Monday, March 31, 2014

Gwareembah! And more to come with Maria Corina Machado out

Today was a recrudescence of barricades in some areas. Protests are not dwindling. I was surprised this morning at 7 AM with all roads blocked out of El Cafetal on my way to medical appointments. I had to escape through Macaracuay. Later I learned that for once the regime decided to scare El Cafetal barricades ignored until now by sending what has been reported a fake funeral of "motorizados" which was an excuse for colectivos to come and shoot their guns in the air.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Por que con el chavismo no se va a llegar nunca a nada: fracasará Misión Transporte

El grandísimo problema del chavismo mas allá de corrupción, violencia y otras especies es que es incapaz de llegar a concretar algo durable en el tiempo. A ver, traten de buscar un ejemplo de algo sustentable que haya logrado el chavismo, alguna Misión que todavía existe sin haber tenido que ser relanzada ni cambiada de nombre.

Hoy Maduro hizo otra cadena donde lanzo una tal Misión Transporte. Yo no veo cadenas hace tiempo. Hugo no me lo calaba en visual pero a veces escuchaba la radio o la tele a modo de radio. Pero con Maburro Maduro no puedo ni verlo ni escucharlo, todo en él ofende lo poco de inteligencia que sobrevivió estos 15 años. No puedo. Los periódicos tendrán que bastar para ponerme al tanto. Pues leyendo la reseña del Periodiquito basta para saber que Misión Transporte esta prometida y condenada al fracaso. Sufre de un conjuro inescapable que ni con todas las Cortes de Sorte...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Some questions you may have after almost two months of protest in Venezuela

The wave of protests over Venezuela started in early February. We may reach a full two months period if what happened Sunday serves us of guide. As a public service I have replied to some questions that I would ask if I were a casual observer wondering about such a phenomenon.

Why the protest?

Monday, March 24, 2014

It is all smoke in Venezuela

Tonight I am watching the Avila National park, a.k.a, in chavista silly circles as Güaraira Repano without any solid historical evidence to justify such name change, go up in flames.

My view of despair tonight, circa 6:15 PM.

I think it is a true direct metaphor, oximoronic tone intended, of what the country is at tonight.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

What CNN en español did not show tonight or how part of the truth is hidden by media

I was watching Arduino in his Saturday night news on CNN in Spanish, since there is no solid info we can get from Venezuelan TV.  And the only thing I saw was close takes of the chavista and opposition marches. And thus they looked pretty much the same, similar turnout and what not. Well they were not.  I cannot fathom why media persists in treating popular support as if it were the same, as if the country were indeed split into two roughly equal halves.  It is not.

There is the video below taken by a drone (hence the noise) of the meeting point of the 4 marches today in Caracas.  It speaks VOLUMES by itself. I dare any pro Chavez, pro Maduro, or CNN, or BBC or anything to show me a similar turnout recently for a Maduro support rally where NO buses to ferry people were used, where NO booze was given out, where NO breakfast or lunch or cookies were offered, where NO military were asked to attend. Then we can talk again about who has the most enthusiastic support in the country.

And note, I am not even asking media to show that chavismo can do simultaneous support across the country like the opposition did. I will settle for a view like the one below but in the conditions stated. Heck, I will settle for HALF the attendance provided the conditions stated are respected.

What media is doing trying to secure access to "official" sources by not "offending" them is distorting the real news. Maduro certainly has support but he has NO ACTIVE support like the opposition does and the images are there for whomever wants to see them.


Irrelevant OAS stresses the bejesus out of Venezuela (and Cuba)

Chavez has spent 15 years, under the direction of Cuba who was excluded from the OAS by Venezuela's initiative, in finding ways to render the Organization of American States irrelevant. For this he supported the election of Insulza as its general secretary, a rare case of a president whose main task is to lower the institution it presides. To make sure there was no surprises for when the day to sustain his dictatorship come, Chavez started targeted programs to secure soft votes, that is, though generous money offerings to weak countries. Hence the ALBA and the archipelago of curious poverty that represent most of the anglo Caribbean.  Add to this countries like Argentina or Brazil who see in the OAS an additional tool to edge out the US influence and grab it for themselves. Thus you get a solid majority which today again acted, this time against Maria Corina Machado.  But it is a Pyrrhic victory, one that does not solve whatsoever Venezuela's image problem and actually worsens the image of the now severely discredited "leadership" of chavismo.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The night the regime dropped the fig leaf: TWO, 2, Mayors in jail

Amazing, I cannot leave my computer, too much to write. And before exhaustion gets the better of me as I am suffering for a bad cold these past two days I need to tell you that the regime has dropped the fig leaf it had in front to pretend that it was a democracy, not a dictatorship.

Two hours ago I wrote that Ceballos, mayor of San Cristobal was arrested this evening. Details are coming. The SEBIN went to get him at a hotel meeting with his lawyers to analyze the latest TSJ decree against opposition mayors. And they arrested him without showing an arrest warrant, roughing up the assistance. They just took him and that was that, the mayor of one of the largest ten cities of Venezuela, elected with 2/3 of the vote.  We even have already the surveillance video that the shocked hotel employee released.

An ABSOLUTELY DISMAL editorial of the New York Times

On occasion even the greatest papers in the world can really, really mess up things. The editorial of the New York Times on Venezuela will be an example on how misinformed, how misguided, how tone deaf an editorial board can be. At least, since it is the New York times they do not get all wrong but that cannot compensate at all for what they got wrong.

An editorial to illustrate with facts fascism in Venezuela

I rarely translate stuff now, courtesy of Google translate, but this editorial of Cesar Miguel Rondon in his own web page (built when he was banned from TV) is worth commenting. Keep in mind the post on Maria Corina Machado being stripped of parliamentary immunity. Note, the editorial is strictly for Venezuelan use so I will need to explain a few things. The main interest is that it reflects the mood of horror setting among us. and as things are as I was working on there I learned the arrest of San Cristobal mayor, Daniel Ceballos. Quite the timing.

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It seems impossible but every day one is more struck by horror, struck by indignation. I read full of stupor what is on the front page of El Nacional (1): The seven students arrested in Ciudad Guayana monday were hospitalized becasue of the abuse they suffered during her arrest - that strong must have been the beating up that they had to go to the hospital afterwards - they were also forced to eat excrement, and they were also robbed. Yesterday in a tweet they were talking about a girl, who besides this unacceptable torture, the humiliation that resides in being forced to eat excrement, shit, they also tried to rape her. In the middle of this horrific scenery the National Assembly decided to name a Commission for Truth.

San Cristobal mayor arrested in Caracas

We just learned that the mayor of San Cristobal, in town to support the resistance coordination, has been arrested without any explanation by the state police SEBIN.

Besides belonging  to Voluntad Popular, political party that the regime has decided to erase, Daniel Ceballos is the mayor and lighting rod for the protests in San Cristobal upon which he has very little control, no matter what the regime says. That he was in Caracas for a couple of days vouch for that. It also vouches for the cowardice of the regime that does not dare to arrest him in San Cristobal itself that they could have done considering the amount of troops that are there.

Thus you have it, a new classical act of fascism cowardice. We get from Rodriguez Torres that he is arrested for civil rebellion because a court in San Cristobal demanded it. Why, oh why, did not the police of San Cristobal proceeded?

A remarkable moment in military-fascist speak: Rodriguez Torres exculpates Capriles

Rodriguez Torres is the interior Minister which in Venezuela is the one in charge of Police and State security. He is also one of the 1992 coup-mongers that was in charge of taking over the presidential household and risk killing the first lady and daughters if needed. He is the one that misses tons of drugs in commercial airline flights but finds needles in haystacks when it is time to find fault with X-opposition leader. So there goes his credibility which does not stop him from being a self appointed contender to Miraflores Palace succession because he belongs to that 1992 murderous "aristocracy" now that Chavez is no more.

With the above in mind consider the summary of a TV interview for state VTV that La Patilla summarizes. In this piece of tone deaf operatic bravura the guy says the following:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

One month ago they jailed Lopez, tonight they are after Machado

Maria Corina Machado knew the moment would come and it came today in such a blatantly fascist way that one is speechless. Well, not for long until they find their way to a keyboard.



Let's start with this picture, full of angst, as Lopez and Machado were attacked one month ago, a few minutes before Lopez would be pushed into a Nazional Guard armored car.  The woman is stressed, is scared but is going forward anyway. A true courage that she has been showing every single day in the last month knowing full well that her turn was coming.

Not that it helps him much, but Leopoldo Lopez was right

I was wondering what I could write for today when we reach the first one month mark of the jailing of Leopoldo Lopez. Fortunately there are all sorts of videos made for the circumstance and this one, in black and white contains the last public words of Lopez, in a dramatic black and white.



It is not subtitled in English but I trust that soon there will be a version that I will add. But still, listening to his tone of voice today with the selection of all the gripping pictures of that day is quite enough to illustrate today, in full impact, the dictatorship we suffer from.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The political moment

Imposed distractions notwithstanding I have not forgotten to try to follow what is going on politically.  Here is my quick take, for whatever it is worth.

Cuban revenge on anti Cuba day

Well, I did not think that my two posts of last night would be connected within a few hours. This morning areas of Caracas have been taken over by the army and Maduro announces among other things that ration cards are a reality.

Let's start first what pushed the regime over to commit yet a new provocation. Yesterday I wrote about the protest march I followed from Las Americas to Chuao. The main march was from Chacao to Chuao and there is that panoramic image below.






Is Capriles going to negotiate our surrender?

Apparently Capriles has announced that there has been "contacts" with the regime and that there will be a meeting.

Bullshit.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The "Cubans go home" protest day

For many personal reasons I have simply not been able to go to any of the marches in the two weeks that I was in Caracas. But today was the day, the more so that one of the marches passed close to my living quarters in Caracas.  I joined it for another reason. Marches that start from Plaza Las Americas directed towards Chacao are the ones form the hard core opposition. Usually they are not representative of the nation but the one today had potential to be a very telling march. See, after a month and a half of protests there is no better tester than a march through El Cafetal to see what the mood of the opposition is. I was not disappointed, these people are in for the long run.

Follows an unusually long entry with two dozen pictures including a close encounter with Nazional Guard (without any harm done because El Cafetal is a peaceful crowd).

The junction point at Santa Paula. People waiting for the march, and street newspaper sales

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Openly fascist in Venezuela

I am going to be brief: today's event at Los Proceres was as tropical fascism as it gets. And on many levels.

Note that the only bright colored note on this VTV frame is Diosdado Cabello.

It was a regime support march for the Nazional Guard, those that have been beating up kids, torturing some, raping at least one and killed who knows how many exactly. Yes, the regime thought it was necessary to crate a "civico militar" event to support these poor stressed unloved Guards.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Some people never learn: Jennifer McCoy of the Carter Center promotes herself

I am dumbfounded to read an article of Jennifer McCoy at Al Jazeera where she actually sorts of offers her services to mediate in Venezuela. For those who do not know who she is, McCoy is the director of the Carter Center after Carter gave up direct involvement due to old age. She was participating a lot in the 2002-2004 dialogue fiasco of which she at least admits "The Carter Center, facilitated a seven-month negotiation that resulted in an agreement, though it failed to include an enforcement mechanism." My emphasis.

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?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Brief comments on the OAS resolution

The lengthy and often postponed OAS debate on the situation of Venezuela gave birth to a shameful communique where only two countries saved their honor by putting comments down, the USA and Panama (although I understand that Canada did not approve but the tally of the votes does not appear).

Three conclusion: 1) the OAS is clearly useless 2) the regime scores a point and 3) the April 2013 strategy of Capriles and the MUD is exacting a heavy price on them.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Are the Venezuelan protests yielding results?

On March 5 the government of Venezuela commemorated the first anniversary of the passing of Hugo Chavez with a military parade in Caracas attended by few international guests. On the other side of town and across the country protests entered their second month. Even the regular observer of Venezuelan politics is allowed to wonder what has changed that made this wave of protests so extended, so intensive.

And yet, Maduro is still in office, with shelves empty, at the grocery store or at the drug store. How come?

Thursday, March 06, 2014

No “Patria Grande” for Latin America: the Uruguayan example

Maria Celina is a long time reader of this blog who I ask to send me a note about how the rest of Latin America, Uruguay in her case, plays dumb with the Venezuelan crisis. 
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By Maria Celina McCall (@mvdsister)

Former president Julio Maria Sanguinetti of Uruguay, on a radio program this morning, described as cynical bordering sarcasm the attitude of our Government and Foreign Affairs minister, Nicolás Almagro towards the Venezuelan situation.

Post it notes from the front lines

7 stars.......
I did come back to Caracas last Saturday but had to deal with private issues that stopped me to join any of the large scale protests of these past days. Which did not stop from taking a few notes that may interest you guys.

I suppose that I should start with the "guarimba", our tropicalized, venezuelanized, version of your old barricade.  I have mixed feelings about the use of guarimbas. I mean, if you are going to go for overthrowing the regime and decided to block, say, the Miranda, or Fajardo, or Libertador and push your way up to the Baralt or Bolivar avenues, I see their use. But what I saw in El Cafetal area is way more of a cathartic nature than any harm it may do against the regime.

The day Maduro became certifiable and tore his panama

Globalization for all but Venezuela
We must note that on March 5 2014 we were relieved that Chavez had gone for a year now and we got scared to our wits by seeing Maduro come totally unhinged.

For his commemoration ceremony he planned how so tactfully a military parade in front of foreign dignitaries. He rubbed his state medal on his chest quite often. But it did not help.

See, only Raul Castro, the murderer from Cuba, Desi Bouterse, the narco from Suriname and poor Evo came, that I know of, plus the vice from Argentina.  Truly, not the most stellar gathering after the grandeur of one yer ago.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Chávez: un fraude sin fin

 Yo no voy a celebrar el primer aniversario desde que Chávez estiro la pata.  Realmente deseo que él estuviese vivo y tuviese que lidiar con el desastre que ha dejado atrás, uno de los mayores fraudes históricos que se han perpetrado y que se demostrará una vez que podemos hurgar libremente en lo que ocurrió desde 1992, e incluso antes.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Chavez: the fraud that keeps giving

I am not going to celebrate Chavez first croaking anniversary tomorrow. I genuinely wish he would be alive today and forced to deal with the mess he has left behind, one of the biggest historical frauds that will have been perpetrated once we can dig freely in what happened since 1992, and even before.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Right, The Left, and The Poor

By Maria Alexandria Beech

As a friend lamented that the right-wing media and think tanks hadn’t covered the Venezuelan crisis as thoroughly as the “liberal” media, it dawned on me that while The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, NPR, PBS, and others had covered the conflict days after it began, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and others had fallen asleep at the wheel, becoming irrelevant in the process.  

“Why did the conservative media cover the 2004 crisis so well whereas they are nowhere to be found this time,” he asked. “I mean, nothing. The National Review, Reason, Cato.”

Replacing the role of the media on the right was Senator Marco Rubio on the senate floor. The rather lazily-delivered speech was accessible on YouTube, and many shared it. The speech drew exhausted parallels between Venezuela and Cuba, and expounded upon the evils of the Castro brothers. Rubio also held a press conference with Florida’s Republican governor Rick Scott at a Venezuelan restaurant where Marco delivered the same message. In one fell swoop, Rubio campaigned for votes from Cubans and Venezuelans, for the senate and an inevitable future presidential run. No one took notice.

More than two weeks and no end in sight

It has been now a little bit over two weeks since the first victims were counted. Since then there has been rallies and marches every day all across Venezuela. The death number keeps rising, the documented torture reports are now in the dozenS, with an S. Arrests are in the hundreds. A "peace conference" came and went within 24 hours. Major marches are called for this weekend, people are not leaving for the Carnival holiday made already 2 days longer by the regime with no effect. They are idiots, people have no much money to go on holiday this year after having endured a 60% inflation....

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