Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Now what? Venezuela on static noise

I have convinced myself that all political players still out there have decided to wait and see what happens though its own gravitational pull. Maduro has decided that the solution to all the regime failed control system is yet more controls. Capriles goes to the beach and gives us a set of vulgar to pictures from Playa Parguito which in Venezuelan slang is much fodder for chavista homophobia. Meanwhile, even though the regime hides official statistics such as inflation and scarcity index, it cannot be hidden that the country has more than likely entered into a recession.

Even though Ramirez has been evicted/promoted, the regime is strictly unable to take any significant economical measure. Not even to increase the price of gas, a measure that may not be able to help much in the foreign currency balance of the country but that would raise at least some local currency cash to pay the regime's local obligations. In fact it is quite possible that the gas price increase has become such a big bugaboo for the regime that this one has simply paralyzed on any reform, or so Maxim Ross thinks in an interview in La Razon.

Besides proposing to sell Citgo as the only way to get quick cash, the regime is bereft of any idea. The reasons remain the same. No faction has managed to get the upper hand. The military still hold the main levers, control the country and as long as public opinion does not finally start to blame them they see no reason to intervene. Thus no side is going to tempt seriously to make a move least it fails and is trashed by the other sides. Besides, the truism that I keep repeating remains ever true: the regime is so corrupt, has stolen so much money, has opened itself up to such delinquent activities that the folks in place cannot release power on any account least they risk going to jail. As long as they can keep looting they see no reason to effect changes for more economical rationality.

For the opposition things are getting from bad to worse. After having divided over La Salida the Capriles/PJ/AD side is hurriedly trying to bury once and for all the embers of past months actors. Lopez seems quite forgotten in jail, Maria Corina Machado is rather subdued by her usual standards and if it were not for Ledezma you would not hear a strong word these days. Not only pseudo intellectuals like C.R. Hernandez are trying to  pin on La Salida actors all the evils that the opposition suffers today but even people like Fausto Maso that should know better are chiming in. In short, the opposition is as bereft of ideas as the regime is. Thus it has decided to once again to tell us to go to vote in December 2015, that this time around we are going to win, that the regime will have to accept the result, that then and only then we will be able to change the corrupt institutions, etc...

As if the corrupt intuitions about to be changed were going to sit down though the next 12 months without saying peep squeak. Maybe that is why Capriles shows his physique for lack of having anything else to show?

The problem is that the opposition seems to believe that the economic crisis will be solved gently though an election, that people and business will patiently postpone bankruptcy waiting for Capriles to come to the rescue. And thus these people have no qualms in attacking the proponents of La Salida, calling it a huge fiasco. Was it?

If we judge La Salida as an attempt at creating a political crisis that would force the exit of Maduro, certainly it failed. The political crisis was not national, many states remained quietly standing in line for food rather than protesting these lines. As far as the military was concerned there was no political crisis since even in the heat of February and March the army was never seriously questioned while the Nazional Guard and Maduro kept receiving the brunt of criticism. If La Salida had a true failure was to be unable or to refuse to try to scratch the Teflon on the military, expecting who knows what miracle from a corps which is rotten to the core.

But on the other hand I think La Salida was a huge success. For one it is not possible to call Maduro's regime a democracy anymore (assuming that a case could be made otherwise). Those who do so do it for personal interests. Or they are showing that they are not democrats, or at the very least that they do not understand how a democracy should work.

And herein the weakness of the opposition Capriles side. After past failures of that side, their willingness to condemn those that have at least tried something, even if due to personal political ambitions, brings upon them scorn and ridicule. As such Capriles is not adding anymore ridicule on him by posing on the beaches of El Parguito. Too many of us have lost any faith, have discarded any credibility we had on people like Capriles, Ramos Allup, Borges, Falcon, etc.. As far as I am concerned the 2015 vote is already lost because even if chavismo were to accept to go to a vote it may lose, even if chavismo accepts that loss once it happens, the divided opposition will offer enough opportunists inside that Capriles et al. camp that chavismo will be able to piece together something to retain the essential levers of power, or at least to go unpunished, loot in hand.  Some may say that this would be cheaper than a civil war. Today I am afraid that my reply would be that such an accommodation at best merely would postpone the civil war.

And thus we are entered a political situation where static noise will dominate, no side being able to impose a true agenda. I mean "are entered", because the stalemate of today could not have been previewed nor effected three months ago. Somehow we landed here, not on anyone's intention.

PS: on a totally unrelated matter, but illustrative on the lassitude of our mood. This week end the S.O. finally accepted to watch "The Sound of Music" with me. Of course, I have watched it too many times to count, I can almost do all the sing along and I even took the movie tour in Salzburg. The S.O. was not impressed though he at least admitted to understand why the movie could be iconic for some.

So there you have it, when an old movie screening becomes the most memorable intellectual moment of the week, you know you are in trouble.


  1. Charly7:23 AM

    Very fine analysis of the situation. Another way to express it is with one's feet, filling all the forms "para irnos p'al coño" and leaving this mess of a country or rather shadow of a country behind. I really feel sorry for those who cannot do it. As for Venezuela, unlike Paris, not worth a mass.

  2. Anonymous8:27 AM

    “La salida” was a fiasco because it did not have the support of the majority, otherwise Maduro would be gone.
    And its fiasco was a good thing: the opposition would not have been able to solve the problems soon enough to avoid a social explosion incited by chavismo; this failed explosion would have sunk Venezuela in the dark ages for half a century: chavismo back in power with fury.
    What is the only possible approach? The building of consensus between the opposition and the disillusioned chavistas. And that consensus is what Capriles is helping to build.

    1. Of course anonymous. And it is working just like a charm, opposition crowds are ecstatic waiting for the promised land maybe someday after December 2015 when there will be nothing left. I can sense the energy, the will to participate in these elections. And I have lost count of the number of chavistas that kiss the ground where Capriles walked. Capriles and Ramos Allup! Our saviors!

    2. Anonymous9:25 AM

      Sarcasm does not help! Despair leads to resignation or exile!
      You could go to Ramo Verde and demand the freedom of Leopoldo and decide to stay there until he is freed! You get 100,000 Venezuelans to accompany you committed to stay there with you no matter what until Leopoldo is freed and it will happen after a time! By the way, this is no sarcasm, you could do it. See it?

    3. I would be more inclined to pursue this discussion if you had at least the courtesy to sign otherwise than anonymous. There is only one thing more annoying than a caprilista anonymous: a chavista anonymous.

    4. Anonymous8:39 PM

      My name is Juan and I am a cuban exile. It pains my heart to see how you venezuelans are making the same mistakes that we did.
      Very few, in any country in the world, are willing to "poner los muertos": everybody has a significant other, most have children and you are dealing with a government that cares nothing about human life.
      Leopoldo has balls and he might be a future president, or the next president for that matter, but only because Capriles, and the MUD, yes the MUD, have contained Maduro.
      Maduro has the guns and the only way around him without thousands and thousands of dead people is to outsmart him.
      I am not caprilista, if anything, I am a leopoldista. But Leopoldo is in jail and I believe that, for the moment, Capriles is all you got.

  3. Yngvar9:37 AM

    "Capriles goes to the beach and gives us a set of vulgar to pictures from Playa Parguito which in Venezuelan slang is much fodder for chavista homophobia"

    I don't get it. Him pictured with a lot of fat women, how can it be homophobic?

    1. playa parguito is the key word here. it could be translated as little faggot beach.

  4. Boludo Tejano9:38 AM

    As long as they can keep looting they see no reason to effect changes for more economical rationality.
    If one were to limit a summation of Venezuela's current economic situation to just one sentence, this particular sentence would do quite well.

    Your points about 1) La Salida being a success because it showed up the undemocratic nature of the regime and thus 2) the pointlessness of oppo politicians condemning La Salida are well taken.

    I wonder what could successfully "scratch the Teflon on the military."

    This week end the S.O. finally accepted to watch "The Sound of Music" with me. Of course, I have watched it too many times to count, I can almost do all the sing along and I even took the movie tour in Salzburg.
    A niece took a trip to Europe with her future husband. Going to sites related to "The Sound of Music" took up a substantial part of the itinerary. One reason for her attachment to "The Sound of Music" was that when a child she saw a production of "The Sound of Music" that a local church group put on. Many of the children's parts in the production were filled by my niece's next door neighbors. It was a memorable performance for at least two reasons. The children's enjoyment in performing was infectious. Although all the performers were all amateurs, all but one or two of the adult performers had singing voices that appeared to me to be of professional quality.

  5. Anonymous12:04 PM

    At this point any election is irrelevant as is the opposing political party. Elections are simply fixed as have been in the past and as a result the corrupt regime will always win them. As for the opposition it does more harm then good as the only way this gov't is ever removed is for a revolt and anyone in the current opposition will never gain the support of the poor which is required for a successful revolt.
    If the opposition had not jumped in to the protest earlier in the year they likely succeed as the cause was good for the nation rich and poor. But when Lopez and Maria made them into political protests they lost the support of the average person, which they did for no other reason then to be on top if the gov't toppled.
    The only way now is for a ground swell against the gov't starts that the current opposition stays clear of and smartly supports from behind the scenes (which they won't). Best thing for the opposition is to fall apart and let new blood unrelated to the perceived wealthy rise up out of the people to remove the crooks at the helm.

    Canadian looking in

  6. A perfect musical choice for Venezuela, the American classic, The Sound of Money , featuring my favorite tune of the set, the poignant Abel Weiss

    Let's humm together in fond memory the first few bars:
    Abel Weiss shrewd but nice
    he's our Hollywood Agent!
    Shrewd and nice Abel Weiss
    You make money for me for me?

    Don't blame me, blame MAD.

  7. "Even though Ramirez was evicted/promoted, the regime is strictly unable to take any significant economical measure"

    My understanding of the English grammar tells me that the "Even though" is incorrect here since Ramírez was evicted precisely because the government was continuously blocking his proposals. So, the government removed Ramírez and is doing what it always wanted to do: nothing.

    1. Bruni

      In another post I entertained the idea that putting Ramirez at the foreign ministry could be read as a promotion: the guy gets to hob nob with the mighty, promotes himself as a more palatable option to Maduro, stays away from taking economic measures and gains time to hope that some may actually forgot his role in bankrupting the country by wrecking PDVSA.

      So yes, the grammatical misconstruct was written on purpose ]:)

    2. I would be surprised he considered it a promotion, very surprised.

  8. Island Canuck4:28 PM

    Talk of an election "victory"is mute.

    If the opposistion were to win a majority of AN members the government & the Supreme Court would just ignore them.

    It's a totally useless waste of time.
    Democratic means will not work any longer.
    It's far too ;late in the game.

    1. Island, if the opposition had a big win in the Parlamentary elections, there is no way that that can be ignored. The problem is that they have not worked for that win. The moment there is a tiny chance of winning anything, what they do is fight among themselves to see who is going to be the leader.

      I have been saying for more than two years that we must concentrate on 2015, nobody cared. They care when it is too late and then use the argument that the system is rigged, the abuse of power, the unfairness of the electoral map, etc etc. All that is true, but if you've got 70% on your side, it doesn't matter. The problem with the opposition is that they have been working during 14 years to get a win by 2%. They have to work to get a win by 20%...yes, there is the possibility of winning democratically, but only if you've got a very large support. Short support is drowned in all sorts of cheating.

    2. Island Canuck7:49 AM

      Bruni, while this may have worked in the past it will not work now.

      Even if we have 70% of the AN delegates they will just ignore any new laws the AN passes. The AN will cease to be relevant.

      They are not going to leave peacefully. Maybe a few years ago we still had a chance but not now.
      The consequences are too severe for them.

    3. Anonymous5:10 PM

      Correct me if I am wrong but have they not implemented the same electronic voting system that gave many a democratic (laugh) win in the middle east? They control all programming of these machines and all results not even allowing the opposition to see results? Or is this not the case and the elections are honest? If it is the way I understand the opposition will never win a majority in any election.

      Canadian looking in

    4. Island Canuck6:47 PM

      You are correct.

  9. The Story of the Van Trapp Family is so much like my wife's family! No, they aren't wealthy! However, they were so happy, and talented, and they love. Venezuela, the beaches, the culture, the beauty, and all the celebration, spirit, polar ice, but all this in the midst of a political scourge that they seemed to ignore so well, but to me was heartbreakingly bittersweet.
    My daughter was a college classmate of a Von Trapp, a great grandson, who was killed during his junior year in a tragic car accident. He was loved by all on the campus, and a terrible sadness swept across the campus. It no doubt tainted that college year with a melancholia that such a life could be cut short for no reason. So many young lives were cut short in the "La Salida" that I can't help feel were needless in much the same way, and the scourge of this revolution has transformed this country into a horrible mess that is no prize for whomever wins elections. The Von Trapps escaped. They were wealthy enough to escape!

  10. Anonymous4:43 PM


  11. Charly8:42 PM

    Attaboy, at least some good news: http://aporrea.org/ideologia/a194841.html

    1. Worth a tweet!

      I wonder if Nicmer is realizing that he is taking head on the military......

  12. Anonymous11:27 AM


    Thats hapen in Brazil ...


  13. Anonymous11:13 AM

    I saw the original with Mary Martin , back in the 50's.Que nostalgia!


  14. I just don't hear the opposition talking to the fears of the people.. The fears of losing a particular program or something that started under Chavez. And if they do it is not enough..They need to address the fears of losing something..Once that is done and people understand or believe they won't lose something they will switch sides..The opposition needs to have a plan to speak to the people and their FEARS....That is a big part of what is missing and why they don't get a wider margin. That is why they can not connect to that group of people.


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