomically.
Both economists and government officials have repeatedly warned that such speculative investments will fail to make a return. The inevitable collapse in stock market and property values will place even greater pressure on China’s financial system, which is already believed to be burdened with anywhere between $384 billion to $864 billion in non-performing loans. But little is being done to prevent the looming crisis.
The ratio of bad loans to lending on the books of China’s four largest banks has fallen since the government transferred some $US170 billion worth of debt to asset-management companies in 1998-1999. The banks were injected with $32 billion in fresh capital and bank governance reforms were implemented. In December, the Chinese government provided another $45 billion to two of the banks—the China Construction Bank and the Bank of China—to boost their capital base.
Last year, however, the banks increased lending by 21.4 percent to finance the property market boom. There are fears that if, or when, the real estate bubble collapses, the number of borrowers unable to pay back the banks will once again soar.
The January issue of the Far East Economic Review outlined a blunt list of “must do’s” for the Chinese banks. It declared the primary objective of banking reform had to be to “cut off loans made to state firms for political reasons.” In other words, to stop giving loans to state-owned companies that provide their employees with healthcare, education and other limited services—a measure that will fuel China’s already acute social tensions.
With uncertainty growing about China’s economic prospects, some analysts are beginning to pay serious attention to the immense social inequality in the country and the fact Chinese workers and farmers are likely to respond to any downturn with protests and political unrest. While a minority of government officials and businessmen have benefited from the growth of the last decade, the vast majority of China’s population have not.
The Singapore-based Strait Times warned on January 27 that explosive internal social contradictions have built up behind the economic growth. “Since most growth activities are concentrated in areas along the coastal regions and selective pockets in the interior, they have not managed to narrow China’s regional development gaps or reduce rural-urban income disparities, or ameliorate the plight of the rural poor,” it wrote.
“More seriously, China’s unemployment remains high, with the ‘registered unemployment rate’ (which does not include new layoffs from state-owned enterprises in urban areas) recently increasing to 4.7 percent from 4 percent in 2002.”
More than 40 million workers have been laid-off by state-owned industries since the late 1990s. According to a report by the China Daily in mid-January, the further “restructuring” of state-owned enterprises will cost three million jobs every year until 2006. A February report by Xinhua, the official news agency, indicated that 400 large state-owned companies in north-eastern China alone would be bankrupted over the next three years.
Both urban and rural incomes are stagnating or declining due to the intense competition for jobs. The economy of Guangdong province, China’s major export zone, for example, has grown by more than 10 percent annually in last decade, but factory workers, most of whom are migrants from rural areas, still earned an average of $50-70 a month. This is the same level as 1993 but it buys far less today.
The New York Times warned on January 18: “Nobody knows how harmful a sharp economic slowdown would be to China, a country undergoing huge social changes, like the migration of peasants to the cities. The Communist Party rests its legitimacy on delivering consistent annual increases in prosperity... if the economy slows sharply, political instability could follow. That would be a serious problem, not just for China, but also for the rest of the world.”
The Times did not explain what it meant by “political instability”. The implication, however, is clear. With a large proportion of world manufacturing production dependent on the ruthless exploitation of Chinese workers, mass unrest against the Beijing dictatorship, particularly under conditions where the numerical size and social weight of China’s working class is far greater than in May-June 1989, would be seen in US ruling circles as a risk to the stability of global capitalism.
Political crackdown in China as leadership prepares mass privatisations
[26 November 2003]
Chinese capitalism: industrial powerhouse or sweatshop of the world?
[31 January 2003]
Ciclo de Conferencias en la UBV
“El ALBA, una propuesta a la integración Latinoamericana frente a la dominación del ALCA”
Por: Prensa UBV
Publicado el Miércoles, 18/02/04 09:26pm