Thursday, June 03, 2010

"Magical realism" in Venezuela, Chavez talks to his base, Arria talks to the world

Today we got examples of what is effective long term action and what is a mere silly rant.  Let's us start with the later.

Chavez is very upset these days, and I am sure rather scared.  The Keller poll confirmed his decline.  He tried to prepare a take over of the Polar Group only to watch the trade union leaders refuse the offer of becoming a state company.  He stole a hundred + tons of food from Polar only to be confronted a few days later by the discovery of at least 30,000 tons of food of PDVAL and Mercal gone to waste after having been abandoned in Puerto Cabello for over 6 months.  As he tries to come back form this PR disaster by finding a convenient scapegoat we learn yesterday that an additional 24,000 tons of food gone to waste in Tinaquillo.

Let's not be afraid of cliches here: the emperor is naked.  Rarely the incompetence of a head of state is exposed so crudely, as the Chavez catastrophic management style has been exposed this week.  And it must have shown already in the governmental polls as Chavez went on the counteroffensive by plaguing us with a cadena that lasted from before noon and lasted until around 7 PM.

I question the usefulness of today never ending cadena (reminder: ALL of TV and Radio networks are commandeered for the 7 hours for the simultaneous broadcast of Chavez; ALL, no right to reply, no interruptions).  For one thing, it looked too much like a never ending rant.  Second, it was a catalog of alleged chavista successes, successes that people do not detect when they go to the grocery store.  People also know that these alleged triumphs of XXI century socialism are never confirmed anywhere, that no independent observer is ever allowed on the grounds.  At any rate, Chavez was not talking to me today, he was trying to avoid that his hard core supporters get demoralized, or, worse, doubtful of the grace of their beloved leader.  That is, desperate damage control and it showed.  Still, we must admire the stamina of Chavez, staying 7 hours sitting in front of a table talking non stop about this and that, lightening up the mood by copious insults from Polar to his ex tutor, Maza Zavala who apparently is not as well versed in Marxism as Chavez is today.

While all this B.S. was taking place, elsewhere where it matters in the long run, Diego Arria was reaching another hit in his world tour to denounce Chavez abuses.  What is Mr. Arria doing?  He is visiting all sorts of International organizations and leaders.  See, he has access because he has a long and distinguished career at the UN and many know him, and his worth.  For example today he was received for 45 minutes by French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner.  This is no small potatoes, because for Mr. Kouchner to find 45 minutes for Mr. Arria while France is in the middle of a European crisis cum Middle East crisis is a message to Chavez.  The French are getting tired of Chavez mercurial approach to business, Exito sudden take over is not paid for, CADA take over negotiations are not advancing, Spain contracts for renewing Caracas metro built by the French are questionable, etc, etc...  So, for the first time, the French government receives officially a member of Venezuela's opposition at the highest possible level.

Diego Arria will also be heard because his own particular case is just too scandalous: his farm, a rather small one, was a productive one, a farm preserving large swath of unexploitable land, where many people visited from outside of the country and thus know the truth.  As I wrote then, it was a mistake for Chavez to attack Arria as he can lose more than what Arria lost, at least politically.

The case is in fact so good for Mr. Arria that he is received everywhere he wants. The International Workers Organization in Geneva as he goes there to defend HIS employees deprived of their job by the abuse of power of the Chavez regime defending Venezuela's independent trade unions from Chavez design to destroy them.  He also is received by the UN organization for human rights and against torture to expose the case of Judge Afiuni.

There is an interesting phenomenon going on here: the more people are vocal against Chavez the more this one seems to be crumbling: maybe not in power but certainly in character and mood.  Today it was not the self assured Chavez, it was someone feeling cornered.  This year has been good for bringing out people willing to take personal chances and ALMOST ALL OF THEM have been given the spotlight by Chavez himself who must feel sorry now.   If memory serves me well, a short list and not in chronological order nor in order of volume: Alvarez Paz, Diego Arria, Henri Falcon, the workers of Polar, the Union leaders of Polar, Polar, the state legislators of Carabobo.  Last year I can only think of Ledezma as benefiting (unfortunately for him and the others) of the errors of Chavez for his increased notoriety.  Surely it is a sign of a government at loss of ideas on how to counter the growing discontent wave.


  1. I can't help but think part of the reason to steal Polar's food was to offset what the government probably already knew about the rotten food.

    When will the rotten food become an opposition conspiracy? Has this not happened yet?

    Arias can talk all he wants, and I do love it, but Chavez has never been influenced any external organization. As you know he only insults them and ties them to the imperialists. Even external media has no influence on his core base.

  2. So the ex-president of PDVAL gets arrested...I must say, it's somewhat satisfying to see the obedient tools of the revolution catch the punishment. It would me more so, though, if I had the slightest belief that he wouldn't be on the streets again in a couple of days (if not already), and will never face a trial. Still, it makes the "I was just following orders" defense much more ironic, when used against those who gave the orders in the first place.

    Good thing about Arria there. Not sure what will come of it, but it should embarrass and piss off Chavez. That's probably the best thing people can do right now, because by putting pressure on him in that way, he'll be more liable to make mistakes. And frankly, without him making mistakes, I don't see a whole lot changing.

  3. concerned1:53 PM

    Keep him on the defensive as he can not handle pressure well and comes off looking like a fool every time.

    Side note on the finding of more food containers...This exposes pure neglect and incompetence after the port takeovers, of the monitoring of the inventories of containers. But what percent is incompetence and what percent corruption? As more containers are found, it looks more like the loophole was found in the favorable, or more easily attainable cadivi dollar rate for food items with no intention of ever distributing the items. The wealth from the dollar exchange market far exceeds the profits garnered from the production and sale of the countries natural resources. 21st century Robolution hard at work.

  4. glenn and AIO

    arria irritates chavez in what he likes the most: travel overseas and be received by world leaders. the less willing they are to meet with him, the more upset he gets and the more mistakes he makes at home. arria is not going to remove chavez from office but he is doing his bit. a wish i could say that for more people.

  5. capitankane7:45 PM

    I haven't been out of Caracas in the last month or 2, but I assume most the country is still having regular blackouts right?

    If they can't turn on their TV or radio, how are they going to hear his marathon repetitive candena trying to keep their hopes up?

  6. Venezuelan Patriots Against the Bolivarian Revolution7:55 AM


    In regards to your post you said "CADA take over negotiations are not advancing." Please tell me the truth, Chevez is taking over one of the oldest supermarkets in the country, Supermercados CADA.

    He already took over EXITO, now he wants CADA. What next Central Madeirense? I call that a monopoly.

    This man has really lost his marbles, plain and simple.


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