Monday, April 22, 2013

Maduro first "power" decision is a show of weakness

I am dumbfounded. Not only because I just barely managed to open the blog dashboard for the first time today and I do not know whether this post will happen, but becasue I caught by mistake Maduro's cadena announcing what a president usually announces first, his new cabinet.

Well, let's start by the obvious: a new cabinet it ain't.

Not only Maduro recycles whatever Chavez left him, but he cannot even make a single appointment that seems to bear, remotely, his stamp. All the key positions are upheld: Ramirez, Arreaza, Iglesias, Jaua, Molero....  Even Giordani remains though apparently with less attributions, the finance part going to Merentes.The only change in a big job is the interior ministry but this one remains in the hands of the army anyway.

Before we speculate on why such a non-event let's write on the immediate consequences. First, this is not a good sign. There is NOTHING positive for the economy there, there is nothing to build confidence, to get business to invest whatever few pennies they may have stashed away. For the agricultural ministry, one of the few changes, we have the guy that destroyed Agroisleña in charge. So we know right now that agricultural production IS NOT GOING TO GO UP.

The other implication is that this is a nervous government, one which feels in danger and thus the wagons have been circled and the people in key position remain there, to man the fort. No time to make changes, a perfect confession that things are not going Maduro's way, that there is no time to train a new guy (assuming that there are proficient guys left inside chavismo, besides proficiency in repression, spying, snitching...). This is an ill omen, these people are not there to discuss shit.

Now, why?

The "stability" of the cabinet can only mean one thing: Maduro is really not in charge, he is just the figurehead. Every faction that had some quota of power, or at least quota of access to fund and patronage, retains it. You would even be hard pressed to see any verifiable "madurista" in the lot, excepting, I suspect and I do not know why, the labor minister.  In other words, Maduro has just replaced Chavez as the guy signing the papers, but the decisions are now taken elsewhere.

You could easily get confirmation of this in the pitiful performance of Maduro tonight. When Chavez made any change it just happened and Chavez announced or discussed it at all when he found it convenient. In fact, appointments and removals have been notified to the parties through a tweet!!!!  In more civilized countries, the head of the executive sometimes announces the appointment through a press note and that is that.  Ministers are, after all, employees to serve the chief executive.

But tonight Maduro did a long cadena where he went name by name, as if presenting those people to the country as brand new stuff when in fact all the heavy weights have been heavy weights for quite a while. The only cosmetic touch was naming an Olympic fencer minister of sports..... He was almost apologetic for those who left and tried to prop up those who came in, while extending himself on the virtues of the ones that remain in place as if they were not responsible for the disaster that he inherits. In fact, he almost sounded like announcing to the country that the previous government was a disaster but now he got the right team to solve all the problems.....  It was a truly eerie performance....  I doubt that Maduro convinced anyone, not even the hard core chavismo used to and appreciative of a more "executive" approach to things.

Tonight I can write in all confidence that Maduro's regime is starting badly, and not only becasue of the electroal albatross that is now here to stay even if the CNE manages to cheat survive. Maduro tonight has proven that he has absolutely no creativity, that he probably has little leverage and that he probably has even less power......


  1. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Revolution of the revolution, as pushed forward by the same team as the original revolution. A world first?

  2. "Maduro is not really in charge." Of course not. Chavez is in charge.

    1. Anonymous4:02 PM

      Raoul is in charge of the budget and all decisions. Maduro is just the press secretary. It was in the agreement with Chavez.

  3. margareth1:49 PM

    Look up the differences! ;)

  4. margareth2:44 PM

    Minister of Sport. She could have been on the calendre of Pirelli 2013

  5. During his cabinet announcement maduro said "Necesitamos gobernar la economía, una economía compleja. De transición al socialismo" So I am to understand that after 14 years of ABSOLUTE power chavez could not turn venezuela's economy fully into socialism??? Then ladies and gentlemen I propose there is no such thing.
    Actually I think chavez did, not only did he turn the economy into a socialist economy but politics, the military, a large portion of the people, the judicial system, and even the streets of caracas.
    When I was about 8 years old, a teacher lend me the book "Martian Chronicles" which started my facination with Scifi. That has been a long time but I remember the episode when one of the caracter a father takes his son (both new human colonist in Mars) to show him the "martians", He takes the son to a water stream and shows him their reflection, the point was there was no martians but they were now the martians.
    The situation with Venezuela and maduro's statement remind me of that story. It sounds to me like so many people want to see "socialism", and maduro is saying "wait a little longer, we are almost there".
    To all those who support maduro & chavismo and hope to arrive one day to socialist panacea, I would like to tell them that they are already you want to see what socialism looks like; here, take a look at Venezuela.

    1. Anonymous4:08 PM

      The money quote--
      "To all those who support maduro & chavismo and hope to arrive one day to socialist panacea, I would like to tell them that they are already you want to see what socialism looks like; here, take a look at Venezuela.

  6. Boludo Tejano5:10 PM

    There is NOTHING positive for the economy there, there is nothing to build confidence, to get business to invest whatever few pennies they may have stashed away.

    Considering that Maduro was the choice of the Cubans, and apparently had been trained in Cuba some years ago, this is unfortunately not a surprise. Some wag defined a Puritan as someone who got upset that somewhere someone is having fun. The Castro brothers get upset that somewhere someone is rich- not that THEY would be willing to live of Socialist rations themselves, of course.

    Orlando's quoting Maduro about a "transition to socialism" further confirms this. "Transition to socialism" was standard Soviet boilerplate for the great future when all economic problems would be resolved. Since after decades of socialism/communism in the Soviet Union there were still economic problems [to put it mildly], by definition the "transition to socialism" was not complete- nor would it ever be.

  7. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Yeap, things are not looking rosy for Maduro, he'll probably have to keep on going with the whole fascist-repressive regime approach especially when things start to get really ugly. Oh well, all hail Il Conduttore! (yesterday all his look was missing was the little armband and an Il Duce style hat).

  8. Milonga8:07 PM

    Glad you're back, Dano. I've heard petrol is under 100,00 US the barrel, about 96 to be exact. Which means more trouble for the economy. Sorry about that. Have been trying to understand the audit on votes, it's like a roller-coaster, every day the people of CNE come up with a new absurd interpretation. Wonder how long will all masks fall or the oppo will endure this. Anyways, we had elections yesterday in Paraguay and all LatAm progressives are talking about how vote buying is absurd over there, but praise vote assistance in Venezuela. I´m really sick with the hypocrisy!!

  9. I've been reading El Nuevo Pais and TalCual as of a few months and both of them have been hitting the economic issue pretty hard - especially Poleo's publication. The 16% deficit and the lack of new sources of credit seam to be the crux of the crisis and the reaon for the recent double devaluations. Capriles suggested doubling wages and Maduro sort of said the same. Won't this feed directly into the deficit (public employees) and inflation? Capriles argues that he will slash foreign spending and immediately increase confidence in Venezuela for foreign and internal investment. Maduro has said nothing as you point out because their strategy has always been milking PDVSA dry. Given that Capriles has promised not to eliminate any social spending, how realistic is his plan for short term liquidity? Isn't there just massive inertia built into the system? I could see a massive public works approach working via investment in electrical grid and roads but what price will Venezuela pay to raise that money? Some say let Maduro fail miserably, but isn't this adding another 10 years of decline? Or will the financial crisis drain out the swamp of its own accord?


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