Friday, January 13, 2017

The maelstrom is forming

For readers of this blog it should not be a surprise that the regime has chosen naked repression. The nomination of Tareck El Aissami as vice president was a clear indication of that. The man is a born killer, in search of a vengeance as early as his days in college.

It is not that Tareck IS the man, he is just the willing agent, the front of the "civilian" radical wing of chavismo, the one closely tied to Cuban interests to which Maduro, Jaua and some other belong. They may or may not be die hard communists, some do not have the intellectual baggage to know what Marxism is truly about. But they all have a mean anti system streak and if they have joined totalitarian regimes from the left side it is strictly a matter of historical moment.

So what has pushed that radical side to act? And act it did. Plenty of opposition leaders accused of conspiracy are being detained illegally as I type. And as I type the regime is also starting to clamp down on the embers of private enterprise. And one can expect any time that the very few independent papers left will close. And Internet is getting worse by the day and it is quite likely that the regime will block it any time soon.

So what triggered that angry regime reaction? Many things are listed next in no particular order except for the last one which is our T time.

The regime has managed to kill the recall election against Maduro. Now that it has two solid years ahead one could have expect some form of quiet. But no. The truth is that recall election or not the regime remains on shaky grounds. On the economic front leaked data would seem to indicate that the Central Bank of Venezuela is dealing with a 20%+ drop in the GDP while inflation for 2016 may have reached 800%+. The refusal of the regime to take any serious action to counter that implies further degradation and the regime, controlled by Cubans, know that. They may actually wish it as a way to control the populace through starvation diet. But there would be a cost.

The military remains an enigma even for the regime. That it has also started this week a purge in military ranks can only confirm such suspicions. Maybe the regime knows that the army was not going to fire at hungry crowds and it needed to purge it fast before the economy grew worse. Maybe it is just scared of a coup for which many motives exist. Let's remember that not all in the military are implied in drug trafficking and those do not see any reason to sacrifice themselves for those who did partake in drug traffic.

The international scene is not good either. Today the dialogue regime-opposition was supposed to restart but nothing happened and nobody was surprised. Even the foreign "pressure" on dialogue has become a lip service of sorts. As a matter of fact in a very late coming moment of lucidity the Obama administration has decided today to maintain in place the measures against the Venezuelan regime, extending them by a year. Surely this is something that will be of help for the coming Trump administration.

All of these developments have been known for a while by the regime. And even though the recall election has been killed the constitution clearly states that last December we should have had governor elections, followed by mayors. They were promised for the first semester of 2017 on flimsy reasons. Since the regime is sure to lose them these elections have not been convoked yet, and by now the logistics rule out these elections before June 2017. Which basically means that these will be held when convenient, preferably when the opposition has been made illegal so that we will have some form of one party electoral system. Even losing only half of states is simply unacceptable for the regime.

The regime was simply looking for an excuse to start its repression and the National Assembly gave one by declaring the political responsibility of the crisis on president Maduro, in a legal figure here called "abandono del cargo" which does not mean that Maduro is AWOL of Miraflores Palace but that he is not performing his job according to his constitutional obligations. That the vote stretches some parameters is true, That the high court TSJ was sure to find an illegal way to annul it was true. But one needs to understand the why of such vote, a why that to my great surprise is not understood from people like governor Falcon to journalists and Internet writers who consider it an error.

Let's see what are the opposition options. The National Assembly has been voided of all content. The excuse on the Amazonas alleged illegal elections has not been, amazingly, settled by the electoral court 13 months later. Nor will it be settled because it would mean new high risk elections. And also that excuse to void the National Assembly is too good to pass on. The opposition self sabotaged itself in the dialogue in exchange for nothing as the regime did not fulfill the engagements taken in front of third parties. That these third parties did not bother to arrive to Caracas this week shows that even those biased in favor of the regime have lost any sanguine sentiment on the subject.

Thus the opposition cannot legislate anything, is under direct threat, has no dialogue to look for. What else can it do but to promote a confrontation with the regime? Not doing so is akin to validate all what the regime has done. As such voting the "abandono" was a perfect move, that forced the regime to act since not doing so could have rendered vocal the inner divisions of the regime.

That it also opens the opposition to its division is a price to be paid. And that should be paid. The hallowed unity is now working against the opposition. Look for a button the secret negotiation between the regime and UNT to free Manuel Rosales who is back today in Zulia with a gigantic rally. We do not know what UNT will do now that it got what it wanted, but one thing is certain, it cannot be trusted anymore. If there is an abscess it should be drained well before any election happens. Besides, were UNT and Falcon to defect the opposition would still retain a majority in the Assembly. Those who will suffer the most are UNT who will be strictly limited to Zulia state as Rosales now cannot hope to be the unity candidate again. Then again maybe the only thing he wants is to be governor for life of Zulia. Same thing for Falcon who will remain cloistered in Lara. Neither one can win a primary within the opposition now, neither Caracas nor Valencia would vote for them. I suspect that they have decided to make a pact with the regime so that they are given a state with some resources and peace in such a way that the regime can still show them as a democracy Potemkin village. And bid their time for better days after 2020.

But I digress. The point here is that the National Assembly has decided finally, perhaps late but finally, to challenge head on the regime and this one has decided to execute what it had planned for a while.  Thus starts the political maelstrom that will lead to blood. It had been postponed for too long. There is no other way out now, even if the world decides to put pressure. It is too late, the regime and Cuba cannot take chances now that Fidel charisma is gone and that Trump is about to be sworn in while Europe cannot be relied upon as an escape from misery.

I would like to point out something that may have gone under the radar for many. Brazil and Colombia are starting to acknowledge that they are seeing the beginning of a refugee problem. Their border states are experiencing economic and service strains as Venezuelans come in for food and health care. And these countries are under no conditions to endure a refugee crisis which would be on a par with the Syria one. Surprises may be coming as Venezuela, unlike Cuba, is not an island.


  1. Anonymous7:20 AM

    Eight to nine years ago, Zimbabwe was pretty much in the same state as Venezuela is today. That regime endured in no small part because neighboring South Africa allowed a third of their population in to work menial jobs and remit part of the income back into Zimbabwe.

    Brazil under Lula might accomodate Venezuelans, but not any more. It will be ugly.

  2. The only thing you have left is for 1000-2000 Venezuelans willing to go Bonzo on their way to Miraflores, and thus trigger sanctions by a critical mass of nations. Unfortunately, the "Bravo Pueblo" lacks that key 0,00067 % willing to sacrifice their lives.

  3. Anonymous11:31 AM

    " should not be a surprise that the regime has chosen naked repression."

    Not really. Since day 1, Chavismo has been deceiving, masquerading as a 'democracy', as 'socialism', while it tightened progressively the repressions bolts & nuts. Some would call it the Boiling Frog approach.

    Chavez started promising to protect private property, small businesses, the middle class, int'l investment, just with more emphasis for "el pueblo" or a bit more 'socialistic' (look it up on the old you-tubes)
    Then, he slowly started to show his true colors, as an authoritarian, megalomaniac dictators of sorts, but always disguised as a 'patriot', a democrat, for el pueblo and Simon Bolivar.. Then he started jailing a few from the opposition, then more, year after year tightening the screws, almost imperceptibly at times, for some, of for millions of uneducated, uninformed 'pueblo' people, who were being showered with gifts, while the repression grew, slowly, and their freedoms and constitutional right were being taken away, slowly, deceptively.. The National Frog hardly even noticed. Then the "Expropiese!! The clear rapprochement with Cuba and Castrismo, the 'anti-imperialismo' rants, slowly but surely moving more and more to the radical left. Poco a poco, they started bribing and corrupting everyone, another step of the process, nationalizing everything, massive brain-drain (you and me, almost 2 million professionals) bribing and purging the Military, the TSJ, Guardia, Sebin, Asamblea, BCV, CNE, and growing the Government to the tune of almost 4 Million public leeches, corruptos y/o enchufados.

    The grip being tighter, Maduro inherits all that, with Cabello, Tarek and all the other criminal thugs, still pretending to be a 'democracy'. Thus not in full repression, police-state mode. Metiendoselo poco-a-poco, como siempre. But the oil prices went down, and Chavez had successfully destroyed private industries (part of the Castrista plan), so the economy precipitated its fall, around 2012. But the oh-so-wise "pueblo" still adored and venerates Chavez, so they blame only Madure, and many still think it's a democracy..

    Now comes a 3rd phase of sorts, were the Frog dies, or, moribund, somehow manages to jump out of the burning pot. But Chavismo cannot just shut down the AN, get the military in the streets, declare states of emergency, expropriate polar, jail Capriles, Henry, MCM, Julio, Freddy, etc, and take off its mask completely, a full-blown Self-Coup d'Etat. (Claiming internal and external conspiracies, inventing wars..)

    Thus, it has never been "naked repression" or a "police state", not even now. They still lie, and turn up the heat poco a poco. They might shut down the last few free papers, the internet.. jail a few more opponents, break the constitution 50 more times, and tighten the noose some more in
    2017-2018. They probably will have to contain large masses of people protesting in the street, starting on this 23 de Enero. More repression, sure, but not full throttle. Internationally it would attract to much attention, nationally people would get too upset. Poco a poco, but Cubazuelan style, no de un solo coñazo. This ain't an island like Cuba, and we're not in the 50's or 70's.. Repression has to be disguised, and progressive, until the final blows: disolve the AN, get the Military out, cancel the 2018 elections, y listo el pollo. Dead Frog.

  4. Ever since El Assaimi has been nominated VP, he is presented in all blogs as the boogeyman with fangs longer than those of Dracula. What has he done that is so much more bloody than what his colleagues did, for example Miguel Rodriguez Torres who oversaw the 2014 repression with all these dead at the hand of Sebin and who is trying to graft himself a new virginity ever since. Beats me! As far as I am concerned he is just another thug, no better no worse than the rest. Maybe better because, since he is a Muslim, there is a chance he will blow himself up some day, something we unfortunately cannot expect from his colleagues.

  5. Likely Russia told Venezuela they can get away with such a move given their puppet Trump in. Trump will publically threaten them to justify the USA is at war with them. Like with Ukraine the Russians and Venezuelas will be free to repress all they want publically now.

    1. "Likely Russia told Venezuela they can get away with such a move given their puppet Trump in. Trump will publically threaten them to justify the USA is at war with them."

      LOL. Trump is not anyone's puppet. Hillary would have been as she took money from the Russians but she also took more money from member nations of OPEC and China. She would have had many "favors" to return.

      Trump already is worth several billion dollars and paid most of the costs of his election and even donated millions to get other Republicans elected. Thus, Trump is not beholden to anyone. He is also only taking $1 a year in pay as president.

      Trump will therefore do whatever he thinks best. Based on his appointees and plans, what he has said he thinks best is to rebuild the US military, lower taxes and reduce regulations and replace the failing Obamacare. He plans to protect US jobs and bring more manufacturing back to the US. He plans to fix the immigration problem, end sanctuary cities and build a wall along the Mexico/US border especially where there is high traffic. Where there is not, he will build a fence and put into place barriers that will essentially stop the vast majority of illegal immigration. He would like to have better relations with Moscow but that is not a priority for Trump. From Trump's speeches, I would infer he is not very interested in events in Russia or for that matter Ukraine or Venezuela. He thinks China is more of a threat to the US from an economic perspective.

      One thing to keep in mind. Trump was not a politician in the past. He has not spent years thinking about foreign relations. He is a true maverick. He is appointing conservatives and many of them are also mavericks as well as being some of the top thinkers and "doers" in the US. The Trump administration will be less predictable than any administration in my lifetime. Trump is a person who was known for hiring highly motivated and qualified people and allowing them to do their job.

    2. Why did you drink the coolaide Joe. Trump has proven over and over throughout life how little he cares about humans in comparison to his pocket book and now your read on him is he is all about the people. I cross my fingers that you are correct and Trump will be a blessing and I sure have no love for Hillary but don't see Trump turning over a new leaf just because he was elected President.

  6. Anonymous2:36 AM

    I thought this was suppose to be a blog about Venezuela, although the position that the USA takes is relevant, I don't get why Americans thing that everything is about them.


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