Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why the Venezuelan opposition is alone internationally

The little scene that happened yesterday at the OAS is turning out to be more interesting than what you may think. Note: if you are a fervent opposition leader stop reading now as you will probably do not like what comes next.

I did not want to write about the Cochez-Chaderton exchange because for one thing I am so embarrassed that Venezuela has an ambassador like Chaderton at the OAS that I would prefer people to think that I am not aware of the existence of such a vile character. "Pena ajena" we call it in Venezuela, of difficult translation if we want to carry the real meaning.

The scene was OAS predictable except it went one step further than usual, and brought a rather indecent turn around of the Panama foreign ministry. In short: nobody in the OAS is really wanting to get involved in the Venezuela debacle.  Two lone voices were raised, the one of Panama's ambassador Cochez (video) who did not say anything that is not true and the Canadian ambassador who suggested to send a fact inquiring commission to Caracas that infamous, and on Chavez debtors list, OAS secretary Insulza promptly dismissed on a technicality.  The "further" I referred to above is to the reply of Chaderton to Cochez which will remain in the annals of anti diplomatic vulgarity (video) and on how low a human being can descend when it accepts to submit to a El Supremo (the one rotting in Havana or any other Supremo in LatAm history).

But let's not dwell on that OAS fight. Let's consider instead why the hemispheric organization is so mute on what is happening to Venezuela these days.  I posit that the main guilty party is the opposition  and not only the MUD but the opposition "reply system" since at least 2003.

The main, the real problem of the opposition is that it has absolutely no follow up. Abroad or at home. For example, who talks today about Antonini's 800K? Or Pudreval?  Or the political prisoners outside a regular pious prayer for them? Has the book on Afiuni revived support for her?

As for constitutional direct violations the opposition vocal score is hardly better. Outside of Diego Arria bothering to take the time to submit a voluminous dossier against Chavez in The Hague International Court, where are the law suits against Tascon's list? Is anyone still talking about the constitutional coup of 2010, in my opinion worse than what happened on January 9?  Excepting a few bright private initiatives at the IACHR like the one of Leopoldo Lopez, the opposition prefers to turn the page fast and worry about elections that in fact they cannot win but pretend they can.  You know, telling the truth about chavismo could turn off chavista voters.....

All of this is duly noted by foreign observers who in private cannot hide their contempt for a rotten regime but in public cannot be bothered with even slight criticism of Chavez and chavismo. The few that dared to do so were simply left out to hang and dry by all including the US of A who has not lifted a rose petal against Chavez since he came to office, not even in 2002 no matter what the chavista propaganda would like us to believe.  Of course, there is the occasional updated version of  "por que no te callas" but they sound much more like a warning that "if you keep annoying me I may have to write a line down the sand" than any actual warning.  Meanwhile Venezuela has become a major drug hub of the world, and we know that behind this other aspects of organized crime and terrorism are sure to follow.

So, why is the world not paying more attention?

True, there is that wish to make business with Venezuela but the main reason is that Venezuelan opposition simply is unable to make its case because it is unable to have follow up, to prioritize the issues, to act outside of self interest, self interest being rather low in our case as a town hall here and there seems to make it happy.  In Venezuela the opposition leadership is very reluctant to put its actions where its words are. True, we have had Capriles go to jail unfairly for quite a while but this year, this December, he went on vacation outside Venezuela. No one denies him the right of a vacation, but given the Venezuelan circumstances and the huge loss of December 16 of which he shares part of the blame, could a week in a local posada not have been good enough a vacation?

In short, people may sympathize with us but I doubt they respect us.

When you go to the OAS to claim that you Constitution has been violated you need to also bring the evidence on how this is affecting your life and unfortunately the opposition has not done that in 2003, in 2004, in 2007, in 2010 and others....  If you fail to do so, you start looking  like a brat and no one will pay you attention even if all know that you are right.  At least, if they do nothing about Syria they talk about it. In our case, Cochez, the one that dared talked about the issue, was promptly disowned by his president....

PD: tonight we learned that the Panama government has fired Cochez.  They waited a few hours to see if the guy would resign but Cochez is of a different mettle: he wanted to be forced it seems, to make sure that whatever happens to Venezuela could not be blamed on him.... Of course Maduro congratulated himself for Panama caving in his pressure. Certainly he has been given a blank check by the OAS to commit yet new constitutional violations. While he does that he took the opportunity to qualify the Canadian government of "miserable" and "ultra right wing". Funny, Canada, one of the most democratic countries in the world and a welfare state if any....

Maduro is an ignoramus, and an idiot because he should not have attacked Canada, a country that is truly out of reach for him and certainly no lesson whatsoever to receive from the bolibana fraud.  Canada would be such an alien land for a chavista, and I am not speaking of the weather.


  1. Bravo, well said, Daniel, with your finger accurately placed on the wounds. And yes, the oppo continues to be very immature, both inside Vzla and outside it. In that aspect, nothing, and I mean, nothing has changed. Hacer un seguimiento serio a X problema no es un don reconocido entre los venezolanos :-(

  2. Anonymous6:48 PM

    Very good! you should translate it, so anyone in Venezuela could read it

  3. What is happening (and not) in Venezuela has many causes. One of them is the MUD belief that they can oppose effectively as a mere electoral movement and that opposition can be carried out on a part-time, voluntary basis. There can be no proper follow up and continuity when the actors behind the scenes (not the talking heads, the ones doing the work)change from day to day.

    Another factor is the deep psychological impact that the regime (with the help of the Antillean Wardens) has been able to inflict upon the population. I invite you to read the article on Learned Helplessness in Venezuela on my web-page:

  4. Well said Daniel.I have hoped you would say something for quite a while.

    The truth is that nothing can be fixed as long as the opposition does not take responsibility for the blame.

    If the opposition is not that angry with the situation why should other countries be?

    The get out of jail free card does not apply.The opposition must stand up and do whatever it takes to get rid of what supposedly they oppose.That's the meaning of the word opposition, or is that just a name only?


  5. Anonymous8:03 PM

    There definitely is no follow-up of Chavez govt corruption and blunders


  7. The real problem is that the opposition is reluctant to oppose the most important cause of Venezuela’s misfortunes, namely the concentration of over 97 percent of all the nation’s exports in the hands of the State, something which makes real democracy utterly impossible, because they all aspire to be the ones in charge of managing that richness. They all belong to that tribe of “quitate-tu-pa-ponerme-yos”.

    1. That too...... Privatization is the lone only option.

  8. As a side note, That's why I wanted the Republican Mitt Romney to win the presidency last year, he promised not to eat more bullshit from Cuba and Venezuela, and no doubt he would have acted with a strong position against this violation of the Venezuelan constitution.

    Now, well Obama shows one more time that Latam is not a priority for USA, and the silence of Obama administration about what's happening in Venezuela speaks volume. He couldn't care any less.

    Not that I'm advocate of the international intervention in Venezuela, but come on!! are you freaking kidding me, OAS acted in Paraguay and Honduras, why they don't even bother to send a delegation to Venezuela.

    By the way, I didn't even hoped that OAS were to doing anything, since most of South American and Caribbean countries, owns a favor or two to Chavez government, and Insulsa, well the guy is a leftist that was against the OAS when he was a student, and clearly he came to the OAS to destroy the enemy from within.

    1. 1) Mitt Romney would not have been sworn in for the Venezuela events early January

      2) and based on Bush 8 years record vis a vis Venezuela i doubt very, very much that Romney would do more than whatever Barak is doing.

    2. "Mitt Romney would not have been sworn in for the Venezuela events early January" my friend where I come from that's just a formality :P. He could've been hovering the media, urging the department of the state to do something.

      Bush never promised to make things hard for Latam presidents wannabe kings, Romney did.

      We all remember that the only moment that OAS cared to intervene in Venezuela, was during the Bush Administration, back in 2002 and 2003. That we as opposition screwed up that's another story, and is more in the line with this article. Now the foreign policy of Obama administration regarding Latam is nothing but yawn and indifference.

    3. I know is not related with your article, I just wanted to point out, the silence of the Obama administration regarding the current situation in Venezuela.

  9. "La oposición tiene que ser una oposición digna de ese nombre, y no una oposición colaboracionista."

    -- Audio Declaración Dr. Enrique Aristiguieta Gramcko

    También el Dr. Aristiguieta hace referencia a lo que le dijo en una ocasión el Pdte Herrera:
    "Partido de oposición que no hace oposición sigue en oposición."

    Vale escuchar el audio. Y basta de excusas para proteger a la oposición. (Véase la foto de Henrique Capriles, viendo a Maduro con ojitos tiernos y sumisos.)

  10. Charly4:39 AM

    I think I now understand well why the gringos have kicked their Southern neighbors right, left and center all that time. It is not that they are wicked but that their Southern counterparts are such a disparate lot. One way or another, the gringos will continue to keep the upper hand.

  11. Anonymous8:40 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. "Marketing furniture!" The spam is getting more interesting!

  13. Replies
    1. pena ajena = I'm embarrased for Fulano.

    2. Syd, I think the meaning is stornger in Spanish.

    3. Agree, Daniel. The Spanish version is stronger.

  14. Anonymous11:27 PM


    1. take your silly montage of an outline of Cuba over old video clips of Chávez. Qué tan poca inteligencia.

  15. The likelihood of a Latin American "brother country" supporting the opposition in Venezuela is inversely proportional with the trade surplus said country has with Venezuela.
    That's a law.

  16. Anonymous3:38 PM

    Maduro is campaigning utilizing the full force of the government, Chavez style. This is electoral cheating. Can Capriles campaign? I bet not as it would be some kind of violation according to CNE. Capriles should launch his campaign anyway. Why is he not doing so? If Chavez were coming back, Maduro would not be campaigning.

  17. In the sea of silence, borne of fear, futility and mercantilism, I'd like to applaud two personalities that deserve our respect.

    The first is Willie Colón, who like a pan-american jester in the court of the mad king, is the only one allowed to state without repercussions the lay of the land in Vzla.

    The second one, recently crucified, is Panamanian Guillermo Cochez, now ex-ambassador to the OAS (OEA). Here's his article:

  18. Daniel
    I think frustration more than reason is behind your article.
    I wouldn't judge the oppo so harsh, Venezuela is a dictatorship worse than any I can think of recently, because it can be ruthless at home, and nobody cares out here, there wont be an official voice in protest. There isn't a head of state or organization even raising the issue of Venezuela out here. You saw what happened to Cochez.
    Why should HCR sacrifice more than what he has? He is entitle to vacations (abroad) just like you are. The Oppo are doing what they can in a country that could send their wifes or daughters to the same jail and the same "treatment" where judge Afiuni was, with made up charges, and who is going to
    stop it? Given the circumstances, in my oppinion, they are doing what they can.
    I undertand the frustration of seing your country go to crap without a hope in sight. I feel the same here in the US, we are headed in the same cesspool direction, except you guys are way ahead.
    One thing I find curious is how you can't stand what Chavez and Co. are doing to Venezuela but you are ok with what the Democrats are doing here, which is the same thing "diferentes cerdos en el mismo barro".
    I honestly hope that Venezuela will find its way soon and peacefully but I think history tells us that when the situation reaches critical mass a lot of people will have to pay to buy back Venezuela's Democracy.


    1. Orlando

      It does not quite work that way.

      First, I can go on vacation because my business closes for 3 weeks and I am not running for office, not even for a condo assembly seat. When you want to become president of Venezuela, even the way you take your vacation matters. For example Chavez has been careful to make it look like he never gets a vacation except for an occasional week end to visit his old man in Barinas.

      Considering what is at stake and the situation of the country, Capriles made a mistake. And not the only one, unfortunately for him.

      Second, whatever the "dictatorship" throws at you, there is no excuse not to hold a tight line of principles.

      And third, I am tired of that canard of comparing the democrats and Chavez. Actually, I am getting exasperated. For example the gerrymandering that led to a GOP majority in the house in spite of getting a vote minority for the house is due to individual states electoral decisions usually held for the last redistricting by Republican state legislatures. So do not compare the situation of the two countries at least at the electoral level. The GOP is far, FAR from being as powerless as the opposition is in Venezuela.

      Also, last time I checked the Supremes were still mostly conservative.

      With just the view from what happened in January in Venezuela I hope that your eyes will open and you stop advancing such arguments. If the GOP lost it is because they could not advance a plank that went beyond heterosexual white males and Bible thumppers. To give you an example I know several gay males with a lot of money who pay taxes through the nose for lack of deductible relatives who never considered for a second voting GOP. Ain't that grand? And if the Latino vote went Obama you need not look further than the lack of immigration policy in Congress. Not even a good or bad policy, just A policy with some consistency. And if women went Dem, maybe it is because a lot inside the GOP still think that they should all spend their days at the Country Club or Soccer league instead of going to work. Etc... Writing that the Democrats are doing unspeakable things to the country is not going to change that fact, nor scare the people who see Boehner still Majority leader and the Supremes still thumbing down the occasional ruling or a majority of states in GOP hands....

      Let's compare what can be compared, shall we? This cannot be considered an endorsement of Democrat policies by the way, just a mere statement of facts. For the record, you would be hard pressed finding in this blog anything supporting Obama initiatives outside of civil rights, but you will find plenty of examples on how the GOP manages to be absolutely unpalatable to many constituencies. And yet you will not find support or reject of GOP economic policies. For the record, again.

      I only allow myself to discuss US affairs when they are related to Venezuela (foreign affairs if you wish) or on Human Rights close to my own interests. Rare are my comments outside these subjects. How can this be construed as a ringing endorsement for one side or the other baffles me.

  19. The Oppo are doing what they can in a country that could send their wifes or daughters to the same jail and the same "treatment" where judge Afiuni was, with made up charges, and who is going to
    stop it? Given the circumstances, in my oppinion, they are doing what they can.

    I agree with the above comment.


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