Austin time


austin-txI’m thrilled to have been invited to be a moderator at the Plan País Conference in Austin, Texas this weekend.

Plan País is a yearly conference in which Venezuelan students in the US get together with older people such as myself to discuss solutions to the various issues surrounding our country. The organizers have kindly asked me to talk about the media – new, old, chavista, and what comes next.

If you’re in town, stop by for a visit. It should be loads of fun – Laureano will be there! So will other interesting folks.

And if you can’t make it, I’ll do my best to blog about the happenings. I can’t promise much since I will probably be tired, but maybe I’ll post a daily video recap or something.

The other great thing is that I have an excuse not to write about the upcoming train-wreck-of-a-Summit in Panama. I’ll leave that task to my fellow bloggers …

(Who am I kidding, I’ll probably write about the Summit anyway).

Regardles – come to Austin! Come for the cháchara, stay for the barbeque.

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  1. I attended the conference held in Yale about 5 years ago. Francisco Monaldi was the moderator of the group discussion I joined. Polar’s Lorenzo Mendoza made a cameo appearance and delivered an inspirational speech at the general session. I would like to go to Austin, but I’ll be busy trying to maximize my tax deductions. Enjoy the over-sized Texan brisket!

  2. This is a great initiative, made up of Venezuelans of the future with some worthy ingredients from the present and the past. These young and bright Venezuelans meet to discuss the possible solutions to the country’s problems.
    If I could suggest one item of the highest priority this would be a massive program of civic education starting at the second grade of primary school, accompanying the child-man all the way to the final year of university or wherever he,she end their formal education This is probably the only way to convert people into citizens in a society that sadly lacks civic consciousness and a true sense of national cohesion.
    Good luck to you in Austin!

  3. It seems odd to me Plan Pais seems to avoid conferencing in Florida.

    It strikes me as an intentional move to prevent the Venezuelan/US hoi polloi from attending and asking questions and presenting their views.

    Otherwise, Plan Pais would actually make an effort to go where the Venezuelans are, especially those who cannot afford a weekend flying around the US.

    • I understand students from a given university apply and present a proposal to be approced; not sure if the blokes from Florida already have done it

    • I don’t think Plan País is avoiding Florida. Rather, this is an academic event, and each year a different university hosts it. South Florida has many advantages, but they don’t yet have a top-notch university – at least not one at the level of Yale, Columbia, Texas, etc.

      Having said that, I’ll be sure to ask them if they’ve thought about hosting it in Florida in the future.

      • Ok.
        So the claim is that the riffraff/trash being avoided are the poor quality universities of Florida state.
        Not riffraff/trash like myself or others in the non-jet set crowd.
        If they choose to try and host in Florida, make sure you mention that to the proposed host school.
        I’d like to hear their reaction.
        (also the reaction of FSU, FIU and UMiami alumni who might have acquired literacy and be able to read your blog).

  4. You might want to share this with them. It made the rounds in Venezuelan social media a couple of weeks ago.

    Socialismo, comunismo? Lean esto.

    Un profesor de economía de la Universidad Norteamericana Texas Tech, alegó q él nunca había reprobado a uno de sus estudiantes pero que, en una ocasión, tuvo que raspar la clase entera.

    Cuenta que esa clase le insistió que el socialismo sí funcionaba, que en éste sistema no existían ni pobres ni ricos, sino una total igualdad.

    El profesor les propuso a sus alumnos hacer un Experimento en clase sobre el socialismo. Todas las notas iban a ser promediadas y a todos los estudiantes se les asignaría la misma nota de forma que nadie sería reprobado y nadie sacaría una A.

    Después del primer examen, las notas fueron promediadas y todos los estudiantes sacaron B. Los estudiantes que se habían preparado muy bien estaban molestos y los estudiantes que estudiaron poco estaban contentos. Pero, cuando presentaron el segundo examen, los estudiantes que estudiaron poco estudiaron aún menos, y los estudiantes que habían estudiado duro decidieron no trabajar tan duro ya que no iban a lograr obtener una A; y, así, también estudiaron menos. El promedio del segundo examen fue D. Nadie estuvo contento. Pero cuando se llevó a cabo el tercer examen, toda la clase sacó F.
    ¡Raspados todos!

    Las notas nunca mejoraron.

    Los estudiantes empezaron a pelearse entre sí, culpándose los unos a los otros por las malas notas hasta llegar a insultos y resentimientos, ya que ninguno estaba dispuesto a estudiar para que se beneficiará otro que no lo hacía.

    Para el asombro de toda la clase, ¡todos perdieron el año! y el profesor les preguntó si ahora entendían la razón del gran fracaso del socialismo.

    Es sencillo; simplemente se debe a que el ser humano está dispuesto a sacrificarse trabajando muy duro cuando la recompensa es muy atractiva y justifica el esfuerzo; pero cuando el gobierno quita ese incentivo, nadie va a hacer el sacrificio necesario para lograr la excelencia.

    Finalmente, el fracaso será general.

    • That’s perfect! But sometimes people forget that this exact same pattern also exists under SOCIAL DEMOCRACY! Just in a lesser degree. Socialism pretends to help the poor, but by harming the middle and upper class, it hurts the poor more than anyone else. It’s really ironic…

      • Marc,

        We all (well, most of us) understand what happens when a government tries to implement extreme “socialism”. The parable of the classroom above is a good illustration. However, any society or country is more than just its economy. In order to maintain a cohesive social order, it has to take proactive measures to prevent extreme poverty and promote education, health, and other measures that assure that there is opportunity and upward mobility. Finding the right balance is the challenge that every modern country must find for itself. I am not a huge fan of state-heavy social democracies of Scandinavia, but it must be said that these countries are extremely stable, and their citizens are remarkably content.

        Just as you can go wrong by insisting on some sort of pure ideological socialism, you can also go wrong by insisting on a pure ideological libertarianism. Personally, I am bit of a cowboy, and I like living in countries with fewer laws where I have to rely on my own wits to survive — a place where there is less security, but more opportunity. But, I don’t claim that my preference has any particular moral superiority. Finding the right balance, for each society, is as much as esthetic choice as it is a pragmatic and moral one.

    • Hiya Hector!
      I remember my youth knee high in brass from taking out LOL hungry right wing deviationists. Good times, good times. I miss the revolution so much, hope to see you in the fields of education soon.

      Also Hector you play CyberNations?

  5. Mr. Nagel,

    If the opportunity presents itself, be sure to hit Franklin BBQ. It isn’t terribly expensive and the brisket is divine. A defining culinary experience when in Austin.

    Just be prepared for a little line to get in. Maybe you can get some of your fellow attendees to join you; it will be like bringing a little bit of Venezuela to Austin, gringo-style.

  6. Congratulations JG on bein honoured with an invitation to this event . They made an excelent choice , hope after the event you give us some impression of how it was and the kind of people you saw or heard there.

    Plan País es una organización sin fines de lucro comprometida a proveer servicios educativos relacionados al progreso de Venezuela.

    Nuestra Misión:

    Fomentar la conciencia cívica y política entre la juventud venezolana
    Promover un discurso innovador e imparcial, con el propósito de crear una visión para Venezuela
    Facilitar la creación de una red de jóvenes venezolanos en el exterior”


  8. I wish I could make it Juan, you are just a little south of my home turf, Oklahoma City. However, I have previous plans. I have some clients coming to the shop with a project they need built ASAP. You know how it goes in the evil imperialistic empire… Us capitalist pigs feel a responsibility to take care of our customers… Can’t wait to hear about it!

  9. I had the opportunity to attend last year in NYC. it was an awesome experience!. I would recommend to everyone who can to go. I remember Quico was the first person i saw when i got there. I wasn’t a CC reader at the time so i had no idea who he was. I so regret it! i would have bombarded him with questions


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