Monday, January 16, 2012

Marian stunts: part 2, Maria C. at the National Assembly

One thing was certain: the talk of the town waiting for the Divina Pastora to walk by was of Maria Corina Machado calling Chavez a thief.  That is, for those who did not forget their political interests while performing their marian devotions.  And as the week end progressed she remained the talk of the town, to the point that Chavez himself felt compelled to pretend to be the aggravated party when it was for all to see that he was a mere machista lout in his blurted reply to her last Friday.

The thing is that the Friday show, which lasted 9 hours or something like that, was merely an electoral campaign stunt for Chavez that did not turn as expected and that became the "por ahora" of Maria Corina Machado.  Chavez wanted to use the pretext of the "state of the union" chavista style to prove once and for all that he had recovered and that he was in charge.  Bruni even suggests to us that the ultimate intention of Chavez was to establish a Guinness record just in case he dies or gets the boot next October.  And indeed 9.5 hours is a record that only a more deranged mind than Chavez or Fidel may want to challenge.

Since as it has been the case in the past 12 years that the negative outweighs the positive, as usual Chavez strategy was to speak for hours on end trying to distract the audience with personal anecdotes and stuff like that.  One wonders how a recovering man can stand for 9 hours to speak, but he did (with an adult diaper?),  and his fortitude (drug induced?) was the intended message.  Or that was the intention until it all fizzled out and the 2 minutes of Maria Corina Machado all but annulled the 9 hours of Chavez.

La Patilla had one of the first Youtube excerpts out on the exchange between them.  A lot other versions have come out where the title is altered to suit the media favor (for example pro Chavez Panorama of Maracaibo title the video "Chavez replies to Maria Corina").  So below you have the La Patilla Youtube so you can keep giving hits to make it the most read of the lot.

Some explanations are in order. When Maria Corina addressed Chavez she had been sitting for at least 6 hours listening to the ramblings of Chavez. Anyone in that position would have been exceeded and upon taking the microphone would have been nervous as she was. But that served her well because her few seconds of fame do not look rehearsed at all, the woman really had the wits to overcome her hunger, her desire to visit the rest room, her annoyance, her boredom, her indignation at Chavez abuses and shameless lies, to retort fearlessly to him. No wonder Chavez felt compelled to return to that scene today, and perhaps even to cancel today's Alo Presidente until he can evaluate dealing with that outburst that cost him so much.

For those who do not speak Spanish at all the highlights:
- early Chavez states that if he loses he will surrender power, trying to make amends from his general declarations that they would not recognize an adverse results Observation: the foreign corps is present and those intemperate military words did a lot of damage to Chavez.
- put pause on second 7 and look at an hilarious Soto Rojas enjoying the machista mockery of Chavez toward MCM and her contained anger at such public abuse
- just at sec 24 look at the scornful smile of Chavez thinking he had trashed her
- at second 34 starts MCM reminding that they have been sitting for 8 hours for nothing, telling him that he lied on purpose as to the increase in milk production as all Venezuelan mother know how hard it is to find milk, about the 180,000 mother grieving for a killed relative since he became president, as to his lack of solutions and that the time for bullshit is over.  The chavista crowd in the background mocks her and Chavez to his credit makes them hush (the opposition deputies were not allowed to invite anyone, only chavista are in attendance besides the diplomatic corps who stays mute at all times, see more on that at the end of the post)
- but the line that got most media is when she said that expropriating without adequate payment was robbery (starts at 1:37) which made Chavez react repeating "robbing" (at 1:41)
- and at the end (2:22) Chavez does not reply and, remaining the machista lout he is, demands her to win the primary before she dares asking for a debate, and he keeps trying to find more rather desperate words to humiliate her while the chavista crowd roars in ecstasy at the vulgarity.  Never mind that we all know that never has Chavez debated with anyone, and certainly never again  will he subject himself to the risks of a mere exchange in cadena.

Certainly these two minutes of video cannot illustrate better how undemocratic chavismo has become, how brain washed are its components starting with Chavez who places himself above all.  Certainly for his first real commendable attempt ever to start a debate he blew it badly.

We need to appreciate what Maria Corina has done because let's not pretend that chavismo is not going to try to exact revenge from that one.  How and when is just a matter of time and circumstances.  All of us in the opposition do know that, instinctively now after 12 years.  And as such we do appreciate her selfsacrifice.  True, it will serve her campaign well but the thing is that anyone who observes that video has to conclude that it was not a prepared statement, that it was an impulse response and that the woman, well, she has balls if you will forgive me this machista comment.

In other words Maria Corina Machado puts her money where her mouth his and such a novel thing in Venezuelan politics will have a lot of echo until February 12 and maybe later even if she does not win.  Because this is where the effect of her words must be found.   It is possible that as of Friday the race for 2nd and 3rd slot has become wide open between MCM, PP and LL but also HCR will be affected.

See, the hard opposition core vote is already split between Arria and Machado with a dash to Lopez.  Those "hard core" will stay where they are though she could get some of the Arria vote after Friday.  But there is also a not so hard core vote but hard enough who supports the campaign of Capriles and Perez.  They have accepted pragmatism, avoiding calls of revenge in the hope of trying to get enough chavista votes to win not only in the primaries but also in October.  I have already discussed why I do not agree with that strategy and will not come back on it.  But Friday brought a new element: Machado personal stand has revealed a lot the hypocrisy behind such a pragmatic approach for UNT, PJ and AD.  That has to give a bad taste to many inside who digest badly the idea that most of chavismo will not only go unpunished but will retain enough strength to sabotage and eventually come back Nicaragua style.

It is there where Maria Corina Machado may suddenly start gaining traction and I expect any time soon HCR and PP to become a little bit more incisive in their attacks on Chavez if they know what is better for them.  If they do not, then all ticket spots will be up for grabs in February no matter what polls may be saying today.  And this is quite a stunt for Maria, if you ask me.  And it may be already paying off today at the UNIMET.

Finally, to tie the two posts, from La Pastora to Maria Corina Machado.  La Pastora reminded us some of the good values of Venezuelan society, when for a few hours we can all put aside our differences, still existing after 13 years of chavista onslaught.  But the treatment received by Maria Corina Machado, the situation that forced her to say what she said also remind us that chavismo is deliberately bringing us toward some final confrontation.  You have it all there, in less than 24 hours.  Think about it for a while, will you?

On a not totally unrelated topic and not wanting to make a separate post out if it.

Coming back to Friday.  The S.O. was told on Thursday that it was mandatory attendance Friday in front of the National Assembly to welcome the beloved leader.  So, putting up with that obligation with a grin he took his discrete camera and sends for us a few pictures below (again, the only opposition available at the National Assembly where the Representative because it could not be helped and the hidden ones like the S.O.).  Maybe Maria Corina saw that on her way in and got her upset quite early?  My brief comment under each picture.

All sorts of bizarre groups with elaborate "spontaneous" banners attended.  In this one you can read that all socialist producers and produceresses (?) of the Guillermo Ribas producing unit wish Chavez well.

Here we are supposed to believe that they cam from afar, risking their health walking barefoot in Caracas filthy streets.....
Certainly the adjacent blocks to the National Assembly had to be red, without forgetting Cuba with its flag, mercifully displayed below the Venezuelan one.  What you are seeing of course is mostly public employees getting sort of a day off from that carnival.  El Pueblo has no time for that, needs to go to find milk, sugar, coffee, corn flour, etc and there was no distribution points set up.
Of course, celebratory music was in order while the banner reads that all the scheduled work for 2011 was well done
And now we also have chavista brown shirts.  Or is that khaki?


  1. Thanks for the link Daniel. In fact, the 9.5 hours amazed me because, in my view, it is physically impossible for someone just out the chemo...and then I wondered why so see, I don't think that Chávez do things "just because" I always think on the significance behind it.

    About MC, my first impression after hearing her is that she will not be gaining new votes, but just reafirming her own. Now, this is definitely making waves, you imply that she will be benefiting from it and you have an eagle eye on voting matters.

    We'll see.

    The pictures of the entry of the AN are terrific. Thanks your friend for taking them and for the update.

    Great post.

    1. Bruni, you are welcome, it was a great insight you had.

      I do not know yet how far this will go in helping Maria Corina. However it should strengthen her and if she does not win it will make her an unavoidable helper for the October contest since whomever wins will need her to rouse the opposition base and maybe says things that he cannot say if he wants to win the election. In other words it might well have been her "por ahora" moment that she will cash in full in 6 years from now. Or earlier.....

      At any rate, I think that within a week we will start seeing it on the campaign trail if it helps her.

  2. It is a shame... she could contribute much to the economy. Granted, I don't think she is presidential material but I salute her for standing up to Chavez and calling him out on his bullshit.

    1. How do you define "presidential material"?

    2. Well... Given that fail about crime she just mentioned recently (6 months is simply unrealistic to undo 12 years of corruption and Chavismo) I do not believe she would be ready to run as president. She lacks what they would call "executive experience", something that PP, HCR, and LL all have.

      So to correct myself from earlier, I dont believe she is now, but anything is possible. I hope you understand...

  3. Javier6:29 AM

    The Chávez response is important too because by saying that MaCorina called him a thief means he accepted, assumed and confessed to be an expropietor. Diego Arria has said it all many times, in Chaxe's trial before the International Criminal Court, Chávez is his worst witness.

  4. Charly7:48 AM

    Too bad I am out of country right now, would have love to see the Divina Pastora procession at home and also the reaction of the Hojilla drug addict to machado's attack. She embarrassed them big time and they will make her pay dearly.

  5. I do think MCM will gain from this, and I also think that this charade of a primary has not served us, or our country's democratic prospects, properly, when the participants are behaving the way they are.

    MCM and Arria, and to a lesser extent LL, are the ones talking like the six should talk. A clear break from the past is needed. Hypocritical, or worse, calculated "I won't rock the boat" discourses, are most definitely not what we need. We need to know what are the differences between them, and the differences between the winner and Chavez. How are we to get to that, if a pact of no aggression was imposed upon them by MUD? After all, is a primary not meant to be a competition to define the best possible option? How can we get to that, in the current manipulated circumstances?

    Chavez was right in his ranking comment to MCM: next to him, the younger generation look like unexperienced amateurs to me.

    1. I do not agree with you. Chavez was an amateur when he came to power beating the likes of Salas Romer and Alfaro Ucero who had been more than once around the block.

      I think it is actually a plus for them, a fresh face, which is by the way what is hampering some Arria and Medina. For me MCM and LL and PP are ready. HCR I am not that sure. Do not forget that MCM was tested hard at the head of SUMATE and LL in his trial at the IACHR. Surely that must count for something.

  6. Island Canuck12:38 PM

    Obviously the discourse has rattled Chavez. He's mentioned it 4 times since Friday & JVR brought it up yesterday.

    I disagree that this will not help her, especially among the women voters.

    I applaud her & would welcome her as our president. That said I will also support whoever wins.

  7. It is there where Maria Corina Machado may suddenly start gaining traction and I expect any time soon HCR and PP to become a little bit more incisive in their attacks on Chavez if they know what is better for them.

    AB I think that is Daniels big point. This may be the lead, follow or GTF out of the way moment for the rest of the Oppo Candidates.

  8. La proxima vez que Chavez se pone paranoica con EEUU , le vamos a recordar que Aguila no caza Mosca

    1. Jaja, this is wonderful Firepigette. I think Hilary and Obama should learn the expression....

  9. Charly5:34 PM

    In fact it looks like Machado's intervention is a watershed moment. Nobody in those 13 years had the guts to tell him to his face.

  10. DAniel dixit: - but the line that got most media is when she said that expropriating without adequate payment was robbery (starts at 1:37)

    "without adequate payment"?

    You must have a different version of the clip than what I hear on this, your blog.

    1. I wrote "starts" because at 1:52 she says "resarcir" which means in Venezuela compensate. I tied it all together for simplicity, for those who do not understand Spanish.

      But since you want it to be clearer MCM says that the expropriation policy of the regime to take and pay, maybe, someday, when inflation ate it, is robbery and it is Chavez himself who labelled himself "ladron". She did not say it, she implied that he was presiding an administration that was committing crimes. So he had a chance to say at least "I will look into it" but by taking offense he paradoxically admitted it and that is what the country understood, even the chavistas, in fact, mostly the chavistas who benefited from these robberies.

    2. She said "a quienes ni siquiera se les resarcido su propiedad" which can be translated to adequate payment.

  11. plob5005:52 PM

    She has gained me as a voter from HCR. In a totally contra environment she stood her ground. A bit like Margaret Thatcher.

  12. I know just how Ma Corina felt when she blasted Chavez.I had a very similar experience once in Venezuela that put my " superiors" into a nice little checkmate.

    I think when we speak through the heart is gives us a powerful energy that we might not otherwise have.Chavez made several attempts to shut her up,but backed down quickly.

    Chavez was put in check mate here, and the memory of his weakness will be forever ingrained in all of us.

    The outcome of my moment of catharsis and confrontation resulted in a transformation so great that I was able to accomplish things I had not expected to.

    It's surprising how one seemingly small incident can in reality be a powerful catalyst for change and turn the direction of something for the better.....

    Chavez took the victim stance hehe: " me llamaste ladron ante el pais :)" i love it!!

  13. The MCM outburst was great, and whether it helps her or not, it took the narrative out of Chavez' mouth, and caused everyone to talk about her, not him.

    I know reason has little place in Venezuelan public affairs, but when Chavez tells MCM that he won't answer her because she hasn't won the primary yet, that implies that 1)he recognizes the legitimacy of the primary, and 2)he will debate the winner. The exchange with MCM can be used to show his cowardice about debating others, once the "primary winner" excuse is gone.

  14. Anonymous10:00 PM

    This link on Hugo's health may be in the wrong place and no doubt old or relatively insignificant news.

    Nevertheless it appeared in the UK press today.

    And hat off to Maria Corina. She showed there's a lot more to Venezuelan women than tits and bums.

  15. thank you, daniel and Karl. I have learned a new word: resarcir... resarzo, resarces, resarce ...

  16. Venezuela was way overdue to do something really stupid, but totally awesome.

    "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."

    Martin Luther King

  17. Anonymous6:09 AM

    Hoy Capriles la defendió, ya que Chacumbele la acusa de mal educada y de insultos tratandolo de ladrón. Se ofusco tanto que de seguro no entendió bien, pobre, después de 9 horas 1/2 ya no podia más.Mientras tanto somos la comiquita en todas partes, no todo el mundo bate un record Guiness. La Maga Lee

  18. Anonymous6:13 AM

    Firepigette, En twitter, alguién con mucho humor escribió " Tres minutos de una mosca opacaron 9 horas de un aguila" me parece muy bueno. La Maga Lee

  19. One) That was a hell of intervention, I applauded MCM decision to stand up and give him a very good piece of not only her mind but the mind of many people in Venezuela as well. She dropped an A-Bomb over him, and he had no choice but to insult her and assume a childish attitude, obviously trying to diminish the effect of MCM stand-up.

    Two) It's possible that Maria will gain some political momentum, from what I can tell people in the media are talking more about MCM intervention than the 9.5 hours speech of a self deluded man with a complex of messiah. Can Maria win the primary elections next February? Maybe, Maybe Not, but one thing is certain she will definitely play a bigger role in the future, and her presence might be necessary to secure the political stability in Venezuela.


  20. .

    My favourite line from this:
    "Oswaldo Graponte, director de la encuestadora Lo Que Piensan En Mi Casa En La Trinidad, asegura que el momento mediático de María Corina le augura un repunte en las encuestas..."

    1. Yes Syd, this and more. But do not forget that Chiguire, like Toro, support Capriles, which comes to confirm, maybe accidentally, my point that whatever MCM might pick up may come from PJ mostly. We can argue ad infinitum how many votes she may pick but her targeted picks are easier to define.

  21. Anonymous7:21 PM

    If Chavez tries to quiet MCM, everyone will now know it is a act of retribution and Chavez will look bad.
    You can listen to MCM for a few minutes or listen to Chavez for a few hours.

    Chavez said he will respect the outcome of the election whether he wins or loses. To me, that is a sign that the election isalready be rigged and Chavez has no fear of losing. In any event, Chavez' words cannot be trusted.


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