Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Venezuela's Dog Days of August, as in barking

This summer has been nothing of the quiet vacation time, the regime pushing up its attacks while the country is supposedly anesthetized by the summer break. Well, it is always summer here, let's call it the school break. And yet for all its effort the regime is not reaching its goals. Not that the opposition is reaching theirs, mind you. What is at work here is the relentless crisis that seems to be reshuffling the deck constantly. Thus maybe it is time to do a short summary at where we stand at.

The regime

No more pussy footing here. The regime has barked the dictatorship in that it has announced its intention to demolish the opposition. For this, fake charges are being processed against the opposition leadership, media is bought out, left without printing paper, blackmailed. Assassination attempts are made up on a monthly basis. The regime will do anything it can strong-hand to diminish the adverse result coming its way in December, the last elections that will be held with a semblance of democracy in that the opposition should improve slightly its current holdings. That the opposition will improve its holdings is not of concern for the regime: enforcing of the Communes Law will neuter fast any town-hall lost. What the regime needs is to minimize the opposition gains to avoid to avoid further loss of legitimacy in public opinion, here or abroad. Nobody takes the Maduro regime seriously. All know the electoral fraud of last April and all are actually waiting for a major defeat in December to become more vocal about it.  Even the allied rogues are not as supportive as one may think they should.

Inside chavismo things are far from settled. Maduro seems more in place, but not on his own merits. In fact, his personal image is getting worse as it is painfully apparent that he is there because Chavez said so, not out of any merit he may have earned, besides his talents for sycophancy. Let's make it simple: the guy is clearly woefully unprepared for his job. Neither was Chavez but at least he had a sick charisma and a clear personal goal to direct his actions. Maduro seems lost at sea, being mean not enough to give sense to an administration. The impression of him being more in charge than two months ago seems to come more from chavismo rallying around him for electoral purposes, thus postponing the final settlement for next year.

Do not be fooled: chavismo troubles are far from being settled. That the candidates for mayor were appointed rather than selected through primaries proves beyond a doubt that chavismo is afraid of internal democracy as it is afraid of external one. Thus Cabello, for the time being, rallied to Maduro to the point of figuring both in the latest fake assassination target. One may suppose that equality in ridicule is a positive value inside chavismo.

The democrats

The big help for the opposition is the economic crisis that shows no sign of abating. No matter what the regime plans, they exhausted their funds for last October to reelect Chavez and barely had enough to ensure Maduro win in April, with the help of a few dead and multiple voters. The economic mess insure that no matter how much money they throw in the streets, basic food and power shortages will not be solved by December. And may actually get worse!  After all the currency keeps diving: the black market rate is 38 for a dollar today while the official is 6,3, and the SICAD is around 11 though the regime does nto give much through SICAD.  Think about it for a second: in 1999 when Chavez took office the dollar was around 0.5, and now at 30+ it means a >60 fold loss!!!!!  At some point it was meant to hit the regime even with an oil barrel at 100+.

There is trouble inside the democrats too, but compared to trouble inside chavismo, they are doing great. True, there has been a few money induced desertions but all in all the opposition is holding its ground and some of the dissident may still find the way back to the fold. and for those that do not find their way back, the electoral disaster awaiting them will have at least the benefit of purging the opposition of a certain number of moles and saboteurs. The real problems are elsewhere.

There still those idiot enough to preach abstention without offering anything in exchange. Truly, they would be working for chavismo they could not be more efficient. Short of marching together to burn down the CNE and Miraflores the only option is to participate actively in December AND man all the polling stations to minimize as much as possible multiple voting and the zombie vote. I do not see these voices do either one.  Fortunately it seems that the movement is starting to ebb as reality hits.

Another problem is coming from a few who decided now to criticize Capriles as the leader of the opposition. As if we had chance to pull one out of the hat to direct the campaign for next December... Certainly I never supported Capriles, only rallying him as the consensus leader. His 50% in April certainly give him the right to hold the helm until at least December 9. But some people seem to want faster exits to our crisis, or more intellectually pleasing ones such as this embarrassing tone deaf entry which proves that when you live for too long outside Venezuela......

Unfortunately the true problem is the loss of Globovision, the last network where albeit its limited national coverage the opposition could still make its points known. The new campaign is now run with a total governmental air waves hegemony where only snippets of the opposition campaign may be seen occasionally. The opposition is now forced to walk the walk and reply on Facebook and Twitter and web pages. We'll see how truly connected the country is.

September is coming. Now you have the scene as it is, before possible momentous changes start.  We'll see.


  1. Ditto your comments about Capriles

  2. Anonymous4:37 AM

    Hi Daniel,

    'which proves that when you live for too long outside Venezuela......' I think that your assessment of this post is completely accurate.

    Can you please help clarify something for me about the English language blogs, which ones are actually written by people in Venezuela or are you the only one?

    Maybe you could post an overview of the blogs like the one you did about the media?

    As someone from Britain, living in Puerto Ordaz since January, I would appreciate this clarification as I try to truly understand the mystery that is Venezuela.



    1. In English I think that today I am the lone blog 100% written in Venezuela (except for when I am travelling, of course). Other blogs are more or less written from Venezuela. Some not anymore. But I am not the one to write on these details. I do not think that a 100% presence is a must to write a reliable and good blog on Venezuela. But those that visit once a year or have nothing at stake here should be extra careful when they write on certain topics.

  3. "All know the electoral fraud of last April and all are actually waiting for a major defeat in December to become more vocal about it"

    What do you think can happen as a result of a more vocal protest after the next elections?


  4. margareth2:00 PM

    This is soooo good. Sorry the song is in spanish.

  5. Anonymous4:13 PM

    Either losing or gaining share in the election of December could actually be a win-win for Chavismo, by claiming that there is in fact a well functioning democracy in Venezuela.

    If indeed they lose they will propagandize that the results will be respected and at the same time make the point that the opposition should get over the claims of illegitimacy of Maduro as the regime respects any electoral outcome. If they win again, they will play it as confirmation of the presidential election. And the international MSM will probably buy it.

    In either case, they will then neutralize the oppo winners through governing by Communes (as you stated) as well as by silently defunding them.

    Friends living in Venezuela tell me that booze has become unaffordable, so no more weekend bonche for many. Now, if true, THAT could become a real problem for Chavismo!


    1. Island Canuck8:28 PM

      A bottle of Finlandia vodka which cost Bs.119 in early May, cost Bs.220 in early August & today was Bs.290 in 3 different stores.

      Ron Cacique, the mainstay of the pueblo, was Bs.95 today in the supermarket.
      It was around Bs.40 early this year & is NOT imported.

      Returnable bottles of beer has risen to Bs.260 a case here.

      Keep in mind the daily wage of most is just Bs.100 per day.

    2. Island Canuck7:04 AM

      Just to clarify - the case of beer is Bs.160 - not Bs.260.

      Sorry, I must have been sampling the product when I wrote that. :-)

  6. Anonymous4:25 AM

    Even worse, 1 Big Mac combo (110 bs) is more expensive that one day of minimum salary


  7. Anonymous3:23 AM

    I bought a Yoga mat at Becko in June 2012 for 100BsF, I looked at it yesterday for 649BsF. Better take care of my stuff...

  8. Masbruto Maduro is just an ignorant clown. Another thief in Venezuela's Ali Baba cave. Which shows the pervasive lack of education in our country. In other better educated countries, he would have never been in power or lasted a week.

  9. Anonymous7:29 PM

    A friend who has a brake repair shop said that disk pads that were priced at 1000 bsf in July (their cost) now are being offered by supplier at 2400 bsf in August ...



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