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
My personal experience last week should make it clear that no one can escape the trained violence that the regime has sponsored, trained by Cubans, of course, as it has not been in the nature of Venezuelans whose earlier dictators would rather dispatch people and only torture for information, never for sport as it has become the case here, in particular since 2014 under Maduro (who hopefully will meet the fate that escaped Chavez, to sit in an international court of justice for crimes against humanity). If a simple particular, out of nowhere, can experience such psychological violence I wonder what people from Lopez to Afiuni have truly experienced. Even, if it were possible, more respect from me now.
But the cruelty is not only there, it reaches genocidal levels with the refusal of the regime to face down the health care crisis, one that could not be solved fast but could be attenuated fast with very simple measures, if the regime decided to try to steal a little bit less than what they are doing. When I hear Sanders at this point in time vaunting the Cuban health care system, in ruin and that ruined the Venezuelan one, I can only be aghast and and say that I feel the burn. How can a US presidential candidate with real aspirations can be so ill informed?
Corruption keeps apace
These past couple of weeks my business has been confronted with two direct extortion attempts by public officials that have become mere racketeers. One succeeded because we had no choice. We are tired to receive the visit of "brokers" which are people that miraculously have access to dollars and can import what we cannot do. But at DollarToday rates. However they do offer a valid bill of purchase so we can put the goods into our accounting. If we were importing them on our own, without going through the currency exchange of control, the USD bill would be recognized at 10, not at 1100 as DolarToday has it. Imagine the taxes we would pay that way.
Meanwhile, of course, the barrening process of grocery store shelves keeps apace. Not even my blackmarteers can provide me with what I need, even at a ten fold increase of the official legal price.
Meanwhile the devaluation of a few weeks ago has already failed. Far from calming the country the black market rate registered a further 10% loss since the devaluation. So there.
The National Assembly under siege, literally
Videos show how chavista colectivos can post graffiti over the hallowed walls of parliament under the eyes of the Nazional Guard that remains nearly motionless. The chavista whip takes to the barricades to ask paid for chavista "supporters" to storm the Assembly to which he was elected.
These are just a sign of the times, as judicial decision after judicial decision the regime is starting to rule through the high court, TSJ. But even that will not be enough soon. The Assembly spokesperson has said that any new debt secured without passing through the National Assembly risks not been recognized by a future government. Can the TSJ get the country into more debt as if nothing? Will someone be stupid enough to trust their money to these TSJ/Maduro racketeers? Me thinks not. Thus the regime will have to find a permanent way to neutralize once and for all the Assembly.
The Assembly tries what it can
Even though people disagree with the way the Assembly is proceeding, I beg to differ. First, I do not think it can do more than what it does now. Differently perhaps, but more I doubt. Second it has exposed clearly that if the crisis continues, and even worsens, it is because the regime is refusing to discuss ANYTHING. Compromise with these people is, well, impossible. Surprise!
So the Assembly has decided in earnest to do the last thing it can do : to take out Maduro. A multi pronged approach is necessary since the regime is already putting obstacles to any electoral test that they know they will lose. And the TSJ will, of course, annule anything they want because a comma is not exactly where it should be, even though their own sentences are usually ill written. Something that a ridiculous journalist, from Time no less, qualifies with the worst humor possible as a peaceful coup . As I was commenting, too many journalists still see Venezuela as a reality show.....
At any rate the Assembly has decided to try to oust Maduro in all possible ways: recall election, constitutional amendment, street protest and the ultimate nuke, constitutional assembly. It will fail of course because the regime CANNOT surrender power because they know what their fate will be: jail. They will sabotage, repress, annul even basic common sense. But something will get started and people will be hungry. And international narco justice and money laundering cannot be avoided for ever. All is thus possible. The question is when.
There you have, a summary of the 4 posts I should have been writing if I had time on my hands.