Rubén Rivero Capriles

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India & Brazil
My immediate concern on all Indian Information Technology businesses I have contacted so far comes from their monolingualism. Most of my clients do not speak English, have no interest in learning English, and expect to understand the new technologies with full telephone support in their own language. The Indian IT industry has the potential of overshadowing the North American IT industry because of lower prices for the final consumer and similar quality. However, here in Latin America demand will continue favoring US software that nowadays comes completely translated into Spanish. I would suggest the possibility of expanding the range of Indian IT services into Spanish, French and Portuguese in order to service all markets in the Americas and Africa.

"I do agree this gap exists in the Indian Software Market. This is of course a new opportunity and we surely will take on to see what can be done." (by Purmina Varadrajan)

"Nowadays India needs many transcripters & translators but we have not yet been in the need for this organization before." (by Suhas Deshpande) 
Hopefully Venezuela's soccer team will make it for Brazil's World Cup. The progress of our team in recent years deserves it. It would be nice if Venezuelan fans can go by car to Rio de Janeiro, just as New Yorkers drive to California to get a taste of their continent. I've been as far as Boa Vista, but I understand that land travel deeper into Brazil is still not well developed. I am sure there must be an environmental way to respect the rainforest habitat while building a highway that would improve so much South American trade and tourism. A bridge from Manaus to Southern Brazil would be the next logical step. Is there any way we can push this project forward? It would probably help monitor conservation efforts elsewhere within the Amazon rainforest as regulators would move to the area to enforce environmental legislation. And the native people from our two countries would have a greater say in local politics. 

"Relevant their placements Reuben, a vision of a neighboring country and to proposals for specific projects is high and should encourage companies to map out what the benefits of these sporting events. However, we still need to move forward in some crucial points for the conduct of all projects involving these sporting events: 1) Planning Projects and 2) Strict control of spending." André Sarti
Dr. Armand Hammer (New York 1898 - Los Angeles 1990) led many simultaneous independent petroleum and art deals during his life. In tribute to his memory I try to excel in both fields. He did not understand the oil business, according to the seven sisters, but he was able to transform Occidental from near bankruptcy to a leading independent petroleum company due to a belief in sound business practices and succesful explorations in countries where others thought it was impossible to invest. He encouraged art exchanges between the Soviet Union, the United States, Venezuela and many other countries. He was able to use his petroleum connections to promote international understanding through art, and he was able to use his art collection for access into the most lucrative oil deals. Dr. Armand Hammer pioneered a cooperation between the US and Chinese oil industries that continues to this day. Most networking I do online is based on the lessons I've learned from the telephone and personal networking Dr. Armand hammer did on a global scale during the span of the 20th century. A slightly longer tribute to Dr. Hammer is on an older blog which summarizes his autobiography published in 1987.
Rubén Rivero Capriles
Caracas, March 24, 2010

Securitization vs. portfolio diversification



mosaique de trucages.JPGCurrent investments seem to be interested in securitization rather than in small business financing. Bank lending for the benefit of actual business has shifted to ever more complex strategies for paper issuance. Portfolios are not broadly diversified due to this over-reliance on securitization that is seen as synonym of profitability. Neglecting tangible production of new real wealth is the opportunity cost of leaving great project ideas on the planning stage. 

Portfolio Diversification is a distribution in a set or portfolio of different investments in order to mitigate their overall risk. Securitization refers to the trend of commercial banks in the international financial market to replace their activity of business loans and credits for the issuance and placement of securities and the organization, control, management and consulting of new issuance from businesses.


trazos de maracay.JPGThis phenomenon may partly explain the entrenchment of the current financial crisis. Inefficient companies that benefited from bank lending during their early years now continue to benefit through the new complex financial structures. The efficient startup companies from today, however, have little financing available. The predominant risk models assume they are bound to fail because they are undecapitalized startups, suggesting an unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy caused by a vicious circle of risk aversion. 

I invite my readers to design strategies to test this hypothesis that an effective, profitable portfolio diversification should include a healthy, significant percentage of old fashioned investment in addition to the trendy securitization.

Top: Mosaïque de trucages by RRivero 2010
Bottom: Trazos de Maracay by RRivero 1997


Haiti Hospital; Bolívar fuerte devalued; Massachusetts; kids on social media


eros naturae.JPG"Haiti needs doctors. If you are a doctor or a nurse, or have a friend who is a doctor or a nurse who would like to go to volunteer some of their time and skills, please contact me, and I will do all the contact-leg-work for you and spare you the hassle. Please specify what kind of doctor you are, and when you are available." ( message from close friends at Haiti Hospital )

The Venezuelan currency devaluation issue is a measure that should have been taken years ago. I am glad the currency was devalued closer to its market value. The overall effect will reduce the uncertainty on the value of the Bolívar fuerte. Chaos was the previous official exchange rate at 2,15 BsF per USD, while the parallel rate was over twice higher. Many would have preferred the exchange control regime being dismantled, but this devaluation in January 2010 was a step to the right direction. Today, the official rate at 4,30 BsF per USD is much closer to the parallel rate. A previous forex differential blog article reflects on the exchange rate system as I saw it in mid 2009. Then I thought it was chaos. Now I am actually hopeful that this sinceration of prices, even though it will lead to initial inflation, will make exports more profitable for Venezuelan producers and will diminish the occurrence of non essential imports.

Massachusetts voters elected a Republican senator who happened to conduct a campaign more people-oriented than a Democrat candidate who recently went on vacation instead of grassroots campaigning. Massachusetts voters have consistently elected democratic candidates during many decades. This time they felt a change was needed according to their own state politics, as this was a state election. Democrats still have 59 senators and a President. They still have the potential, next fall, of securing more votes in traditionally red states in Middle America. This statistical setback should not derail the historic health care legisation that is being discussed in the U.S. congress. Massachusetts should not be blamed for voting down universal health care to the rest of the U.S., as this traditionally blue state is not responsible of the U.S. congress breakdown by party, as a result of previous elections in all other 49 states.

A study has found that children spend more hours a day using social media than in previous years. However, we as adults spend as much time as kids on our social media. Adults are not setting an example for our kids and cannot blame them for doing otherwise. I was a geeky kid who used to look up all kinds of things in encyclopedias. I am sure that if I were a kid now I would be looking up all sorts of content as well on these new media rather than on books as I used to. However I think it is wise to have limits on time consumption of those things. My wrist tells me when I've been using a mouse too much and when it's time to stop. It would be nice to find a way to guide kids into interesting info they could get on the media instead of watching them relentlessly consume top publicized, low quality content.

Rubén Rivero Capriles
Caracas, January 27, 2010

Eros naturae pastel artwork
Started in 2005 by Harold M. Cooper, 
Vice-President of Rivero & Cooper, Inc. 
Completed by RRivero 2010

Yemen, happy new year 2010!


Yemen happy new year 2010!.jpg
While I was enjoying the new year fireworks at Plaza Altamira in Caracas, I supposed that a few hours earlier, somewhere in Aden, there was a similar public celebration, perhaps smaller or maybe larger, to welcome 2010. People from Yemen with whom I've had a chance to chat seem proudly eager to show their antique skycrappers and other beauties from their country. Online Yemenites remind me of my own efforts to promote tourism into Venezuela. It seems that none of our countries attracts visitors, despite our gorgeous scenary, as the world's tourists seem more interested in traveling to countries with well-known infrastructure and with less negative media exposure.

Many maps of the Middle East cut the Arabian peninsula at the expense of its Southern half, leaving Oman and Yemen behind. The relative lack of oil in Yemen diverts worldwide attention elsewhere. The friendly relations maintained by the people of Yemen, Somalia and Djibouti should be regarded as a cultural bridge between Asia and Africa, and an interest in the development of this whole region would do wonders to a greater international understanding for the benefit of the entire world. Yemen, Happy New Year 2010! (Rubén Rivero Capriles - Caracas, January 3, 2010)
"A German living in Brazil told me that the Brazilians have difficulty in putting a plan on paper. In the Brazilian company I currently work in, I observed indeed a lack of planning formalized on paper. Germans are known for their level of organization and planning into detail and their vocational skills. Ango-saxons are very good at project management. There are obviously differences in the way how people from different cultures think and approach problems. Probably this can be related to different level of left and right brain activity.

If you are in Malaysia you will note that many Tamils and Singh are doctors, engineers or lawyers. Chinese excel in trading, marketing and private business. Indian muslims are money changers and traders. Malays are more oriented on agriculture, art, music. The level of domination in different job segments by different races is diminishing, but the notion still persists. Similar observations can be made in Indonesia. Would that be related to the level of left-right brain activity? In South America it appears to me that people are philosophical in their thinking, but in Asia thinking is based on spiritual, religious and mystical aspects of life." (Leonardus van Dijk - the Netherlands, December 5, 2009)
transitioning from the zeroes to the teens.jpg
In the 1990s I drew my early artwork listening to Nirvana and techno. Now in the late zeroes there is only reggaeton left. In this age of no creativity and obsessive repetition of oldies, in this decade of the zeroes that couldn't even secure a name for posterity, in this decade that was unable to add cultural value, music and art are hybernating in wait of better times. 

It was comparatively easy for Michael Jackson to excel as he stood over the shoulders and creative background of previous artists of the 1960s and 1970s.  Today's artists don't have tools available to recover the lost sociological ground, that is beyond our scope. Hopefully in the 2010s or 2020s someone new we don't know yet, through his or her success, will vindicate the silent effort of those of us who could at least produce some early 21st century mediocre work. But at least us, the mediocre artists of early 21st century, can be credited that we did not let art die in an age where the credibility of national politics in any country is dead.

There are plenty of technological content sharing devices but little content to share. Humanity has become too robotic, which increases the probability of someone pushing the famous red button. A global bored society is losing the perspective of its legacy. (Rubén Rivero Capriles - Caracas, December 20, 2009)

"You know what? You are right. The other day we were listening to 1980's music (classics) and were amazed on the difference... so many hits and now? It is hard to tell. I am glad that we enjoyed those good times and keep it in our minds and hearts. We try to pass that on to our kids... and have a good music collection of those good times. The red button issue is worrisome and scary. I hope we will react before it gets too late." Paula Asbun (from Bolivia/Texas)

"I fully share these thoughts. The number of human problems growing on synchronous to the development of science and technologies. Such statement is objective and for arts too." Alexander Lipsky (from Ukraine)

"I agree, Rubén. Perhaps we should get back to basics, to what makes us more human, without forgetting the good we can make and achieve during this post-modernity. After all, even though it is already overstated, it a correct use of resources is more important than resources themselves. We have emphasized the creation of countless media to produce new things. We must equally think about avoiding the loss of our human essence during this process of creation and development, how to continue being humanely technological instead of technologically human." Omar Rodríguez Álvarez." (from El Tigre, Venezuela) 

"The 20th century was an outpouring of creativity specifically because of a number of social and technological factors. Now, we in the 21st century are living in the fading echoes of this monumental upheaval. Historically, new music styles, such as jazz, blues, gospel etc. were the result of fusions of cultures - African slaves imported to America, making sense of the upheaval. Much of the later 20th century music was really theft and adaptation of those new sounds.
As a result of this, now music styles and themes have become largely set. Marketing execs for the media companies have learnt that brand and image is everything - hence artists' images and appearance are more important than their music. Rap is only "credible" if sung by people with criminal records, for example. It's very difficult for artists to buck a trend with really good music, such as Coldplay. Creativity is very often now in the hands of the audio mixers and backing composers, who make the music compelling. The Black Eyed Peas' latest offerings are very poor in actual talent, but rich in audio effects. Ever since Cher came out with that "Do you believe in life after love" song, digital distortion became vogue, but in reality bands were mangling their audio tracks since the 1970s.
It could be argued that other media is suffering from the same problems. TV is simply pepped-up cliches, and even video games are churning out reams of near-identical sequels such as Halo: ODST (making it the 4th Halo incarnation)." Troy Campbell (in Japan)

"Interesting comments Ruben, I must be the last person on earth to get an ipod (thanks Santa) and am looking forward to loading it with good music from today. Seems I dropped out of current music somewhere in my thirties. I take your comments as a challenge to see if anything good has been created since my records started gathering dust. hmm might have to call in my teenage relatives to help. Take care and God bless." Peter Bender (from Australia)


Sowing Oil


Seventy-three (73) years have ellapsed and Venezuelan agriculture, industry and education remain stagnant. The ideas expressed on the essay below, which constituted the unfollowed recipe for Venezuelan development during the twentieth century, remain as current as ever. Sowing oil stands by to be executed. We must effectively and immediately implement the ideas below, so that for their hundredth birthday during forthcoming 2036, historians may report that sowing oil would finally become the reality of the teens, twenties and thirties of the twenty-first century.

On Tuesday, July 14, 1936 the Ahora newspaper, which was then published in Caracas, inserted on its first page the following editorial by Arturo Úslar Pietri (1906-2001), under the heading of "Sowing Oil". This was the first time an approach of this kind was attempted in Venezuela, and was the first appearance of the "Sowing Oil" slogan. 

“When considering in some detail the economic and financial climate of Venezuela, it is distressing to note the size of the destructive economy in the production of our wealth, that is, consumption without an awareness to maintain or reconstruct the existing quantities of matter and energy. In other words, the destructive economy is the one that sacrifices the future to the present. Taking things to the terms of the fabulist it is like the grasshopper instead of the ant. 

Indeed, in a budget featuring 180 million from revenue sources, mines account for 58 million, or nearly a third of total income, disregarding a number of other indirect ways and important contributions that may be similarly attributed to mines. The Venezuelan public wealth lies at present in more than one third on the destructive exploitation of underground deposits, whose life is not only limited by natural reasons, as their productivity is entirely dependent on factors beyond the will of to the national economy. This high proportion of internal wealth due to destructive origin will certainly grow as mining taxes become more fair and remunerative,  approaching the suicide dream of some naive persons who foresee an ideal Venezuelan budget entirely paid for by the sole income from mines, which would translate more simply as: make Venezuela unproductive and idle, a huge oil parasite, swimming on a momentary and corrupting abundance and doomed to imminent and inevitable catastrophe.

This worrisome proportion does not only scope the destructive nature of our economy, it goes even farther reaching tragic magnitude. The wealth of our soil not only fails to increase, it tends to disappear. Our agricultural production alarmingly decays in quantity and quality. Our  agricultural exports have lost international market share to the benefit of more active and skilled competitors. Our livestock degenerates and impoverishes through animal diseases, ticks and the lack of adequate crossibreeding. Land without fertilizers becomes sterile, cultivated   by old-fashioned methods, forests are destroyed without replanting large and are transformed into firewood and charcoal. From a recently published book we take this example: 'In the Cuyuní region about three thousand men used to work who would cut an average of nine thousand trees per day, totaling 270 thousand monthly, and in seven months one million eight hundred and ninety thousand trees. Multiplying this sum by the number of years that the forest took grow, you'll get an exorbitant amount of downed trees and will form an idea of the severity of damage.' These statements are the brutal epitaph of balatá, which, under other procedures could have been one of the greatest Venezuelan assets.

The lesson from this threatening picture is simple: it is urgent to solidly create a reproductive and progressive economy in Venezuela. It is urgent to take advantage of the transient wealth from the current destructive economy to create the sound, broad and coordinated basis of that progressive economic future, which will become our true act of independence. It is necessary to get the highest rent from mines and fully invest it in support, facilities and incentives for agriculture, farming and domestic industries. Instead of becoming parasite and useless people due to oil's malediction, this fortunate situation of sudden wealth should allow us to accelerate and strengthen the the Venezuelan people's productive evolution on outstanding conditions.

The allocation within our current budget which is devoted to the true development and creation of wealth is still small and does not exceed a seventh of the total expenditure amount. It is necessary for these expenditures intended to build and ensure the initial development of a progressive economy, that they may reach the mining rent levels.

The only wise and savior economic policy that we should practice, is to transform the mining revenue into agricultural credit, to stimulate modern and scientific agriculture, to import stallions and grasses, to restore forests, to build all the dams and pipelines necessary to  stabilize irrigation and the faulty regime of waters, to mechanize and industrialize the country, to establish cooperatives for certain crops and small scale ownership for other crops.

That would be the real action of nation building, the actual utilization of national wealth and such efforts should be the aim of all conscious Venezuelans.

If we were to propose a slogan for our economic policy we would launch the following, which seems to dramatically summarize our need to invest the wealth produced by destructive mining, in creating agricultural, reproductive and progressive wealth: sowing the oil.” 


Translated into English by Rubén Rivero Capriles, President of Rivero & Cooper, Inc. in Caracas on December 26, 2009


Two Weeks for Venezuela and Japan


Two hours became Two Weeks for Venezuela and Japan. This continuation gave me the opportunity to redraw a favorite theme that I have explored throughout my life wihich are country's flags. As usual in recent days, the cell phone camera does not do justice to the drawing. The left section misses a few centimeters worth of detailed linework, and the upper section misses five small Korean flags and script. Now that the holidays approach I will have some extra time available to finally get three professional pictures taken from my Saskatoon, Two Hours for Japan and Venezuela and Two Weeks for Venezuela and Japan drawings. I sincerely hope that this personalized interpretation and juxtaposition of flags does not offend Japanese and Korean sensibilities. If it does, I do apologize and reassert that I am just trying to promote awareness about the similarities some people have noticed between our cultures, as well described below:

“Interesting topic Rubén. I am Venezuelan-Japanese residing in the USA, serious user of LinkedIn network for professional purposes. Knowing both the Venezuelan and the Japanese cultures, I agree that there seems to be a "resistance" coming from these cultures to take advantage of this type of networking. Not necessarily for the same reasons, however. The concept of "networking" the way we do know it in the US is not universal by nature. French organizations in the US, for instance, find the concept fascinating and use the English word to define it. Once abroad, they have found the need and the taste to promote their language and their culture, together with the advantage of creating professional and business connections. The Alliançe Francaise, the French-American Chamber of Commerce, are very strong organizations that have embraced the cultural and professional idea of networking. And not typically done in France. Perhaps with more Japanese and Venezuelans living abroad, the concept of professional networking will gradually start to make sense for them. (Rumi Mishimura at Intercultural Communications)

"In fact, I have been a member of LinkedIn for the last three years, but have never been active, until recently. For this point, I, a Japanese, wrote in my summary, which I hope will help you: In fact, LinkedIn has few Japanese members, because of; 
2)‘Sense of belonging’ (to the company/firm/team), which in turn means ‘Trust.’ In Japan relation is face-to-face one, and the company does not allow the employees be involved and expose themselves in the ‘virtual relations.’ 
3) Virtue of ambiguity. See "
(Michio Hamaji, Japan USA Business Consultant)

"Hi, Ruben. Apologies for changing a little bit the discussion. I just want to place here (copy & paste) one comment I did on other group about the subject of Japanese people participating on SNS like LinkedIN. I’m just trying to build an argument that the current SNS sites may not experience in Japan the same level of usage that they enjoy in other countries. I just put four points which I believe may explain, in part, the “why not” answer. 
1) According to this "Prosperity Index Report", in the item SOCIAL CAPITAL, Australia is number 4, Canada is 9, USA is 7, UK is 11... and Japan is 40 (forty)!!! Here is the full report: 
Here is the site: 
2) According to journalist Michael Zielenziger, there is an aphorism in Japan that around 70% of the population (poll) agrees completely. Here is the aphorism: 
'hito o mittara, dorobo to omoe' . 
Which is English is like: 'the strange you meet on the street is likely to be a robber'. 
3) When you go to Mixi (JP SNS) and realize that 90% of the profiles there DOES NOT have a photo and DOES NOT display the real name, THEN, you know that something in the behavior of the people in Japan does not "obey the same rules" as the western expectation. My personal opinion is that these 3 points here are CONNECTED and it is in the very fabric of the Japanese Society. 
4) If you are a Japanese national and build your professional profile in LinkedIN, showing a variety of rich professional experience, I believe that this profile will not promote yourself as competent professional (for the old traditional JP structure), because essentially the value of a rich profile is intended to show higher degree of INDIVIDUALITY AND INITIATIVE, two things that in Japan can make yourself "unfit" to the majority of the old Japanese structure, because it can be "translated" as indiscipline (in the old Japanese view). 
</end text> It is just my point of view; I don’t have any serious knowledge over the subject. (Valter Fukuoka at Ark 21st)

Valter, I believe you are not changing the subject but you are instead providing food for further thought. 
1) I checked a comparison between Japan and Venezuela in the home page you mentioned and Japan gets significantly better scoring in all categories. However, on the Social Capital rankings both countries rank very similarly, as the Japanese line and the Venezuelan line on the comparison chart almost cross each other, but only at the social capital area. It seems now that the prosperity report somehow confirms my hypothesis that both Japan and Venezuela share a mistrust of networking. 
2) "the strange you meet on the street is likely to be a robber". Most Latin Americans and certainly Venezuelans could not agree more with the Japanese on this! This leads me to infer that many Latin Americans learn about Japan according to European or North American views translated from English, and of course we are led to believe a terribly huge difference in cultures. I wonder if there were more direct contact between our cultures, we would perhaps discover that Japanese and Latin Americans share a general worldview on society, welfare, and family issues in contrast to European and North American countries. Our main difference that sets us apart (to the worse for Venezuela) involves work ethics and habits. 
3) Valter, as a South American who has an interest about Japan but has never been there, I would appreciate your elaborating on the rules that you refer to. Here comes my first culture shock as I do not get what you are talking about! 
4) I infer that you are saying that Japanese traditional culture rewards group or social mentality over individuality and initiative. However, many countries around the world last century applied that intent to discipline people onto socialist and communist regimes. Even here in Venezuela there is a state-sponsored effort for unified social cohesiveness. It impresses me that Japan, to the contrary, has been able to thrive in the capitalist outside world for many decades. Is it perhaps that individuals are not supposed to show individuality and cohesiveness? But the country as a whole must actually do so? (my response)

"Hi ruben, a few more cents from my end - prosperity index aside, it certainly is true that there are a lot more SNS users (here in Japan) who feel it is de-rigeur to not reveal your real name on venues such as SNSs. They appear to feel that this is risky, and is an open invitation to unwanted or unsolicited spam msgs or criticisms or worse yet, cyber stalkers.... or ...even unsolicited intrusions from workplace colleagues that they may not particularly be fond of. 
As I have never quite looked at things quite that way ( and I am certainly no less Japanese than most.), I was bemuzed to here such tones repeated when a dozen of us - all from the same workplace - visited korea to sync up on the internet/mobile/retail market there - where I found my colleagues were shocked to find that korean users, even high school girls - were appearing on SNSs and alike - all with their pictures and real names !! - the notion being that this would be unthinkable for them (or their daughers...or their wives..for that matter ^ ^ ). Having said that, I would also venture to guess that this behavior - and the logic around it - pertains more to users of casual social networks like MIXI or Facebook Japan.....than to users of more business networking ecosystems such as LinkedIn where it is instead "de-rigeur" for one to openly and widely publicize the profile/credentials so that you can sell your face to the to speak. Like my tweet elsewhere, I suspect the slow take up of LinkedIn in Japan has more to do with language allergy - allergy to English that is.. more than anything else.
To Valter's 4th point, my take is : a may certainly be "revolting" or "low-class" to some audience here (esp those who are over 50) ...for anyone to be seen to be so "overtly" advertising him(her)self - - when what you are made of (eg.your professional credentials) would never have been achievable by yourself only (the notion being it took the people around you, your mentors, your workplace colleagues, the brand behind the organization you worked for while building your career.. all were essential and requisite parts of what you are made of ... and that overt "self profile" does not do adequate justice to the contribution of those that helped you get to where you are now...)......, 
but then again, I suspect this is a rather outdated perspective even here. You will find plenty of local executives that are very very overt in their presentation and advertising of what they have achieved and what they can deliver... only, very few, if any such blog sites/personal web sites... are ever in any language other than Japanese, and therefore, not exactly on the radarscreens of many people who do not speak the native tongue." (Yosuke I. Itoh III ay Sigmaxyz, Inc:)

“I think in Japan the reasons are different and more culturally related. You establish your business relationship face to face through long term contact, mutual commitment and trust - then linkedin is not the first tool to help you out in Japan.... this is I think one of the reasons why it is used less by the Japanese. I have worked in Japan and after returning to Europe only one or two of japanese colleagues have added me to linkedin - and those both are without a lot of contacts” (Kirsten Kramer at Finext)

“I used to work for Japanese companies for almost 12 years and they are approaching business in a formal way. Also they don't like long introductions and if you can add some sentences in Japanese will be helpfull. Keep in mind that desicion maker people in a regular Japanese company are ussually people in the 50 (or older) who speaks (believe or not) a little English.”  (Patricio Dauguet at DCM Industries)

“Linked in is not really used by Japanese folks mainly because it still does not have Japanese Language capability in the language settings (for the user) I have worked with Japanese companies for over 20 years and was also a foreign exchange student to Japan. Most Japanese companies are very conservative and risk adverse. If you are trying to market something as a foreign company it is much more difficult than if you were Japanese. Sometimes it is better to have a local facilitate the marketing aspects to be successful.” (Jim Roberts at Lower Colorado River Authority)

“I can't provide any insights about Venezuela as I do not have the experience to do so, but I can provide in-depth details about Japan. There are several things people need to understand about Japan when it comes to networking. Japan's networking is not in any way "digital" if you will. Japanese networking has always been "analog", in many aspects. Social drinking, meeting face to face, introductions, etc. The very foundations of Japanese networking are pretty much about trust and credibility. LinkedIn provides some level of credibility in terms of being able to share your credentials/CV, but that doesn't really give you enough details about credibility. I think that Northeast Asians (Japan, Korea, and China) share the same ideals about networking, although they are all very different from each other in terms of business nature. You may also find yourself surprised, Japan looks very advanced and ahead in many areas, but in reality, Japan is really not that advanced. Especially in IT, particularly hardware and software. Japan has always been at least 5 to 10 years behind US in this area. The reason for this is that Japanese mentality is pretty much dependent on manual labor and manual skills. We see some very gradual shifting to systems dependency but it's not moving as fast as the western world. As the saying goes in Japanese "Ishibashi wo tataite wataru" - this literally means check the bridge made of stone before crossing it. Nobody really does that as the bridge made of stone is a lot stronger than a bridge made of wood. Japan is very late in "commoditizing" cellular phones. In fact, Hong Kong was earlier. NTT Docomo was so confident that they can beat iPhone with their "so called" iMode with Prada Phone, but when Apple made their revenue statement last year, NTT Docomo is now eating humble pie and they're even going to launch iPhone under NTT Docomo platform. The same can be said about Panasonic (Matsushita Electric). They waited until they get beaten and defeated by Samsung and LG before they realize that they are not the best. It takes a disaster to happen before things would change for the Japanese. People do not look at the future and innovate anymore. Many Japanese people that I know of view Cyber Networking not too different from Facebook and other online dating sites. It's really frustrating to think about it but that's how Japan is and that's how it's going to be in the future” (Cesar Sison at Centimax China Corporation)

“Whilst I can certainly see where Cesar's coming from and much echo's with what you see around you in Japan. However I am more optimistic and expectant that Japans embracing of opportunity and innovation will grow faster than people think. I'm a big believer in face to face networking and feel online networks enhance and facilitate growing the networks of people you know well. I certainly see the difference in numbers of Japanese people using online Business networks. Some of this can be explained with Japanese conservativeness and privacy concerns. Online Social networks & persona (largest nation of Bloggers in the world - until China lifts the ban maybe!) do thrive here much more than Business networks, but the majority of social network, blog and online profiles are anonymous. I know many non-Japanese that don't like the importance & requirement of opening yourself up on LinkedIn and so either do not take part or barely so. For Japanese this must be ten fold. With regard to business, networking, innovation, competition and entrepreneurial hunger - don't discount the young up and coming Japanese professional who is hungry for success, cannot rely on wealthy parents and does not fit into the structured and stiff Japan system. Watch out too for the older Japanese man (and women) who has been unable to re-enter the workforce after losing his salary man job years before and has not given up - far from it, has launched into using his network to start his own business and push out into business opportunity both here and abroad. And finally as in Marketing; you can't tell the market what to do, you can only do what works, recongnize that, and do more of it. If Networking with Japanese people is easier offline, Network with people in or connected to Japan offline! 
So much online 'Networking' is little more than the accumulation of 'connections' and very little connection or two way conversation, if any, goes on at all.” (Jason Ball at Good People Japan)

My conclusion is that I believe serious online networkers can go beyond the accumulation of connections and actively seek for sporadic two way conversations every once in a while. After a few months of years, such connections have the potential of becoming as strong as traditional face-to-face friendships. The good response I have received from this post suggests me that there is some interest among some sectors of Japan to experiment with this new form of communication with those who do not have the resources to travel there. 

Rubén Rivero Capriles

Caracas, December 16, 2009


Two hours for Japan and Venezuela


Through the LinkedIn online professional platform, in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, North America, Europe, South Africa, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and especially in India I have had the opportunity of establishing interesting contacts for future commercial opportunities. On the contrary, within Japan and Venezuela I observe greater resistance to taking advantage of the enormous globalizing potential of this professional network. It has struck my attention that Japanese users on average count with less contacts than LinkedIn users in other Asian countries. Below are presented the comments proposed by various observers regarding the scant growth of LinkedIn in Venezuela. I will be thankful to Japanese readers for your comments about the similarities and differences between both cases, according to your experiences while using such a network in Japan. I will be thankful to Japanese readers for your comments on your perspectives on how could the LinkedIn network increase professional and cultural relationships between Japan and Venezuela.

"Unfortunately the group that understands the advantages of this professional tool is small. I recently moved to Venezuela and it has been difficult to enroll new local contacts, it only remains to keep on sending invites and waiting. The main problem in my opinion is that a great part of the population that can potentially take advantage of LinkedIn is still clouded with facebook, and it is hard for them to understand the difference. Besides, here the fashion definitely marks the difference." (Carlos Baldo, Consultant at Asesores Balor C.A.)

"I believe that the main reason for LinkedIn's lack of popularity in Venezuela is due to the small amount of local businesses using it for the advertisement of job offers. The average person gains greater utility by signing up at, or another such similar site. This is something that happens everywhere. For example, in Germany Xing is more popular than LinkedIn." (Luis Barragán, Software Developer)

"Here everything is fashion. From facebook they are migrating to twitter. And they are only using, , etc. (Gladis Sulbaran, Mechanical and Instrumentation Engineer)

"I completely agree with Gladis." The best way to invite Venezuelans to sign up to LinkedIn is by promoting it through events serving music, beverages and food. Here is the example of Facebook. In Venezuela, parties and reunions are organized to celebrate that so many people have enrolled." Luis Meneses (Logistics and Supply Chain Professional)

"I agree with Luis Barragán. The major incentive for entering LinkedIn is the job search, and here in Venezuela there are not many job offers. The main Venezuelan linkedIn groups present very few job offers. Many Venezuelans enter LinkedIn to look for employment opportunities in countries such as USA or Canada where there are job offers available through the platform." Alvaro Fernandez (Recent MBA Grad)

"I would recommend you to enter into Twitter and invite people to LinkedIn from there. Twitter is quite active and many twitters are proactive. Regarding job offers within Venezuela, LinkedIn is not a source. If the network is not proactive it does not function. It is like the first person who used a fax. What to do? The threshold or critical mass most be exceeded." José Alvarez Cornett (Business Manager at Fugro-Jason)

"The LinkedIn groups are exclusively professional, for business and work related issues. The Venezuelan groups are extensively used for political issues, for calls against the government of Venezuela, which falls beyond the context for which LinkedIn was created. This is not facebook. Many Venezuelans, including myself, hate such topics, there are other opinion groups for discussing politics. That is the reality why many Venezuelans do not associate to Venezuelan LinkedIn groups, unfortunately." (Miguel Celi, Senior Technical DBA on DB2/Oracle and SQL Server at SPHERION CORP.)

"I am a Venezuelan LinkedIn user and I have profited and I continue profitting from it. I have asked and responded professional questions. I have rejected job offers and I have help within my capabilities. Rubén, it is true what you say, because the same happens to me. My particular opinion is that our idiosyncrasy particularly pushes us toward belonging to leisure, party and reunion groups rather than to groups whose intention is 100% professional. Many people sign up, but once they notice they cannot find such things, they simply abandon. You must also take into account that most professionals with clear professional development objectives, unfortunately look beyond our borders for a viable scenario to fulfill them. How many professionals, completely freed from political tints do develop, optimize, consult, seek to improve or simply exchange professional experiences among them within Venezuela? If you consider LinkedIn as a product you will notice that, by disgrace, there is no market in Venezuela. I have many contacts on LinkedIn who are Venezuelan but pursue their carreers away from my marvelous country. I wish things were otherwise." (Francisco Población Rial, Sales Manager Spain & Portugal at HYFRA Industriekühlanlagen GmbH)

"Hi Rubén, thank you for initiating this discussion. I represent a Canadian consulting company and I would like all of you to recommend me, according to your experiences, which is the best way to reach the entrepreneurial executive target in Venezuela." (Giuseppina Russo. EMBA, BBA, North American Corporate Financial Group)

"Facing the Venezuelan and global crises one of the best ways to confront the challenges is to project ourselves and the businesses we represent both in Venezuela and into other markets in order to maximize business opportunities. Our historical limitation to the Venezuelan market has always been a mistake. I see current opportunities in Central America, the Caribbean islands and also in Brazil due to the future events that will develop there. Not in vain Brazil is today the world's greatest consumer of cement per capita. This equals Panama regarding opportunities, the latter is today's choice destination for our countrymen. Why not here? Due to a lack of faith? Risks must be taken. We must endeavor and study the opportunities. Regarding the creation of worktables in Caracas to get ourselves to know each other, and then to support each other and to create alliances and/or business ventures is a fantastic idea and please count on me. By being united businesses can be affronted in Venezuela and our natural markets, which I repeat are Central America, the Caribbean and Brazil. Venezuela possesses great human capital, excellent businesses and corporate know-how. We overcome gigantic adversities (the Cadivi exchange control regime, an inflationary and speculative economy, economic contraction, etc.) We are relatively new in this kind of innovative tools available at international markets, and to conquer new clients is not easy. Constancy and discipline. Success, my friends, whoever wishes frivolity may have it, but we want business and go after it." (Andres E. Reveron B., CFO at Concretos Premezclados del Caribe, CPC)

"I agree with Andrés, during moments of crisis it is said that great opportunities arise. I think it is important to create worktables in Caracas to get started, establishing clear objectives regarding what we wish to achieve through them. I am a new user of this web tool, and consider it can result of great utility. Regarding the option of an increased following for LinkedIn in Venezuela I share the idea of using the help of twitter." (Angel Toledo Jimenez, Systems Engineer)

"I recently noticed that LinkedIn and Twitter got associated, perhaps this will provide the push needed by LinkedIn in Venezuela. When placing the hashtag #in on any of your tweets you will update your LinkedIn status. It is similar to the selective twitter status, a quite famous application from facebook (its hashtag is #fb). (Alvaro Fernandez, Recent MBA Grad)

"I believe that the current situation is matter of time. The few companies maintaining a serious Human Resources Department will get involved to LinkedIn as well as the professional groups. It seems to me an excellent tool, we just have to work it out in a local way, which is the hard part." (Oswaldo Bello, IT Manager, Sr IT Infrastructure Consultant, Network and Server Admininstrator)

On behalf of rroopstr global blog, I thank friends from Japan and Venezuela for providing me the opportunity to compile and expand this anthology.

Rubén Rivero Capriles

Caracas, 6 de diciembre de 2009


Dos horas para el Japón y Venezuela


A través de la plataforma profesional en línea LinkedIn, en Colombia, Brasil, Argentina, Norteamérica, Europa, Sudáfrica, Nigeria, Arabia Saudita, los Emiratos Árabes Unidos y especialmente en la India he tenido la oportunidad de establecer interesantes contactos para futuras oportunidades comerciales. Por el contrario en Japón y Venezuela observo mayor resistencia a aprovechar el enorme potencial globalizador de esta red profesional. Me llama la atención que los usuarios del Japón cuentan con menos contactos en promedio que los usuarios linkedIn de otros países asiáticos. Abajo presento los comentarios propuestos por diversos observadores respecto al escaso crecimiento de LinkedIn en Venezuela. Agradezco a los lectores japoneses sus futuros comentarios acerca de las similitudes y diferencias entre ambos casos según sus experiencias de uso de esta red en el Japón, y agradezco a los lectores japoneses comentar sus perspectivas de cómo pudiera la red linkedIn incrementar los vínculos profesionales y culturales entre el Japón y Venezuela.

"Desafortunadamente es pequeño el grupo que entiende la ventaja de esta herramienta, yo recientemente me mudé a Venezuela y ha sido difícil ingresar nuevos contactos locales, solo queda seguir enviando invitaciones y esperar, creo que el principal problema radica en que una gran parte de población que potencialmente puede sacarle provecho a linkedin está nublada con facebook, y les cuesta entender la diferencia, además aquí definitivamente las modas marcan la diferencia." Carlos Baldo, Consultant at Asesores Balor C.A.

"Creo que la razón principal por la cual linkedIn no tiene popularidad en Venezuela es por la poca cantidad de empresas locales que lo utilizan para publicar ofertas de trabajo. Para una persona promedio tiene más utilidad registrarse en, o algún otro sitio similar. Esto es algo que sucede en todos lados, en Alemania es mas popular Xing que LinkedIn por ejemplo." Luis Barragán, Software Developer

"Aquí todo es la moda. De facebook se están pasando a twitter. Y sólo estan usando bumeran, cvfuturo, etc." Gladis Sulbaran, Mechanical and Instrumentation Engineer.

"Totalmente de acuerdo con Gladis. La mejor forma de invitar a los venezolanos a registrarse a Linkedin es promocionarlo a traves de eventos con musica, bebidas y comida. Ahí tienes el ejemplo de Facebook, donde ves que en Venezuela hacen fiestas y reuniones para celebrar que tantas personas se han registrado." Luis Meneses, Logistics and Supply Chain Professional

"Estoy de acuerdo con Luis Barragan, el mayor incentivo de entrar a linkedIn es la busqueda de empleo, y aquí en venezuela no hay muchas ofertas. Los proncipales grupos venezolanos en LinkedIn presentan muy pocas oferta de trabajo. Muchos venezolanos entramos aquí para buscar oportunidades en aquellos países donde sí hay ofertas por linkedIn tales como USA o Canada." Alvaro Fernandez, Recent MBA Grad

"Yo recomendaria que ustedes entren en Twitter y desde allí inviten a la gente a LinkedIn. Twitter es muy activo y muchos tuiteros son proactivos. Respecto a lo de ofertas de trabajo para Venezuela LinkedIn no es una fuente. Si la red no es dinámica no funciona. Es como la primera persona que tuvo un fax. ¿Qué hacer? Hay que sobrepasar el threshold o masa crítica." José Alvarez Cornett, Business Manager at Fugro-Jason

"Los grupos linkedIn son exclusivamente profesionales, para asuntos de negocios y trabajo. Los grupos Venezolanos se utilizan mucho para asuntos políticos, llamadas en contra del gobierno de Venezuela, lo cual se sale del contexto para el cual LinkedIn fue creado. Esto no es facebook. Muchos Venezolanos como yo, odian estos temas, para eso hay otros grupos de opiniones. Esta es la realidad, del por qué muchos venezolanos no se asocian a grupos venezolanos en linkedIn, lamentablemente." Miguel Celi, Senior Technical DBA on DB2/Oracle and SQL Server at SPHERION CORP.

"Soy un usuario venezolano de LinkedIn y le he sacado y le saco provecho. He preguntado y he respondido temas profesionales. He rechazado ofertas de trabajo y he ayudado cuando ha estado a mi alcance. Rubén, es cierto lo que dices, porque me pasa lo mismo. Mi opinión particular es que nuestra idiosincrasia nos empuja más a pertenecer a grupos de ocio, rumba y reencuentros que a pertenecer a grupos cuya intención sea 100% profesional. Mucha gente se inscribe, pero al ver que no consigue estás cosas, simplemente abandona. También debes tomar en cuenta que la mayoría de los profesionales con objetivos claros de desarrollo profesional, lamentablemente ven afuera de nuestras fronteras el único escenario viable para hacerlo. ¿Cuántos profesionales, realmente libres de tinte político en Venezuela desarrollan, optimizan, consultan, quieren mejorar o simplemente intercambiar experiencias profesionales entre ellos en Venezuela? Si ves el linkedIn como un producto verás que, por desgracia, no hay mercado en Venezuela. Tengo muchos contactos en LikedIn que son venezolanos pero ejercen fuera de mi maravilloso pais. Quisiera que las cosas fueran de otra manera." Francisco Población Rial, Sales Manager Spain & Portugal at HYFRA Industriekühlanlagen GmbH

"Hola Rubén, gracias por iniciar esta discusión. Represento a una empresa de consultoria canadiense y queria pedirles me recomendaran, segun su experiencia, cual es la mejor forma de llegar al target empresarial-ejecutivo en Venezuela." Giuseppina Russo. EMBA, BBA, North American Corporate Financial Group

"Frente a la crisis en Venezuela y global una de las mejores maneras de afrontarla es proyectar a nosotros o a la empresa que representamos en Venezuela y a otros mercados para maximizar las oportunidades de negocio. El limitarse al mercado venezolano siempre ha sido un error, hoy por hoy veo oportunidades en Centroamérica, las islas del Caribe y ha de ser así en Brasil con todos los eventos que ahí sucederán, no en vano hoy por hoy Brasil es el mayor consumidor de cemento per capita, eso lo iguala en oportunidades a Panamá destino hoy preferido por nuestros coterraneos. ¿Y por qué no aquí? ¿por qué la falta de fe? Hay que arriesgarse. Hay que esforzarse y estudiar las oportunidades. En cuanto a crear mesas de trabajo en Caracas para conocernos, para luego apoyarnos y crear alianzas y/o ventures de negocios es una idea fantástica y cuenten conmigo, estando unidos se pueden afrontar negocios en Venezuela y en los mercados naturales nuestros que repito son Centroamérica, el Caribe y Brasil. Venezuela posee gran capital humano, excelentes empresas y know how de negocios y empresas, venciendo inclusive adversidades gigantes (El control cambiario a través de Cadivi, economía inflacionaria y especulativa, retracción economica, etc). Somos relativamente nuevos en este tipo de herramientas nuevas en el mercado internacional y conquistar nuevos clientes no es fácil. Constacia y Disciplina. Éxito mis amigos, quien quiera frivolidades que las tenga, nosotros queremos negocios y vamos tras ello." Andres E. Reveron B., CFO at Concretos Premezclados del Caribe, CPC

"Estoy de acuerdo con Andrés, en los momentos de crisis dicen que es donde salen las grandes oportunidades, pienso que es importante realmente que se puedan crear mesas de trabajo en Caracas para iniciar, creando objetivos claros con respecto a lo que se quiere lograr con ellas. Soy un nuevo usuario de esta herramienta web, considero que puede ser de mucha utilidad. Con respecto a la opciones de que LinkedIn en Venezuela tenga más seguidores comparto la idea del twitter." Angel Toledo Jimenez, Ingeniero en Computación

"Recien vi que LinkedIn y Twitter se asociaron, quizás esto le dé el empuje que le falta a LinkedIn aquí en Venezuela. Al colocar el hashtag #in en cualquiera de tus Tweets, actualizarás tu estado en LinkedIn. Es algo parecido al selective twitter status, una aplicación muy famosa en facebook (su hashtag es #fb). ( Alvaro Fernandez, Recent MBA Graduate)

"Yo pienso que es cuestión de tiempo... la situación actual, para que las pocas empresas que mantienen un departamento de Recursos Humanos serio se incorporara a Linkedin al igual que los grupos profesionales, me parece una excelente herramienta, sólo hay que trabajarla de forma local...esa es la parte difícil. Oswaldo Bello, IT Manager, Sr IT Infrastructure Consultant, Network and Server Admin

En nombre del blog global rroopstr, agradezco a los amigos del Japón y Venezuela darme la oportunidad de compilar y expandir esta antología.

Rubén Rivero Capriles

Caracas, 6 de diciembre de 2009


Pioneering African - South American 21st century trade standards

The following projects welcome your comprehensive international financing and support:

1) Enrolling Nigerian, Congolese, Canadian and world youth at the School of Cinema and Television of Caracas

2) Promoting exchanges and exhibits between Jordanian, Nigerian, Japanese, Venezuelan and world artists and galleries.

3) Encouraging student and faculty exchanges between the Indian, Nigerian, Venezuelan and global movie industries.

4) Incorporating Venezuelan-Nigerian chambers of commerce, both in Caracas and either Lagos or Abuja.

5) Increasing participation from major Venezuelan corporations into the Green Energy summit in Kenya 2010.

6) Supporting oil and gas negotiations between Nigerian and Venezuelan companies, by applying conflict resolution techniques.

7) Planning African and South American infrastructure and job creation within the tourism sector.

8) Lobbying to international air carriers to propose nonstop flights between Lagos to Caracas.

9) Lobbying to cargo freight vessel carriers to increase container transportation between Africa and South America.

Founded in 2009, Rivero & Cooper is pioneering massive synergy between Africa and South America as never experienced before during human history. 

Thank you for believing, investing and promoting Rivero & Cooper, Inc. !

Rubén Rivero, President

Harold Cooper, Vice-President

Caracas, November 29, 2009


Establishing further ties between Africa and South America

A long term goal could be to expand direct scheduled commercial airline and ocean freight service between South American and African countries through private investors willing to establish a true global infrastructure. Help from governments is certainly useful, but our political systems are generally prone to corruption and diverted resources.

In terms of tourism and emigration, South Americans like to travel to North America and Africans like to travel to Europe. In that sociological context, promoting direct trave between Africa and South America is quite tough at this time. We should continue establishing online bonds between our people, so that eventually our fresh intercontinental market becomes big enough for transportation companies to profitably establishing direct air and sea routes. We need more convenient transportation options to develop our intercontinental tourism industry.

The borders between contiguous African and South American countries are inherited from colonial times and they continue separating kindred from each other. These intracontinental rivalries do not seem on their way to being resolved any time soon. In the mean time, we should promote a very strong bilateral relationship between South Africa and Brazil. The next two Football World Cups as well as a future Olympiad will take place in either of these countries. Africans and South Americans from across our continents should take advantage of the global rise of Brazil and South Africa, because the smaller countries might also accelerate the integration between our various local cultures through the help of the big two.

The history of slavery is far from having been exhaustively studied. It is easier nowadays to construct a person's genealogy tree through sites such as geni, myheritage and even facebook. It would be interesting that a team of Nigerian, Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast researchers teamed up with Caribbean, Colombian, Venezuelan and Brazilian counterparts with the goal of finding out their common ancestors.

The petroleum and gas industries of Venezuela and Nigeria are facing tremendous production challenges due to internal conflicts arising from our local populations. Perhaps a stronger integration among the people of our countries could divert some interest out of nationalistic subsidies back into meritocracy. Our countries are potentially rich in developing alternative sources of energy, but the legal issue of private vs. state ownership of resources remains as a significant drawback to investment, research and development.

I have not studied any of these issues in depth and I am sure there are people out there who are much more qualified than me to propose a framework for establishing further ties between our continents. The main purpose of this essay is to promote a wake up call to other Africans and South Americans to further develop our direct interaction within the context of competitive globalization.

Rubén Rivero Capriles

Caracas, November 19, 2009

Open letter to the people of Saskatchewan


This is an open letter to the people of Saskatchewan and anyone who has followed the rise of this beautiful, formerly forgotten Canadian province.

Although my business is based in Florida as I happen to hold a U.S. social security number which helped me incorporate it, I now live and work in my home country of Venezuela. The Venezuelan petroleum industry has produced over the whole span of the twentieth century a number of very qualified oil engineers and technicians, many of them are now looking for employment opportunities in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Several qualified Venezuelan petroleum experts actually turn to me in order that I recommend to them suitable people they may contact in the prairie provinces. Alberta in particular has recently benefitted from many Venezuelan immigrants who have lent their know-how to the benefit of the Alberta oil boom, and it seems that Saskatchewan is now becoming the hot spot to work in Canada. So you should not be surprised if, in the near future, you and your Saskatchewan kindred start noticing further international interest on what happens there, instead of the previous emphasis on the now unemployment-ridden Ontario and Québec.

When I studied the International Baccalaureate at the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West in New Mexico, I became a very good friend of Sask-born Ian Chisholm (now Senior Partner at the Roy Group in Sydney, British Columbia). We had a contest on naming Canadian provinces and their capitals, and I happened to win that contest! In return, my English was really bad at the time so I had to endure a few misleading jokes because of it, but that is the way great friendships are born.

Saskatchewan and Canada's experience with the first nations is also a topic of interest for me as here in Venezuela we must also deal with issues of integration to mainstream culture against the loss of traditional values and ways of life from our native population.

I am under the impression that people in Saskatchewan are wary of this sudden international interest in their province. I sympathize with you in your strive for keeping your province free of mega urban atrocities, so my request to the people of Saskatchewan is that you manage to find a way to keep your provincial assets while welcoming a few good input that may selectively come from the outside world.

I do look forward to exchange more impressions with Saskatchewans during these times of social changes and challenges.

Rubén Rivero Capriles

Caracas, November 17, 2009


Happy birthday, united city of Berlín!

The fall of the Berlin Wall never escaped my memory. Later I wrote a paper about it during college and looked up at the library for every single magazine published between October and November 1989. What struck me the most is that during October Honecker was just talking nonsense all over and somehow the media were hinting or predicting that such outcome would occur inminently, due to their extensive coverage of East Germans flocking to the West through Hungary.

I yearn for the day when the invisible border walls of Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela fall apart as it was the desire and legacy of Simón Bolívar. His dream was promptly destroyed a few months before his death. We should also be the same country, not through military invasions planed by our senseless leaders but rather through the slow and steady economic growth, tariff-free example of the European Union. But our caudillo politicians on the three sides will never let this heretic idea get a hold on our populations. It is ironic that, on this celebration day for humanity, the politicians from the Northern portion of South America are more interested in getting entrenched in power through possible fratricide war than in intertwining our economies and populations. 

Rubén Rivero Capriles

Caracas, November 9, 2009


Afterthoughts on my all life hit parade

Based on my readers' comments on my all life hit parade, I attempt here to express the reasons why some great artists were either included or avoided within my ranking.

The Beatles certainly deserve their honored place in the history of contemporary music. However, I have not been excessively thrilled by their songs. Perhaps that is because I just like the Doors way too much.

Bob Marley was not included either because I happen to prefer ska (Banana Voladora & Yordano) over reggae. I do enjoy Soca as well, but my short exposure to that rhythm while on a Christmas vacation in Trinidad & Tobago prevented me to exploring it further.

Franco de Vita is not included because my favorite performers of Venezuelan 80s pop music are Guillermo Dávila and Yordano. It is, again, an issue on how deeply each performer's music has imprinted my soul. I should also mention Karina, Kiara and Melissa among the great Venezuelan female 80s pop singers.

Besides Willie Colón and Rubén Blades, I am also a fan of other Fania artists such as Héctor Lavoe and Celia Cruz.

Juan Luis Guerra is an outstanding merengue ambassador, and I have danced to his music with limited success. I failed to include him on this hit parade becuase it is already saturated with other music from the eighties.

Argentine rock truly rocks! I was pleased to read a comment from an English speaking blogger who expressed his admiration for Soda Stereo so deeply that his lack of understanding of the Spanish lyrics did not prevent him to enjoy their music at all. This reader seems to enjoy it as much as I used to like Queen when I was a kid and knew no English. Miguel Mateos and Enanitos Verdes would also have made it to my ranking if I had designed it a bit longer. But having placed Soda Stereo and Charly García on the third and fifth positions already, the ranking would be too biased toward Argentine rock if I had included other groups as well. I also started moving songs from their original ranking once I got past the fifteenth position, and that suggested me that the hit parade had to stop then.

Mano Negra was a French group of the nineties which has mastered the fusion of European, Asian, African and New World Rhythms close to perfection. Their lyrics in various languages naturally appeal to me very dearly. Most of their songs are unique. Manu Chao's solo career in my opinion does not do justice to the potential that was hinted by his former band.

I extend to the members of Nena my gratitude for their musical contribution to the fall of the Berlin Wall, which happens today to celebrate its 20th birthday!

I apologize to The Cure and Madness for not having included their great contribution to British eighties music in my ranking. But I could not have been able to sacrifice my lifelong appreciation to Culture Club in order to make room for them.

Madonna's career is an example of perseverance during almost thirty years. I have followed her complete path from the start. Her recent American life album crowns her lifelong pursuit of efficient controversy and paradigm shifts.

Daddy Yankee has the merit of being among the very few artists nowadays who still dare to be original. I initially did not like his music due to peer pressure, but now I do, and every day I like his reggaeton approach even further. Most other artists seem to have succumbed to retro and nostalgia. Our times are hostile toward creativity. Our generation (those of us in our late thirties and early forties) is prematurely aging, as we are obsessed to recreating the sixties and eighties. We are committing the same mistake from our ancestors to long for the good old times. I will probably never become a die-hard reggaetton fan, but I certainly enjoy listening to Daddy Yankee's music anytime I get fed up with never ending memories from last century.

Michael Jackson and Jim Morrison led incredibly similar lonely lives. They were each one of a kind. I congratulate Soda Stereo's Gustavo Cerati for his willingness to maintain the same high level of genius activity while simultaneously promoting an example of a long and sober life.

Rubén Rivero Capriles

Caracas, November 9, 2009


My all life hit parade

A reliable way of getting to know people is through the music they listen to. I have written a lot about issues but not much about me, so here I list the twenty songs that I have most obsessively listened to during my life. Any ranking is subjective, but I tried to be as objective as possible taking into account all periods of my life, the different beats I enjoy, my shifting musical tastes, and the influence of time and travel. I hope the artists of this planet compose great music in the years ahead so that more tunes from the twenty-first century eventually get included in future versions of this hit parade.

20) ABBA Chiquitita (1979)

19) DEBBIE GIBSON Foolish Beat (1987)

18) GUILLERMO DÁVILA Sólo pienso en ti (1982)

17) CULTURE CLUB Time (clock of the heart) (1982)

16) DESORDEN PÚBLICO Tiembla (1997)

15) MADONNA American Life (2003)

14) WILLIE COLÓN & RUBÉN BLADES Chica plástica (1978)

13) LA BANANA VOLADORA Larry´s ska (1994)

12) MIREILLE MATHIEU Une femme amoureuse (1981)

11) LAS KETCHUP Asereje ja de jè de jebe tu de jebere sebiunouva majabi an de bugui an de buididipi (2002)

10) DADDY YANKEE Llamado de Emergencia (2008)

09) NENA 99 Luftballons (1983)

08) MECANO Japón (1984)

07) QUEEN Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)

06) YORDANO Días de junio (1986)

05) CHARLY GARCÍA La Ruta del Tentempié (1987)

04) MANO NEGRA Love & Hate (1994)

03) SODA STEREO Nuestra Fe (1992)

02) MICHAEL JACKSON Beat It (1982)

01) THE DOORS Light my fire (1967)

Caracas, November 8, 2009


October brainstorming time

I did not want to leave October behind without writing a quick note, and there are only a couple of hours left for the end of this month, so this entry is written in a hurry with minimal proofreading. I have been incredibly busy and my blog writing has been temporarily deferred. I don't even know if I will keep on translating everything into Spanish and French as I used to until recently.

I am also concerned on the demographics of blog writing. Most people nowadays have a blog or a web page competing for readership. When I realized that I do not have any time left to read many web pages from other people, I felt guilty and stopped writing here for a while in order to give people time to read any articles I have written in the past and they have not had the chance to read, and also to make sure that I also read my reader's pages to make communication more interactive.

I am not going to edit my previous blog article on the social platforms, though I must admit I have found a use for twitter. I have a policy of not following people who have over 300% in their followers/following ratio. That means, people who just like to be followed but who do not want to follow. If someone is followed by 5000 people, who in turn follows 3000 people, I infer that this person is interested enough in learning from others, which speaks to me wonders about the openmindedness of that person. 

I am incredibly busy on Linkedin and my network has quickly grown to almost 1300 contacts worldwide. My network is becoming stronger in Canada, Japan, India, the Netherlands, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, while maintaining my initial contacts in the United States. I believe that online networks have the potential of overcoming national governments as people will increasingly become identified with the global village rather than to countries that were established in scarcity eras when militarily oriented rulers drew artifical borderlines on maps. I am trying to rebuild an international peace and love mood that current events are threatening to dismantle. My challenge is to get to know a little better all of these people recently met. I disagree with those that say that personal face to face relationships are superior than online relationships. Many of the topics I care about are not immediately shared with the people I encounter in my limited Caracas environment and I have engaged in great online conversations with people worldwide. I invite any of you to contact me directly if you feel you may add any value to anything I have discovered so far.

This month of October 2009 had no stock market crash, just an orderly retracement that may continue during November. In any case it is worth noting that Venezuela has relied on huge government expenditures in recent years to promote some artificial growth, and the GDP results in the USA for Q3 show that the U.S. has also taken that dangerous path. Those government stimuli what they ultimately do is to delay the recovery process further. It would not surprise me that the markets will plunge again as the stimuli get removed worldwide.

Another reason why I feel that there is a continuing erosion of market value globally, is because consumers no longer feel compelled to buy everything that is produced and advertised by traditional media. Consumers through the internet are forcing companies to know exactly what their desires are, and many of these desires, of higher philosophical than material degree, are not being adequately met by multinationals quoting on the stock markets. So this recession reflects a shift on consumer priorities. It is my hope that small businesses eventually become succesful in their global village niches and lead the recovery by delivering what twenty-first century humanity really wants.

I am quite pleased to learn about the recent change of government and hope that is rising in Japan, after two long decades of recession. Japanese culture emphasizes thrift and work ethic, and with the changes there favoring a strong yen for the benefit of consumers instead of exporters, I am hopeful that Japan will be able to take a leadership role in the global recovery, for the sake of a world that badly needs cultural role models.

However, the exact opposite holds for Venezuela. Venezuela is not in a position to continue promoting a strong bolívar through an exchange control regime and through the emission of Petróleos de Venezuela bonds in order to appreciate the parallel market exchange rate. Venezuela's lack of global competitiveness, unlike Japan, requires instead that we follow the Japanese example from earlier decades in promoting competitive exports instead of consumer imports that we are unable to afford. We must learn how to save and invest just as the Japanese did so succesfully during over half a century.

My grandmother, Señora Cristina Angeli Lucca de Capriles Ricardo, passed away one month ago, I have recovered some data on her and pictures during many times of her life and hope to write a short biography about her on this blog. She was a founding member of the Child's Orthopedic Hospital in Caracas. Her social work toward the poor, and the way she built and maintained a family and marriage during over 70 years is an example of life for many couples who happily get married and divorced at the blink of an eye. I had the honor to address some comments on her to those gathered at her memorial service. 

In conclusion, this was a hectic October for me and I have been gathering lots of ideas and projects, but did not feel like writing a finished blog article as the previous ones. The month-end deadline prompted me to try publishing this out. I hope that writing in a rush does not become my writing style indefinitely, but again there are the time constraints. Too many people are trying to write and are trying to read too many things in less and less available time. The clicking/refreshing process of web pages in a browser takes a few seconds longer each day, as the global network bandwidth ever becomes ever more congested and computers become 0.1% or so more obsolete in terms of comparative speed processing every single day. I hope this information overload issue is adequately addressed by other free thinkers in the days and months to come.

Rubén Rivero Capriles




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