Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The inevitable confrontation: let's begin by unseating a few representatives

As I have been writing through December in any possible way that I could come up with, the confrontation between the regime and the opposition new National Assembly is inevitable. And started in all earnest today. By demanding that almost a dozen MUD representative election is to be questioned, the regime has deprived the new majority of its supernumerary majority of 2/3 which would have allowed it to change some of the worst and more repressive and manipulative laws approved under Chavez. Namely the laws that ensure the regime's near dictatorial nature such as freedom of expression and control of the judiciary by the regime (absolute, 100% control by the way as nobody remembers the last time the regime lost a case in the high court TSJ).

True, the Assembly still preserves the 3/5 super-majority that it needs to control fiscal aspects of the regime, but the ones that matter, the ones that can bring back democracy to Venezuela, are, for the time being, lost.  Let's look at some details.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The priorities ahead

And thus I am on December 28 in a hurry to write something as events keep going on in Venezuela. There is no time for a holiday pause. What, with the regime's shenanigans and the opposition division and only 7 days left for the new National Assembly to be sworn in!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A sweet and sour Christmas

It is time for the annual exercice to wish the readers a happy Christmas. At least to those outside of Venezuela who have nice odds at it being happy; unless you are Venezuelans with a split family between those who stayed (had to?) behind and those who emigrated to freer skies.

Here, for the first time since December 1998, I have listened to my Christmas music collection with real feeling. Chavismo has always made its duty to spoil Christmas for all of us, including its followers who were constantly summoned for the defense of the banana republic (1).  This year is no exception as the Maduro/Cabello combo has managed to force through the nomination of political judges on December 23. And we know they are planning further moves of the judicial coup under way for next week. There is no rest for the wicked. Christmas eve for them cannot be much more than getting plastered with 18 year old Scotch that they are the lone ones to be able to afford these days.

But for the rest of us Christmas will be a tad better this year, even if food shortages and prices make hallacas difficult to come by and presents for kids will be very limited. The election result of December 6 has opened ajar the door towards better days. The road to complete freedom is still long and the road to enough prosperity to be able to reunite families is probably longer. But for the first time in years we can perceive a road.

Thus my best wishes for Christmas to the readers that have followed this blog for so long. As a gift of sorts, the lone ones that can be brought through Internet, two videos from what may be my favorite Venezuelan Christmas tunes, so different and unique from the packaged music that seems to have become the rule elsewhere.  A guitar with "Niño Lindo" and Guanaguanare with the original folk composer.



And a version with words, not necessarily the best one but there are is none on YouTube that truly satisfies me.

This Guanaguanare has a deficient sound track, sorry



-----------------------------
1) The 1999 Christmas was spoiled by the natural disaster of Vargas, but that year the regime did what it take to ruin Christmas absolutely by not only refusing help for the disaster but by performing its first judicial coup in between Christmas and New Year just as the country was picking pup the death toll. From there we all knew that the welfare of the people would never be the major concern of the regime: politics and power first. Always.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The now you see, now you don't see the constitutional coup {UPDATED URGENT}

Guys, this is it, the real thing. The regime cannot accept the electoral result of December 6 and has started this week to pull real moves to make sure that it keeps firmly in control of the country, or at least the essential, namely that its leadership does not go to jail (not even keep looting, there is not much left to loot...).

In short the regime is holding a coup d’état except that instead of having tanks rolling down the avenues it is packing the courts and removing representatives recently elected through that packed court. Il suffisait d'y penser (1)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Left press review

On a slow Saturday night I decided to do what I have stopped doing long, long ago, to examine the misinforming to plain idiotic articles supporting the bolivarian farce. But two upset readers sent me these pieces and by sheer courtesy I read them and went ahead to comment below.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chavismo these days illustrates very well the difference between fascism and communism

The behavior of the regime since December 6 allows us to illustrate some of the differences between fascism and communism. NOTE: they are both equally evil, just different ways to reach the final goal of a small group to control a totalitarian state.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Somebody home?

I wonder if anyone is aware of the chasm ahead. From what I can see it would seem like no, nobody is taking notice. But then again I may be wrong. Hopefully.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The hysteria of Diosdado and Tarek

The stupendous defeat of the regime two Sundays ago is just starting to unleash all demons within chavismo.  There are two little items that are worth noting.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The 2015 election: final review

The good thing about landslides is that detailed study of vote movement is not necessary nor possible since the anger vote is difficult to assess and predict for the future. In democratic countries this is not really an issue: Mauritius had once a 100% district parliament win fort a single party and it never stopped being a democracy. Thus after reviewing the highlights we may try to summarize the whole thing.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The 2015 results: polarization, when thou hold us enthralled!

This entry is for the anecdotal part. There were some "independents/dissenter" candidates. What was their fate?

The polarization of the country rolled over them without pity.

Starting Advent a tad late but...

This morning I dusted off my Christmas music. For the first time in over a decade I can enjoy it truly even though the feast will be meager this year.

I suppose I am late to start Advent but heck, I found this in Facebook so there you go, Christmas is all about sharing!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The last days of Maduro. Or is it of Cabello?

I will try to be short. The actions that Maduro and Cabello are taking are playing against them. One could almost call them suicidal.

The 2015 results: Caucaguita (and Caracas) sweetest moment for the MUD

No need to go in where the opposition did its best score, the 112 new 2/3 majority speaks of itself, the blog entry to cover it all would be too long. Instead let's go where the opposition victory may have been the sweetest: Caracas and greater Caracas.

The title of a recent blog entry was "As Caucaguita goes so will the election". I did not know I would be proven so right. Unbelievably the opposition took Caucaguita, going a long way to explain how the MUD took the double seat district of Guarenas and Guatire (and the rest of the country). I was expecting at best, from the graph of that entry, an even score. Well, in Caucaguita the opposition list won with 50.21% against the PSUV list at 46.95%. The closest result for the opposition in Caucaguita were 5 years ago when the opposition list got 80% of what chavismo got. This time it got 110% of the chavista vote....

But if Caucaguita remains justifiably for this blog the bellwether district, the smashing win in Caucaguita was the reflection of the smashing win across the country, none as sweet that the conquest of Caracas and almost all of the greater Caracas. If a popular, urban, low income district like Caucaguita went MUD, how could similar districts of Vargas, Libertador, Petare do otherwise?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The 2015 results: stable majority, where art thou?

I am talking of course of who holds the majority inside the 112 elected representatives. This is of utmost importance because there will be the need for a common front to resist the assaults of the regime, from incarceration to plain bribery. Amen of the required speed to pass urgent laws and go above Maduro's sabotage. The stable majority is also required to agree on a more than likely constitutional reform.

Data gathered from Tal Cual who has assigned party labels to the 112 elected folks.
I have roughly distributed them according to suspected ideology.
Note that in Venezuela EVERYONE claims to be at the very least left of Center.
VENTE (Maria Corina Machado) is the only one openly right of center.
Colors assigned are inasmuch as possible, through Excel, those of the political parties.

The 2015 results: chavismo worst losses

Considering how upset chavismo is and how discombobulated Maduro and Cabello are I thought that I would start the result analysis by selecting some of chavimso worst results, losses that are truly troubling for the future of chavismo as a national movement. Namely Omar Prieto in Zulia, the Aragua case and Parequeima in Anzoategui.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

100 days of MUD

I suppose that the tradition of the cabalistic "first hundred days/measures/laws" comes from the first famous 100 days, the ones of Napoleon return to Elba which ended in Waterloo. The regime may want to ponder about that history tidbit, the more so that Waterloo bicentennial was celebrated earlier this year.

The 2015 results: general

Now that the CNE has finally announced the final result we can start more detailed analysis. They will be interesting and I will have a few posts on that through the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned. But first an evaluation of my own predictions.

The CNE does not publish vote count as too embarrassing for the regime, You could be sure that had the PSUV won the election, the vote count would be posted. Never mind, there are people that do so and there is a tweet on this matter:

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

When consoling the troops makes you certifiable political ass

It is always necessary for the leader of a political party to try to comfort a little bit the troops by promises of keeping up the good fight. If this cannot be done by the harshness of the score or the temperament of the leader then there is always resigning your position. What Maduro did tonight was resigning his subordinates and through Cabello announce open season on the new Assembly.

Musings on the 0,6666666666.... An Irrational or Transcendental number?

As I type, the opposition claims it got 2/3 of the Assembly and the CNE still tries to find ways to deny that number. But in a way it does not matter much, the psychological effect is there, and what matters more is that the vote against the current regime is 2 million+ votes. That is right, the MUD got more than 2 million votes that the PSUV alliance (GPP). The other candidates, I think , did not go much more than 1%, making this election the most polarized in our history (Chavez presidential victories aside but they were of a different nature, outright plebiscites on a charismatic leader).

Monday, December 07, 2015

Chavismo is not taking it well

True, even Nicolas Maduro preferred to concede defeat rather than taking to the streets. But his concession was like the Chavez one of 2007, "victoria de mierda" but more banal in its content, "defeated by the economic war" that nobody but chavistas seem to understand what it is about. Which allows us to think that the economic war is just a myth a la Cuban embargo.

A vote for the times

What happened today in Venezuela is truly momentous, better than the wildest hopes the opposition could have ever had a year ago. In the last 3-4 months the objective of a nice victory was getting clearer, but tonight the preliminary result announcing a 2 to 1 victory in seats? No way, Jose!

As I type this I am half drunk with the bottle I drowned on my own over the excruciating long wait of the night. No, I am no lush, I did the pilgrimage for a last vote to San Felipe now that I live mostly in Caracas. I have not gotten around to change my district (next in Petare to help Ocariz). But I had kept that semi cheap Chilean champagne that I did not drink in 2009 keeping it for when chavismo would be ousted. It had to wait 5 years in my fridge and me alone but willing. My stupor is accompanied by the streets which are suddenly awake with caravans of opposition supporters in this very chavista state which may be getting back to old former governor Lapi days.

They are right to celebrate as this election marks the end of an era, at last. Chavismo cannot recover from such as stunning disaster that not even Cuban "expertise" could avoid. There are still 17 seats to be decided, too close to call, but the opposition already has secured the 3/5 supernumerary majority and by getting a few of the 17 it may not reach the fabled 2/3 majority needed for certain laws but it will be strong enough to offer a credible resistance against a desperate regime. The future of chavismo is bleak, and it certainly does not pass through its current structure and mood. Implosion is in the future and speedy internal reform is a must if it does not want to disappear, if it wants to remain a leftist option in Venezuela. Appealing crassly to Chavez memory was a mistake, they killed the idol. Now they are on their own.

There is no need to inquire deeply in the causes of the rout. Empty shelves and 200% inflation say it all. As I wrote often, in the last two years the regime has had the chance to take some economic measures that would not have avoided the crisis but made it less politically damaging. But it did not. The regime was hostage to utmost currency exchange arbitration abuse and drug trafficking, all protected by the upper army cadres. What happened in the end was that the populist government lost contact with the populi. And that was that.

What comes next is an exciting page in our history and renewed blogging fervor from yours truly. Only one thing can be more interesting to blog about than the downfall of a regime: the birth of a new order.

Make no mistake, the road is still flush with ambushes. A narco regime was stunned by a defeat they truly never believed could happen. But as the international penal law starts closing in there is no telling what desperate measures they could be willing to risk. Keep in mind that in spite of the disaster, a 40% still voted for the regime. A quick renewal could mean a quick return.

Yet, the economic disaster will kill political support for whatever system comes next and even that 2/3 potential victory will require for the opposition to reach out to chavismo to avoid the worst, something that could even include an increased civil war. Yes, the daily number of violent death in the country are already the signs of a civil war waged between drug and corrupt gangs for their turf, both against the common citizen.

But how to deal with that is best left for the coming days. Tonight we must celebrate one thing: el pueblo spoke and proved that freebies and promises of freebies are not enough. In the end maybe democratic values are not the decisive factors when voting, but accounting is. And demanding accounting for the rulers is where democracy starts. Let's savor that moment when Venezuelans put aside political polarization, artificially created class and race divides and went all together, from negritos to catires, from tierruos to sifrinos, to say that enough is enough, that equality is not standing all together in line for a little bit of milk.


Sunday, December 06, 2015

Election day 2015 post

0:46

Tibisay spoketh. It ain't pretty for the regime, a 2 to 1 victory for the opposition. Still 17 seats in play that will decide whether a 2/3 supernumerary majority is reached (and the end of the regime as we knew it). Maduro bitched but accepted with lame references.

Meanwhile suddenly San Felipe is awakening.

And this concludes our election day post. Next? Governor elections December 2016 or... earlier presidential.

11:58

In two minutes we are "the day after"

The decalogue of a new opposition (eventually?) led National Assembly

A thought exercise first. If the MUD opposition alliance gains a majority in the new National Assembly, who is the opposition? Maduro or the MUD?

Friday, December 04, 2015

The campaign that reached new lows (YV-9)

The electoral campaign of 2015 in Venezuela will make it to the text books of electoral infamy. To find worst campaigning conditions you need to look into outright dictatorships of the communist type. These try to pretend that everybody gets along while folks are forced to vote for the one party state. In fascism they do not even bother with appearances which, in a way, is a tad more honest.

This silly banner says "either you agree or
I will not vote". With all colors from alleged
opposition parties. That are not, only fake
vote robbers. It started appearing 2 days
ago, a timing for distress.
But the bolivarian farce came to power through honest elections and it must retain power through elections, no matter how rigged those are. There must be an appearance that there is an electoral contest. That is why opposition public meetings are still authorized, even though shot down as necessary least they become too large.

Recapping all the electoral treachery is too long for this blog. Besides, the OAS General Secretary has done a magnificent job out of it, through an 18 pages letter to the Venezuelan Electoral board, CNE. Let's just say that you can find it all, from gerrymandering, to funding abuse and even false electoral propaganda of political parties using opposition candidates to promote their own ones, going as far as finding perfectly unknown assholes that happen to have the same name as the opposition candidate. In other places the amount of political posters of unknown parties dwarfs the posters of the PSUV or opposition candidates in numbers and size (see below). We all know of course that the regime itself is financing these efforts trying to pry away vote by vote from the opposition electorate. They have no sense of ridicule.


Thursday, December 03, 2015

Electoral paranoia (YV-8)

The regime is not helping its cause (albeit hopeless, but that is another story).

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

A certifiable "revolution" (election YV-7)

The bolivarian farce is reaching true levels of madness. Not only Maduro is certifiable, but for his supporters to go along with his latest "boutades" is a sign of the general dysfunctionality of a large spectrum of the populace.

Yesterday Maduro scored big on the levels of arbitrary and vile cruelty. Campaigning in a district were the regime is losing bad (Petare) and where the regime is in trouble (Guarenas-Guatire) he resorted to an undeserved arrest and to a humiliating moral abuse.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The day after (election YV-6)

So, coverage of the election by this blog has been light this time around. But that is no excuse to make it complete. One thing is to vote and another what happens Monday 7. Let's see.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Macri effect

One week ago Argentina elected a new president, the first certifiably peronist free in decades. As expected there will be changes in Argentina foreign policy. What was less expected is the speed at which president elect Macri started those changes, more than two weeks before being sworn in. To begin with, of the few people allowed on the election night stand, one was Leopoldo Lopez wife, Lilian Tintori. This made it to the opening news of CNNSpanish...

So what now?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

La Marseillaise is back

Today there was a very moving tribute to those who died in the Paris attack of November 13. The chosen venue for its austerity and splendor, and security, was the yard at L'Hotel des Invalides, built by the Sun King and that is used without any remorse by La République. At the end of the ceremony the French anthem was powerfully sung by all the political participants from all crosses of the republic, all security forces and, I dare to venture, at least 90% of the victims relatives that attended.

Although not clear for non French national the tribune behind the president, all alone in front, included all relevant figures, from all ex prime ministers, figures from both extremes, high army officers mixed with civilians, and more. All freezing cold together in republican unity behind the figure of the state. You have to give it to the French for Republican restrained but telling pageantry, one that only the US may outdo. Republic is not an empty feeling.
(Mayors are the only officials allowed to wear the tricolor sash)

Friday, November 20, 2015

A casual electoral prediction (election YV-5)

In past elections I have made predictions that often turned out acceptable to excellent (and sometimes not). This time around as announced, I have not made any exhaustive analysis of numbers and trends because, well, I have no time, not that much interest, the election is too emotional, etc...  And mostly because I do not know what will happen on December 6, but I know quite well what will start on December 7. If the regime does not cancel the election, still a possibility for a crazed Maduro.

Yet, I should still play a little.



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

As Caucaguita goes so will the election go (election YV-4)

Long time readers of this blog will remember that I have picked up Caucaguita as a bell-weather district in all election analysis that I have written along these many years. Sometimes even with regularly updated graphs as years added more data. As I have written a few months ago this time around I have neither the intention, nor the time to analyze in detail this most emotional of elections, amen of the worst treachery factor since 1999. But I did promise a few short posts in the last days to help interested people understand what is going on. So I went to my Caucaguita electoral figures and came up with this simplified version.



Monday, November 16, 2015

A small gathering at Plaza Altamira


It had to be opposition mayors that had a gathering in support of France after the Paris attacks. In addition of the Embassy top brass, the mayors of Chacao and El Hatillo attended (Muchacho and Smolanski). As far as I know no chavista mayor did shit. But they are too busy trying to save their electoral skins and covering up for the first family drug deals.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris


This is also my flag, and more so today. 
This is the flag that stands for a secular society ruled by law.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Flowers and letters: no romance for the revolutionary corpse

It is hard to underestimate the weigh of this week's events on an agonizing Maduro's headed regime. Even your prudent blogger is cautiously allowing himself to believe that yes, indeed, the regime's life should be counted in weeks... Or that at the very least a major change is just around the corner.

The week started with the reply sent to Tibisay Lucena by OAS Secretary Luis Almagro. See, Almagro got really upset about the flippancy of Tibisay Lucena, head of the CNE, Venezuela's electoral board. The woman, on orders from the regime that she is only too happy to oblige, is refusing ANY supervision to the crucial electoral process coming on December 6.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Can the opposition win? (election YV-3)

This is a rhetorical question: even the once neutral to favorable pollsters historically putting chavismo even or ahead are now giving the opposition a two digit lead. And yet things are not that simple.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Tourism in Venezuela: at your own risk

So I was away for a few days of beach, sand and surf. Not quite.

Take out the water and it is pretty much like this

Friday, October 30, 2015

Does chavismo want an election? (election 2015 YV-2)

Count me in those who still doubt that there will be elections on December 6. I cannot see the regime going through elections unless it is certain that the opposition will not get more than 90 seats (about 55%). With that number it should not be too difficult for the regime to lure away enough opposition representatives to recover a weak majority within a year or two. Considering the complete control over everything else, the regime thinks that this is the worst case scenario they are willing to accept.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The banality of evil, Caracas style

Tonight I twitted this:


In English: Listening to {prosecutor} Nieves I keep thinking of Hannah Arendt and the banality of evil.

One of the top prosecutors in the Leopoldo Lopez show trial has defected to the US and is now saying that the whole operation against Lopez was a scam, that the intention was to put him away for the election of 2015 and more. In fact Nieves went as far as to say, more or less, that the order to arrest Lopez already existed before the events for which he was finally arrested in February 2014.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The cornerstone issue (election 2015 YV-1)

I have been away for yet another long period but I am back for a series of short posts on the December election. Thus the first one should be about the cornerstone issue (plus some minor that are directly implied with the main issue).

As informed readers are aware, the Venezuelan situation is going from bad to worse. As such, any potential "normalcy" that could be associated with the scheduled December election is done away with speedily. Fortunately this has a positive effect: the crudeness of the moment peels away layers of cracked political paint painfully plastered by the regime. Now we have one overwhelming issue for the election: who's gonna deal with the disaster as of December 7.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Weil sums up the Venezuelan situation

Cartoonist Weil publishes an extraordinary cartoon (and he has quite a few of them!)

In the background the symbol of the corrupt regime gangs fighting against each other for political control through colectivos, grenades, etc...

Further in front petty thieves stealing in hunger whatever they can (toilet paper, for example, how can that be any more pathetic?).

In front two items, paupers fighting over a chicken while someone is dead on ground through hunger, crime, whatever....

There you have it, Venezuela today. I am impressed.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Electoral scoundrels

No, this is not a post about the constant pro Chavez partisanship of the electoral board CNE. No, this is not a post about the government abuses on the campaign trail. No, this is not about the impossibility of the opposition to voice its political offer on any nation wide network.

This is a post about the scoundrels that flourish under a neo-totalitarian regime like the one Venezuela called for and now suffers from.

Electoral campaigns can be a way to bring the best in people but in general it tends to bring the worst. I am going to detail two recent stories.

William Ojeda

The first one is for the turncoat supreme, William Ojeda. This lackluster character/journalist came to his 15 minutes of fame when he published about 20 years a go a book titled "How much is a judge", pretending to illustrate how corrupt was the judicial system before Chavez. That the judicial system has become infinitely worse since is not the point here, the point is that actually some of the tenets of his "investigation book" have been questioned since. That should have given pause to a few wishing to associate with him.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Economic electoral planning: institutional bachaqueo and printing money

The election date approaches. Whether these will be held is irrelevant, the regime needs to prepare for it no matter what.  From my sources I get the following tidbits as to how the regime is planning to distribute goodies to try to buy votes.


The "bachaqueo" is bringing some political dividends to the regime, at least from those who can actually profit from it. Bachaqueo for those late in the game is a Venezuelan variety of black market (1). Those that can stand in long lines because they are out of a job buy they share and resell part of it at significant markups. It becomes particularity lucrative when: 1) you belong to an information network from cashiers to truck drivers and storage personnel who can warn you that X will arrive at Z before the neighborhood hoi polloi knows about it, thus the bachaqueros are first in line before supplies disappear; 2) you know someone high ranked in the store or the Nazional Guards on duty to avoid riots and they let you get out with more than your share; 3) you belong to a network well organized with bus and motorbike drivers that can carry you fast from one line to another line so in one day you may be able to stand in line at 2 or 3 locations, and rack it in; and of course 4) you belong to a narco-military-mafia organization that do not even own a store and gives you a certain amount at mark up for you to mark it up further. (2)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Venezuela News on Instagram

I have never liked Facebook and have only a private page for some relatives and friends, more by obligation than anything else. The attempt I did for a parallel Facebook page for the blog just consumed much of my time for something that did not seem worth it. Maybe if someone would collaborate in keeping it up, someone willing to add entries? At any rate after forgetting about it for months I did the logical thing and erased it.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Regime gains? Opposition gains? Lopez gains?

The guilty verdict on Leopoldo Lopez was expected though one would have thought that the maximum penalty would not have been decided. At any rate, guilty or free, the decision yesterday by the regime to tell judge Barreiros to condemn Lopez is not going to change much on the events to come. What it does convincingly is marking the moment where the regime stops gingerly crossing over the line between dictatorship and the totalitarian state. Gingerly no more.

Anything but freeing Lopez would not have improved the international regime standing now at junk bond level. Any condemnation, no matter how short the sentence, was equally unacceptable because a guilty verdict on thought crime is unacceptable in civilized world. Any guilty verdict is the clear statement of the regime that politicians will be dealt with through "crime" sentences to ban them from office. Who needs a gulag when a mere sentence disposes of your opponents for a few years in jail and for a life time once out?

So, why is the regime risking such an international condemnation, even though it does not seem to care about that a bit, as witnesses the Colombian border crisis?

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A slow fuse major embarrassment at Foreign Policy

There is an unwritten rule when dealing about information on Venezuela and chavismo: when you try to be objective you always end up with egg on your face. Respected magazine Foreign Policy is feeling the pinch and risks much discredit for its poor managing of a situation coming from a hatchet job text pretending to set the record straight on Leopoldo Lopez.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Is the sentence on Leopoldo Lopez relevant?

No, this is no bait title. Whether Leopoldo Lopez is freed or condemned today has become almost irrelevant for the coming history. As I type this a small crowd of opposition leaders (small on purpose, by the way) is barred from the court building where the final sentence on Leopoldo Lopez is supposedly to be pronounced at any minute. And whatever the result is, even if I learn it as I type, it does not change much the coming text.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Note to Obama and Santos: appeasing thugs NEVER works

The Venezuela-Colombian border crisis should have been a fantastic opportunity to put the Venezuelan narco-regime on notice. Instead it serves as show case on how the appeasement policies of Obama and Santos are sinking fast.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

And it all came to that

Almost as a rule the end of revolutions and their ersatz is equally appalling. True revolutions like the French one (9 Thermidor) or the Russian one (Kulak starvation) have a moment that mark the end of ideal and the bloody start of a very long path to stability. Ersatz are lucky if they have a semi grand moment but as a rule end up in ridicule if they are lucky (Peron). But some end up in infamy, betraying any possible justification they had at their start. This is the case of this fakest of all revolutions, the bolivarian of Chavez which is slowly petering its way to infamy.

Closed border, people in check. Why?

I suppose some would make a case for April 2002 as "the grand moment". But it was not, a mere failed coup and a failed Restoration which yielded a shit faced Chavez that decided to surrender to the Castros in Cuba to get what he really wanted: life presidency. It worked, he died in office.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Will it hold?

It seems that creating an unjustified "state of emergency" at the border with Colombia has accelerated talk of regime "change". We have Miguel, or a nice article at the FT (subscription) by Daniel Lansberg or a dire "self-coup" from Oppenheimer at the Miami Herald. Readers of this blog should not be surprised as I have expressed often my doubts at the elections on December 6 would be actually held, or when describing how the country was collapsing steadily.

Rather than going into the macro thing covered extensively elsewhere, let me go first into the micro stuff.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Brief electoral report

This is not an electoral report. As I have announced weeks ago, this blog will not cover the coming elections for a variety of reasons. Still, when I read all of the nonsense or wishful thinking elsewhere, I suppose that I feel compelled from time to time to remind people that treating the parliamentary election of December as if it were a normal election is, well, close to idiotic. In other words discussing in detail the intrigues inside the MUD of PSUV is close to irrelevant. Discussing the treachery of the regime is close to redundant at this point. Speculating on the final outcome with polls and calculations is only marginally productive unless one places the comment on the consequences of the vote rather than the actual results.

Thus in no particular order a few talking points, for lack of a more descriptive title.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Baduelismus

A strange surprise came yesterday. General Baduel, former savior of Chavez (2002), former defense minister of Chavez, one of his personal own first political prisoners has been released from jail. Sure enough he is blocked at home, but he is out of military jail.

That he served most of his jail sentence on trumped up charges (who is not corrupt inside chavismo?) and thus was "released" to complete the rest of his sentence at home is a mere detail. What is important here is that the regime has dared to release who was a seen as one of Chavez very own political prisoners.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A guide to Venezuela eateries around the world

The Venezuelan diaspora(4%? population so far) has had an effect around the world: there are now dozens of Venezuelan food restaurants in most major cities of the "west" where Venezuelans do emigrate.  I got this in the mail, a comprehensive list made by Andrew Richard and Daniela Cadena. Though In Spanish it is easy to find your way around for your own city. I include the maps for Europe and the US where most readers are. But Australia and South America are well represented while Canada lists Toronto and Montreal and many Central America countries do have Venezuelan joints. 

So look to see if your place shows up and go for it. The places listed have a link.

By the way, for those who live in New York area, the Times has a complete review of the local joints.



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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Food lines in Venezuela are getting worse

And this morning I filmed one.

It was in Macaracuay, in front of a small shopping center called CC Macaracuay which has the misfortune of its grocery store (former C.A.D.A.) become a public shop, Bicentenario after the expropriation of EXITO chain. I drove in front around 7:30 and the line was much bigger. Driving in front again around 10 AM I was so surprised at the remaining extent of the line that I filmed it.




Monday, August 03, 2015

Cilia Floreșcu

Readers that think this post is a cheap take on infamous Elena Ceaușescu would be right, but in part only. Far from me the idea of writing a short bio of Cilia Flores, a.k.a. "primera combatiente", or making a comparison between the two women or even the situation of the two countries. But certain strange coincidences between Romania circa 1989 and Venezuela circa 2015 cannot be missed.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Chavistas or Greeks: eat shit and die

Long time no post- But this is what I want to write about.



I want to remember when I eagerly awaited for the first pictures of Uranus and Neptune from Voyager 2  on the New York Times front page. I want to remember how emotions choked me and how the page shook (there was no Internet then). I want to remember the glory of discovering Jupiter and Saturn and their moons.  I want to feel a little bit of that tomorrow when I know that New Horizons will fly by Pluto in a few hours.

I do not want to write about these things.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Gay marriage, at long last (but not here)

Yes dear readers, I did cry a little when I saw that picture. I do not know why, but it had that quality.

Today finally the United States Supreme Court bowed to what was unavoidable, to what civilized countries in the world had been granting one by one over the last two decades. Any two not directly related adults in a stable union should all have the same rights.

PERIOD.

It is THAT simple.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Recovering Venezuela is going to be more difficult than what most people think

There are reckless souls in the opposition that claim that a mere change in the National Assembly and a couple of years of decent public administration are enough to turn around the Venezuelan Economic crisis.

I think such talk is simply reckless even if its intentions are merely electoral. At this point stirring false hopes is a deadly undertaking for whichever side. At least chavismo being in full denial mode is pretending that there are only minor problems that are the fault of foreign interests, period. It does not help them much but it cannot hurt them much either compared to its other problems.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In victory we eat

This morning finally Leopoldo Lopez, reported not being able to stand up anymore, has let it be known that he ended his hunger strike and asked that others end their own as well. Too many are heralding the calling for elections a great victory for Lopez, but I beg to differ. A victory it is but it lays elsewhere, associated to Leopoldo Lopez, make no mistake.

Let's look at the "electoral victory" first.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hunger strike succeeded? Elections on December 6

UPDATED. One of the main petitions of the hunger strikes holding around the countries was that the Venezuelan electoral board, CNE, announces the date for parliamentary elections. Only in Venezuela we need hunger strikes to get what should be a routine date set up that should have happened a year ago!

At any rate after a tortuous press announcement where CNE head Tibisay Lucena attacked everyone for "distortion" of reality when she could have done the announcement on a web page weeks ago she said they would be held on December 6, which was the legal date all along. Attacking Twitter will not save Tibisay from the established charges that she is a mere minister of pseudo electoral affairs of the regime.

And speaking of Twitter the first consequence to be expected:


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Was Leopoldo Lopez hunger strike discussed in Port au Prince?

As I was sitting to write this entry where one of my intentions was to pat myself in the back, I run through a just out the presses article by Jackson Diehl from the WaPo. To all what has been discussed lately about the (in)famous meeting between Shannon and Cabello Diehl adds the lone noteworthy data:

the U.S. diplomacy has a modest goal: to prevent López’s death. Shannon told Cabello the continuance of the dialogue between the two governments depended on López remaining alive and being convinced to end his hunger strike, sources said.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Waterloo, morne plaine.

Today some celebrated the gentle anachronism that Waterloo has become. Indeed, until 1914 Waterloo was the battle that defined Europe. But things have changed. There were weeks in WWI and II were more folks died than during all of Napoleonic wars. Still, I suppose that I should meditate about it, least some accuse my French side to ignore the whole issue as a cowardice of sort.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

24 days of hunger strike for Leopoldo Lopez

I do not want to go into details here. But it has taken 24 days for the cruel regime to allow a trusted physician to go and check on Leopoldo Lopez. Such is the talent of those in charge, willing to let him die if necessary, in gulag conditions.

I have written that he should stop his hunger strike, no matter how principled that one is because in front he has thugs that are happy to see him go.  They are wrong, they will pay a big price, but they cannot see that, and they would not care anyway. Totalitarian dictators ALWAYS go down taking everyone with themselves.

Now we enter the critical days for Leopoldo Lopez where irreversible damage may happen. Where the worst may happen. I wish I were able to pray. And, by the way, I see a lot of people inside the opposition that claim to pray but do not seem to be doing so.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Cabello's adventures, or when the US of A pays its failed foreign policies

WSJ front page narco national assembly chair Diosdado Cabello was on quite a grand tour this past week. Before we run into all sorts of speculations let's look at the pictures and then stick to the bare facts of the situation. You'll find out, I trust, that things may not be as complicated as you may think.

The little friends Diosdado went to visit were the ones from Brazil: ineffable Lula who has helped actively the red corruption spread all over the continent and,

All smiles, presents exchanged, luncheon awaiting in the back.
The HSBC 14 billion man, the Memsalao/Petrobras man and the NarcoCapo man


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Yardsticks for tyranny

Today the weekly edition of Tal Cual offers us a piece for thought (1). They compared the time spent by Chavez in jail after his coup of 1992 and the one spent by Leopoldo Lopez since he has been accused of who knows what last year, as he is slowly rotting though his hunger strike. I summarize below.

Chavez has the blood of around 60 people on his hands from 1992. And more if we add the failed putsch of November 1992. Then among the targets was the attack of the presidential house which had ONLY the president's family as the president rarely slept there, or the defenseless state TV. Yet he was jailed with all the "respect" due to his middle military rank which included a constant stream of visitors that included from relatives to all sorts of journalists. His opinions on the profane and the divine circulated widely. At times it is true that he was briefly shut out but even then he had access to all possible commodities his detention center could offer and NGO visits as needed. That we know of, no torture report exist on Chavez or any of the people associated with his putsch and detained along him at the time.

Leopoldo Lopez is short three months of the detention time that Chavez served. And yet compared to Chavez his detention time has been truly gruesome. It has included beatings, deprivations, long isolations, denial of visitation for his relatives lawyers NGO journalists and more. All public is international knowledge. He is accused of crimes that he could not have not directly ordered even if he had wanted to.  And the case is so farfetched that he is suffering of denial of justice through a travesty trial which is abundantly denounced even outside of Venezuela. Leopoldo Lopez is currently on hunger strike, Chavez never had to resort to anything of the like. And I am not talking of the dozens of people that have been incarcerated along Lopez who have suffered from torture to other unspeakable horrors.

Then again in 1992 Venezuela was a democracy and today it is a tyranny.

The only question here is how come this fact is not more vocally denounced around the world. What gives? Are ethics so in disfavor today? Has the left so abandoned its raison d'être?

--------------------------------------------------------


1) reminder, Tal Cual was forced through spurious law suits and lack of paper to shut down its daily edition and go to a weekly tabloid format, leaving Venezuela with only two national independent-opposition newspapers, El Nacional and El Nuevo Pais. Period.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

De genocidas y huelgas de hambre

Pienso que ya está bien, que ya Leopoldo y Daniel y los otros presos políticos tienen que terminar una huelga de hambre que logró lo poco que podría lograr. Si es que logró algo en verdad, que esta por verse.

Vamos a hablar claro. Estamos frente a un gobierno que ya se puede calificar de genocida; y cuidado que a través de este blog siempre me he rehusado a usar una palabra tan monstruosa, tan cargada de peso histórico. Es casi una dignificación perversa de atribuir esta palabra al patético elenco criminal que hoy nos desgobierna.

Pero este gobierno ha evolucionado hacia eso, hacia una mentalidad donde no es pecado para ellos eliminar físicamente los que estorban, o sencillamente eliminar los que no gustan.

Empezaron con la lista de Tascon, un apartheid moderno que todavía el mundo civilizado no ha condenado debidamente, a su gran deshonra. Esa lista del odio no solamente se sigue usando después de 10 años pero ha sido constantemente perfeccionada a través de los listados de las Misiones bolivarianas y flujos electorales a nivel de comunas y gremios. De allí se dividió el país nítidamente entre un ellos y nosotros, entre patriotas y apátridas.

Luego empezaron los crímenes. El primer crimen fue el de dejar morir a Brito por su reclamo de tierras. Pero también ha sido un crimen dejar salir una generación de profesionales al exilio, un crimen contra el país, un asesinato al futuro. Como fue un crimen permitir que el trafico de droga se convierta en rutina, que convierta al país en un narcoestado desencadenado la sangría en los barrios que nos dan una matazón con niveles de país en guerra. Todos, todos eso crímenes son imputables a Hugo Chávez pero los pagarán otros.

Pero el ultimo paso hacia el genocidio es la propia indiferencia a la muerte de los inocentes, cuando los poderosos tienen otros menesteres que atender y no se pueden preocupar en buscar siquiera alguna excusa. No es que Hugo Chávez se preocupase en buscar excusas para sus crímenes, pero la repartición de dinero acallaba la conciencia de muchos, incluyendo muchos opositores.

Venezuela ha llegado a este punto revelador porque ahora faltan las medicinas y el gobierno no permite que lleguen.  Ya hay enfermedades que son criticas y el gobierno prefiere que se mueran todos en vez de permitir que se abra un resquicio para que por lo menos algunos puedan importar lo que puedan. Eso se niega porque seria admitir que 15 años de gestión han sido errados, que las arcas están vacías. Pero los genocidas son todos, sin excepción, seres cegados por el orgullo y no se abrirán compuertas. Los jerarcas pueden salir del país a hacer lo que quieran para su salud pero nosotros venezolanos todos estamos condenados a la indiferencia absoluta a nuestras necesidades por parte del gobierno, muriendo en una falsa igualdad, sin que le duela a nadie. Solo se salvarán los que el gobierna decida que se salven.

Llamemos esto "genocidio del siglo XXI".

En toda franqueza ¿alguien en verdad espera que el gobierna evitará que se mueran los huelguistas de hambre? Lo digo con toda responsabilidad, estoy seguro que muchos en el gobierno desean la muerte de Leopoldo y Daniel. No les importa las consecuencias.  Por esto le pido a todos los que están en huelga de hambre que por favor desistan, que busquen otros medios de lucha, que con genocidas no hay chantaje que funcione.


Friday, June 05, 2015

State terrorism in Venezuela

The appearance of Diosdado Cabello on the front page of the WSJ along a few others such as Aragua governor Tarek el Assaimi with a detailed list of all the investigations underway for their links to drug trafficking and what have you reminded us that there is no happy ending in sight for Venezuela. In case you doubted it this week brought us a few examples. I suppose it all started with the rather successful rallies last Saturday in support of Leopoldo Lopez. I was there and I took the panoramic below (Samsung feature).



Sunday, May 24, 2015

Leopoldo Lopez shows us what a selfie should be all about

Leopoldo Lopez from his jail in Ramo Verde has managed to sneak out a video where he calls for a massive protest next Saturday 30th. While himself and Ceballos start a hunger strike.  Let's watch the video first:




Saturday, May 23, 2015

The 400 question

As the Venezuelan currency is in an accelerating downward spiral the real question is not why such a thing is happening; the real question is why would one sell its US dollars for a currency that is becoming more worthless as days pass. I suppose that we could ask the ancillary question of who but we already know that one: the regime, the military, the corrupt "bolibourgeois", the drug launderers and assorted criminals. People with hard earned dollars do not invest them in Venezuela, at most they use them to pay bills they cannot help but pay.

So why sell dollars/euros for bolivars, even if your return rate is 420+ bolivars for one single USD?

Friday, May 22, 2015

400

Official rate, for corrupt narco military only, is still at 6.3
Away from the computer for three days and I come back tonight to see that the Venezuelan black market currency has crossed the 400 line!

Since I left Venezuela the currency has lost more than 25% of its value. I am aghast!

Then again what can you expect? The black market rate crossed the 300 reddest of red lines and yet the regime was busier defending narco creep Diosdado Cabello than taking a sensible, ANY sensible economic measure, ANY.

Expect 500 any time soon. And a 4 digit inflation next year.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The good news bad news silly game

Before I am accused of being once again misleading, there is no good news in Venezuela, even if Diosdado were to be taken in chains today a la Noriega. The country is far too advanced in its decomposition for such an event to be positive on the spot. Witness of that are those people that still manage to bemoan that it is a mistake, that bothering Diosdado with such "attacks" only strengthen chavismo just when finally, just now, really, this time is the one, no kidding, we were going to win elections and reverse the whole thing. It is not that some people never learn, it is that they do not want to learn...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Venezuelan Narco State is getting an international definition

The Wall Street Journal published yesterday the first comprehensive account on the multiple investigations in the USA on Venezuela's drug traffic links, and possible long term consequences of those. In Spanish here for free for those who do not have subscription in English. Short English Reuters note here. (1)
National Assembly President,
soon on the "most wanted list"?

Of course there is nothing new here for those who have been following closely Venezuela here. Already ABC in Spain has run into trouble for accusing Diosdado Cabello to be the head of the main drug cartel of Venezuela. What is noteworthy in the WSJ work of Cordoba and Forero is the compilation nature of the thing, of not unnecessarily stressing the role of Cabello. The implications are frightening: the tentacles of drug trafficking that Chavez allowed go much, much deeper than what anyone may suspect, even today.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Voluntad Popular scores

Preliminary results indicate that for all efforts of the regime to silence Voluntad Popular, for all efforts of the opposition to lower the aspirations of the "upstart", Leopoldo Lopez's vehicle may have taken up to 25% of the seats attributed yesterday. At least 10 of the 42 to be decided. Thus the good scores of the municipal elections of 2013 are confirmed. Voluntad Popular is the party that represents the "hard core" vocal opposition, and growing. Imagine if Lopez had been able to campaign or even if his supporters had not been thrown to jail or even murdered. If we add to it the support of Maria Corina Machado and Ledezma, well, the "traditional" opposition is less and less convincing. Never mind the fading star of Capriles.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Capitalism as seen from chavismo

Chavistas have an odd way to look at capitalism. On one hand they are the most savage of capitalist, looting the national treasury in a way that would make blush the worst robber barons of the XIX century. Robber barons who would, by the way, leave at least a track of material achievements behind them, or at least will endowments; something yet to be seen by our home grown barons who limit themselves to subsidize equestrian joints where they can show off their own horses. Ain't it so Andrade?  But if on one hand they have no problem white washing 2 billions in Andorra or refuse to account on how the government "lawfully" spent 12 billion through HSBC, they have no problem telling us how bad capitalism is.

None will reach the summit of Chavez saying that capitalism destroyed life on Mars (yes, the planet) but gems of idiocy keep popping up. Maduro is a particularly well talented student for whom I have high hopes that he will come up with something even worse than the Mars idiocy. His latest account on how capitalism changed Venezuela in the last 100 years is for the annals. You will find out the following:

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Youtube campaign: those are the candidates you need to vote for inside Venezuela

Not that it makes any difference at this point. Not that I wrote yesterday that I was standing this election out for many reasons.  However I also wrote that the candidates I wanted were either in jail, or trying to get those in jail out while waiting their turn inside jail. Well, there is such a candidate. Those are the ones you need to vote for if you want Venezuela to have any hope to change for the better. The rest is, well, bullshit.



PS: for full disclosure sake, this is not my district, henceforth not a direct endorsement. And I am out of the country so I could not vote anyway for a primary assuming that my district had a primary which is not the case. But in Yaracuy the opposition has done an excellent job at disqualifying itself long ago. Had I found a convenient registration center I probably would have moved my registered center to Caracas...

Friday, May 15, 2015

VN&V will not cover the coming legislative elections in Venezuela

Now that I may have gotten your attention, this is not entirely true. But what is true is that it is not worth my time covering elections which are a fraud on so many levels, from so many sides. And yet vote we must.

First, to make things clear, it is not that I am not up to task, 5 years ago my predictions went quite close to the mark, to two seats from the actual result.  The prediction gathered out of the regime gerrymandering huge advantage and assorted bonus was on the mark. We know the consequences of that vote.

But then I had material to work on. If previous electoral results were not reliable they still could be used to establish trends. If pollsters were weak and underfunded, and even questionable, they still could be used for trends. There were independent papers so you could sense the mood. Regional papers in particular were useful for those who were not Caracas navel gazers.  I even had some contacts.

All of this is gone.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

300

I am not referring to the title of a rather trashy movie purposely showing enhanced muscular bodies fighting it out with alleged Persians in dreadful drag. I am referring to a trashy banana republic that is unable to keep its economy inside the mere decency bounds where its citizens can hope to keep some of the value of their work. If they have any.



The US dollar has finally reached in the parallel/black market the 300 mile post {official rate is still the unbelievable 6.3 but nobody but the corrupt military can have access to it, of course}. Since I am out of the country in a place of bounty and mental partial recovery (because worrying sick that nothing happens to the S.O., to work, to relatives and to what not in no particular order as peace cannot be found even away) I have no time to go into the minutiae. I will just remind you that on February 25 I was writing about the bicentennial bolivar so on your own you can assess by yourself the effectiveness of Maduro's economic policies through March and April to restore trust and confidence in the economy of Venezuela.

But was amazes me further, even this far away, is the stupidity of the regime in admitting almost unwillingly that their policies have failed truly miserably. That is they have announced this week that the official dollarization of the economy has started. Since the regime is bankrupt and since they cannot even buy cars for their public administration routine, well, they decided to allow Ford motor corporation to start operating again selling cars in US dollars INSIDE Venezuela. How people are going to get highly expensive dollars to buy them I cannot figure out nor I am in a mind set to figure out from afar. And it ain't the point. The point is that the regime has started allowing for the sale of big ticket items in currency of the most reviled empire, the one for which a month ago they were still trying to collect gazillions of fraudulent signatures to bring to Panama to shame Obama.

The point is that the regime is accepting that they have reached the end of the road.

And the unraveling may be faster than expected. Already the Ford Trade Union wants to get paid in USD...  Note that trade unions in Venezuela are particularly corrupt, but again, I digress...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Today is Leopoldo Lopez second birthday in jail

And I have nothing best to offer but a repost of what I wrote a year ago.

Unbearably actual.

----------------------------------------------

Today, after soon three month in jail and no trial in sight, Leopoldo Lopez, political prisoner of the regime has his birthday. With the added bonus that his wife has been banned for visit for a while because the regime did not like an interview she gave to ABC in Spain.

So, has Leopoldo Lopez self sacrifice been worth something?

Monday, April 27, 2015

No more dollars for FEDECAMARAS? They never asked for any!

We do not know who writes Maduros's scripts but the last one was a dozy. In his constant search for a scapegoat for his constant piling up of mistakes Nicolas Maduro has decided last week that FEDECAMARAS was guilty of the "economic war" and his retaliation was to cut out their supply of dollars. There are two concurrent ways to look at this.

First, Maduro is an idiot.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What if you inaugurated a new bus line and nobody came?

In a success starved regime anything becomes a great triumph. Thus inaugurating 6 miles of a simple blocked lane for accordion buses is shamelessly termed the most modern transportation system in Latin America. Just as all is crumbling but who's gonna check?

But today you can get killed in Facebook



Hoy pude grabar este video en la inauguración del transmaracay , después de esperar mas de 6 horas esto fue lo q paso cuando llego Maduro
Posted by Julio J. Tovar Ponte on samedi 18 avril 2015

That is right. The presidential bus was only three, passed by in a couple of minutes, and that was that. Chavez years of throngs glory are far, far away. (note: this was passed to me by soemone who actually knows the guy who filmed. Just in case).

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Panama OAS summit for dummies

OK, real quick.

The OAS summit, for Venezuela's Maduro regime it was supposed to be the trashing of Obama and the US.

For the US and Cuba it was going to be the start of something and a positive PR for both battered leaders.

The results?

Friday, April 10, 2015

The money is mine and I'll do what I want to do with it (and, by the way, there is none left)

When I wrote this morning post I did not realize that tonight I would be writing the same one but from a different angle. That is, materially not the same at all, but philosophically, so to speak, they are like two drops.
He is taking away your credit card

My point this morning was that the presence of CNE's head Tibisay at a political event Wednesday to "validate" 10 million signatures obtained though coercion meant that the opposition could dream on winning future legislative elections, the regime could not care less. There are alternative ways to legislate or annul newly elected representatives through, say, popular will expression through "certified" signatures of the "El Pueblo". After all, if Obama and the OAS have nothing to object of the signatures this week end, why should they object to future signatures?

Strong with that success, the regime forged ahead and announced today that travel money would be reduced to almost nothing, and that in addition it would be reserved only to those that are already in agreement with the regime.  It may not look quite like it on the surface but that is the way it is heading. Again, as is the case this morning, the point is not whether there are elections. Today is not whether there is money in the coffers: whatever is there is for the regime. Period.

Fake signatures in lieu of votes, popular clamor in lieu of democracy

So Maduro will present 10 or 13 or 3 million signatures in Panama today. To Obama, to the public or to the dumpster. Does it matter?
Sending the message that votes are unnecessary 

The shame has continued unabated. Even my personal one. I have almost forced my S.O., a sickly public worker, to go an sign the Maduro farce in a way to be seen by his co-workers, to make sure he does not raise any suspicion at work, to make sure he does not compromise his job, to make sure he does not risk his health insurance. We are not proud but we live in a dictatorship. I can afford not to sign, he cannot because my means do not allow me to support him financially 100%, the more so that the bolivarian revolution is homophobic and contrary to many other LatAm countries has no provision for same sex couples so I cannot put him on my insurance, my retirement, my inheritance, etc. In many other countries there are such possibilities now, but bolivarian Venezuela is probably the most backward country now in South America. Then again homophobia is but one of the many tools of subjection available to fascism.

But my personal shame made me digress.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Thundering Twittering Terror

So the OAS summit is about to start.  A lot of clouds are announced, then again nothing may happen. And then again the unexpected may take place. Should we care? I do not need to enter much into that as there is a perfectly good, perfectly complete, perfectly short piece that covers all that you need to know on the Panama gathering, In case you think it is relevant for the future.

Instead let's talk about Maduro's understanding of the situation. Inasmuch as we can even dare making an educated guess about the primary feeling that has taken possession of his psyche. Because I assume that Maduro at least had at some point the smarts of a courtier. That does not mean that he is intelligent, he is not. But at least he had the necessary wiles and instincts to rise inside the Cuban imperial court and the Chavez proconsul court to reach the title of viceroy of Venezuela, no small feat.

Fun Poll result

I took the opportunity of Easter week, traditionally the lowest readership week with the one between Christmas and New Year, to run a poll.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It is not truth or dare in Caracas, it is scream and dare

One has to wonder, and somehow admire, the chutzpah of Maduro promising to go all the way through his signature collection to bring them to Panama and humiliate Obama. That nearly magnificent obsession clogs everything else in the state news, even though the whole world already knows that most of those signatures in Venezuelan have been drawn under pressure, something that does not seem to register in chavismo. We are actually getting war reports: "we reached 6.2 millions signatures today", highlighting the exquisite love of chavismo for decimal points as if that detail made the numbers more trustworthy...
Beach, red, storms...........

The latest today is that Maduro found it to be a great idea to send squads of PSUV militants to the beaches of Venezuela, crowded for the Holy Week holidays, to ask scantily clad people to sign up...  I wonder whether there is any sense of ridicule left anywhere inside chavismo. Don't they realize that declaring the need to go to pester people at the beach is itself an admission that the signature drive has not been the success they hoped for?

For good measure Maduro also decided that March 9 (Obama's executive order date) should be declared from now on "anti imperialistic day" or something like that. I hope it is a paid holiday just in between Carnival and Easter week!  You know, those 5 weeks of lent can be long...


Monday, March 30, 2015

Masochist Felipe Gonzalez goes to Venezuela (and he has followers)

And he certainly found all the sadist he can wish for inside chavismo. Since Gonzalez announced he will volunteer to be in the defense team of Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma the improprieties thrown at him, live on television preferably, can only be matched by the constant character assassination on these two prisoners.
With Europe behind?

It is indeed rather horrendous to watch on Venezuelan state TV how these people are excoriated, without any right to reply, not even with the courtesy of having a journalist exposing distortedly their point of view. In fact it is going to the point that RT (Russia Today) and TeleSur make joint "documentaries" on the world aggression against Venezuela and Russia. Forget Glasnost, welcome back Der schwarze Kanal.

The source of all that anger is that ex premier Gonzalez of Spain, the one that did the most to bring Spain tot he XXI century standards has decided to join the defense team of Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma (and by implication of all political prisoners). And he has been joined by other heavy weights already: former Brazil president Cardoso, former Peru president Garcia, former Mandela's lawyer and Canadian justice minister Colter. I suspect the list will grow.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Preparing the OAS Panama summit, at Raul's good will

Now, before anyone says anything I am a great fan of Andres Oppenheimer from the Miami Herald whose columns and books on Latin America are a must read. But his latest OpEd piece has a je ne sais quoi off.

At first glance his argument is impeccable; Obama should use the next variety of meetings in the Americas to start a rapprochement with some of the countries in difficulty, mainly ailing Brazil (the biggie is OAS in Panama April 10) . Certainly since September 11 the US has been distracted from Latin America and others have step in to pick up the slack, namely China buying and pushing up the commodities market.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The renovated Tascon list

I know, I know...  It has been over a week I have not written, all sorts of things happening.  But I have other preoccupations and, at any rate, the dice have been thrown, we are waiting to see where will they roll to. Besides, in case you forgot, a blog is not a source of news but an informed source of opinion, at best.

I could tell you about my ordeal to find medication for 4 different treatments I am supposed to take. I had to look for them in about a dozen pharmacies in Caracas and about half a dozen in San Felipe. In the end I could sort of put together with substitutes and incompletes three of them, Fortunately none was vital, one was preventive and one "just in case" otherwise I probably would not be typing today.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A thank you note to President Barak Obama and Senator Marco Rubio

I suppose that it will seem weird to read that I am thanking at the same time both sides of US political divide. Or that, for that matter, I am picking Senator Rubio over, say, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. But please, bear with me, those will be, at the end, mere details.

What you have achieved in Venezuela, the Senator and his allies by forcing passage of a sanction law against Human Rights violators in Venezuela, and the President by finally applying it to 7 serious cases (and more to come?), is quite remarkable even if right now the casual observer may think it to be a diplomatic disaster for the US. Like many an historical good and well intentioned initiative from the US this one came out in a rather clunky presentation and on the surface seems to have united Latin America around its atavic anti US posture. Some even say that Maduro is reinforced, that the opposition received a patriotic blow that could endanger the electoral results of this year. All this is irrelevant.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Frontal, primitive, homophobia inside chavismo: Bernal as poster boy

I have been telling you that chavismo is homophobic, strongly homophobic, as are all these authoritarian to neo-totalitarian systems. Today the words of representative Bernal would have him resign within 24 hours from his public positions in any civilized country. Of course, in Russia or Iran those words could be considered as wise, I suppose. But in Venezuela unfortunately it may not go further than the twitter storm tonight.
Bernal (left) is not the lone
homophobe inside chavismo

Freddy Bernal, former mayor of Caracas and now one of its National Assembly representatives, has always been a violent character, from his previous support to coup mongers like Chavez, to organizing the "colectivos" of Caracas which are nothing but an armed thug militia. Under his 8 years tenure Caracas went, of course, from bad to worse, but the regime did establish a firm rein on the political activities within. Now, for example, an opposition politician cannot go publicly to Bolivar square downtown for some wreath ceremony.

To add insult to injury Bernal is also a former cop, of the corrupt type. And now he is in charge of some commission to restructure police in Caracas. Whatever, the man has no credibility outside the groups that need dirty jobs done at which he seems to excel. Unfortunately he is a public figure, an elected representative and as such his position would require a minimum of self control. One thing is to insult Obama and the US for political expediency, another one is to admit that gay Venezuelans are second class citizens. Let's look at his words. In an interview today at pro regime Globovision he said the following:

Friday, March 13, 2015

That South African feeling...

Unfuckingbeleivably there are those among the opposition that actually think we should condemn the US for the "sanctions" against a whole brunch of crooks and criminals. Apparently that opposition light, which I shall not mention at this time so embarrassed I am by them, would want us to support the regime in this particular issue, brandishing useless arguments like "avoiding" an enabling law that would "give more power" to Maduro. Apparently there are people that still are not aware we live under a dictatorship, a new type of course, but a tyranny nevertheless.

That a portion of the opposition is unable/unwilling to make a campaign stating the obvious, that the sanctions ARE NOT AGAINST Venezuelans, just against corrupt/human rights abusers Venezuelan officials, has to be considered as either mental laziness, sheer stupidity or outright corruption.

I am reminded that once upon a time there was that argument in favor of limiting sanctions against the apartheid government of South Africa, that the people would suffer more than the whites, etc. Eventually it was ANC and the people that demanded tougher sanctions, that they were willing to put up with the consequences in the search for freedom. That was a courageous people! And in the end they won.

I would hate to compare Venezuela to South Africa, their epic being of a different nature. But comparison points abound. The Venezuelan regime is based on a political apartheid. Only those associated with the regime benefit from it. There is no justice for any side, which is an obvious suffering for the opposing side but also visible for the regime side as none inside can express any criticism under the risk of a worse fate than the actual opposition critic. The differences are also notable: at least the Afrikaners did run a solid economy that took years to be affected by the sanctions. Corruption in Venezuela goes beyond the pale as I cannot think of any regime in the past century that has been as corrupt as the Venezuelan one today.

But in the end the big difference is that we have a spineless leadership that is willing to put up with a lot as long as they can keep some of the chips. And a populace that the regime has learned to control though hand outs, something that the apartheid never truly could manage  because of its "racial superiority ideology" rather than the plain scoundrel ideology that drives our locals...

Today the opposition should be in unison demanding that more and more Venezuelan corrupt officials be pointed, no matter what the repressive risks are. Instead there is either a deafening silence or an actual support. Few have the guts to speak out, clear and loud. As long as we have leaders like Ramos Allup of Henri Falcon, and even Capriles that seems to wake up a little bit lately, but too late, we will never get rid of the tyranny. As long as the populace is willing to accommodate itself with long lines, murdered students, lack of medicine while refusing to talk real principles of universal equality, we have the fate we deserve.

I admire more than ever Mandela and his people.

PS: I, for one, thank Obama`s administration and demand that the whole list of sanctions is made public and expanded. I wish he had started earlier, but at least he has started.

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