Sunday, April 13, 2014

How much "save Castro!" is part of the agenda about Venezuela?

I have written on and off about how vital Venezuela has become for the survival of the Castro brothers, and maybe their system. In the latest mention of this I was listing LatAm countries whose leaders cannot bear the fall of the Cuban regime as it would be a blow of their raison d'être.  I need to come back on this with more emphasis after the words of Brazil's ex president Lula calling upon Maduro to create a "coalition" government to bring Venezuela out of its current crisis (in English here).

Let's start with the apparent sensible aspect of these words. In a normal country majorities are negotiated. Lula himself never had an absolute majority and has had parliament associates that he must take into account for setting the priorities of his administration.  For all of Lula defaults, and he has many, he ruled as an apparent democrat. Or was at the very least forced to do so and play the game according to the rules. Even in countries where electoral systems favor a dual party system, coalitions do exist. The US is a big example when you consider that neither the GOP or the DEM are monolithic parties, but a coalition of interests agreeing on some basic points.

Thus Lula advice could seem sensible considering the deep crisis that Venezuela suffers. Unfortunately for him the PSUV, the regime's official party was created with the firm intention to fuse together all the original parties that supported Chavez. That it failed to do so has not modified the Leninist bent of the PSUV and for them it is simply impossible to conceive a coalition. Their everyday practice, from town-halls to Miraflores Palace restate everyday that commitment to establish in Venezuela a one party system. For chavismo negotiations are at best punctual, within a strategy of gaining time while the final blow is readied. See the examples of 2002, 2003, 2004.

Also, Lula cannot fail to know that given the current situation of Venezuela, the opposition is unable and unwilling to enter into such a coalition whose sole purpose would be to spread to them the blame of 15 years of mismanagement.  Even the soft belly of the opposition would agree upon such as scheme if the regime were to part with substantial amounts of of its power. The Venezuelan opposition is a democrat one and thus expect what democrats expect everywhere: in a political deal all sides get something.

So, was Lula daydreaming when he offered such as DoA proposal?


There are two options here, and they are not mutually exclusive.

Lula in fact sent a message to Maduro telling him that inside the frame of MERCOSUR his economic plans were nonviable and would lead to disaster, not only for Venezuela. So, either Maduro changes his policies or else. And if he does not know how to change them he should do a "coalition" government which may just mean the inclusion of some technocrats that would be allowed to work without major political pressure. Here, what matters the most, is that Venezuela finds a way to pay its debt towards Brazil. Since 2002 we know that Lula has cared shit about Human Rights in Venezuela and the rule of law.

But I prefer the second option. For all of these Castro lovers (Lula, Bachelet, Kirchner, Correa, and even Peña Nieto!) the failure of Venezuela would imply the collapse of Castroist Cuba. At this point in history all of these political careers have been built to a certain extent on the directions from Havana to their followers support election of leftist pseudo democratic governments as a temporary political option, once the Cold War was over.

Lula is the poster boy case of such policies. Elected president of Brazil he became the economical lamb making sure Brazil remain politically stable and kept growing. But surely if slowly he started introducing his people in all echelons of Brazilian bureaucracy for future protection, with his capping coup, the election of his designated successor. Meanwhile, wherever it was less crucial, Lula revealed his true self, promoting extremes such as the Foro de Sao Paulo or Chavez in Venezuela.

You can easily imagine that the fall of Maduro would be a hard blow to a decades long strategy of infiltration all across Latin America. An infiltration advanced enough that it has been able to neutralize presidents like Santos in Colombia or Piñera in Chile. Only Uribe in the last two decades (with a few burps from Peru's pre Humala presidency) has dared confront that angelical left mind set.

For Lula himself, who espoused Brazilian imperialism as a convenient tool to advance his continental political agenda, the blow would be particularly damaging and painful. Hence his efforts to preserve chavismo even under a coalition. If the student led movement were to win in Venezuela,  the mental change of the country would be profound and would include the outright and definitive rejection of the Castro agenda and of a half century at vain attempts at lowering the US.  The fall of Maduro may just be enough to give new wings to the Brazilian discontent to also push aside Lula and Roussef. The victory of the Venezuelan students could see the onrush of a new ideological free thinking including a decided control over politicians in all of Latin America. And that, from right to left, is a No-No


PS: Maduro of course poo-pooed Lula. He claims that he already presides over a coalition that includes "diversely sexualized" folks. Besides showing that he is truly an idiot, if Maduro were indeed supportive of sexual minorities he would have approved gay marriage which would greatly simplify my life in these hours of tragedy.


  1. Daniel,

    I think that at this point, the calculation of most of the realists is simply how long can they continue to milk Venezuela of money until the government collapses. Cuba is already preparing itself for the end of the Venezuelan subsidies and just wants to buy itself more time.

  2. Anonymous9:14 AM

    Am not so sure Cuba is just buying time to leave for another patron. They could be finding a way to formalize/legitimize their occupation of Venezuela. Not sure how , but where can they find a replacement for what they get now? It would not be far fetched for Maduro to actually create a formal union, a real Cubazuela. The Castros have laid the ground work for this to happen, Chavez and the PSUV have been giving away the store for years. A pliable coalition government could legitimize such a move. Controlling Venezuela allows the Castros to stay in power, they will not let that go so easily..

    1. Cuba has been slowly implementing free-market reforms (ironic, no?) that they hope will allow Cuba to survive economically while leaving the Castro-Military regime in power. They are pursuing the model that China employed successfully to liberalize the economy, while maintaining a small elite group in power politically. However these reforms need more time to take hold and function before Cuba can cast off its oil subsidy. If they lose that now, they may lose everything.

      Formalize Cubazuela? Wow! Now that would be a recipe for civil war. I don't see that happening.

  3. The great danger that I fear is that the great fall of the regime doesn't end there, but it goes underground only to sabotage whatever government takes over.

  4. "The victory of the Venezuelan students could see the onrush of a new ideological free thinking including a decided control over politicians in all of Latin America..."

    ... and Venezuela's potential default on debt repayments to Brazil...

    I prefer to bank on following the money.

  5. And the repression did not rest after a "meeting" or "counseling" from others. There is no way to put a positive spin on any of this.

  6. There is NO WAY the Venezuelan students can be allowed to win.

  7. Not entirely on topic,
    But interesting nevertheless.


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