Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Is there a way out for Venezuela's crisis? A rational one I mean.

OK, so there is the situation.

A regime controlled by an army corroded deeply by corruption and narcotic activities whose sole purpose at this point is to keep alive the agonizing Cuban regime, is digging its heels into a repressive mode that is getting worse by the day and that relies increasingly on paramilitary groups to make the killings, least the army officers get finger pointed in international courts someday. They read headlines, you know. Add to this that we are going to run out of food soon.

The question is: can we find a way out without much cost?

The answer is NO. Of course. But that should not stop us from trying.

There are a few possible outcomes based on what has happened in past months.  All have some advantages but many problems, though all have a common thread: the Army in the end, narco-controlled and what not, is the one that will decide. Not Maduro, not Cuba, not Capriles, not X....   It is going to be the army at some point that will force the solution. This is a military regime and in Venezuela's political tradition it is the army that "solves" crisis. In 1945 it was the army that allowed AD to reach office. It removed it 3 years alter and allow its return in 1958. It was the army that propped up AD and COPEI through the guerrilla years and the early social unrest. It was the army that accepted that a military felon be sworn in as president. It was the army that took him out for 48 hours in 2002 and put him back. It was the army that allowed him to infiltrate the sate with Cuban agents and drug traffickers. It is up to the army, unfortunately, to find a way out of that mess. I am writing this just to remind the reader that democratic protests may not be enough to effect regime change.

We have one very simple and legal solution. It can be reached through two options: declare Maduro to be Colombian or declare that there was indeed fraud in April 2013. In each case Maduro is forced to resign and due to the novelty of the situation that is not quite contemplated in the constitution we can have a ruling for the high court, TSJ, to violate the Constitution and establish a transitional regime controlled by chavismo and the military, bypassing the mandate that there is a need for an immediate election within weeks of evacuating a presidential chair. After all, the TSJ has violated the constitution so often that this should not be a problem is there is political will.

The advantage is that it is the most "legal" way to effect the regime change, giving chavismo control of the transition, namely time to hide its stolen riches and find secure heaven before surrendering power to whomever, with a broken country as a present. A departure of Maduro could even calm down instantly the opposition in the streets. Further, since the elections of 2013 is voided then there is no need to proclaim Capriles the winner. The inconvenient is that it does not solve anything, that such transition cannot take the necessary economic measure if it wants to have an electoral winner at some point, that the corrupts will have a chance to escape justice, that Cuba may not agree and start some internal guerrilla of its own for which it has proven with the "colectivos" it has the man power for, etc...

Still, this the option with the least trauma though I can tell you that it will come with at the very least significant looting, at least a few dozen more killed, and increased crime, kidnapping and what not until eventually some order starts.  Amen of the economic distress.

Other options are kind'a far-fetched. It is indeed possible that the regime decides to truly negotiate something. But for this to be possible the regime need to 1) free all political prisoners, including Lopez, including the exiles to be allowed to return; 2) accept that it loses control of the electoral system and that new elections will be organized by neutral parties with fairer conditions; 3) loose its grip on the judiciary.  Without these three measures the opposition has ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to sit down and negotiate and those that would dare to do so will be immediately disowned by the street. In other words, you do not negotiate with a dictatorship unless the intention is to move away from the dictatorship into democracy. It is for the regime to prove itself, not the opposition. Period.

Unfortunately we are not a time where such an exit is possible. As long as the ex chavistas do not stop attending the protest marches in Altamira and instead start organizing their own food riots in Catia the regime is going to keep saying that it has support and the idiots will keep relying that info as truthful. But the time will come.

Otherwise, the only remaining option is that the marches get a sudden surge and that someone inside the regime makes a major faux-pas and then we have a revolution.  I let your imagination follow through.

We must thus be afraid that the way out of the crisis is that the regime will try to deepen repression and assume the dictatorship as the norm. It may succeed or not. It all remains in what price the army is willing to pay.  And trust me, there are plenty inside that have no qualms in footing a huge bill. The problem is that all indicates that Maduro has decided to go the repression way, because he has no political floor left, because he is an idiot and cannot come up with a better idea, because he is the son of Castro, not the one of Chavez. The question is how many are following him, the more so when bellies start going hungry even if they are devout chavista.


  1. Anonymous1:48 PM

    Declare Maduro Colombian???

    1. Venezuela is the only country in the world where we do not have the death certificate of a president and the birth certificate of the other.

    2. Venezuelan citizenship by birth does not require the child to actually be *born* in Venezuela, so the birth certificate does not say anything. He can be born in Colombia and still be Venezuelan by birth. The problem is not the birth, the problem is, is wether he actually has a second nationality...the only ones that can know that are the colombians. If the colombians have not come up with legal papers showing that he has used the colombian nationality (a passport, an identity card. etc.) I don't think there is any. So IMHO that line of politics is not fruitful.

    3. Anonymous7:52 AM

      Probably, but isn't the primary assumption that the candidate is human, with a correct chromosome count? So, OK, declare that Maduro is Guyanan, and a mutant, and so are Jaua, Cabello, etc. None can become president. Declare PSUV is an agent of Cuba, and invoke the Romulo Betancourt Thesis regarding foreign interventions. Activte Plan Cipriano, let the Gochos work it out again. I am sure they can force a conclusion and reform el ejercito.

  2. Anonymous2:39 PM

    I'm not so sure that the status quo (guarimbas, marches, civil disobedience) is so terrible for the regime that they would be willing to take the risks inherent in any of these paths.

    1. It is terrible because slowly but surely, food shortages helping, it gives bad ideas to "el pueblo".

    2. Anonymous7:54 AM

      Working on a San Cristobal airlift with SOS Venezuela...como el Berlin Airlift (ich bin ein Berliner---soy Gosho!) a lot of materiel and food being collected in the USA.

  3. Old 03112:56 PM

    I think the key to all your scenarios is "that Cuba may not agree". They will go to any limits to protect their "sugar daddy".

    1. Ahhhh.... the problems of being a colonial power..... it was easier in old times when you had a viceroy you could appoint directly......

    2. Anonymous5:53 PM

      And do what the Brits always did when there was a bit of insurrection in one of their colonies.....send a gunboat and a battalion or two of regular troops. Worked all over Africa for almost 100 years

      Caracas Canadian

  4. Yngvar3:12 PM

    The opposition needs to sit itself down and work out some policy goals for the near term. Making a list, going through every ministry, fleshing out concrete proposals; "This is what we are going to do when we take over the government". No vision statements but short and pointed plans for executive action.
    Having a program concentrate the minds and gives credibility. Credibility begets inevitability.

    1. I think when you are about to starve anytime soon those are intellectual niceties that are of little help. the time for that was in April 2013. We are in another era.

    2. Charly3:42 PM

      I am out of country right now but keep in constant contact with the family. The nephews are out in the street doing la guarimba. They do not listen to anyone, their parents, Capriles, etc. Some are turning nihilists. I am afraid the powers to be have not yet fully realized what they have unleashed. It is scary.

    3. Anonymous5:53 PM

      If your nephews are doing the guarimbas, they're a bunch of nihilist criminals who deserve everything the regime can throw at them.

      Someday soon, it's my fond hope that the cockroaches are wiped out, and then things can return to normal.

    4. Charly6:30 PM

      Anon, you sait it: "the regime", you are right, this is not a government but a regime, a military one in fact. Also, it is not clear from your text who the cockroaches are. Finally, as for peace, those doing the guarimba have only known "the regime", nothing about the 4th, they are THE new generation, as they used to say back in the 60s, also a time of renewal, "roll over Beethoven".

    5. Yngvar7:02 AM

      Well, I was thinking proposals more in the line of: "Allow use of COP & USD in domestic trade from tomorrow"; "Expel all Cubans in government within a week"; "End sale of oil with a discount, effective immediately"; "Arrest and charge any official that demands a bribe. Give us their names."; "Attack FARC ASAP"; "Increase price of gasoline to 1 Bs. F/ltr."; "Replace all judges on the TSJ at once", etc. No intellectual wanking.

      What does chavismo got? Slogans.

  5. Anonymous3:41 PM

    How about amnesty for high-level Chavista officials who leave office, stay out of politics, and tell what they know about Maduro et al?

    1. Anonymous7:57 AM

      How about send 'em to La Haga/Nuremberg? All the evidence is in La Gacetta, videos, Eva Golinger broadasts and Cabello's, Jaua's, Arreaga's, Cilia Flores' hacked email threads.

      Has anybody looked into Cilia's daughter Rosanna and her sushi restaurant Tsuki in El Doral Fl? Breathtaking corruption. And the $1.4 Mil USD mansion in Doral?

  6. It could happen.
    There also needs to be a SEBIN group in charge of taking care of these officials after they spit it all out and make it look like a regular crime.

  7. Anonymous8:19 PM

    Why,we keep thinking we have an exit path, when a country undergoes the deconstruction as Venezuela has going thru mist of the proposed options Zero themselves out

    When you combine this with the corruption mind set, conformismo and not understanding the actual situation you will Zero out the rest

    You need external factors or an actual internal changing of the guard to create the desired effect

  8. The country dissolves into chaos with various army factions fighting each other?

    1. Never, the Cubans basically own a large chunk,a very large chunk of the drug trafficking,arms smuggling and guerilla involved military. I doubt those that oppose that group are going to have much room to defend against them, since they're probably ALSO involved in those activities. They can always offer them some more privileges and that's it. We can not count on the army,OR the opposition(MUD) to act. Right now,the people protesting are a small minority,some people support them but don't protest. Some others don't really mind them,or are angry at them,but the curious thing is that nobody is defending the revolution except the GNB,paramilitary groups and the army.

      The people that are not guarimbeando are not defending the dictatorship really,at least not through activism. Things might cool down soon, but the economic catastrophe is imminent. The education sector is basically frozen,so is part of the public transportation sector as well. Shelves are emptier than ever too.

    2. Anonymous7:59 AM

      If you have a problem with chiripas, you call the exterminators.

    3. Anonymous8:11 AM

      Once there was a little bitty ant, wanted to cut down a rubber tree plant
      Everyone know that ants can't
      Cut down rubber tree plants
      But he had high hopes
      He had high hopes...get it?

    4. Anonymous8:13 AM

      Help the kids get trained
      Help them get and make appropriate "tools"
      Get food for the people
      Develop sound strategies and tactics
      Expand lines of communication
      Chip away at mediocrity and ineptitude
      The Cubans have massively poor morale
      And they are empirical materialists!
      They fear death more than any other things!

    5. Anonymous8:14 AM

      Oh, yes, and they are paranoid beyond on that, make sure they exhaust themselves chasing ghosts

  9. Anonymous8:48 PM

    If you see the Vice Presidency change towards someone that is seen as "military approved" then your theories of resignation would be very likely.

    Declaring the April 13 election null and void keeps Capriles out of the presidency unless the military want him as part of some kind of coalition setup.

    I think the most likely scenario is a resignation, a military led "transition" to cover tracks and an election in 2019.

    This of course unless some miracle happens and Maduro makes it to 2019 intact, which is not looking very probable at this juncture.

    Roberto N

  10. NM is doing a fine job - obeying the instructions he's given - or are we saying he's personally responsible for some of the crazy statements he's made recently? He's completely out of his depth. But him and his cronies are not affected by all the "inconveniences" imposed on el pueblo, you can be sure of that. He'll just tough it out and go when Cuba says so and not before. Only a mass uprising will change that - and they're clearly not hungry enough for that. Yet. While no one wants conflict, history does not support any other course of action.

  11. Most important, remove the kleptocratic element of the regime. Second, form a transitional government that agees to pursue a pragmatic agenda to restore economic health and put off ediogical differences.

  12. Anonymous4:58 AM

    These are thoughts of a dreamer. Declaring the election null and void? Maduro a Colombian?

    Not going to happen.

    1. I did not write it would happen. I just mentioned that it was an option. No dreams here, whatsoever.

    2. Anonymous8:08 AM

      Jaua looks like the first trans-genic human to me, part human, part murcielago! Declare him a mutant, Cabello part cochino, Maduro part burro, Arreaga part mole, etc..

  13. Anonymous9:21 AM

    It looks me very simple: it is enough US raise a full oil embargo. Venezuelan oils is too heavy for most refineries in the world and to get new contracts would take a very long time. In a couple of months or less the money and credits would finished. No money, no party. The regime would sit to talk even for personal surviving...

    1. Anonymous8:01 AM

      Just shut down the one refinery that processes this ultra-heavy crude for a yearfor preventive maintenance. Then cut the CANTV cable. Should pretty much fix things, but may need to call in exterminators to take care of certain chiripas such as Tupamaros, MININT and Avispa Negra rogues.

  14. Anonymous9:43 AM

    The US will never put down an actual Embargo. Yes it is nice that we have a lot of support for it from local politicians in Florida but the reality is that we have jack asses in office who are completely incapable of carrying something like this out. Their #1 priority is serving corporate america and highly unlikely that corporate america would allow any sort of embargo.

    It's completely sick if you ask me. We live in a world where we preach our ways yet we support the regimes that stand for everything we are not. How screwed up is that?

    1. The oil shipments and US dollars to Cuba are not defying the embargo to Cuba?

    2. Anonymous8:02 AM

      A nationwide boycott of CITGO/PDVSA is already underway, as is converting to electric/hybrid vehicles. We are 95% of the demand. Panama is working to block all tankers carrying PSUV oil...

    3. Anonymous8:06 AM

      The tail is wagging, the dog will follow. It ahs happened before, is happening now!

  15. Ronaldo12:39 PM

    The first step will be take the Castro brothers out of Venezuela. This may mean their "natural" deaths or Cuban revolt. Then Maduro will be without a leader and Venezuelans can make their own decisions.

    Without the Castros, I can see an attempt by the Cuban generals to maintain power but this will not last. The Cuban military in Venezuela will be quickly called back to Cuba.

    1. Anonymous8:05 AM

      how about a massive boatlift to carry back all Cuban aventuras from Latin America to el mar de alegre, as well as their collaborators? Maybe some teeming humanity, as well, innundate the Castros under a sea of humanity?

  16. Anonymous9:19 PM

    What a joke. The opposition mayors are now being threatened with legal action if they can't control the protests.

    As for the US spineless president sits and watches while Cuba sends troops to assist in repression.

  17. Auuuvienelobo10:33 PM

    Con los guarimberos, como si, les gustara destruir!

    Que hagan!

  18. Auuuvienelobo10:46 PM

    Ahora Viene el pueblo Brasileño! regímenes, no queda!

  19. Auuuvienelobo12:52 AM

    Una pila al revez

  20. Auuuvienelobo1:07 AM

    RC teVE

  21. Anonymous4:03 PM

    They say PDVSA may have to start actually IMPORTING OIL to meet contractual obligations. They are already importing gasoline from EEUU. Can anyone remember when Cuba had to start importing sugar?

    1. Yngvar5:04 PM

      Reminds me of that old Soviet joke:

      Egypt goes communist.
      2 years later they start importing sand.

    2. Anonymous8:03 AM

      There were 2 of them

  22. Yngvar5:18 PM

    By the way Daniel, is there an 'underground humor' in Venezuela? Are there widespread jokes about chavism and the trial and tribulations of everyday life?


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