Exhausted, on a slow unseasonal rainy Sunday, after a chokefull week of news from Libya and the OAS seat in Caracas, I got a revitalizing moment with one of those rare rewards in blogging. A reader wrote a comment on a post written in December 2006! Not that I never get comments for posts older than a couple of weeks (which is normal) but those I get usually come from some latecomer chavista sandalista who is suddenly discovering damaging blogs to its cause. Besides cursing me there is nothing left for them to write home about.
There some people or countries who perfectly match any or all definitions of "enabler":
1.a. To supply with the means, knowledge, or opportunity; make able
b. To make feasible or possible
2. To give legal power, capacity, or sanction to
3. To make operational; activate
And some even go as far as matching the psychological meaning of "enabler":
A family member, friend, co-worker, cleric or other person who, by being deeply concerned for the well-being of a substance abuser, facilitates the person's continued abuse by attempting to help the abuser–eg.: shouldering responsibility, making excuses for him or her, in fact encourages continued alcoholic or substance-abusing behavior.
What is happening in Libya today (or Venezuela for that matter) is yet another text book case of "enabling" in all of the senses above. As a dual citizen I must start by blaming France as one of the main enablers of hard core repressive regimes, whether the president comes from Socialist ranks or the Gaullist ones. The coddling of Mitterrand to many an African Dictator is known as much as Sarkozy's entreaties to Libya's Qaddafi once he threw a few million to clean up his act such as paying off a few of the victims of the planes he had shot down. Was Qaddafi not allowed to plant his Bedouin tent on the Champs Elysees?
Leopoldo Lopez esta a punto de viajar para la Corte Interamericana de San Jose como testigo principal en el caso donde el gobierno venezolano esta demandado por privar ciudadanos de sus derechos políticos sin juicio formal ni sentencia firma. Como tal va en representación de los centenares de políticos injustamente castigados por Clodosvaldo Ruffian. Lo menos que podemos hacer por el y los que el representa es firmar una petición que se entregará a la corte el día de la audiencia.
In what will go for the posterity as one of the shallowest, most vindictive, ignorant moments of the bolivarian farce we will remember the words of foreign minister Maduro today at the Nazional Assembly (sorry, I think I need to retake the pre January 5 appellation becasue only in a Nazional Assembly can such words be uttered unpunished).
Aparentemente según la CNN, unos pilotos libios decidieron no masacrar la población y estrellaron su avión, un Sukhoi-22. Obviamente saltaron en paraciadas antes. Ustedes saquen sus propias comparaciones y conclusiones con situaciones distintas pero no tan ajenas. Si no saben de que estoy hablando les propongo un blog margariteño y revolucionario, amante de los Sukhoi -33. A ver y les llega la noticia del Sukhoi estrellado.
Well, it seems tonight that the fate of Qaddafi regime is sealed. The Eastern part of the country seems irremediably lost and the regime has trouble to even mark its presence in Tripoli. The streets are rife with rumors of mercenaries, which might be true or not but which indicate that the general belief is that the only people left with Qaddafi are his family and those that will be punished in the future Libya.
Gustavo Coronel writes more than his blog and today the web page of El Universal accepted one lengthy article on the state of the oil industry in Venezuela. Gustavo Coronel has made a career in PDVSA and the pre PDVSA companies and as far as the reality on the ground I think that today his experience is top notch, beyond numbers and estimates put forth by the regime and even journalists.
Today the Venezuelan blogosphere news is that Miguel has moved out of the country. Not totally, as he tells us he will keep coming for a few days regularly for work reasons, but the fact of the matter is that from this week on, most of his time will be spent under other skies. As I wrote a few days ago, we can count him as a chavista casualty, from death or exile, among those people that we will not see around us anymore because of the abject failure of chavismo. Either way a loss for Venezuela though at least the exiles are a gain for other countries.
The latest chilling news coming from Libya is that the airforce planes would be flying over Benghazi and shooting protesters. Oh dear, that International Court at the Hague is going to get plenty of work to do! Let's hope that those are totally unfounded rumors because if they are not then this is truly, truly ugly and will have international consequences. Not to mention possibly genocidal as Benghazies are of a different "tribe" as Tripoli folks.
And is this why Hugo bought Sukhois to Russia? and Hugo, if this is true, you better do not shelter that creep in Venezuela!!!!!
¡Lávate esa mano Hugo! ¿O es que estas pensando aplicárnosla también?
EL Guardian, periódico de izquierda de Londres, está reportando masacres en Bengazi. Ya pasarían de cien muertos según varias fuentes y la cifra va subiendo. Hay gente que mataron a mansalva, con tiros directos a la cabeza, igualito que en las cárceles y calles de Venezuela. Dinos Hugo, ¿Ya somos Libia?
A truly fascinating analysis that applies so well to Venezuela that it leaves one's mind reeling. In this NYT article we can read how the army was in the end the main decider for the political fate of all countries and how in some cases (China notably) it shot people, remained in control and became the main economic power.
Ha sido algo difícil escribir sobre la reciente huelga de hambre en Venezuela. Estoy tan harto de ver que el régimen está tan dispuesto a dejar que la gente muera de hambre que estoy casi opuesto a que la gente llegue a tales extremos; sin olvidar, digamoslo sin pena, que todavía estamos en mejor situación que la gente en Egipto. Es cierto que por el camino que vamos pronto estaremos en una situación como la cubana, donde una huelga de hambre será la única herramienta de resistencia que nos quede, pero ese día no ha llegado todavía y hacer huelga de hambre como solución a todo no es conducente a nada bueno.
I have been a little bit reluctant in covering the latest hunger strike in Venezuela. I am so sick to see that the regime is so willing to let people die of starvation that I am almost opposed to people going to such extremes when, well, lets' say it, we are still better off than people in Egypt. True, the way we are going soon we will be in a Cuban like scenario where hunger strike will be the only tool left, but that day has not come yet and making hunger strike a go for all tool is not conducing to anything good.
No, I will not bother you with all the lies and outrageous lies told today by the government on the matter of Venezuela energy. Rather I will show the latest, most glaring, energetic example of the existence of death penalty in Venezuela. In spite of all the lovy-lovy human rights pseudo credo of the bolibanananian revolution.
Living this week in Caracas makes one head dizzy. For one thing there is yet another hunger strike going on demanding that the OAS to fulfill its original promises made when they lifted the previous hunger strike. The OAS as usual is wavering, looking for any excuse it can grab on, hoping that somehow miraculously the hunger strike will be lifted, in a country where the example of Brito is now the powerful precedent for such activities.
Con ese cuchillo de palo no nos van a cortar. Si hay algún de los problemas de Venezuela en donde se pueden identificar precisamente a dos culpables, esos dos son ustedes, el presidente y su alcahuete en PDVSA. ¡Coño!, Ni a Giordani le podemos achacar mucha de esta culpa, por más que queramos hacerlo. Por si no lo saben, o no lo quieren entender, les voy a explicar las razones por la cual hoy en día hay que racionar/aumentar/importar/lo-que-sea la gasolina.
El que dijo que bajo su gobierno no se iba a aumentar la gasolina fue micomandantepresidente. Ahora, después de 12 años, de un sinfín de devaluaciones, de una inflación creciente, no le queda sino atragantarse con esas palabras, como un pendejo.
Since I have been forced to start covering the 2012 election I might as well start informing the Canadian public on how Chavez cheats by barring "dangerous" opponents from running. As simple as that, "il suffisait d'y penser". And least any one of you takes this article for an endorsement of Leopoldo, think twice: I will vote for any Venezuelan that I think can remove Chavez from Miraflores, period. That Leopoldo today is the most promising case, notwithstanding the court case to be decided later this year, is not my fault but the fault of other political parties that seem a little bit lost in MUD lately, if you catch my drift....
By the way, you can get all the details of the case to be presented at the IACHR next march at a new site, expressly set for that: Democracy on Trial (in English and Spanish)
Apparently a lot of people seem to think that Chavez final undoing will come December 2012. I would not be so certain of that however, and since there is nothing we can do at this time but prepare for these elections we might as well do it. The stakes are high: besides being the most difficult elections that the democratic opposition will face, and complicated since we will vote for president, governors and mayors, the opposition will have in front a cornered Chavez with an ideologized public administration scared to lose its job . Too many people are bound to go to jail in a post Chavez era to make these coming elections normal and democratic.
This being said, let’s inaugurate the new tab “2012 megavote” today with what should be an ideal model to select the presidential candidate. Nobody in the MUD would be caught dead acknowledging that they read English language blogs, even though we predict electoral results better than what they do. Thus whatever is written below is wishful thinking that shall go unheard, but at least it will give us someday the dim pleasure of the "I told you so, you jerk!".
About a month ago I was asked by my very esteemed colleague Juan Nagel to write about a point I made in his comment section. With travel and all it took me that long to abide but I do hope that it will be as useful as it would have been then. The topic was electoral mistakes by the opposition since we disagreed in that for me boycotting the 2005 vote was not necessarily a mistake and certainly not the worst one.
I think that the Venezuelan opposition has made two fundamental electoral mistakes since Chavez arrived on the political scene in 1998. True, electoral mistakes are also political mistakes, but for the sake of the argument I will consider them as separate mistakes which consequences can be electoral and/or political. For example, if you will, the strike of 2002 can be considered as a political mistake, the boycott of 2005 and electoral mistake and the lack of follow up to that electoral result a political mistake. That is, if you think those were mistakes which is not a debate for this text.
I do not know about you guys but even though I am delighted at a democratic reflex appearing in some Middle East countries I cannot but help to be worried sick at the same time. I am not going to write a treatise on the recent events because for one I am not a specialist and for second I am somewhat biased as being anti fundamentalist and pro Israel, though anti Israeli religious right, of course.
One does not really know what to make up of the latest piece by NYT correspondent Simon Romero in Caracas. After all, does someone like Eva Golinger deserve a full piece in the New York Times? Well, I suppose that as an odd rarity, a US (former?) citizen who has some access to Chavez, she would draw some morbid interest by US Times readers.
Herr, lehre doch mich, dass ein Ende mit mir haben muss, und mein Leben ein Ziel hat, und ich davon muss. (1)
The Chavez regime is finally reaching an end, transition has started, regardless of the fact that today it reaches 12 years.
Transition to where, we do not know. How long a transition is any one's guess. Maybe we are returning to democracy and the rule of law, or maybe toward the final Myanmarization of Venezuela with a Chavez II holding on, but a hold over a very different country as the one we used to know in 1998. The country that either us or Chavez will inherit is a country with little prospects, wasted time, squandered opportunities and a mess. I suppose that there are those who may think that it would be poetic justice for Chavez to stay over for a few more years and face the mess he created. But autocrats do not function that way and I doubt that Chavez at this point is able to comprehend the extent of the damage he has inflicted on our country. And even less able to care (ref: the movie "the last days" if you do not get the psychology behind this comment).
So what is the country we are getting after 12 years? Before we can even attempt to think about what to do to start fixing up the disaster upon us we need to understand our inheritance. Below I try to be brief and split the description in different areas without any particular order.
I am travelling for business and I stopped for the week end to visit some old friends in North Carolina where I used to live years ago. We decided to go on this splendid Sunday afternoon to visit an exhibit on Norman Rockwell at the North Carolina Museum of Art. A good excuse for a countryside drive.
One of the painting exposed is the famous "The problem we all live with", a reflection on the integration battles. Norman Rockwell might have been hijacked by conservative America, he might have been accused of all sorts of things but he would have been the first one to tell you that he painted an America the way he would like it to be, an idealized version of what he saw and not the white wonder bread vision that too many are only too willing to label him with.