Friday, April 12, 2013

Sunday's results, an exercise in immateriality

Of course, one must try to evaluate what may happen next Sunday. I, for one, am nonplussed. I still stick to my "47% Venezuelan style" theory and think that we are a lousy people and that we will vote conservative, namely for Maduro. Yes, Maduro is the conservative vote, the one that wants nothing to change, the one that wants to keep receiving stuff for free from the state even if it means accepting precariousness and blackmail as a way of life. In that 47%  many consider Maduro a beast, a Cuban mole, but as long as I hold in my hand the little piece of paper where I was promised a home for free I will vote for him anyway, or for anyone there for that matter.

The country sees the private sector in ruin, and yet the bulk fails to associate this with the state policies, fail to understand that if there is no jobs for them it is because of  the 14 years of disastrous economic policies which meant the slow and deliberate reduction of the private sector as the only group possessing free will, the real danger for any regime with a totalitarian bent.  So they know that the only food they will get is from the government. The paradox here is that they have internalized this and blame their dependency from the government, because they are not happy about the crumbs they receive, on any one but the government and themselves. This goes beyond the Stockholm syndrome, chavismo charts new roads for psychiatry.

Yes, of course, there is all of that self esteem that the brown classes have won against the self sufficiency of the white social elite. Was I cliché enough? Should I lay it thicker? Does it matter that my pictures of last Sunday in Caracas were eloquent as to racial mix that marched for Capriles?  after 14 years, from the Carter Center to too many in the world press are only too happy to wallow in those images.  But let's face it: any achievement on this respect one could credit chavismo was gained in the very first years of his regime.  If by 2004 your regained self esteem was the only motor to keep voting for Chavez then your problems went beyond self-esteem.  Now you are oppressed but at least you are oppressed by brown skinned thugs against which the regime does not dare act. Those thugs maybe those down your street or the uniformed ones at check points, they are one and the same.  I suppose in a way choosing your oppressor can be called progress.

When a country has fallen so low, when social-hatred-pass-the-buck is now the accepted state policy, what can we really expect? Can Capriles change anything?

I certainly hope Capriles wins and I certainly hope that he can change things, but going to vote next Sunday with any illusion beyond the "it will at least not get worse" is a folly. We need to go and vote for Capriles but with the clear understanding that whoever wins very difficult years lay ahead of us.

A Maduro victory will mean that tensions within chavismo among those who want a further march toward the totalitarian state and those who want to enjoy their larcenies will reach a breaking point and thus create a real risk for civil war.  It will mean that the chavista followers will increase their demands at a point where the state cannot even pretend to fulfill them anymore. Thus the only way to satisfy them will be to throw to the dogs what is left of the private sector, of individual property.  And that is why the civil war will be started from inside chavismo, when the radicals decide to have it with the corrupt.

A Capriles victory will mean that chavismo will unite to sabotage him. True, maybe, just maybe, some will "defect" to his side but I can assure you that starting Monday April 15 people like Arreaza and Jaua and Rodriguez and Ramirez will start planning a Caracazo 2. That they succeed is another matter, but their preparations certainly will be a major thorn in the social fabric of Venezuela. A Capriles victory will also demand, literally, a lean military and the corrupt generals, fat on corruption and narco traffic are not going to like that. And I mention these two sectors only because I could go on the many groups that have become parasites and are not going to take it lightly to be cut off.

So, when you vote next Sunday, fret not. The result in a way is immaterial. We are screwed. Monday 15 is when we start paying for all the mess Chavez left us, whoever wins.


  1. Milonga4:18 PM

    Se correr o bicho pega, se ficar o bicho come. That's a Brazilian saying meaning damned if one does and damned if one doesn't, but the image of a fierce animal catching you if you run or eating you if you stay quiet is more clear to define your point. Which was a shower of very cold water pouring over us. I'm going to have a drink, or two.

  2. Anonymous4:59 PM

    With Capriles, it will be tough but he seems to have accepted the challenge head on. If the majority of Venezuela votes to support him sunday, that majority is also voting to support the changes that are needed and the ones Capriles will attempt to make. That is a step in the right direction.

    With maduro, it is clear that his path will only allow chavez to continue to drag down venezuela from the grave. Not once has he shown even a hint of a thought of his own that wasn't moronic. This ignorance will result in not one but two steps backwards for Venezuela, only speeding up the death spiral. I understand the defiance of the corrupt minority in control that will do anything to prevent losing control, but I can't understand the masses who support chavez and now maduro who have nothing to lose, and still vote to continue rather than try a different path. I have tried to understand this cult mentality, but I can't.

    Capriles did touch on the housing during the Globovision interview when he was asked the question, and his response was that if you were on a list for a house and met the criteria for a house, that you would get a house when built. He only stated that this list and others would be made transparent, which is the way that it should be. He didn't say anything about ownership, which may help to change a lot of peoples minds and earn votes if offered title versus lease. This housing list of over 3 million applicants was instrumental in winning votes for chavez, and could have been exploited more by Capriles. I hope they get the message that they will not lose a chance for a house if they vote for Capriles.


    1. Charly5:38 PM

      I listened to Capriles when he talked about housing during one of his public pep talks to the crowd. He specifically mentioned that those who would get housing would also walk away with a property title, no hanky panky with the State still being the owner, I remember that clearly. However, whether or not his message will trickle down to the interested parties is another matter.

  3. Charly5:27 PM

    "people like Arreaza and Jaua and Rodriguez and Ramirez will start planning a Caracazo 2". Maybe, if they have not run before like several of them did in April 2002. If not, this will signal the start of a civil war.If so just like a surgeon has to be radical with a cancer, Capriles would have to be as well. He has a perfect excuse, these guys sold out to a foreign power. Accused of high treason they likely would start plotting a Caracazo from Switzerland.

  4. Daniel, that was a damn good post. Saludos to you all from another puertorriqueño that loves Venezuela, dearly.

  5. Humberto8:10 PM

    Priceless: " Monday 15 is when we start paying for all the mess Chavez left us, whoever wins"

  6. Anonymous8:14 PM

    The question I have is whether Capriles will have to make deals with top generals or even high level Chavista in the current government?

    This might be the only viable option. Agree in return for not prosecuting, they will leave office, remain quiet, and be able to keep their pension and most assets.

    It is a moot question until Capriles wins.

  7. Dr. Faustus8:59 PM

    Were Henrique Capriles to lose on Sunday, an unlikely event I know (sorry, I'm still allowed to be an optimist), it will be because Venezuela has not yet hit rock bottom. The economic insanity that is/was Chavismo has not run its course. They've built a massive house of cards with storm winds still a few months away. Inflation hasn't hit 50%, ... yet. The Mercal store shelves still have some small quantity items for sale. The city morgues, though packed, haven't resorted to 13th century black plague pits,....yet. The economy is on autopilot, with the fuel gauge needle already pointing to the red. It is only when ones' back is to the wall do human beings see the 'real' world around them, and then suddenly become rational. The Venezuelan population might not be there yet. Hitting rock bottom, however, implies violence. People fighting one another for their very existence. It's a stage of human survival. It is the Venezuelan Zeitgeist hanging over this latest election. Rock bottom. One only hopes that it will never come to that.

  8. "When a country has fallen so low, when social-hatred-pass-the-buck is now the accepted state policy, what can we really expect? Can Capriles change anything?" Daniel, this was very well said. It is amazing to me just how low this entire planet has fallen with this kind of attitude. My fear is that the only real change that can take place is when everything comes crashing down and people finally wake up and realize that the state cannot save them. Keep fighting the good fight, Daniel.

  9. Milonga11:36 PM

    Good night and good luck!

  10. Sad, but my feelings exactly. Whoever wins it will not be pretty. That is the legacy of Chavez.

  11. Anonymous8:47 AM

    It's a pleasure to see that the relatively sane elements of the Venezuelan right are severely depressed and that delusional belief in a likely bourgeois election victory is confined to those most clearly out of touch with reality in all respects.

    It's also interesting that there is not yet any trace of a viable political alternative to Venezuelan socialism to be found anywhere on the right, which still confines itself to whining, snivelling, fatuously reciting its dogmas and smugly sneering at the popular masses. That ideological sterility promises many more years of political irrelevance to come for the Venezuelan bourgeoisie and its hangers on.

    Enjoy your election folks! Isn't democracy grand?

  12. Dr. Faustus10:30 AM

    To the anonymous poster above

    In the coming months and years as Venezuela collapses into chaos and bloodshed I could only wish that your personal life is filled with the same pain and suffering. Your dogmatic insanity helped create and support this nightmare in Venezuela. One can only wish that you experience its horrific consequences as well.

    1. Faustus

      I wish you had not replied to the creep above. Odds that he is the same solitary chavista that haunts all blogs comment bombing and running away never addressing any issue are 99%. He also suffers of massive personality disorder as his absolute lack of integrity bars him from sticking to a single handle and take responsibility for his words.

      Since it has been years that no new chavistas have attempted visits I have no qualms in erasing his messages since he is more of a deranged mind than any semi serious discussion seeking to characters. Other chavistas with brighter lights have been able to learn that here the cannot ever win an argument. Thus they prefer not to visit here and insult me elsewhere where they ego gets less bruises.

      But I have to admit that the wording of your reply is as good a choice of words that this creep will ever be able to understand. Assuming of course he gets back to read which I doubt, all idiot fanatics always eschewing confrontation where the other side can reply. So I am letting both stand, but please, next time, give me a chance to erase it first. His style is so repetitive that no matter what handle he takes we can always recognize him.

  13. As I've said many times, to me it's quite simple:

    -Pathetic lack of education, everywhere, including the 'government"
    - Corruption, thieves, thugs, stealing money.
    - The Elite left the country a long time ago, except for a few, because we were afraif being killed for a pair of shoes.So what's left ain't much to write home about.

    - The Chavista Maduro Gang will cheat. Again. Sadly, this brave Capriles guy stands no chance.

  14. Milonga12:56 PM

    I found this article interesting: Do the math! Like Nate Silver-style.
    Translating: she sees two scenarios, and both shed a very close result to either candidate, that will but to the test the mood (talante) of the Venezuelan society and its governability.
    Let`s hope and pray for the second scenario...
    Dr. Faustus - you're my hero!

  15. Milonga1:27 PM

    Have you read this wonderful piece of sh... in today's Guardian? Comments are even more hilarious! It´s so easy to love socialism from the confort of British isles. Come on!

  16. kernel_panic3:24 PM

    More math here :p

    I was looking at previous election results, trying to see if there was a "baseline" number for each camp, and trends among the years, and stuff... Ill explain that later, so first, here are the numbers. Please note that those are approx numbers:


    From the above table, excluding the elections in which chavez was on the ballot (2009 and 2012pre), the baseline would be around 6 million votes, actually, if you compare 2010 vs 2012 regionals, let's say that the simpathy vote was included, it was basically 2010 all over again. Those elections were not crucial to chavismo, because El Supremo, and more importantly, his way to run things (which is what el pueblo is actually voting) were not at stake. From all these, we can conclude that the hard-core chavista vote is actually LESS than 5.5 million votes.

    On 2009 chavez was directly at stake, because if he lost the referendum, he wouldnt have been able to get reelected on 2012, so El Pueblo had to vote in order to save the Beloved Leader, there was motivation from them to do so. Let's say that for 2012, the best scenario for chavez, assuming a constant total number of voters, would be 6,3 million. What's interesting is that by 2012, and compared to the previous election in 2010, the REP (total number of voters) grew by 2 million, the oppo vote grew by one million, and the chavista vote grew 2 million considering the 6,3 million number. This points several issues:
    a) part of the extra oppo 1M came from previous abstention: if you never voted for chavez, why would you suddenly go vote for him? however, if you never voted oppo because "it didnt convince you", this was the oportunity to do just that
    b) part of the extra oppo 1M came from the newly registered voters.
    c) the most important of all: from the extra 2M of the govt, part came from the new voters, and the other part were forced voters. As I said in a), if you never voted chavez, why would you suddenly?

    The following table lists how the new voters split between gov and oppo


    To analyze the reach of the operacion remolque for forced voting, we must consider the previous table:
    - If the oppo didnt get a single new vote from previous abstention, and grew by 1M, then, the operacion remolque had a reach of 1M
    - Since registration was hindered and completely partial to the govt, the most logic assumption is that most of the new voters were pro govt. Considering the range between 80-60% pro govt new voters, operacion remolque could have moved about 0,6 million voters.
    - The total number of chavista voters, without forcing, ranges from 7.2-7.6 million.
    - The total number of hardcore chavista voters is between 6.2-6.6 million, because thats the number of chavistas that keep voting on whatever election comes up, the rest voting only if chavez is in the ballot.

    In conclusion: the possible best for maduro is:

    If we consider how maduro has fallen from grace within the chavista universe, since the demise of chavez, we can safely say that this fall is about (at least) 5% of the chavista electorate, so the most probable number of votes for maduro is 6.5 -- 7.2.

    Now, share your thoughts on this, please :)


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