Inspiring video of deaf baby having a conversation with her deaf mom.

The last few years I’ve been working a lot on making our company an accesible and safe place to work for people from all walks of life. Ever since we embarked on this endeavour, with help from my friend David Reyes, I’ve noticed that El Salvador has a lot of work to do to include people with disabilities into society. We’re way behind, and there is a lot of work to be done. I hope my work at Caricia will help somehow to inspire other companies to do the same, and make David’s work come to fruition. Maybe someday in El Salvador we will see something as beautiful as this video:

Our rights as citizens

I’m very sad today. It seems our country values only the bad guys’ rights. People who don’t pay taxes, people who work outside the law, people who make a lot of noise, make a lot of threats, people who basically hold the country hostage with terror.

I can’t get to work today. I’m stuck at home. Why? Well, bus owners all over El Salvador decided they had to protest a veto to a law that would benefit them. So they took the country hostage by not letting anyone leave their homes. Clogging up the main streets and throughways of El Salvador. People can’t get to work anywhere. I just read on the local newpapers’ websites that a bus driver, on his way to the “protest” driving recklessly, ran over and killed a woman.

These bus owners, who pay little or no taxes, who recieve government subsidies, who don’t really contribute anything to the country except for corruption, pollution, and death (the number of people who die on busses, get robbed on bussed, who get run over on busses each year is staggering), somehow manage to get fantastic special treatment from the government.

However, company owners, entrepenuers, and corporations, who pay taxes, create jobs, create safe working conditions, pay social security… we get our taxes raised. We don’t really get anything in exchange for this raise in taxes. We don’t get safer streets. We don’t get special protection from potesters to get to our work in time. Quite the opposite, we get attacked in the media for not paying enough taxes. We get attacked every chance the government gets to speak in public for not doing enough for the country.

Meanwhile, our government officials get caught drunk while working, and get “pardoned” because of some bullshit about being medicated. They give themselves raises, and they get exempted from taxes.

Maybe what El Salvador needs is that all corporations, all business owners, everyone who pays taxes; get together and protest the government by simply not paying taxes for a month. No IVA, no Income Tax, no nothing! And we maintain this cease of payment until we get a serious commitment from the govrenment. Until we get a plan of how they are going to fix things and somehow guarantee justice for all.

I’m not saying we should do this. Because even when the laws are dumb, they are still the law, and we must obey the law. But if protesters can get away with murder, why shouldn’t we?

I’m on TV

I’m on a TV ad that’s playing. It’s really fun cause a lot of my friends keep asking me, “Hey, is that you on the TV ad?”. I’m also on billboards. The funny thing is that I’m not promoting any of my projects with the ad. The ad is for the Industrial Association of El Salvador. And it promotes entrepreneurship.

Indemnizaciones anuales en peligro

I normally don’t write in spanish here. But today I will make an exception, because this is something that anyone working in El Salvador should know about, and form an opinion on:

Hay muchas empresas en el país que, como una prestación para el empleado y al mismo tiempo una forma de eliminar pasivo laboral, indemnizan a sus empleados todos los años. Esta práctica está en peligro de desaparecer ya que el DGII está objetando a varias empresas en busca de recaudar renta de parte de los indemnizados y prohibir la deducción de impuestos de la empresa.

Comparto con ustedes este texto de un amigo, con el cual estoy 100% de acuerdo:

LA INDEMNIZACION LABORAL, INGRESO NO GRAVADO DEL IMPUESTO SOBRE LA RENTA, PARA EL TRABAJADOR Y GASTO DEDUCIBLE PARA EL PATRONO.

Con mucha preocupación hemos recibido la noticia, que la Dirección General de Impuestos Internos, por medio de sus auditores a objetado en varias empresas, el gasto deducible por pago de indemnizaciones que ha realizado a sus trabajadores, como una política de no tener Pasivos Laborales y como un beneficio hacia los trabajadores.

Como todos sabemos de acuerdo a nuestra legislación laboral, el patrono está obligado a indemnizar a los trabajadores únicamente en el caso que existiere despido, es decir cuando el trabajador renuncia de la empresa el patrono no está en la obligación de otorgar una indemnización.

De acuerdo a la normativa fiscal vigente, específicamente en el tema de las indemnizaciones y bonificaciones la Ley de impuesto sobre la Renta, con respecto al trabajador, establece que los ingresos recibidos en estos conceptos, constituirán Una Renta No Gravada para el trabajador, la disposición legal señala lo siguiente:

Art. 4.- Son Rentas no gravables por este impuesto, y en consecuencia quedan excluidas del cómputo de la renta obtenida:

3) Las indemnizaciones que en forma de capital o renta se perciben por causa de muerte, incapacidad, accidente o enfermedad, y que sean otorgados por vía judicial o por convenio privado.

Las indemnizaciones por despido y bonificaciones por retiro voluntario, siempre que no excedan de un salario básico de treinta días por cada año de servicio. Para estos efectos, ningún salario podrá ser superior al salario promedio de lo devengado en los últimos doce meses, siempre y cuando estos salarios hayan sido sujetos de retención.

Las jubilaciones, pensiones o montepíos, tanto las civiles como las que correspondan a miembros de la Fuerza Armada.

Son rentas gravables las remuneraciones ordinarias que se continúen percibiendo durante las licencias o ausencias por enfermedad;

Como bien se señala en la anterior disposición legal, el trabajador en el caso planteado por la norma, establece claramente el beneficio que tendrá el mismo cuando reciba una indemnización o una bonificación por retiro voluntario, es decir si leemos a detenimiento dicha disposición no establece como condición para recibir la indemnización, que el trabajador no sea recontratado nuevamente por la empresa, es más en nuestro país existen cualquier cantidad de empresas que tienen como política indemnizar a sus trabajadores año con año, con el único fin de no tener pasivos laborales y de esta manera beneficiar al trabajador por que recibe un ingreso extra, que de otra forma no lo recibiría.

Ahora bien, que pasa cual es el tratamiento fiscal para el gasto por pago de las indemnizaciones a los trabajares para con el patrono, que decide dar este beneficio al trabajador, o digamos que indemniza año con año a sus trabajadores, la respuesta la encontramos en lo establecido en el artículo 29 literal 2) inciso segundo de la Ley de Impuesto Sobre la Renta, el cual específicamente señala lo siguiente:

Art. 29.- Son deducibles de la renta obtenida:

Remuneraciones

2) Las cantidades pagadas a título de salarios, sueldos, sobresueldos, dietas, honorarios comisiones, aguinaldos, gratificaciones, y otras remuneraciones o compensaciones por los servicios prestados directamente en la producción de la renta gravada, toda vez que se hayan realizado y enterado las correspondientes retenciones de seguridad social, previsionales y de Impuesto sobre la Renta cuando se encuentren sujetas a ello conforme a la ley respectiva.

Las cantidades pagadas por indemnizaciones laborales por despido y las bonificaciones por retiro voluntario, cumpliendo con lo establecido en el artículo 4 numeral 3) inciso segundo de esta ley; así como las indemnizaciones por causa de muerte, accidente, incapacidad o enfermedad.

Al hacer un análisis de la situación planteada, hay que ver a nuestro parecer dos situaciones en particular: una es el aspecto fiscal y la otra el aspecto económico, como ya lo dijimos fiscalmente la administración tributaria históricamente a aceptado en base a las disposiciones antes señaladas, que las indemnizaciones que se le dan a los empleados sean ingresos no gravados para estos y un gasto deducible para el patrono, pero la variable hoy en día en la posición asumida por la Dirección General de Impuestos Internos, al considerar que la indemnización será un gasto deducible para el patrono y un ingreso no gravable para el trabajador, siempre y cuando de forma efectiva haya un despido, es decir que se opte por retirar al trabajador y no recontratarlo, de esta manera según la DGII, si es válida la indemnización por que resarce un perjuicio hacia el trabajador. Cabe entonces hacerse la pregunta que pasa con el buen empleado que trabaja en una empresa donde año con año le han venido indemnizando su tiempo de servicio, pues con esta posición de la DGII, esto ya no será permitido a menos que se considere un ingreso gravado para el trabajador y se efectué la respectiva retención del impuesto sobre la renta por los valores recibidos por el trabajador. Es acá donde nos debemos de detener y hacer la otra valoración del aspecto económico, a nuestro parecer el perjudicado con la adopción de esta posición de parte de la DGII, es el trabajador, ya que el patrono tiene la opción de indemnizar año con año o no hacerlo, si lo hacer del cien por ciento que paga a los trabajadores en concepto de indemnización solo recupera el veinticinco por ciento vía deducción dentro del gasto para efectos del Impuesto Sobre la Renta, es decir que el otro setenta y cinco por ciento, es un valor que el patrono está aportando de forma voluntaria para beneficio de sus trabajadores.

Con este tipo de situaciones, se está desincentivando al patrono que año con año venia indemnizando de forma voluntaria a sus trabajadores y reduciendo sus pasivos laborales, el dinero que los trabajadores recibían vía indemnización, serbia para mejorar su situación económica y dinamizaba de cierta manera la economía.

Una buena política fiscal, para incentivar el gasto y reactivar la economía que tanto es necesario hacerlo y al final recaudar más impuestos específicamente el IVA, que es un impuesto al consumo, sería que se aprobará un Decreto Transitorio mediante el cual se les permitiera a las empresas indemnizar a todos sus trabajadores de forma voluntaria y limpiar pasivos laborales existentes, otorgándoles un beneficio adicional a las empresas que lo hagan de deducirse un 10% más como gasto del Impuesto Sobre la Renta, esto seguro sería una excelente medida que ayudaría a reactivar la economía del país y a la larga a generar mayor pago de impuestos específicamente el IVA, por que se daría un mayor consumo de bienes y servicios, reconociendo además que dicho ingreso será una Renta No Gravada para los trabajadores que los reciben, tal como hasta la fecha lo a sido, antes del cambio de criterio de la Dirección General de Impuestos Internos.

Starting a new company

I haven’t been writing much lately because I’ve been keeping busy starting a new company. If you follow my twitter account, you probably already know what I’m talking about: MarketBeat.

Two years ago one of my best buddies came to me with an idea, and wanted to know if could be done using the Internet. I was pretty sure it could be done, but didn’t realize yet how we were going to do it. In true entrepreneur fashion I said, “Sure, let’s do it!”.

Two years, a lot of money, and a couple employees later, we have a company on our hands. The original dream has morphed into a beast of an idea with the potential to become something really huge. An idea that is not terribly new, except for the way we approached the problem and the solution we designed for it. The potential marketplace that can be built on our platform. It has all the key factors for success.

Can we pull it off? Can we turn this product, this idea, this company into something huge? Time will tell. In the meantime we’re focused on making a truly great product, and keeping our customers very happy. Every day, it seems, we ad something new to the product that makes it even better, or that opens up a door to a vast new line of development and ideas. I really love my job!

Oh, and I’m very happy to announce that our product is built on Open Source tools. Ubuntu, Apache, PHP, MySQL. Even our developers run Ubuntu. Well, I kind of forced them to try it out on the computers that we bought for the company. Now, they love it so much, they wiped Windows off of their home computers and installed Ubuntu there too. I feel happy that I’ve helped these guys be more productive. Not only for our company, but for them as well.. and wherever the future takes them, I’m pretty sure they’ll keep on using Linux, now that they’ve seen the light.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple of years, apart from running the family footwear business… and that’s what been keeping me away from my blog. I love that I still get comments to a few posts I’ve done in the past, and I plan to do a few more. How-to’s and Open Source Product recommendations seem to be the way to go, so expect more posts about that in the future.

Time to go now and be productive! See you all.

Waking up in Panama

Waking up in Panama, originally uploaded by oegan72.

The Panama skyline is very different than my last visit here 9 years ago. Panama feels like a very modern Miami!

Panama is growing like crazy.. this is the view from my hotel room this morning. There are cranes littering the skyline.. and new buildings are popping up like mushrooms after the rain. The fad now is for construction companies to buy entire blocks of residential houses and build skyscrapers there. The city is very different than my last visit here (almost 9 years ago).

Curriculum

Being the owner of your own company, you usually don’t have to write you curriculum. Since I was invited to participate in a forum to discuss the status of Internet adoption and what local companies need to know about it, I was asked to send in my curriculum. What a trip!

It’s hard trying to weed out what is relevant for a certain audience and what is relevant to a job opportunity! Usually you want to get straight to the point in CV’s, but it’s quite a mind-meld having to delete a bunch of stuff YOU think is important, but probably the people who are going to listen to you speak, don’t really care. I had stuff about Rotary club in there.

Should I also mention that I’m also a Second Life resident? Nah.

Windows Sucks… so what else is new?

Those who’ve been following my blog and my Tweets and my Pownce updates know that I’ve been using Ubuntu at work for the past few months. Today, though, I decided to log into Windows because I wanted to sync up my Treo with the Palm Desktop application (I haven’t done that in a very long time) and I wanted to install a few new programs on my Treo that I’ve found on the web.

I do want to be clear on the fact that I CAN install stuff on the Treo from within Linux, but I just haven’t gotten around to figuring out how to do that just yet (I have a few HOW-TO’s to read). And besides, I have Windows on this computer, so why not boot up, quickly do my business and log back out into Ubuntu?

I’ll tell you why not!

I log into Windows… a process that takes over 6 minutes by the way… we’re talking 6 minutes of the hard drive going crazy, and not being able to use the computer because, for some reason or another, every single Windows program needs to run at boot time and leave some sort of fast-loader application loaded in the task-bar.

Finally the hard drive light starts to flicker down, and my mouse and keyboard start responding to my commands. So I fire up my e-mail program and my browser. It’s been so long since I’ve booted into Windows that Firefox quickly downloads its updates and asks me to restart it. I do, and continue working (Don’t you just love how Open Source stuff just seems to work right). I then decide that I want to listen to some music while I’m working, so I fire up iTunes, which asks me that it needs to download a new version… after the beautiful experience of updating Firefox I figured it’s probably a good idea to have the latest version of iTunes installed, so I clicked on the yes button. While that is going on I download and install the latest version of Pidgin as well… which works beautifully.

Now, here’s the kicker… iTunes finally finishes updating itself and asks me to reboot my machine.

REBOOT MY MACHINE?

Why?

What the hell does iTunes do to my Windows, that it need to reboot it?

You mean the price of upgrading to the latest version of iTunes is 6 minutes worth of “Windows is Shutting Down, please wait…” plus another 6 minutes of “Windows is starting up, please wait…” hell? You’ve got to be kidding me? The sad part of this ordeal is that I’ve noticed that pretty much 70% of all software updates I do on Windows require a System reboot!

What kind of a Micky Mouse, Fischer Price operating system is this? (No offense to those companies which, now that I think about it, have totally kick-ass products that are in no way comparable to the crap that Microsoft sells!). I mean, the only time you have to reboot on Linux is when you update the Kernel, and you can always choose to install the updates and reboot at a later time (like at midnight)… and Linux won’t keep bugging you to reboot every 10 or 15 minutes… it respects your decision to not reboot right away! In the Windows world… if you say, please don’t reboot right now… you get an annoying pop-up every 10 or so minutes asking you to reboot. If you’re in the middle of typing something important, you can easily hit the space bar when the dang thing pops up sending your machine into a reboot… and usually losing all your work.

Why does 90% of the world’s population put up with this sort of lackluster performance from Windows? How come this piece of very badly designed, expensive crap has such a big market share? Why do people now expect their computer systems to fail regularly and stop complaining? I mean you’re paying for the software… it’s not like it’s free… It’s perhaps the most expensive part of any new computer system, yet people have somehow learned to put up with its crap?

Microsoft, you need to get your act together soon… STOP SELLING CRAP. I, for one, am completely fed up with it. That’s right… I’m moving on to better things.

From now on I’m 100% Ubuntu. When people come to me to ask for advice I will tout Ubuntu and other Linuxes as their best option for increased productivity. Not only will they save money, but also time. They’ll see an immediate productivity boost!

It’s interesting to note that using Linux almost exclusively for a coupe of months has made me realize what a piece of crap Windows really is. Maybe that’s why so many people are running to the Mac and to Apple’s offerings. For those people, I only have this to say: Keep your eyes open guys! Use your beautiful Mac products but be sure to keep a copy Ubuntu on your dual-boot systems (Boot-camps or whatever you want to call it), because you never know when Apple will start to act like bullies and start to make dumb decisions regarding their OS similarly to what they’ve done with the iPhone and the AppleTV.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I see MacOS ruling the home, Linux ruling the corporate environment… and Windows, thank goodness, will start to fade into oblivion as people realize that they really don’t have to put up with it’s crap anymore.

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