I am having a hard time to return to regular blogging. One of the reasons is what to write about. Certainly themes are abundant but the big problem here is what for? Do I have at this time still to write over and over about why chavismo is bad? That ship has sailed, all know about that, they just have decided to put up with it for a variety of reasons. Thus, as some still do in other blogs, covering the day to day events in Venezuela as if we were just a quirky country is in my view a waste of time.
I suppose having come out long ago that this regime had become a dictatorship in 2010 when the will of the people was mocked at the last parliamentary elections has its advantages. First, clarity. No need to pretend, no need to make excuses for either the regime or the opposition occasional ill advised choices. That the regime veered into a neo-fascist ersatz as Chavez got sick and died is simply a logical continuation. Thus now there is really the need only to write about what illustrates the fascist nature of the regime: the rest is merely material anecdotes, far away of what truly matters, at least for me.
Having painted myself in that corner, and enjoying it in a perverse fashion, there is still the need to deal with the writing bug inside. Away from regular blogging for almost two months, starting to recover from minor ailments, it is time to go back and decide what to do from now on with the blog. I will, for example, change the format for a simpler, to the core format. So this is probably one of the last times you will see the background that has been so distinctive of this blog to the point that I was not able to change it... But times have changed, now it is a resistance against a neo fascist narco state and boxes, and colors, and stuff are not appropriate anymore to the gravity of the situation.
Thus, before entering in earnest in a new phase of this blog let's have an entry as brief as possible trying to make sense a little bit on where is the country at today.
First, the premises that existed two months ago are still there. The post Chavez regime is a difficult coalition between radicals, corrupt bureaucrats, narco trafficking military and the like, to which we learned recently that even the Russian mafia is involved more and more. Fascist regimes are always led by what are nothing more than mobsters, so there is no surprise at the turn things have taken since Chavez left the scene: at least Chavez was egotistic enough and thought himself enough of a leftist to hide his corruption under a leftist ideology. The thin varnish has peeled.
The opposition is aware of this, that in front of them they have killers. That accounts for a lot in its inability to offer a true challenge to the electoral fraud of last April. The whole country now thinks there has been a fraud. The difference is that many approve of it. A mafia never gives up power in a good way, unless there is no way it can hold to it anymore, and still, they tend to grasp until the last minute. Capriles may have gotten as much as 55% last April but that is not enough. Between those who really not care, and those who for the first time switched, there is too large a chunk of people that voted for him but are certainly not yet ready to expose their life to have him become president. The MUD and Capriles know that: there are more people willing to kill them than to defend them. The time for violence has not come yet. Not that fascist regimes are overturned through internal violence at any rate: they are either ousted from outside or they collapse. Such an eventual collapse may be what the opposition has opted for which leaves poor Capriles left out to dry.
The question becomes thus how fast the regime is collapsing. I think it is, but I am also afraid that it may take longer than what the opposition hopes, no matter what dire economic disaster is lurking for the next months. One thing is certain, it is that the succession wars are far from over and that everyday the radicals seem to score a point while the military bolibourgeois corrupted wing also scores one. Maduro, in the middle, looks more and more helpless. Such as spectacle distracts the masses from everyday concerns and helps the regime to survive longer than it should.
The radicals seem able to stop any economic change. They remain truly oblivious of the catastrophic consequences of their policies. Since last December the regime has been postponing any real economic decision, satisfying itself with a devaluation that was not enough, that was not accompanied with measure to avoid further degradation. As such inflation reached 6% last May and there is speculation that June may bring us 8%. The only response to this is to bring back one of the worst radicals in the regime, one that had been disgraced by Chavez himself. Thus Eduardo Saman is back at the agency that controls prices, proving that in front of the price debacle the only thing the regime can think of is yet more controls, putting the blame anywhere else but their obviously failed policies of the last decade. Giving a new meaning to slow learner, I suppose.
On the other hand, the more pragmatic wing, the one that wonders if the country will be able to import enough food to feed its base in a not so distant future keeps trying to engage the private sector. Many of my clients have been called to "mesas de trabajo" where supposedly they were to expose what they need to produce more and the regime would try to oblige. My clients report all the same, no matter where they attend: the regime is simply unable to understand the mess they are in, are unable to connect the dots as to why production keeps sinking and are trying desperately to find other solutions than the obvious ones: spending control, real devaluation accompanied with easier access to foreign currency through dual change if necessary, more flexibility in the labor market. In all fairness it is not that they cannot understand the reasons why productivity is so low, it is more that they are unable to make a U-turn. Deers in headlights.
And thus it all comes back to the internal power struggle where Diosdado Cabello looks more like the Schrodinger cat than anything else. His recent visit to Cuba, picture with Fidel included, something he had avoided during the Chavez tenure, is interpreted on all extremes: Fidel wants to negotiate with him, or Fidel wants to silence him personally. There is no way to know for sure whether Cabello is winning, though I tend to think he is slowly edging Maduro out, or at least forcing him to follow his lead.
It is under this struggle for power and the need to gain a desperate legitimacy that we must understand moments like the release of judge Afiuni. Or why Maduro, a Sai Baba follower and commie atheist is so keen on meeting with Pope Francis before the opposition does.
So there we are. Keep expecting irregular postings but be assured that I will be there when it is important.