A day in the life of a Venezuelan journalist

The Acuario de Valencia is a very nice public zoo and aquarium with loads of species endemic to Venezuela. The Acuario is short of money and the municipality of Valencia, since 2008 under control of Chávez's people decided to strike a deal with a South Korean zoo: the city government would exchange two tamed pink toninas or Amazon dolphins -the main attraction and source of revenue- for "maintenance help" and a Mandarin fish of the type that can be seen in many public and countless private aquaria all over the world. This sort of exchange is of the gold-for-broken-glass exchange we saw in 1498. The deal was not approved by the city council or any other institution but the major.

Many have protested the decision. They think the deal is not fair and the municipality should have money for the kind of maintenance they expect from South Korea (as soon as Parra won as major he decided to go with a huge entourage, including family members, to China "to negotiate deals", the city major uses state resources whenever Chávez is on campaign in the region, etc). The major says the Acuario has enough with the young tonina that is the child of the dolphin couple under discussion and it needs the money, period.

People opposing the exchange decided to set up a stand next to the Acuario this Sunday in order to collect signatures for a petition. They had already collected 107 signatures at about 9am when city buses arrived bringing red-shirted Chávez supporters to show the "official position". The Chavistas tore to pieces all petitions and started to hit the journalists. There were police agents from the Valencia city -each municipio has its own police- and they did nothing.

This is very much the daily news in Venezuela. It happens everywhere, it happens time after time. And Chávez is shopping around in Eastern Europe, in Iran and China.

Notitarde tells about the story in Spanish here (valid link only for today, later they will archived it somewhere else, I will try to relink). I heard quite the same story from some neighbours who were in the place. El Carabobeno has its story here.