Monday, December 26, 2016

And now what?

I have been avoiding it, but it is time to think about what these last weeks mean for Venezuela. Whether we like it, political tectonics are at work and January announces itself as a very difficult month, though January may start before December 31. To try to simplify this a little bit let's start with what apparently not even tectonic forces can change.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Such a sad Christmas

This is the saddest Christmas I have ever seen in Venezuela. Admittedly Christmas may be sad for some according to family or health issues, but the country as a while still somehow manages to get into the spirit. But this year people gave up. They just gave up.

How could it be otherwise? People do not even have enough cash, literally, for shopping the Christmas essentials. In Venezuela that would be to build up an Hallaca, the Christmas dish. And even if you had enough banknotes, or a well furbished checking account, there are so many staples that cannot be found or are so far out of reach that many this year will have no hallaca on their plates. And many will simply have little on their plate. Period.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Grinch that DID steal Christmas

On November first Nicolas Maduro announced that Christmas had started and he went as far as already lightening up the traditional cross on the Avila mountain which is normally turned on December 1. Well, since then he did his utmost to wreck the Christmas of joy he promised in spite of shortages, crime and what not. After what happened this week, he has definitely wrecked Christmas for all, without possible redemption by December 24.

The news of today are dramatic, and even tragic as there is at least one dead protester/looter. At this point people are hungry and frustrated enough so the line between looter and protester is easily crossed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

And give us our everyday chaos

This could well be the chavista prayer because these people truly thrive in chaotic conditions. Well, not always but they certainly manage better than most.

As expected it was pandemonium today. Banks were closed Monday as per legal banking holiday several Mondays a year. So we had to wait for this morning to appreciate fully the effect of the crazy measure of last Sunday when Maduro annulled the 100 Bs, banknote, the highest denomination of a country deep in inflation.  Let me put it this way: the bank next to our office had a long line outside all day long, and that line was almost as long as the line for toilet paper that happened to arrive at the grocery store next door.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Deliberate chaos: the first post modern cashless society. Not!

There are so many things that need to be discussed but my lifestyle, so to speak, forbids me to find the time for the blog. Yet tonight I must write to describe what is probably the most unjust, craziest, measure the regime has taken to date. And they did take a lot of those in the past.  But this one will hurt so many poor people that the mind reels at the idea on how a regime intentionally for the people has become now a regime against the people.

Today's bomb shell is the demonetization of the 100 tender in Venezuela.  Why, oh why?

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Dialogue ante-mortem

I am going to comment a short note by Carlos Ocariz, the mayor of Eastern Caracas, a masterpiece of political conciseness. This will explain perfectly why there is no hope that a dialogue can ever happen between the regime and anyone else.




Translation, step by step, with my comments.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

In two tweets, the collapse of Venezuelan economy

Two tweets, one from November 21 and one this morning this morning, November 30


(word play on Chavez promising that his revolution would last with him at the helm until the year 2012, his version of the thousand years Reich).

Monday, November 21, 2016

Obama's debacle

I used to be upset when people in the US were surprised that I did not like spicy food. For them, we in Lat Am ate all Mexican spicy hot. Venezuela has actually a rather bland cooking, and hot is preferred by few for a few only.

I am reminded of that because as I am watching the Trump transition I am starting to get cold shivers. I am afraid that those Trump will put at National Security and State are going to see everything South of the Rio Grande as, well, the same thing. Just make a big wall and the US will be juuuust fine.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Divisional Perplexity in Caracas

Confused about the rather dismal "dialogue" results, and further confused by the strange reactions to these results (besides the previsible ones in Twitter from Miami demanding that we go without fault tomorrow to burn down Miraflores Palace) I have been trying to understand what the heck is going on.

In a word: divisions.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The triumphant failure of the dialogue in Venezuela

I suppose that there must be somewhere a grand design to all of this. That we are asked to swallow hard because it is all for the best. That we should trust the Vatican envoy when he is in ecstasy about the progress made. Or is it that he is claiming victory as he is on his way to the airport to leave once and for all?

So let's look at what I think is a dismal result for two weeks of expectations. I never hoped for much but this is, well, words fail me. Let's see if I can try to explain it by doing a positive and negative spin to the 5 "points of agreement" reached today.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Obama wrecks Venezuelan dialogue, Trump will not revive it

{UPDATED}
So here we are, at the famous November 11 deadline where supposedly we should evaluate the advances made by the "dialogue" started on October 30th. Listen carefully for the results, you may hear the crickets.

A letter to disapointed Clinton supporters aimlessly loitering

You are idiots. There was an election, you lost. That Hillary got more popular vote is irrelevant: it is a federal country, a union of 50 countries and thus the will of a majority of former independent countries is a must, like it or not. This is the reason of the electoral college and trust me, in a presidential system like the US you need all what you can to make it harder the election of a president and control him/her. Instead of rioting in the streets think about what else could you have done to get more votes for Hillary. Did you canvass enough? Did you offer to carry people to voting stations? Did you attend fervently Hillary meetings, or those from her surrogates? Did you at least make sure to let your family and acquaintances know that because you were gay/black/latino/etc. their vote for Trump would affect you directly? How long did it take you to shift from Bernie to Hillary?

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

48 hours of dialogue and it ain´t looking good. Unless...

I am not opposed to political dialogue. It has proven its worth through history. It could, on paper, be a good thing for Venezuela. I do not think it is because in historical dialogues either side had something to lose and did not want to lose it all. Here chavismo is of the scorched earth orthodoxy and they prefer to bring everything down before surrendering any piece of power. Reasons are multiple, from the knowledge of many of them ending up in jail were the regime to collapse to simply the castroite brain washing of a particularly virulent totalitarian nature, of tyrants long used to living out of thin air in a island cum concentration camp system.

In short, I believe in dialogue when there is the knowledge that both sides have something to lose or win, and when there is a dutiful respect on the symbols attached to such difficult endeavor. Visibly the first criteria is not met here, and the second criteria, on symbolism, was f....d up from the start as I reported Sunday night. Thus let's see what the first 48 hours have brought.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dialogue-schmuckalogue

Today finally the first face off between the regime and the opposition under Vatican and Unasur guidance was held. Allow me to be deeply pessimistic about the prospects by just looking at the first picture.



What is wrong with that picture? Or if you prefer, what could possibly go wrong when the first scene of that movie is the one above?

Maduro IS PRESIDING!!!!!!!!! And far removed from anyone else!!!!!!

Symbols matter. Even more so when dialogue to avert civil wars are undertaken.

Here we have the guy who is the psychological focus of all that has been going wrong since Chavez died, and he is presiding? How could the opposition accept to sit down with Maduro? One thing is to try to dialogue with Maduro's people, another is to discuss under his direct oversight. At a moment when Maduro is cornered and totally done overseas, such a picture gives him a new legitimacy at home. The more so that only state TV is showing news on the scene, and manipulating the whole thing at will.

I am haggardly in shock. Well, until I found my way to this key board anyway.





Friday, October 28, 2016

7 ways to tell if a strike is a success

Today the opposition has called for a work stop for individuals. The regime is in full propaganda mode to claim that the move is a failure. The opposition claims it is a success. So here are 7 items to figure out whether it was a success

1- It is NOT a strike, nor a lock out. What the opposition did was to ask folks to stay put at home between 6 AM and 6 PM.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The splendors of well aged chavismo

Thus we are in the middle of a social, economic and, thus, political crisis of major proportions. The regime assuredly thinks about what to do to counter an opposition that has been setting up the agenda for quite a while now. After a massive brain storm they come up with a minimum wage increase of 40% . I think, I cannot even be bothered to check whether it is 40 or X: it makes no difference.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The rebellion has started

What else could the regime expect today after the annulation of all elections? Or is is it what the regime hoped for? And will it still be of any use for the regime this late a confrontation?

A fraction of the river of people in Caracas today October 27 2016

What has happened today is transcendent, on many aspects.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Our Reichstag moment



This is the tropics, this is a banana republic. What else could one expect but the picture above which should be making a few international front pages tonight.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Recall Election gone. So what?

I suppose I should write about the annulation of the Recall Election.  I had guessed long ago that it would not happen. The intensity of the dislike toward Maduro is so strong, even among chavistas, that the regime could not allow CNN document the huge lines that would have formed for three days this week.  They had no stomach for that, it was better to use an idiotic legal sophistry and send it all ad patres.

To concur with the prevalent head line this week end that Venezuela is officially a dictatorship is an hypocrisy. I have long said it so and I am actually upset at some people having trying to avoid the D world finally pouting it. As if annulling the Recall Election was more despicable than, say, having political prisoners, forcing those freed into exile, stealing the budget of the nation, and more,

I will just comment on how ridiculous the pretext to kill the Recall Election was. In short, a sub judge in Podunk decided that the CNE had not done its job to vet all the signatures for the 1% collection to start the process. The ridicule, of declaring themselves incompetent through their beloved electoral ministry, CNE, is something they cannot worry about anymore. The obsessive objective is to never leave office. All considerations be dammed.

That is all that there is to it.

Now what?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

So? Can we all agree on the D word?

This is kind of a melancholy post. For years now I have been calling this a dictatorship. It took sometime to start seeing it expressed in the foreign press. And even as I type there are some in Venezuela or overseas (I am looking at you, Zapatero just for today's denialist) that still refuse to use the D word, expecting who knows what leniency from who knows where.

UPDATED Asking for help in getting medical assistance

UPDATE: this entry will remain on top for the time being and be updated as needed. Poltical ones below as they appear.
#1 update

Monday, October 03, 2016

The happy-go-lucky dictatorial news of the day

So the regime of Nicolas Maduro has a problem: how to pass the 2017 national budget controlled by the opposition held National Assembly? Really, if we cannot loot in peace, what good is the revolution for!?

Sunday, October 02, 2016

A ¡NO! for reason

I have read so many idiots in the last three hours that I am forced to write about the Colombien plebiscite of today. Never mind that it will also have consequences for Venezuela.
When you go on vacation to Cartagena and think you
have been whitewashed by your travel agent

I heard "Brexit again! Trump next!"
I read the NYT being shocked
I see people wondering how could Colombians be so stupid, ungrateful, war loving folks!?

So let´s bring some of that hubris down, shall we?

First, the idiots doing amalgam. Today's vote in Colombian is not remotely close to the conditions of Brexit or Trump. Colombia is a, partially, warn torn country where everyone knows first or second hand the consequences of decades of a FARC guerrilla cum narko organization. Most people who voted in Colombia knew full well what they were voting for even if using the same facts led to different choices. With Brexit and Trump we have people that do not have enough problems in their real lives and are thus looking for new ones.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tienes derecho a tu opinion pero tengo derecho a no respetarla

El régimen chavista ha trabajado mucho en alterar nuestro idioma para poder imponer sus ideas, debilitar nuestro pensamiento y afectar nuestra ética. Ya George Orwell nos explicaba ese fenómeno totalitario en "1984" o "Rebelión en la Granja".

Options against the dictatorship

I am happy about yesterday annulment of the Recall Election. I know, it is perverse but I have my reasons.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Thy electoral CNE shoe droppeth

There will be a lot of brouhaha in the next days about the ignominious decision of the CNE to do its utmost to violate the constitution in order to block the Recall Election against Maduro. Let me try to make it clear for readers still hanging around here.

1) The motivation in any case is to annul the Recall Election, or in the very worst case push it to 2017 which means that the regime remains in office until January 2019 at the very least.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

There we are not, at freedom

Long time I did not write a summary of what is going on. As usual there is a big yawn along as everything changes fast but everything is, in the end, the same: a gang of thugs will do whatever it is possible to retain power because they know what awaits them once they lose. Nevermind the culture of violence that goes with such mentality where only brute force is the argument. Negotiation? Only to gain time until I finally find a way to screw you once and for all.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

"Margarita follies": a cheap vaudeville in 5 acts

Prologue

PSUV tent city
Courtesy Elides Rojas tweet
In the fair city of Caracas, Henry Ramos gathers a few friends for a big party. Nicolas Maduro is not invited and he tries to sabotage Henry's party by complaining to the police for loud noise, and trying to hold a party of his own on a red shirt theme. His party is a bust: even people walking by Nico's party with red shirts take them off to go to Henry shindig.

Act 1 Nicolas at Pinkyville

Nicolas is furious at Henry and his friends, In particular those with orange shirts that accepted to don white ones at Henry's party. To get fresher airs he decides to go out of Caracas to visit a homestead where he is told lot's of people love him and would have gone to his party had he be willing to foot the cost. Lo and behold, when he reaches Pinkyville he finds his friends very pissed off at him because he took all of their food for his party in Caracas. Furious, they bring out a protest steel band of pots and pans to accompany their protest song. We will never now for sure but there may have been a exchange of more than just insults. Nico must make a quick exit and go back to Caracas swearing that all of these people have been sent by the folks of Henry's party.

Act 2 The revenge of the bitter

Thursday, September 01, 2016

The opposition MUD alliance great political victory

There is no way around it. Today the opposition political umbrella alliance MUD scored a brilliant victory. Here is why.

It resisted all sorts of terrible pressures to prevent the meeting in Caracas, from blockade of people going to Caracas (Sometimes even robbed by soldiers) to the jailing of half the leadership of Voluntad Popular  (And some of other parties for good measure).

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

1S coverage by VN&V

Since last night post things got worse. A bevy of journalists have been barred from entry in or outright expelled from the country (useless unless they also expelled those that are already installed as fixed correspondents). Human Rights organizations count already 37 arbitrary arrests in the last 48 hours. Access to Caracas is nearly blocked. Threats from the regime have reached a new high pitch. Etc.

Still, I think that this is absolutely counterproductive and for anyone that will stay home scared, a newly pissed off one will decide to hit the streets tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Kalends of September for chavismo, or so it seems

The regime has made its business to turn into a fateful day the vast opposition rally planned for next Thursday September 1st. The regime has a lot to lose on that day, but it made sure that its losses would be greater than necessary. And, personally, at this point I do not see how the regime could rake any gain.

It all started when the opposition tired of waiting for a Recall Election date decided to mount a massive protest against Maduro's regime, that is, demanding his exit as soon as possible. Of course, the chosen way is to hold a Recall Election before January 10 2017. The opposition to Maduro has nothing to gain from any unconstitutional settlement of the political crisis: all polls give the opposition soaring numbers since last December stunning electoral victory. Besides, even if the opposition did not enjoy a 70+ against Maduro and wanted to do a stunt, how would it do that? The Venezuelan opposition has been deprived of arms, newspapers, TV, and even of its politicians as many are in jail.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

FARC soon at a Venezuelan arepera next to you

ABC journalist and bete noire of chavismo for all of the insider leaks he has been reporting, Emili Blasco, writes a piece in ABC about how the FARC is preparing its retreat to Venezuela once (before?) any peace treaty is signed with the Santos administration.

Since it is in Spanish a short summary follows, plus what I wrote on that already in 2012:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Esau would get a good deal from Jacob in Venezuela

The new minimum wage increase decreed by Maduro is of course a fraud. No need to insult the gentle reader reminding him or her that the inflation has already pre empted any increase Maduro may give us; and the relatively large but very insufficient increase will not solve the workers purchasing power problem while adding yet more fuel to inflation. Only chavistas do not know that, or worse, do not care about that.

The new minimum wage is officially 22,576 VEB. At the SICADI exchange of today we see that the VEB is at 645 to the USD. In short the minimum wage is officially 35 USD PER MONTH.

There goes the glorious bolivarian revolution in the name of workers.

And do not complain, I could have used the black market rate of 1,007 instead of 645 because that is the only one I can use to buy dollars with my 22,576 VEB. It would be, well, 22 USD.  How people can live off such a paltry amount is a mystery beyond belief, less than 1 dollar a day.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Me and Hillary

Around US election time I allow myself a post where I express my opinion. I am of those who think that foreigners should have a say in the US election since we will all pay the consequences of that vote. But of course, there goes another utopia. Also, I get a lot of flack from such posts, mostly from right wingers that understand any critical view of Republican candidates as pure and simple communism making Chavez too good for me, and... (more follows from puffed red faces that I can easily imagine from the comments).

Not for me at this point in life to be deterred by such comments, the more so that blogging has become an occasional hobby for me. So there I go.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

No recall election in 2016: one hidden motive

As a supplement of yesterday's post where I explained why there would not be a Recall Election , or any election for that matter, we got some declarations today that definitely rule out a recall election in 2016. That is, these declarations technically do not rule out such a referendum but they describe very well that chavismo simply will not accept a recall election before January 10, 2017. After, we'll see but do not get your hopes high and at any rate it would be useless, ta-ta...

Now let's look at what is "new" today. Nothing really, just more clarity, so to speak.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Recall Election all but over

Today the head of the electoral board, CNE, Tibisay Lucena announced that "if all goes well" the gathering of the 20% signature from the registered electors could take place late October. TRANSLATION: even if the 20% is gathered late October there will not be enough time to fend off legal challenges so that the Recall Election is held before January 10 2017. If the recall election is held after that date and even if 90% vote to oust Maduro, his serving vice-president will replace in office to complete the two years in the presidential term.

In other words the regime has announced that there is no way they will risk a presidential election before December 2018. And if you still do not get it, the current cabinet of musical chairs will remain presiding over the country until January 2019 at the earliest.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Narko-Radikalismus

When everything fails, repeat it all. In particular the parts that clearly are rotten at the root.

This is what Maduro has done last week.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Corruption creativity

Two short posts this week end, for your reading pleasure. The first one on corruption latest updates.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

When the statist state runs out of ideas (and other's people money)

AS expected the rise of general Vladimir Padrino as co-president of Maduro has changed nothing. After all Venezuela has been a dictatorship for a while, of a new XXI century kind certainly, but a dictatorship nevertheless. It was all just a formality.

Padrino cannot succeed in his attempt at putting food on the table of Venezuelans. His multiple inspections, in combat drag, of food producers have revealed no scandal so far, no hoarding, no lack of manufacturing will. The reason why there is no food production in Venezuela is simple, it is because there is nothing to make food out of.

For better or for worse, and with chavista bred officers it is likely for worse, Padrino seems to have been put there to prepare, or chair, a transition out of Maduro's mess. We already have the first signs on how doomed this might be as clashes between radicals and pragmatists, military and civilians have come to the forefront this past week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Recalling the recall

The news today, allegedly good, is that the CNE would have recognized that the 1% per state required signatures to call for a collection of a 20% required signatures to call for a recall election has been reached. Already from this sentence you know that the Recall Election this year is far from a sure thing. In fact, no matter what this tweet of Ocariz says, the date of a recall election is not going to be set before the January 2017 deadline after which the recall election is deemed useless (1).



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Diary of Venezuelan businesses demise

It is now vox populi that Venezuela is suffering a major politically induced economic crisis which has yielded bread lines and people dead from the lack of medicine. The two root causes are well known. Historically it starts with a dependency on a major resource to feed a dysfunctional patronage and welfare state; oil. Populism has been the continuing line of politics since the late 60ies, a line dramatically expanded by Hugo Chavez since 1998. To this tradition Chavez added incompetency, empty ideas, willful prejudice, corruption and even drug traffic, the lone prosperous industry in Venezuela these days.

It is not the aim of this entry to detail the catastrophe that has befallen Venezuela. I will only write some of the key events that have happened to my business, making it nearly bankrupt not through my own possible incompetency but through regulations that have strangled the life of all private business that are not associated with the corruption of the regime.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Revocatorio, Brexit and other assauts on democracy

This past week we got dramatic examples on the limits of democracy. Let's dispatch Brexit fast as the "revocatorio" will require some details.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A letter to Brexiters who think they are on top

So you won yesterday by a hair thin margin on such a transcendental question. You got rid of Cameron and you probably will get "common man" Boris or Farage as prime minister in charge of dealing all the unpopular mess that is coming your way. But I guess the Sterling Pound today is already having a few of you wondering if they did the right thing. Heck! No more cheap vacations in sunny Europe for the time being.

But if somethings could well change, some others cannot, no matter what you may believe.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's day

It has been a rough week for your truly. On Monday I was mugged with all the problems that this entails for the rest of the week. And the week ends on Father's day, with a melancholy.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Understanding the political moment

I have been back for two weeks now and events are just unfolding too fast for me to write about them, considering the depression that arises from coming back to what has become a hell hole. Let's just order our thoughts together, shall we?
L'air du temps:
Borges getting his nose broken

One way is to look at the main hard data and its effects. The reader on its own will be able to draw the general picture after the fact.


Jail for you

The driving force in this mega crisis is that under the concept of world justice and transparency a few dozens of the higher up in the regime know they will never be able to find peace and solace once out of office. Their fate for them is jail, tomorrow, in a decade, it does not matter. If they do not die first they will end up in jail. They know that.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Scenes of a bitter return

Warning: absolutely non politically correct post follows (á la Trump?)
But real.

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

So, are we invaded or not?

One maddening thing about being overseas is dependency on tweeter to try to follow what is really going on in Venezuela. Except for the honorable mention of El País in Spain the rest of the world has, understandably, more important matters to deal with than a suicidal asshole of a country. And yet even French TV, the all news channels that is, find time between the ridiculous "Nuit Debout" with their spoiled trade unions protests and Egyptian  mystery planes to cover recent Venezuelan events.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The developping coup

You need to keep following closely what is going on in Venezuela. Any distraction, the more so if you are overseas like yours truly these days, and you may miss the gran finale.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Time's up

UPDATED: unknown to me as I was typing this overseas, Maduro was in cadena announcing a new emergency decree rendering moot the National Assembly and annuling Recall Election efforts for all practical purposes. In short confirming all that I wrote below.
....................
I have the feeling that the fall of Dilma in Brazil is going to speed up the conclusion of the Venezuelan farce. For the Narko-Cubano-Colonial regime action is required before the Temer presidency gets a chance to settle in. Not that the odds are with Temer, but Raúl and Maduro simply cannot take the chance.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

1%, a world in a number

I have been very distracted by many problems and now I am overseas, among other objectives, to fetch medicines not available anymore in Venezuela for me and my SO (and others). But I could not pass on a brief comment on what should be called the 1 % affair that was held as I fixed to leave the country.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Genocidal class warfare in Venezuela

Last week I took the S.O. to his monthly chemotherapy. We were late by almost two weeks while he was dealing with side effects of the preceding cycle. Thus it had been nearly two months. The place is an ample room with about 15 comfy chaises for patients and an extra chair for accompanying people. Usually it is full and often we had to wait up to an hour for our turn.

What was my surprise to see that only two other chairs were taken and that the S.O. went straight to a chair of his choice!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How long can Maduro hold?

The annulation of the Amnesty Law was so predictable that I did not bother with a post. Twitter was enough. However, what is worth a post is a meditation on how long a kleptocracy cum drug trafficking regime can hold it together.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

And they shall go to jail

I am not sure if people outside Venezuela truly measure how miserable it is to live here. However one thing is certain, the political situation makes it impossible for things to improve any time soon. Even more certain are the odds of things getting worse. The photo below is National Assembly chair Ramos Allup showing on TV the picture of the defense minister Padrino Lopez in bowed deference to Fidel. This is the clearest sign that the confrontation with the regime is reaching pitch fork level.


Why is this picture, which has widely circulated in the web months ago, back in front?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Onward the final constitutional crash: amnesty law and high court reform

The Easter lull came and went without making much of a difference.  The "calima" suffocated us in Caracas while the country went on a standstill to try to spare a few meters from the water gauge of the Guri dam, before El Niño, and regime's utter incompetence, forces a shut down of 50% of the country's electricity.



But the country is back at work, as much as it is possible, and the National Assembly has started the road to open confrontation not only with the executive, but on the true meaning of the Venezuelan constitution, as this one may be.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Karadzic para luminarias chavistas

Hoy nos enteramos que el serbiobosnio Radovan Karadzic ha sido sentenciado en la corte internacional de La Haya por crímenes de lesa humanidad y genocidio en las matanzas de Srebenica. La justicia tardo 20 años en llegar para los musulmanes de Bosnia, pero llegó. Amen que la sentencia coincide con una era de injustificada ira contra los musulmanes decentes por parte de gente como Trump y Cruz, o los políticos populistas de extrema derecha en Europa. Es justicia para los musulmanes de Bosnia que eran en esa época, posiblemente, los mas civilizados, los mas a tono con los valores de democracia hasta que un nacionalismo de corte fascista se empecino en destruirlos. Los crimines de Karadzic contribuyeron en algo al extremismo actual del islam radicalizado.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chiming on Brazil [file under "famous last words" section]

This one is short.

Chiming on US primaries

Every 4 years I write something about the US election for which I get a lot of flack, in particular from the right (you know who you are). But since I am used to it and since US election does affect Venezuela, I will go ahead any way (disclaimer: already in 2008 I was with Hillary, so there; keep reading at your own risk).

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Back to the XIX century

Regular readers may remember that often I wrote that chavismo was a mere reactionary movement, harking back to an ideal time of macho caudillos and independence wars. That violence and poverty ruled over Venezuela from 1805 until Gomez established the first stable regime of our history is apparently not an historical fact that chavistas can be bothered with: all that is wrong in Venezuela comes exclusively from the 1958-98 period and the evil empire up North.

Well, chavismo should be delighted because we are getting back to these halcyon days of robber barons (cheap ones, not rich ones as in the US) and grinding poverty. Four items to frighten you.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Tumeremo

The story that has been unfolding in the mining region of Bolivar state is yet a new low for the bolivarian regime. all corruptions, all abuses, all cruelty seem to have somehow managed to meet there.

I am not going to go into details. the executive summary is as follow.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mid March, and the march to abyss continues

Regular readers might be wondering about the sparse recent posting compared to the flurry early this year. Many reasons but it is not the point. Time to update things a little

Cruelty of the regime

Sunday, March 06, 2016

I faced fascism

I have been the victim of a robbery. I am physically fine but morally deeply wounded. Not from the material loss, although my wedding band was stolen as my partner faces deadly cancer, which by itself is enough to send me to a dark place.

What truly did me in was the way it happened.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The evil that circles us

Today Leopoldo Lopez had an OpEd piece published in the Washington Post. The piece may seem short on specifics for us here in Venezuela but we are not the audience. The audience is the US political class in its time of trial during primary season, to let them know that on inauguration day the worst problem in the Western Hemisphere awaiting them will be the humanitarian crisis that is starting in Venezuela this past few weeks. The silence of the US has helped a lot Venezuela become a failed state as Lopez letter implies.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Not amused

I am watching and reading some of the news on Venezuela, slightly bemused. Apparently they are so unbelievable for the civilized world that one would be forgiven to think that Venezuela: survivor is just your latest reality show fade, somewhere between the Kardashians for its bad taste and Chopped for its cut throat run for food. My favorite of the day comes from a segment from yesterday nightly news (the big one at France 2) which starts with a food line. Yet readers of this blog have seen much more impressive lines filmed by yours truly, in this blog or Instagram.

But it is getting serious and CÑN tonight had a title with "no bread in Venezuela".

It is true and it is not amusing.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Musings on the pharmaceutical genocidal debacle

Thinking about what I wrote last night, giving Maduro a D-. I realized that I was too generous, that my Scientific objectivity took above my best judgement. These measures mean nothing, at best it is a way for him to gain a few more weeks until he finds a way to save his ass. Nothing basic will change in the system. That is all.

A brutal slap drove that point a couple of hours ago. In yet another cadena Maduro sat in front of him representatives of the pharmaceutical sector to "restart" production which apparently to  him has unaccountably stopped. Basically he rediscovered the wheel and medicines will churned soon for the great contentment of the people. Unfortunately I wok in the sector and things are not as rosy as he would like el pueblo to believe.

Maduro's economic measures get a D- ; but the objective is elsewhere

Finally, after nearly three years in office, Nicolas Maduro decided (or was it decided for him?) to take some economic measures. Too little, too late. He does not get an F because he dares to increase the price of gas. I suppose that gives him a C for effort, and the rest is F. Before I get into the details it is noteworthy that the measures are announced barely hours after he fired his economic minister (Salas) and failed to put in jail Polar's CEO Mendoza and expropriate the group as radicals wanted. Combine that with the creation of a new monster controlled by the military, CAMIMPEG, and you know that the military are behind the whole thing (but more on that in a future post).

Thus, even if I have other things in my mind these days I need to summarize what happened today to give you guys the real meaning of the whole thing. In no particular order.

Gas price increase. C for effort. F for method. D- for benefits.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Electricity shortage horrors

Before mentioning that I was victim last Friday I am going to mention briefly the last electricity horror shortage.  A few years ago, on account of El Niño, Chavez started an ambitious, no expense spared, plan to generate enough thermal electric energy to save us from the vagaries of the Caroni river from which, if well managed, we could get more than three quarters of our electricity. He went on one of his many idiocies implying that too many dams would dry down the "poor" river as an excuse for all the immense delays on the magnificent planning left by previous governments.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The regime has decided to formally annul the National Assembly of Venezuela

Taking advantage of the half week (after Carnival holidays), that tomorrow there is no session in the Assembly, the high court , TSJ, decided that the vote to reject the Emergency decree of last January was not valid and thus the decree has been valid since January 14.

Voilá!

You are going to need a lot of pennies for my thoughts.  Let's get going.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Friday, February 05, 2016

Bewilderment

This is the feeling since I came back. First, I could not believe the visible degradation in supplies in a mere ten days. Today I did my first grocery shopping with my usual non regulated price items and it was, I kid you not, at least 25% above what I paid last time. More worryingly, since I still can afford for the time being, my deli was out of all but the strict basics. That is, no salami, no biscotto ham, etc...That already meager shelf when compared to more civilized countries was simply empty.

But the bewilderment was stronger as I started catching up with the politics. Oh my, oh my....

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Mille e tre

Se sia brutta, se sia bella

I was in shock today going to my local grocery store after ten days out of the country. I was not expecting any improvement in the scarcity crisis but I was not expecting such clear degradation within a week. After all, the last week in January is the one where we are supposed to reopen business in full after the month and a half closing for the holidays. The least one would hope is that returning products would compensate for disappearing ones, for a few days, until all goes down the drain, say, late February. But it looks that wee will not have that luxury.

Madamina, il catalogo e' questo

I did not have time to look in details, first day at work, but that was I saw, or did not: lots of holes in all shelves. There was no pasta, not even the expensive imported Italian. No dish washing detergent.  No cereal whatsoever, not even some disgusting sugary concoction still available for kids. In fact, Coke had replaced cereal in its shelves. No tuna, even though it has gone a lot in price. Etc...

un catalogo egli è che [Lorenzo, not da Ponte] fatt'io

Friday, January 22, 2016

Emergency decree is down. We may be the better for it

A little bit busy these days so I will be fast.

The regime tried to force through an "economic emergency decree" which was a mere diktat to make communism a reality in 60 days. You could read it all here, before most pundits tired to think about it, or worse, to pretend that there was some redeeming value somewhere. Usually pundits from brainy places like Forbes who can only think about a return on an investment that they were foolish enough to give to a country whose bloggers were active and announcing disaster since 2003. But I digress.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Where to start?

The economic emergency decree?

As readers already know this decree is a fraud and cannot be accepted as presented. The Assembly knows it is a vulgar trap to try to put the blame of the crisis on the opposition (which will not work chavismo is misreading the whole thing badly). So the opposition will examine the decree, and will reject it based on some of its glaring lacks suggesting politely that the regime reviews it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

La mendacidad de Elias Jaua

Es con usted, diputado Jaua

Leo su respuesta a lo que usted llama "infame el editorial de El Nacional".

Yo no voy a entrar en el debate de si la diputada Tamara Adrian oyó lo que ella oyó. Ella sabrá defenderse; y muy bien lo hará porque ella no tuvo nunca los apoyos que usted tuvo y que le permitieron tirar piedras toda su vida quedando impune.

Tampoco voy a especular si la diputada Adriana D'Elia es una lesbiana. Eso es irrelevante, y ni me importa como a usted no debería importarle lo que la gente hace con su vida privada mientras no afecte a otros. Le recuerdo que su vida privada si afecta a otros cuando, por ejemplo, usted hace que la República cubra los costos de viaje de su niñera bien armada.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Argentina and Uruguay to investigate business with Venezuela

Long time faithful reader Milonga from Uruguay has finally accepted to send me a note about what is going on down South with all these elections going on. There is her great article. Enjoy and thank her. Note: we had the pleasure to read her in the past.
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They say all roads take you to Rome. Well, here in Latin America, all roads lead you to Chavez.

When Mauricio Macri was elected, Argentineans started to find out some of the comings and goings of the Kirchner government. For example, take this poultry farm called Red Crest (Cresta Roja), which just went bankrupt and fired 300 workers. It exported to Venezuela and received a 650 dollar subsidy for each ton exported. Also, they were paid by the government for selling their produce underpriced to the local market. And gave them billionaire credits which they can´t pay back to the Bicentenary Bank, due to the fact that Venezuela is not paying its debts. So, in spite of all these benefits, it went broke. Money loaned went to pay for the K political campaign, not to cover up for Venezuelan lack of payment. They did not count on losing the election.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Extraordinarily newsworthy day in the battle for democracy

I thought already when I was writing the communism decree that the regime wants to pass would be quite something already for a single day. I even started publishing it before I finished or corrected such was my state of discombobulation.  But tonight there is yet two more news, maybe more important because that decree can still be rejected by the Assembly. But apparently there are bigger fishes to fry.

President Maduro finally came tonight for his state of the Union. The speech was long, vapid, misleading when not blurting outrageous lies when vaunting the "successes" of 2015. The excitement came through the fact that he showed up when a few days ago it seemed that the rebelliousness of Diosdado Cabello with the support of some judges could carry the day and send the Assembly into nothingness. This can still happen but I have big doubts tonight about it ever happening.

Nationalization of Venezuelan Economy + Bolivarian Corralito

The regime has decided this noon to ask the National Assembly to grant it a decree of "economic emergency" for 60 days, extendable to 60 more. The objective is to face the "economic war" which is what made it lose the election. That economic war modality has never been explained but we were told it was waged on the regime by these nasty capitalist. So it is time to put them under real control.
Minister Salas as he read
the infamous decree against
the economic war, whatever
that is/was/will

Here follows the highlights as I weigh them and at the end I will attempt an interpretation. Note: this decree was issued BEFORE Maduro goes to the Assembly for his State of the Nation speech in a few minutes. I am not commenting all articles.

Article 2.

1- Because of inflation the regime has some budgetary crumbs, it seems, and they will use them at discretion, without need to go through the assembly. The excuse is to maintain the "misiones" working.

2- Confirmation that resources may be used within the budget or outside of it to guarantee welfare of "el pueblo".

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Talking on blog talk radio

My erratic blogging over the past two years has removed the attention from the media. But some do not forget about this blog. Tonight I chatted with Silvio Canto and Fausta of Fausta.

You can listen here, it should be up in about half an hour from this entry time stamp. I hope I was not too exalted...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The plot sickens thickens (add some OAS salt to correct taste)

In brief. The National Assembly today did not hold its scheduled session for lack of quorum: nobody showed up. This is strange because opposition MUD representatives hold a majority large enough to seat on their own, quorum assured.
Maduro's gauntlet?

The thing is that the constitutional crisis/coup is in full swing and all sides needed to take stock and prepare the next move. So, as to not add more oil on the fire, nobody showed up and there was no legal battle on whether the N.A. session was duly cancelled.

What is going on is very simple and comes from many previous posts: the regime is hell bent on annulling the new assembly. To begin with it needs to fire enough MUD representatives so that the opposition loses its 2/3 supernumerary which could jeopardize the number 1 asset of the regime: 100% control over the judiciary branch directed through the high court, TSJ.  This TSJ is composed of assorted goons with a less than stellar career when not implied in previous crimes. This detail is important as we will see later.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Judicial coup for dummies

So I am late into the fray, just learning about an hour ago what the High Court has done today. See, I live in reality. I had a delicate situation with my S.O. and, besides appointments, part of the day was to look all around for rather simple antibiotics, and pain killers and anti inflammatory pills. We found two of them, not the ones recommended by the physician albeit acceptably less suitable alternatives.

In a waiting room I got wind of the declarations of the new minister for urban agriculture. I found the video tonight (at end of this entry). Indeed, she wants everyone to grab a tin can, and empty bottle, put some dirt and recycle the roots of any vegetable we can, starting with green onions.

Today we also learned that Venezuela oil barrel has reached its lowest price since 2002.

Recycling the root system of green onions? Can I plant pot instead so as to escape reality?

All of this to give you a little context for what comes next.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

A confusing but clarifying week

With the National Assembly swearing-in show and the collateral that came next Venezuela has experienced one of its most confusing weeks - but maybe one of its best ones-
Saddamization


The thread at the N.A. is simple. Chavismo could not find a way to stop its coming Götterdämmerung. So they came, saw and left. They could not avoid their first encounter with a free press in about a decade. Some of the questions were truly embarrassing like when a journalist was finally able to stand on the way of Cilia Flores and ask her about her narco-nephews. Not her nephews in jail in the US awaiting trial, but her NARCO-nephews, straight. This is what happens when you ignore and insult the press for so many years: they get so frustrated that they lose any sense of measure or respect. And poor Cilia, the "first fighter", the wife of president Maduro, had to pick up her pace to escape.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Tales of a military temper tantrum

What has inflamed the 2.0 tonight is the late afternoon address of Padrino Lopez, in cadena nonetheless. A quick video analysis follows.

A new geography of chavismo [Updated]

When political movements suffer a major set back they either go extinct or they reorganize for better days. This means that inside factions shift, balances change and the result of these glissando will be extinction or renewal. With events these last two weeks we can start seeing how this is shaping.

La fuite en avant or is it La politique du pire ?

French political language is rich and dates from the French Revolution where between 1789 and 1815, depending on how you count, up to 12 government systems could be identified. There are two sentences that need to be used for this entry. La fuite en avant refers as when you have no option but just make a run for it straight ahead and hope for the best (escaping straight ahead). La politique du pire refers to make the situation worse in the hope that people will want to go back to a past situation because it was less worse, grammatical mistake on purpose. Or to destroy everything so no one can do anything against you.

Today we can use BOTH expressions.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The first day of the New Assembly

This entry started this morning (see bottom for earlier text) but I decided to edit it and keep it up as a regular entry.

I am sorry to limit my comments on what happened inside the Assembly because I went to the support rally. In spite of the low speed of connections I did manage to have a full report, video included, of what that rally was. Considering that it was early January when everyone is on Holiday, considering that the regime close 4, FOUR, subway stations to force people to walk about 2 KM to attend, considering the threats, I think it was a very successful demonstration. Visit my Instagram account for pics and videos, in particular the police barrier at the end of the march, two blocks before the National Assembly. For those new to Instagram you need to click on the picture for full details and comments.  Better get used to it and open your account, it is the future of micro blogging by eye witness.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Weimar or Harare?

Or was that a suicidal note from the regime?

I wrote earlier about the recent "economic policies" of the regime. But I need to add the latest from today, the de facto privatization of the Central Bank of Venezuela, BCV, to Nicolas Maduro and his camarilla.

The regime tries to play hard ball

I suspect that the live coverage yesterday of the new National Assembly chair election by Globovision must have irked a lot the regime. That must account for today's news, at least in part.

Meanwhile, let's check back at the ranch

While Caracas gets ready for tomorrow's hoe down let's check out what are the wheat and cattle yields at the ranch. The picture is grim.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

In extremely reluctant praise of Ramos Allup

Today the MUD coalition voted on who would be the chair for the first year tenure of the National Assembly elected on 6D (NA). The winner is Henri Ramos Allup (1). I am very far from overjoyed but I also must make a great effort to understand the historic moment.
The new troika: majority whip (Borges) MUD secretary
(Torrealba) and NA chair (Ramos)

The negative first.

Henri Ramos Allup is the secretary of Accion Democratica, AD, the old grand party of the pre Chavez years. From the wreckage he did save some of the furniture but at the cost of being a kind of little tyrant, happily purging a few, in a very chavista way. But the reader should keep in mind that chavismo is mostly coming from the AD low rung hacks that were kept in check for their hardheadedness, incompetence and the like. Once unleashed we saw the dramatic results over these last 15 years of looting and incompetence. I am not pinning on these transfuges the narco state: that one comes straight from Fidel Castro and the FARC who had no problem recruiting into the diverse lumpen that joined Chavez.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

2015-2016 continuum

Something strange happened to me over the holiday: I did not see the new year coming. At least not politically. Until December 31 the regime has been busy at trying to find ways to sabotage the swearing in of January 5, taking away even the cameras from the National Assembly so that presumably there will be no way to record the ceremony (and whatever vulgarity the regime plans to do then; or to hide that Cabello will not be the chair anymore?).

Followers