The Bolivarian process needs to be technologically independent because one of these days foreign companies block any service and paralyze us.
Luigino did not even notice our steps, I had to call him twice to get him out of his computer concentration in his little corner of the valuable Alba Ciudad radio station. It have be said that he is one of the many dads of this radio that in 2009 was completely abandoned and as he describes in his blog “we put it on the air, even when they told us we would not have the capacity.”
And the truth is that when he insist on something he do it and succeed. The passion for what he does is noticed once you talk to him. He looks out, recognize us and feels a bit of confidence, and at once he tells you of key dates of this revolution, specific events and why they happened, not complacent criticism, which has rewarded him for and against: a National Award of Digital Journalism (2016) and any amount of expletives through social networks.
“For a frank and clear approach in his blog on hot topics and the accuracy in the use of data and illuminating statistics allow us to clear up doubts and guide our opinion to everyday events,” reads the recognition gave to him by the Anibal Nazoa Prize last year. That means, he moves the beehive, as he says.
However, this expert in computing and alternative communicator, believes that criticism is for things to improve, “not because you want the revolution to end”.
Let’s say that we kept him away from his job to give a little air in Plaza Caracas. And let’s say that with a cold wind and everything the interview went back to the time of Chavez when he recalled that free software was pregnant with good intentions.
– What happened to Linux? Did that technological revolution stay in the fridge?
-In that we are, giving it all the time, for example Alba Ciudad is the first Venezuelan radio station that is totally migrated to Linux, free software. It has not been easy, we have been taught to use programs under Windows, as usual. However, I believe that the benefits have been more than the problems.
Chávez since 2003 was the one who inspired him as a result of the oil strike. Pdvsa’s computer was in part privatized, managed by a private company Intesa, which was owned by a US company.
Anything, open close valves, move oil, everything was done through computers. When that computer brain was paralyzed, Chávez consulted with people like Socorro Hernández, José Luis Rey, making him see the importance of a company like PDVSA – and the state in general – having to master its technologies, because if we depend on third parties, from private companies or even from other countries, there may come a time when they respond to other interests and end up blocking us, forcing us to stop. That is why in 2004 in December he signed that first decree 390, for the state to migrate its entire computing platform to Linux (Open Source Software). Something historical, maybe we are not the first country, but we were one of those few in the world that issued such a decree, and was then imitated by many other nations.
Now, unfortunately it is in the fridge. There was and there is a lot of resistance in the state. We didn’t get advantage of the push at that time, however I think that the current situation can give us the chance to become more independent.
Look: this software that the state uses (public institutions, state companies) requires that every year a license is canceled, which must be paid in large sums to foreign companies so that a certain software can continue to function. They have a very particular way of getting the people in charge of renewing those licenses in the institutions or companies, they are paid a few commissions under the cord so that every year they continue to renew them. That has been a stumbling block for free software.
Luigino knows well what he calls the Free Software community. Although you might not believe it for 2016 in Venezuela the number of children with Canaimitas (laptops delivered for free by the government to school students) using open source software was 5 million.
They talk about the Canaima project but not about this important advance, passing under the table, fact that, Luigino has tried in any way to show. You can read in his blog where he touches on topics of computer science and flashy events that occur in the country. The Lubrio space (El Espacio de Lubrio): “courses are given, there is information and free tutorials all over the Internet, there are many people willing to give courses. Not even the high costs of Apple and Adobe products motivate public entities to abandon these technologies. Is it so difficult to change our habits?”
– Would you leave the country?
-I would like to go temporarily to study something abroad, to look around, but to go live in another country and leave Venezuela completely, not that. We must raise the country, and I do not say it for me but there is human quality in Venezuela, they remain, despite the migration.
The country needs them, in the case of the Uneti, the UCV, the Simón Bolívar, the studies are free, otherwise studying a computer career in another country is very expensive. They study here and as soon as they finish graduating they go elsewhere.
President Maduro has taken some good steps with the creation of the National Experimental University of Telecommunications and Informatics, hopefully it won’t be a university that only teaches the technical part, and we hope it educates the kids awareness about their contribution to the development of the country.
– Those strictly personal opinions, added to the direct and opportune criticisms, have cause you trouble?
Luigino’s face changed, he was not the same shy anymore. Laughter invades us as if it were a mischief: “of course, of course”.
Although I worked for a long time in private enterprise, I know that there I would never be allowed a tenth of the criticism I make working for the state, for the revolution. Many of those criticisms are because you want, want and need things to improve. And sometimes you see a certain slowness, a certain laziness, problems that are not corrected, indignation. We are not indolent.
– How do you think the revolution is doing on social networks?
-I do not know to what extent it’s a good idea to be so focused on the #tags while in the world of social networks the opposition, the right and their media are focusing on other things. They often focus on presenting facts, on presenting research, on looking for the indignation of people, sometimes even blaming things that private companies do, for example high prices, where they are somehow responsible for causing people to get upset with Maduro and not with the entrepreneurs. So that kind of thing, we lack, in the world of social communication, we need to do more investigative reports, to be a little more daring with that.
The immediacy has made that the investigative journalism is neglected, that if at this moment it was done well, we could reveal many things, how the private business is participating in that economic war, even if it is still difficult for the people to believe in the term, because it’s pretty much worn out.
We should try to find out who is behind these Dollar Today markers, as the economist Luis Salas says, since December 28 last year, the rate at which the parallel dollar Jason been rising is brutal and obviously it was someone’s decision . Whose? Maybe because we are so focus of the “hashtags”, we have not dedicated ourselves to doing the necessary research.
-You are one of the first to assemble data and clarifying figures. In this area, the fake news, do they eat us alive or have we known how to defend ourselves?
-No and yes, because the Venezuelan and international opposition have a machinery, media, El Nacional, in Miami, Florida is a peninsula dedicated to fabricating lies about Venezuela. Countering that is very difficult and there are those who wonder if it’s really worth it, if they generate 50 daily fake news, is it worth generating 50 daily responses? or if that is going to be a wear operation. It is a debate, however I think that we must respond to those who penetrate more into the population. We can not remain silent but neither exhaust us.
-A strength and a weakness of the Revolution.
Strengths: I believe that the conscience that they have given us. Before we were more apathetic with politics. We must continue to strengthen it, especially with the kids.
Weaknesses: it has cost us to much to build networks with the left of other countries. I think we need to understand and connect better with the Latin American left. Leaving behind some of the differences that may exist with the left in Colombia or Spain.
Let’s say “Maduro is not Chávez”, but “Canel is not Fidel” either, and that does not mean that we are going to stop supporting Cuba … each one has its particularity. We have to continue working on this, the Revolution is a struggle for life.
-How is it that you find it hard to believe in things you do not understand?
-Well, yes, I think anyone. But in that case I was referring to technical things, for example: because of the Petro issue, the issue with cryptocurrencies is that they should be as open as possible. The cryptocurrencies are software, and that software from the beginning is made as free software, why is it done that way? Because on the subject of cryptocurrencies there is a part of investors and another part are technicians. There are more than a thousand cryptocurrencies in the world (we want to make ours more attractive), and for an investor to trust one of them, one of the things he does is going to the technician to know if it is reliable, what he does then is to check the source code of that cryptocurrency, on what it is based on, since they are generally not programmed from scratch, but from a copy of the source code of another existing one. It turns out that many of the criticisms that the technicians are making to Petro is that the source code is not yet available in a public depository and that can cause doubts even though the Petro has an indisputable advantage, which is that it is backed by assets. physical, in this case the petroleum of the oil belt. It is necessary that the information is as open as possible, so that, if you do not know the subject, you can consult a technician to guide you.
It is a matter to consider taking into account that the bitcoin right now is in a kind of roller coaster, ups and downs. On the other hand, the Petro, being backed by physical goods, will not have this fluctuation, these ups and downs.
But I still joined the initiative!
-And you came out surprised!
-Yes. I placed one thousand sovereign bolivars of the 2000 bond, last year in December, in the Petro Savings Plan in the Patria System. With little faith, I admit it, and when I reviewed, the anticipated redemption was 1,667.92 Sovereign Bolivars (only in earnings).
-What do you expect from the ANC?
- (sighs) We are all waiting for something, but remember that in the middle of this crisis we often implore that the constituents were on the street with us helping to solve the problems but, we must also understand that the Constituent Assembly is a legislative body , the execution of the laws corresponds to them, they approve them but the executive power is the one that activates the entities, either the Sundde who should execute those laws related to prices.
The executive makes those decisions, publishes the agreed prices, but to the most recent list that was published a month ago, nobody paid attention to it , there was not even a price that the businessmen have respected. I think we lack a little interpellation to the ministers.
Why are not those prices respected, because there are no sanctions against businesses, and what do we have to do as a people? Sometimes we are asked, to the people, that we go out to push the businessman but there are certain limits. We expect guidance for popular power in this case.
I think we should take advantage of the ANC to unlock some bureaucracies.
-Are you staying in Alba Ciudad?
-I do not think I’ll stay, I think I could not stand another change of minister. It is starting from scratch in terms of solving problems. One loves the state very much, the radio, but one has to love oneself.
By the way minister Villegas has worried about the station, that is undeniable. In fact, one of the things that happened with him was that he could not solve an infrastructure problem that had existed in the previous headquarters (Archivo General de la Nación), because he helped and made the radio move to new headquarters ( Culture Ministry).
In his blog he writes emphatically that he worries about the fact that on his departure, some day everyone will fight to return to Windows 10 on all computers and execrate “that Linux shit”.
Luigino is sincere in word and gesture, in an absolute belief that we can not remain silent and pretend that nothing happens. Those who criticize because they know the revolution well are not enemies of it. “The criticism seeks to fix the problems, not to overthrow the revolution,” he says.
- Minimal Biography
He was born in Caracas. He is passionate about computer science since he was about 14 years old, at that age “a man gave me a small computer that he had bought in the eighties, of those that were connected to a television and had to be programmed to work (a Sinclair ZX81 ), and I really liked it.” On his political inclination, his parents were a great influence. “They were people of very humble origins, both emigrants, dissatisfied with injustice and inequality. But they were not militants of the left. I had many other influences, classmates in HS whose parents were on the left, as well as several teachers who were trained in the Pedagogical and gave us classes at a time as conflictive as it was the presidency of CAP and the military insurrection of Chávez ” He enrolled in the UCV and in 2006 he graduated in Computing, a career that he complements with popular communication in the digital field.
Translated by JRE/AR