Friday, December 28, 2012

A happy new year for the military in Venezuela?

I am facing a complicated week end and I may not be able to write much until next year. OK, next Tuesday....  Thus, just in case, I wanted to write with some leisure right now to wish you all a Happy New Year and to write some about what is in store for Venezuela.

The big issue is whenever ifever Chavez comes back alive to Venezuela, and if alive, in any shape or form to rule.  Let's state it: his messianic way of ruling can only be sustained if he is able to project vigor. From a wheel chair, halting steps or whatever disability he carries it is going to be very difficult to get away with stuff the way he used to do. In a country of such willful dependency people need to know that they are going to get it.  After 3/4 of our history under a military jackboot the forceful caudillo seems "normal" to most of us.

Certainly chavismo is aware of Chavez demise and has been so for quite a while.  This has not stopped them from speeding it up by forcing Chavez into a campaign that he should have never undertook. Not only it was a fraud against the nation and the good faith of the chavista voter who deserved more respect than that, but it is pushing us into a multi layered crisis.  First it was a fraud that needs to be paid more than just through the mere decease of Chavez. Those who stroke his ego to push him to run, from the Castro mafia to our local one, will have to be exposed for that crime (among the many others they perpetrated). And that they will try to blame each other for that crime is going to make things even more complicated.

Second, Chavez had a chance to settle the issue on his own, with more leisure, had he decided to do so a year ago. But not only his ego got into the way but so many people were afraid to lose their privileges that all pushed for him to stay. Now he had to design a successor almost in a rush, when he could not delay it any longer. As a consequence the apparent heir, Maduro, is already challenged by the military through Diosdado Cabello.

It is essential to understand that Venezuela is a military dictatorship. That so many people still pretend it to be otherwise is irrelevant now.  The dictatorship is pushing itself in the open. Of the 23 new governors 12 are military or related to the military. A majority growing though each election. The military also hold some of the most strategic positions in the government  from ministries to airport and harbor administration, where the money goes through. Through Diosdado Cabello they hold the National Assembly which as expected under a military has become even less of a debating body.

The military has prevailed over an always rather weak civilian component of chavismo because the army is the only thing that Chavez understands and trusts, as much as he can trust anyone in his psychopathology. And he understands even better how the bottom of any military officer promotion is always resentful of the top and he skilfully promoted those who were willing to swear allegiance to him. As a result the military in charge may be wily but they are not intelligent,  not even smart, nor well prepared, nor honest for that matter as out transformation into a narco state has amply proven.  That Venezuela is so run down is due to the mediocrity of the military "establishment" as the military has much less trouble to live in generalized chaos as they have the means to impose order and privileges in their immediate surroundings.  Why should they care about a potholed country when they just can take a chopper to go wherever they want, at state expense of course. Why should they care about lack of electricity of water when they can have the conscripts dig a reservoir or demand the purchase of electric generators for state security reasons?  The high ranking military do not suffer like the rest of us.

Now, there are two kinds of military in power: those that got rich through administrative corruption and those that got rich through drug trafficking (and administrative corruption too, of course). As far as local guilt this does not make much difference since many in the civilian wing of chavismo are delighted at the idea of destroying the USofA through drugs.  The problem here is that if the civilian chavismo has blessed their actions and new wealth, the eventual reckoning will be all for the military alone.  As it is always the case in decadent military regime, there is all sorts of attempts at keeping power at all costs to avoid such reckoning which now has more international possibilities than local ones in what is today a morally bankrupt country. 14 years of chavista crap come with an amoral transformation, it cannot be helped. Even the bulk of opposition politicians range from bland to spineless as the moral fiber of the country, whatever that one was, has dissolved.

The mystery, if you will, is that Chavez chose a civilian.  I think that Maduro, in what was available to Chavez,  was certainly the best choice. But still, why a civilian when the military are already in charge?  We cannot know the final answer yet. Maybe it was because Chavez and the Castro thought that through a Civilian the colonial relationship would be better preserved?  Maybe it was just a matter of Ego for Chavez that thought his glorified memory would have a better chance to survive if his successor was a civilian?  Maybe the army was too divided to push forward an unavoidable candidate?  The thing here is that the civilian side is in fact the weaker one. It is too radical for a long term shot at holding the country because the economic realities will weaken it faster than a military hand that will not be afraid to apply repression until it think it can turn around the situation.

No matter what happens with oil prices there is a 2013 reality that neither civilian or military can avoid. Oil production cannot increase fast enough to cover the ever growing populist needs. The price of gas and of goods in general needs to go up as subvention is not possible, not to the extent it is already happening today. No matter what cooked up statistics are shown, the real productive economy is not growing, real employment is not created, inflation shows no sign to go below 20%. To add insult to injury, the longer transition to post Chavez lasts, the longer it will take to take the measures that should have been taken already last year.

In short, what is at stake here is whether the civilian or the military wing of chavismo will prevail. I think that the military wing is the more determined because it is the one that has the most to lose. It may even be willing to negotiate with a wimp like Capriles and his friends. Then again this may not be that bad: what is more costly for the country: a civil war or "forgiving" a massive looting of the state?  Unfortunately I am afraid that the civilian wing of chavismo is today unable to compromise, too ideological,  too many years insulting the other side, too mean, too willing to cheat. The pragmatic fraction inside the civilian wing is too likely to be swept away when push comes to shove.

I hope I am wrong.


  1. Dr. Faustus5:28 PM

    "No matter what happens with oil prices there is a 2013 reality that neither civilian or military can avoid. Oil production cannot increase fast enough to cover the ever growing populist needs."

    Exactly. If anything oil prices in 2013 may be going down, as low as 50 to 60 dollars a barrel. Oil production will probably remain steady, or drop, at around 2.4 mbd. If you combine this with an imminent devaluation, you've got some very tough economic times ahead.

    Furthermore, no one has yet commented as to what will happen were Hugo to choose to be inaugurated on January 10th. What if he really shows~up? OMG! Can you imagine what his physical appearance will be after having undergone that operation, whilst laying in bed for 4 weeks and unable to acquire steroids? No more bloating. His skin will sag, his eyes will darken and he will probably look emaciated. His appearance will shock everyone.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Anonymous11:46 AM

      " Can you imagine what his physical appearance will be after having undergone that operation, whilst laying in bed for 4 weeks and unable to acquire steroids? No more bloating. His skin will sag, his eyes will darken and he will probably look emaciated. His appearance will shock everyone. "

      His voice will be weaker. Imagine, a track suited president taking the oath of office slumped in a wheel chair surrounded by doctors.

      One good photo of Chavez today is likely worth thousands of dollars.

    2. Actually devaluation would be a life saver as it would bring needed cash to be looted again and again... Just as inflation is an absolute regressive "tax" that hits the little one most and erases gov (internal) debt.

  2. Charly10:04 PM

    Daniel, pushing Chavez to the limit is a crime? Come on man you are getting soft or early on new year booze. I personally think it is an act of mercy. The SOB did it all to himself pushing himself day in day out with his hatred of civilization, someone should give him the coup de grace that would have two benefits; 1) put the walking corpse out of his misery, and 2) deliver us of an insufferable "letrino militar" useless piece of garbage.

    1. Charly10:07 PM

      Forgot the first and foremost: Happy new year to you Daniel and all others. My new year wish is that some scientist somewhere invents a virus that only attacks people in uniform and wipe them out quickly. VIVE L'ANARCHIE

  3. Well written observations... it all boils down to the usual evil twins: lack of education / Corruption.. plus, of course, "the Devil's excrement", sadly, Uslar Pietri's vision never comes true:

    It's a vicious cycle: corruption leads to lack of education (personal interests, immediate rewards prevent long-term investments on education, for which someone else would take credit 30 years down the road)

    And viceversa, the lack of education breeds corruption (80% of brutisimos are left in Vzla, after We, the brightest got the hell out of there (joking, but not really.. most of the educated / high classes jumped ship long ago, MASSIVE Brain Drain..)

    So there you have it.. comme dirait Obelix.. ils sont fous ces romains!!

  4. Well, this is what I have also said all along: Maduro might be worse than Diosdado. Maduro is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

    Even though the " civilians" might claim a better image from the very fact of not being military, the corruption among them is just as bad as can be seen in PDVSA and other entities.

    I think it better to deal with people who are more openly mafioso than with those who hide it, while cultivating their image with pretensions of righteousness.

    Happy New Year to all


  5. I have said it all along: better to deal with a more openly mafioso than a
    pretentious ideologue like Maduro( a wolf in sheeps clothing).

    Both are corrupt anyway, but the " civilians" hide it better.

    Another factor to consider is that the military will not be able to get as much international support from the world( left wing governments and media worldwide).

    Happy New Year to all


  6. Este año 2013 puede ser de la tolerancia y la paz en muchos lugares del mundo. Les deseo a todos ya sus seres queridos mucha salud y prosperidad para el año 2013 y que todos somos otro gran año de forma gratuita. Visite el uno al otro con respeto y tratar máximo para disfrutar de la vida de una manera digna. Y, sobre todo, hacer lo que el placer y la satisfacción. Un Año Nuevo hermoso deseo de los Países Bajos.

  7. Felíz Año Nuevo, Daniel. Best wishes in 2013. May you keep observing from 'el interior' and posting your valued opinions on this blog. If, however, you get tired of doing so, I will understand.


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