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.

The Assembly "caved in" and suspended for a while the controversial representatives and thus Cabello and the Court had no other option but to recognize the validity of the Assembly for the time being. Thus showeth up Maduro.

All fine and dandy. The speech is given in cadena, that is, simultaneous mandatory broadcast on all audio visual media. ALL. Important detail for later. The speech lasted for over two jours but I only connected to it through the end, following it on tweeter before (see my time line for highlights in Spanish or English according to assumed public, on the right side of this blog).

Maduro said nothing besides his usual assortment of insults and what not. Yet he seemed rather subdued, a little bit lost. At the end, as expected, he handed the microphone to Ramos Allup as chair of the Assembly which we would have thought would limit himself to pronounce the protocolar farewell. It was not. Ramos Allup launched himself in a big speech.

Now, why was this speech so important, well managed by the way considering the ordeal that today must have been for him today?

You need to know that just like in the US, all powers are represented (5 in Venezuela, 4 of them clapping at any inanity of Maduro; in the US no Justice would be caught dead applauding a president at SOTU!). You need to know that when Ramos Allup took over the cadena continued and the state TV, VTV,which was the only one allowed to transmit live on airwaves remained fixed on Ramos Allup the whole time, probably waiting for the order to cut off, an order that never came. It was the first time in 17 years that the country saw a cadena by someone else than a chavista stating the official line. Thus the fixation and the novelty gave more reach to Ramos Allup than he may have deserved.

Of course the response of Ramos Allup was civil but frequently mischievous in pointing out the flaws in Maduro's speech. But what made the reply to Maduro a hit were the following, in no order of importance:

- VTV and state media attack him all the time, which is OK, he does not care (I have got my mileage he said). What is not OK is that he does not have the right to reply. VTV addicts cannot pretend to ignore that anymore. The more so that the biggest vilifier of Ramos Allup and the opposotion is Diosdado Cabello show "con el mazo dando".

- He looked at the other three powers and reminded them that the only two sovereign powers, those elected by the people were the president and the Assembly and thus the other three were "derivative" powers. That is pointed at a time when one, the judicial power, is trying to unseat representatives without even the semblant of a trial (never mind of the well documented treacheries of the other two)

- He addressed the attending military top brass and explained them that the Bolivar that Chavez invented IS NOT the historical one, helping his cause with pictures and quotes. He explained that there was no room for ANY president portrait in a National Assembly. He went ahead and told them that the army was not there to do politics and he finished by making it crystal clear that neither Maduro nor him wanted a coup of any type.  Reminding them, by the way, that about two weeks before April 2002 he was on record that there was a military coup in preparation against Chavez.

Now, guess who was the real target of this speech? Maduro? Guess again.

I think that what happened tonight besides revealing to the hard core chavismo what parliamentary democracy is all about, is that Ramos Allup offered his hand to Maduro to deal with the economic crisis together AND, most importantly AND, get rid of Diosdado Cabello who is managing to put everyone against himself without solving a simple problem.

It is of course a big gambit if what I write is right. After all, a reader could reply, Ramos Allup is on record to want to remove Maduro from office in the next 6 months.  But the difference here, clearly expressed tonight, is that Ramos Allup does not have any particular grief against Maduro, he just wants the system gone. So, he implies, we can either prepare an honorable exit for Maduro (resigning or constitutional shortening of the term, a mere referendum would suffice) or a nastier one. The villain here, for all, is Diosdado Cabello. And you could sense that the message had been received in the rather subdued declarations Cabello gave to the press when the ceremony was over.

And since I am speculating might as well go for it. Ramos Allup offer is that if Cabello tones down or retires he will not surrender him to the DEA. As long as he remains in Venezuela in quiet retirement he can enjoy his loot (though I am sure he will be asked to return a portion of the stolen one). The offer to Maduro is that the opposition will help him taking some hard measures but the condition is that power is shared. That is, the judicial illegal nominations be reverted and the electoral board becomes truly neutral. This is the red line. Then if Maduro cannot go all the way with the necessary economic measures he can resign and retire in Venezuela, at least for a while. Or have his term shortened through a constitutional amendment that can be voted on fast, without any campaign needed. And all of this gives time tot he army to clean up its act and pick among themselves the 2-3 generals that must be sacrificed to the DEA so the other can remain free, as long as they do not leave Venezuela.

You know, I have the nagging feeling that the whole show was sort of planned by Ramos and the new Vice President Isturriz...... And probably worked out much better than the two wily coyotes ever hoped it would.


  1. Anonymous12:59 AM

    While I like your opinion, I still think that the US DEA has the loop around the neck of them all. Not sure if it is in the hands of Venezuela nor the Assembly at this point, all of which was the point prior to the elections. Too much soup in the pot, especially with the El Chapo situation. Ramos can assuage, but is it in his hands anymore, and he may know that? The US has collected a lot of info and data. The new allegation that the nephew cruise was from a high ranking Venezuela official, and let us not forget the bodyguard Ledesyme.. or however you spell that.

    1. The only thing that Ramos can offer is time, really. Time to arrange their affairs, spread and hide some of the loot, improve their relatives lot, and at some times either the DEA or a new Venezuelan government will break past accords and send them to trial as it happened in Argentina or Chile or Guatemala....

  2. I saw most of the show. I still think Maduro won't sit still. I would expect more judicial attacks. However, if the regime is weakening it may be good to include a "Right to communicate" law which gives a National Assembly representative a 30 minute time slot after "Con el matzo dando", "La Hojilla", and the president's tv show.

  3. Here you go: another judicial attack, this time in falcon
    I picked it up via Faria's Twitter, they seem to be really happy about it.

  4. People keep praising Henry's little 30 minute speech. Which game after over 3 Hours of Chavista propaganda and enormous Lies.

    While it was a step forward, media-wise, after 17 years of Chavista dictatorship, it was in my opinion weak, incomplete, too short. Not a proportionate rebuttal, at ALL.

    The MUD lost a unique oportunitunity, on cadena nacional, covered by all media, to Destroy every Chavista myth, lie, exageration. They gave Maduro and the Chavista Thugs 3 hours to continue drilling their crap about Economic Wars, Pensiones, Poverty, new economic bullshit plans, praising Chavez, praising Communism, even praisng the economy and social "achievements" in the past 17 years!!

    What did Henry address? Not much at all. I only give him credit for the few things Daniel mentions here. Very few. Compared to Maduro's 3 hours of crap. Compared to the reality of Venezuela today, which should have been The Topic on such an important meeting.

    Henry failed to mention that, as they say in the USA, the "State of the Nation today".. is THE WORST it has ever, ever been. After 17 years of Chavista disguised dictatorship, with total control of all 5 powers, plus the police, military, and even PDVSA money.

    Henry failed to mention anything about 28000 murders, THE worst insecurity on Planet Earth. Who's fault is that, the FBI's?

    Henry failed to mention anything about Bachaqueo (while Maduro babbled about bad jobs in Europe..!) , failed to mention anything about no Medicine, ruined hospitals, ruined Universities, Massive Brain-Drain (1.5 Million), World Record Inflation, False "Poverty" numbers, False Vivienda numbers, and the reason why titles are not given (Massive Extorsion), False BCV numbers, did I mention World Record Crime? , Massive external Debt, a country with a mortgaged future, even the oil was mortgaged to the Chinese, now the Gold and Reservas: Gone.. He failed to mention every country in Latin America is doing much better, even freaking Bolivia or Nicaragua, He forgot to mention the imminent Default, which could be worse than Argentina's or Greece's. No country on earth dares to invest a penny in Vzla..

    Did he mention anything about the dreaded Apagones, no electricity, while his family, the Derwicks stole over a Billion US$? Of course not.. No water, no public services? not a word.

    Fill in the blanks. Ramos' speech was WAY overrated. It sounded like a "Thank you", Mr President, amiguito Aristobulo, jokes with Cabello... Thanks for recognizing this National Assembly, thank you!! (although you stole the supermajority, but again, he forgot to mention that too !)

    1. Did he mention anything about galactic Corruption (# 1 in the Planet too), anything about Narco Trafico (we're getting there), anything about the Absurd "control de cambio" with 3 divisas, clearly designed to STEAL trillions? Nope, he also forgot all that, and then some.


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