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Re: [Debconf-team] [DC14] Venezuelan team: How to convince us this is for real (and will stand)

Hi Gunnar,

Sorry for the delay, we took some time discussing and collecting the required information, according to our internal procedures.

El 15/03/13 20:29, Gunnar Wolf escribió:

I am trying to summarize the issues that could be the weakest both in
your bid and in Portland's, and will send two separate mails.


This is not the first time Venezuela presents a bid. And, frankly,
your offering looks a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Comfort-wise, way beyond anything
what we have seen. Hotel Maremares looks like a top-notch, five-star
setting. And although being taken care of and pampered is always nice,
consider: Do we need that for a work conference? Are there possibly
cheaper, less "flashy" venues? Nobody will complain about a beautiful
place, but DebConf is *not* (and has never been, and should never be)
about a good vacation.

Totally agreed. Debconf is not about a good vacation. It is about bringing together all the people involved and interested in participating in hack sessions, rewarding (heated?) discussions, state-of-art talks, and so on. This *must* be the central objective around a possible DebConf in Hotel Maremares.

As we see it, choosing Maremares was crucial to:

1.- Lower costs: getting a place that holds both the venue and acommodation helps in the negotiation of special prices and discounts, avoids logistical fees and organization, and it's generally cheaper than getting two different facilities.

2.- Assure government sponsoring: Maremares is managed by the Ministry of Tourism. There are 20 (maybe more) government officers in the main team list presented in our bid page. The majority of us have direct access to institution presidents, Ministers, and in some cases, the vice-president. Some of us, have direct opinion on budget formulations and approvement in some government institutions. As said before, we cannot state "$NN,NNN will be sponsored by YYY" because 2014 budget has not been approved (or even formulated), but we have a strong confidence in a substantial sponsoring by venezuelan government.

3.- Maximize developer's potential: Having your room at a few steps from the conference and hacklabs, open 24/7, is an approach that maximizes your productivity. We all want a great, productive conference. What makes this type of conference great, is the posibility to achieve your individual and collective goals in the time given (which is very short). In Maremares you will not only have the time of daylight, but the entire night will also be available with no other extra restrictions. To assist in the developer's rest, relaxation, inspiration and focus, the Hotel facilities are entirely at disposition.

If I understand correctly, the cost for staying at Maremares (given
prices are Dollar-indexed and not in Bolívares — re: the recent
devaluation) will be around US$90 per person per night (in double
occupancy, 100/2=50 for the hotel room plus US$20×2 for lunch and
dinner). You say this can be discounted via government support, but it
is still quite a high figure. And I expect the prices and lodging
standards for Hotel Puerto La Cruz will be in the same league, given
they are part of the same chain.

The prices given were calculated using the new official currency scheme, which was issued on February, 8th.

To summarize:
              100USD/2=50USD acommodation per person per night.
              20USD×2=40USD lunch+dinner per person per night.
              200USD×3=600USD conference rooms per night.
300 attendants, 5 days: 138,000USD

When we have chosen less-developed countries, one of the main selling
points of such countries has been lower prices. Last year in
Nicaragua, however, we faced the reality that life in the country was
indeed cheap, but renting the good quality space we needed in a single
hotel and with good networking and working conditions was quite
expensive. In the end, of course, we found many ways to cut costs, and
it worked very good. However, we should probably aim to something more
in the line of what we have done in the past.

So, what would be your reply to this?

Venezuela is expensive, yes. It's a reality we cannot avoid or control. Our best bet would be on our skills to reduce the total budget burden on Debian, by getting a significant amount of local sponsoring.


Well, several people's issues have already been voiced, both on the
economic and on the politic levels. I know President Chavez's death is
very recent and many things are not yet known, but we cannot postpone
the discussion and choice of venue. So, please try to calm us down :)

Support to the free software movement is a state policy. Not a government policy, but a state policy. By this i mean there are laws, decrees and several institutions that exist to *exclusively* develop, improve and support free software projects. A change in the government administration cannot stop this, unless all this FOSS legal infrastructure is revoked/suppressed, -which is unlikely to happen-.

I work as a developer for one of those institutions, as other several team members. For example: CNTI develops Canaima, a debian derivative being used in several projects. Canaima Educativo, has distributed more than 2 million of laptops with educational contents. "Plan Internet Equipado", has distributed more than 1 million of desktops, and so on. To sustain all of these operations, a large technological infrastructure has been installed across the country. Progressively, the National Public Administration of has achieved a high rate in the migration of servers and workstations to Canaima. The dismantlement of these projects and operations has not been proposed by any of the candidates running for president on april's elections.

BTW: Did you know VIT (a venezuelan computer manufacturer) ships tablets with Debian Wheezy? [0,1]

[0]http://vit.gob.ve/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=18&category_id=2&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=105 [spanish]
[1]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeYUGPjBBKE [spanish]

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Luis Alejandro Martínez Faneyth
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