Monday, February 28, 2011

The rewards of blogging

A must read book,
 if you have not done so yet
Exhausted, on a slow unseasonal rainy Sunday, after a chokefull week of news from Libya and the OAS seat in Caracas, I got a revitalizing moment with one of those rare rewards in blogging.  A reader wrote a comment on a post written in December 2006!  Not that I never get comments for posts older than a couple of weeks (which is normal) but those I get usually come from some latecomer chavista sandalista who is suddenly discovering damaging blogs to its cause.  Besides cursing me there is nothing left for them to write home about.

But today it was different.

The comment in question by Juan Pablo Sans basically congratulated me for my foresight, then, on the future of Venezuela.  He mentioned an error which I will gladly discuss below.

First I  do not want to use that to claim any visionary special power.  For example, either me or Miguel, to name one colleague, have known long ago the destiny of Venezuelan economy and if there is today a surprise about the situation it is why it did not happen earlier.  Political predictions are more dicey but those in that post have turned out, except for the desertion of PODEMOS and PPT as Juan Pablo correctly underlines.  But then again, as an excuse, I could not anticipate the 2007 referendum.  No one in fact could, even if I was then already prescient about the closing of RCTV.

The regime should have read my post on December 7 and not move on the RCTV closing and the referendum loss that followed.  After all, it had all what it needed to enact the laws it needed as it happened after the referendum loss. That became the authoritarian imposition instead of what could have been a smoother "transition" to communism.  In my defense to Juan Pablo I can also say that part of PODEMOS remained with Chavez and that it took until the end of 2010 for the PPT to break with Chavez.

Yet, I have to admit that it thrilled me that Juan Pablo reminded me of my past posts coming true.  It reminded me also the thrills in my years as a scientist when I was designing bacterial mutations with predicted biological behaviors, and those behaviors becoming at least in part verified.  I suppose that we could say that there is such a thing as Political Science even if it is a highly inaccurate one.  But like any science, if you understand the data, if you follow through, if you remember your historical precedent then you can do some visionary tricks.

Anyway, thank you Juan Pablo for reminding me that all of these years of blogging might be for some good after all, that the record is there and that I may have a lot of "I told you so" in the future, even though the whole exercise has a bitter taste of Cassandra like uselessness.

The fate of all Cassandras, to be dragged from the temple of knowledge by the bad guys
 because the good guys never listened!

PS: to Juan Pablo and other readers.  I remember that the post got a lot of comments then but they were all lost in the debacle of Haloscan, the comment system I used at the time.  Now Juan Pablo is the lone one.  Ironic in a way.


  1. Many scientists are convinced that man is able to see the future.I know for a fact this is true, though I have no scientific experiments to prove it.For some people it is instinctive, like when a dog knows someone has an aggressive intention in the immediate future, for others it is the intuitive visionary flash from a higher form of logic ,and yet for others it comes from a scientific analysis of political trends.

    No doubt you have some kind of ability to predict....however I don't read your blog for that reason.I read your blog because I think you are the blogger who most accurately gives a deeper picture of life in Venezuela, it's good side and it's bad.I actually prefer your posts that are less political and more cultural.You write with liveliness, wit and humor, and you write with a great deal of love for the country.It is you who have given me countless tours of Venezuela that will stand out in my mind forever, since I left in 2002.Not even my family and friends have been able to do that.No other blogger can match your depth of feeling, or willingness to delve deeply into matters concerning the country.Each blogger is good in his own way and I appreciate most of them....but I believe you are the best for knowing Venezuela in its profound sense.I am deeply grateful for all these years of following your posts.I don't always agree with you, but that matters little to me, as long as there is respect.I love hearing what you have to say and feel like in some remote way I can live in Venezuela a little bit through you.

    Perhaps it is this very knowledge of Venezuela that allows you to predict.

    Thanks for the book recommendation, I just ordered it on

  2. Milonga9:49 PM

    I second Firepigette in everything she said. Also, Daniel, you are must-read for all Latin Americans that are worried for the going-ons in their countries. Easier to predict when you saw it happening somewhere before! No need to read the coffee-beans if you read Venezuela News and Views!!

  3. cochonette de feu

    be aware that the book was written by an east german writer who run into some trouble at reunification. but like garcia marquez she was able to separate her craft from her politics.

    as for the rest.

    if people were into jungian typology and MBTI i could explain that the N function well used allows anyone to "predict" the future. that is, you see patterns and their possibility of repetition through your N function.

    as for the rest, let's just say that it is a labor of love.

  4. milonga

    i suppose that in venezuela it is coffee beans rather than tea leaves........ in french, the reamins of brewed coffe is called "marc de cafe". i do not know whether there are an equivalent specific word for spanish or english

  5. Coffee grounds. Thus coffee tasting like mud.


  6. half hempty

    no.... close but no cigar

    "marc de cafe" is that little bit left over at the bottom of your coffe cup when this one has been ground too fine and some manage to go through the filter.

  7. Milonga3:09 AM

    Here people read "la borra del café"... Never mind if it's tea or coffee, you all grasped what I meant... Let's say you don't have to be a fortune-teller...

  8. I'm glad that you've been blogging long enough for some of these "visions" to come true. And disappointed that Chavez has been around long enough to allow them that much time.

    In MBTI the S (alternative of N) allows predictions, too. They're just based on deduction rather than hunches/intuition. (I suspect - or should I say, deduce based on the information at hand, since I am an S :) - that Miguel is an S, not an N.)


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