Monday, February 27, 2012

The tumbleweed state

Venezuelan administration?
Last night, as a form of protest, I decided to watch the Oscar's ceremony even though I had not seen a single one of the movies, because in Venezuela only a few of the nominees come to the theaters, AFTER the fact.  All of this, of course, courtesy of currency exchange control that forces distributors to bring only the most "commercial" crap available.  Not to mention that the Venezuelan public sucks but that is another story.

And it became a surreal affair.  Not only the French were sweeping 4 of the biggies but twitter coverage in Venezuela switched from the Oscars to the squatters taking over a few buildings in Terrazas del Avila.  See, professional squatters unleashed against the Miranda PJ authorities thought that people would be too busy watching the Oscars to come out and defend themselves on a Sunday night.  They should be more up to date, people that cannot watch movies can hardly root for them.  But I digress again.

The fact of the matter is that since last night I have that image of Venezuela having become a gigantic tumbleweed adrift pushed by who knows what inconsistent wind.

Chavismo Housing Policy?
First, the squatter problem is always a recurrent problem in Venezuela, and particular around election time when the perceived change in authorities is assimilated to a accrued weakness of the system and thus a good opportunity to steal stuff without consequences.  That it was merely primaries and that any change in authority is a year away is not processed by these people.

Chavismo certainly did not invent that tradition but it has turned it into a state policy, the more so that Chavez is incapable of solving the housing problem of Venezuelans.  See, to build houses you need the materials which are now in short supply courtesy of nationalizations.  You also need people to be able to pay for at the very least the upkeep of the house if you are giving it for free to them.  And the more so if you charge them a nominal price.  For that purpose people need, say, stable jobs which are not around anymore.  Since creating conditions favorable for a housing market boom mean the reversal of 13 years of crazy economic policies the best thing is simply to steal homes from people that can still afford to have them built for their usage.  Add to this the thousands and thousands of climate refugees that chavismo has accumulated  SINCE 1999 and there you get, a time bomb.

Candidate for Squatter?
But what happened last night goes well beyond all of these considerations: what we witnessed is a faction of the regime playing hard and lose against the opposition and possibly other factions inside the regime.  In other words, the deliquescent state is losing any compass it may have had once Chavez left for Cuba.  It started last June and got aggravated last week when chavismo simply lost its faith in Chavez permanence.

I suppose that we will know the whole thing at some point but right now it would seem that the crazy Taliban civilian wing of Jaua et al., the current vice president but not for long, has decided to spice things up, to push back the military side taking over the regime, while at the same time naively thinking that they would sink Ocariz in Miranda state.  See, Ocariz won brilliantly his primary for governor and summing up his votes and those of Mendoza he is already the proud claimant of 446.000 votes when Diosdado Cabello in 2008 lost getting only 507.000 votes.  In other words, unpopular Jaua knows that he will never get even 507 in Miranda while Ocariz is assured of a boost of at least a couple of hundred thousand votes.  And probably more after last night.

And yet this is not the worst of it.  The part that struck me the most was this morning reading the dichotomy of news.  On one side there is the mouth pieces of the regime claiming that the Nazional Guard is the one that protected property and resolved everything last night, that Ocariz people were never present. On the private media the story was completely different.  The Nazional Guard arrived late, did as little as possible and it was eventually the police of Miranda and Sucre that settled matters.  Interestingly AVN and El Nacional use the same picture for a totally different coverage.

I am sure she will find housing
How can the regime lie so blatantly when we could even read the tweets of the locals that went down to block streets in protest until the squatters were expelled?  Note: the squatters came on motor bikes and buses and were trying to move in brand new buildings, in the finishing stages, for people that payed for them.  We are not talking abandoned housing here that landlords refuse to rent.... plain robbery, "micomandantepresidente"!

The story of the regime cannot fly.  Already Miranda state has been subjected to a wave of "invasiones" since February 12, duly denounced by Ocariz and local authorities.  Invasiones are also taking place in other places at an alarming rate, reflecting the anguish among chavismo that Chavez might not be around to fulfill his promises (not that he would do so, but I digress again).  To this you can add that Jaua himself said that no harm could be done to invasores, 'cause you know, they are victims (of Jaua and Chavez but that he forgot to mention).  Not to mention that the level of violence in some of these "spontaneous" invasiones has reached a level of violence justifying long ago the Nazional Guard to intervene and disarm these guys.

And today the Nazional Guard seems to have taken matters more seriously and I hear reports that they are indeed making the recent wave of squattingness in Miranda recede.   How to interpret this?  Jaua was disowned by Chavez from Cuba?  The army decided to intervene on its own, putting Jaua in its place?  Jaua was told to do so because the regime wanted to look good putting order in the streets?  Jaua sabotaged his own run in Miranda because he knows he will lose badly? Insert you r own hypothesis here.

The fact of the matter is that what we have seen since February 12 until last night is a confirmation that the regime has been sent into a wild spin, leaving us, the people, as a mere bunch of tumbleweeds pushed here and there.  Last night was just graphic.......

PS, added a few minutes later: the ineffable but how so right Chigüire just published its version of the events.  The image of Jaua Googling "Jaua panfilo"  is one that will stick for a while.....


  1. Wait, what...?

    You watched the Oscars??

    I can't believe anyone still does that. The last thing I want to see is a bunch of rich leftist self-serving narcissists giving each other awards.

    1. Oh, but the glamour! the outfits!

    2. Anonymous11:43 PM

      "The last thing I want to see is a bunch of rich leftist self-serving narcissists giving each other awards."

      Like Qadaffi and Chavez? or Amendinejad and Chavez? or Castro and Chavez? or the AN and Chavez?

    3. Well, my husband likes to see JLo's outfits. You can't blame him for that.

    4. Anonymous1:51 AM

      I would like to see her without her outfits

  2. I consider myself a bit of a cinéaste. But even I abhor the Oscars.

    1. did i not write "as a form of protest"? does anyone really read my post? tsssk, tsssk.....

  3. Anonymous8:51 PM

    Wasn't Billy Crystal the host last night? If I had known earlier I might had watched it.

    And there's also the fact that The Artist beat Hugo without saying a word. That's got to mean something, isn't it?

  4. Anonymous10:48 PM

    Thank you for the wonderful article. Sadly, there may be much more "chavistas plundering all they can"(-which will doom Chavez in a fair election).The chavistas see a green light and they know that the higher ups under Chavez have already gotten fat and rich...
    On another note-those trees! I am turning into
    a "carpintero"-jajaja

    1. Yes Anonymous, but which tree are you going to peck at?


      I never watch the Oscars, and many times will not watch a movie if it is nominated to the Oscars, because it was nominated (or at least, I won't pay good money to see it in a theater, I'll wait for the DVD or something). I did break this rule for one of the movies, however, The Artist. I am glad I did, I am glad it won, and what a great film. Don't miss it.

      And who wants to watch the Oscars when you have such fantasy at your doorstep? The political theater coming your way from now until somebody is sworn in to Miraflores in 2013 is going to be nothing short of spectacular.

  5. I once read that the definition of "an adventure" is someone else being miserable and scared in a place far, far away. Speaking as one who has had his share of "adventures", they only become "adventures" during the telling, and re-telling, of the stories. At the time they are happening, they really aren't any fun at all and, sometimes, they are downright terrifying.

    If I were outside of Venezuela, looking in, I would probably be thinking, "Now THAT is entertainment!"

  6. (Daniel, I think you are going to rewrite this thing. People are caring and commenting more about the oscars than the squatters or the giant tumbleweed we've became...)

    1. well, Bruni saved the day :)

      next time I will write a one line post "I watched the Oscars. Vive La France." and see 50 messages pile up protesting or something :)

    2. I came here because I thought people were going to write about Angelina Jolie's Right Leg. Just kidding, just kidding.
      I agree with you on Ocariz.

    3. Her leg reminded me when Hansel was sticking out a bone out of his cage to the blind witch. That woman needs a cheeseburger.

  7. Isn't Jaua the one that started allowing the land invasions when he was a minister of land?

    I tell you something Daniel. Ocariz has been my favorite politician for many years. I was just waiting to see how long it would take the goverment to fix on Ocariz...

    1. Well, Jaua just expanded the procedures but he was not the first one in Chavez administration to organize invasiones. What he had was Loyo as his handiman, who became famous by stealing La Carolina away from Arria and as a reward became minister of agriculture. Now he is in disgrace for too much corruption. Apparently there are limits in how much you are allowed to steal within chavismo, at least in lower echelons of power.

      Ocariz is an interesting politician and he comes much better alive than on video. He is tall, comforting, something that does not appear at all on TV. I would have him over Capriles, but alas...... had he won Sucre in 2004 (he barely made it in spite of the huge abstention of the opposition that year) things could be different today.

  8. Island Canuck12:12 PM

    Apparently, according to this morning's Runrunes, the invasions were a plot by Diosdado to embarrass Jaua while Chavez was on away.

    Now they are saying it was orchestrated by the MUD to embarrass the government.

    Ha, ha. Just like a novela.

    1. The funny thing is that it does not matter. The scenario I wrote above works equally well Jaua toward Diosdadado o Diosdado toward Jaua. They are so screwed up that anything works! Amazing!

  9. I watched them to make sure Sean Penn did not win anything. It worked!

  10. Not just me, Daniel, Island too!

    In fact I am quite concerned with the situation in Venezuela. The Chavismo without Chavez is an animal we are not used to deal with...I am not surprised that they started the tricks in Sucre. What I am surprised is that it took them so long.

    1. Well, any powder keg needs a fuse. February 12 was that fuse and the match Chavez renewed pain in the ass.

    2. And certainly chavismo is now "como mono con hojilla".

  11. Anonymous3:46 AM

    Just had to share this with you...


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