Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chavismo: from XXI century socialism to XXI century fascism

Perhaps it is inaccurate to start a post on ideology pretending that chavismo is one. There is no such thing as "chavismo" besides the unconditional love and tolerance of his groupies for any inaneness that Chavez blurted since 1992.  Chavez changed many times his speech, admitted to too many influences and thus implied a lack of understanding of what he read, making him unable to forge some kind of basic coherent ideology that could survive him. Then again, it was quite possible that he never planned for his "post-me" era, that he always thought that his message was obvious, even when he got sick and knew his days were numbered. Such was his ego that we could assume that to be true.

Electoral fraud mode confirmed: it is in who voted, how many times they voted, where they voted

Wrecking her life work at the very end,
and in pink innocent girl!
It came as no surprise a few minutes ago: the CNE has announced that the audit it will allow DOES NOT include the books where voters must sign after they vote. Nor apparently the system that gets your fingerprints. In other words it is a useless audit because it  indeed will count the votes that were cast but does not account for those that were allowed to cast proper votes.

What are the implications?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Capriles officially does not recognize the election result

You may say that there is no surprise there, but the intention of last night special TV show of Capriles was to announce officially that under the conditions set by the CNE the opposition will not accept to participate in the audit and that it will push forward to denounce in court the election, "impugnar" we call it here. In other words, the ante has been pushed up since last night.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Taking the gloves off: Capriles tells explicitly that Maduro stole the election

I did not know how to title this entry but scanning for background before typing it I thought that an adaption of Spain' El Pais would do. Because this is exactly what Capriles has done tonight: he has officially claimed that the election has been stolen from him. I am putting the portion of the video at the end of the post.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday fluff post

Apparently I am between Nelson Mandela and François Hollande....  For fun I took a "political compass" test and unsurprising I came left/libertarian.

Chavismo has lost any democratic character, if it ever had one

One nice thing about Chavez was that we could measure the democratic content of chavismo by looking at him. Since on very rare instances Chavez had a democratic word, we could assume that perhaps inside chavismo there were people more democratic in nature than he was, that they were just repressed, closeted democrats, and that someday they would prevail.

We have been proven wrong: there is no democratic bone inside chavismo, and for all that I know, whatever democrats co existed inside may have been purged by 2007 at the latest.

France versus Venezuela: human rights in and human rights out

Today the French parliament gave its final vote for the "mariage pour tous", all can marry who they want.  Today the Venezuelan parliament did not reopen its doors because its head, Diosdado Cabello, refuses to give the microphone to whomever does not agree with him.  In France civilization keeps advancing, as both right and left booed out a heckler trying to unfurl an idiotic banner in the last vote. In Venezuela hecklers are encouraged if they bitch at the opposition, and when necessary chavismo representatives hit opposition representatives with a microphone, leaving gashes requiring many stitches.  In Venezuela the regime tries to force the acceptation of a fraudulent election whereas in France many in the right who voted against the law declare already that they will apply it and look forward performing their first gay wedding.

Meanwhile on May 2 the S.O. and I will have been together for 14 years and we are looking forward a wedding at the French embassy this late fall.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The April 14 2013 results: chavismo loses the metro areas, often big time

The more noteworthy result of Sunday 14 is that with electoral cheating and all, the regime admits that it has lost the control of the major urban agglomerations. That is, the victory of Maduro, if we can call that a victory, comes from places with less than a few dozen thousand folks. These places are much likely to depend on state largess for their survival (Misiones) whereas urban centers dispose of more qualified workers, more artisans, more professional  trades, more educated people and also more "rich" people, but now a relative minority in the new coalition the opposition is building.

In other words, what we have been seeing for a long time: the more educated people are, the more dependent they are on their skills and hard work to make a living, the less likely they are to vote for Chavez, or his heirs for that matter. Let's look out now at the numbers.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The April 14 2013 result: the Caucagüita story

I was wondering whether to analyze the electoral results of last Sunday. After all, there is a fraud. But then again, I've never taken CNE results truly at face value and only found their worth in indicating trends away from chavismo, stuff that even manipulated data cannot hide. So I have decided to make only two posts, this is the first one, retaking my poster community, Caucagüita.

Maduro first "power" decision is a show of weakness

I am dumbfounded. Not only because I just barely managed to open the blog dashboard for the first time today and I do not know whether this post will happen, but becasue I caught by mistake Maduro's cadena announcing what a president usually announces first, his new cabinet.

Well, let's start by the obvious: a new cabinet it ain't.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Patsy Cline tonight

Sorry, but I could not take it today. The idea that this band of thugs was taking a revered national holiday to symbolize their renewed hold on power (at least they hope) was more than I could endure.  So, besides a little bit of tweeter and a few minutes of Alo Ciudadano that was all I could take as far as news (and Boston, of course).

So tonight it is Patsy Cline while I prepare some pasta, open a bottle of Ventisquero Grey Syrah 2005 and on to the DVD of Game of thrones, season 2 of which I have not watched a single chapter. See you tomorrow with renewed energy and lots of ideas under cogitation.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Senseless repression but the beginning of some common sense, maybe, in Venezuela

The day has been marked by two things: an increase in repression moving into outright fascism, and at the end of the day the beginning of some good sense with the CNE accepting to backpedal its earlier stony stance.

"There is a coup going on against me! I am off to Lima" #MaduroIsAnIdiot

Back from work I am slowly catching up with today's event. Since I have to work I cannot report on them so I must settle for a comment at night. Well, there is one that I cannot wait further to share with you. Maduro has been saying that there is a fascist coup developing against him (more on that later). He is planning to send Jaua, the foreign minister to an urgent meeting of UNASUR tonight in Lima, Peru. Capriles tweets that he is considering going to Lima. Maduro tells Jaua to get off the plane and he travels himself to Lima that he must be reaching as I type. There goes the coup argument....

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Those Reichstag moments....

Circa 1933......   A PSUV party joint in flames, by its own supporters. Blaming the opposition of course  except that someone filmed.  This is from Capriles site and apparently they are receiving lots of information that chavistas are setting up aflame from medical centers to Mercal.

Chavismo in crisis, unraveling next?

On April 14 the real story was how suddenly maybe 700.000 chavista not only did not vote for the appointed heir, but crossed the line. We are talking here of almost 4% of the electorate.

Repression full scale but also indices of division inside the regime

The news today is complex. We must underline first the massive repression, hundreds of people arrested, brutal violence and maybe even torture. In particular in the states of Lara and Carabobo, and dead people in Tachira.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fascism keeps forward

I am sorry, but I cannot come with a better header when I read Luisa Estela words today.  But before I go into it I need to calm down readers: my surprise is that she waited until today to say that there is no "ballot counting" in the Venezuelan legal system.

Duty calls, a migraine will not stop me from reporting on the fascist coup going on in Venezuela

Barquisimeto today
I suffer from occasional crippling migraines and today I got one. On and off I tried to read my tablet, or watch at very low volume TV but soon enough I had to stop and slumber again. Yet, all hands on deck and even if incomplete I need write up some stuff.

On the live-news I can tell you that today there was a significant rally in front of San Felipe CNE. I had to go to work for half an hour at least so I saw the end of it when I came back home, seeing walking next to my car San Felipe's ex mayor and our representative who in normal times are political adversaries. Times have changed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Excelente comentario de Toto Aguerrevere

Tengo que comentar sobre el excelente post que justo acaba de sacar Toto. Porque yo pensé lo mismo anoche: cuando se levantaron las 4 gracias y dejaron solo a Vicente supe inmediatamente que había fraude. Si esas señoras estuviesen seguras de su buena fe hubiese sido muy fácil para ellas calarse el despecho de Vicente sin ni siquiera un bostezo. Pero se fueron porque estaban nerviosas y no querían que se vea. Lo que si estoy en desacuerdo con Toto, es que las 4 irán presas, no solo Tibisay.

Make Obama take a stand

If by May 15 this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the White House will murmur something about it...  OK, US citizens that read this blog, get moving!!!!!!

And it will work because of this. (hat tip Richie)

Massive pot bangging in Venezuela

I am pleased to report that Capriles petition of doing a long cacerolazo at 8 PM has been a major success. In San Felipe we started at 8 sharp and after half an hour we got tired and went home. And in the silence of our block we could hear the rumor from all around us!!!!!!  Even now, diner quickly dispatched and opening for a quick note, I can still hear stuff!!!!!  It has also been taken up by CNNE and NTN24 from Colombia who are showing it live in their screens.

Media activities

Busy day, besides writing posts after posts.  Three interviews but one failed.

Tensions flare

Nazional Guard happily tear gazing
I was busy this afternoon (more on that later) and there was/is a cadena for the proclamation of Maduro as the winner. Of course, in the purest fascistic-repressive tradition of April 11 2002, during the cadena repression had started at Plaza Altamira in Caracas as the two pictures shown in this post (lifted from Twitter). I personally think it is a mistake to start such street riots so soon when Capriles is calling for peace and quiet and to wait for his directions while looking very combative   But the sensation of electoral fraud is just too big, people are too upset and the regime is deliberately stoking those flames to get a reaction and justify more repression.

Monday, April 15, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Capriles challenges Maduro and the CNE

Capriles just spoke and threw down the gauntlet  He will not recognize the result unless some simple conditions are met, including actual counting of ballots.

He said that if the CNE dares proclaim officially Maduro today he will not be a legitimate president with all the consequences that this carries.

In addition he accuses that 1) the army is already "moving" ballot boxes that cannot be moved yet 2) that some army personnel that wanted to enforce the rules were arrested. And hinted at a few more charges.

He came back on Maduro words last night as lies and manipulation of a message that he sent to avoid a political crisis. in short, he says that the regime has sought deliberately a major political crisis.

He wonders who is in charge there. Apparently Maduro told him he needed to "consult". {To whom?  I add: the Castros?}

Marches and protests are planned and can be stopped very simply by Maduro and the CNE accepting to count the votes. {I am not too keen on his asked for "cacerolazo": that NEVER works in San Felipe, even if my table voted 88% for Capriles}

I will put the video when up.

UPDATE: in front a silly journalist question Capriles dared to find a single incident where the opposition was at fault yesterday in front of the 3000+ incidents already reported from chavista supporters. He also reported on the amazing number of 500 voting machines breaking down in apparently suspicious areas.

My "predictions" rated

Before I move on to fraud claim and analysis of results, I need to evaluate what I "predicted" would happen.

An electoral fraud primer

I am in no condition to do extensive research on electoral fraud this morning. I did sleep well last night, once I could fall asleep, but I woke up late and I need to go soon to attend at least a few hours of business.  But since at least one reader summoned me.....

A first look at the results

Amazingly the CNE has stuff out and I cannot sleep. So there is a first look at the pseudo results.

Maduro gets a non-mandate and Capriles does not buy it

Well, let's start from the beginning. I am not happy but I am far, very far from the funk I was last October 8. See, I purged myself from the oppressive knowledge that a majority of Venezuela were non democrats, people too easily blackmailed, too easily satisfied with government handouts, too willing to exact revenge against imaginary or real ills. Today with an alleged 50.6% we have an accurate number of Venezuelans that do not have democracy in high regard.  The bulk of the people who voted for Maduro today voted for one of the following reasons: Chavez told me so, I am not going to risk my public job even if the regime is a dictatorship, I am not going to risk my position where I can skim a lot of commissions,  I am going to keep my drug traffic racket, I am think that we have not punished X enough, I do not care about justice or freedom of expression as long as I get Z, and the like. None of these options is leading to democracy, and a coalition of them negates democracy. Because fret not: with 50,66% of the vote chavismo will feel equally in its right to impose its views of the country as if it had gotten 70%.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The last, I hope, election day post

Tibisay announces Maduro winning....


Shit! Tibisay arrives when I was about to walk out!


Time to walk the poor dog. Tibisay, hold on for 15 minutes more!!!!


Well, it looks like the military are deciding what is it to be done. 14 years of leftist "participatory democracy" and we end up where we started, or rather never got out of it: the army has always the last world in Venezuela.

Last week campaign roundup: a summary and final prediction

The official campaign may have ended Thursday night but the regime has been blithely breaking the law and keeps campaigning all the way until today, on the excuse of commemorating the April 2002 coup. The electoral umpire? The CNE sees nothing wrong....  Which forced Capriles to go a press conference tonight that sounded almost campaign like. It will be interesting to see if the CNE dares to criticize Capriles  or if the electoral "acompañantes" (cf. Carter Center) will have anything to say about this.  I am not holding my breath.

The last week of campaign has not offered any surprise. Capriles has kept motivating his base, offering us the biggest rally ever in Caracas political history.  Apparently all in the foreign press did not seem to catch on that, but then again the recent reported problems in the Capriles media system can be blamed in part for that.

Still, the momentum is clearly in the Capriles camp, chavismo unable to find the adequate one liner, unable to offer a political rally without loading bus after bus of public workers forced to attend.  My S.O. had to go last Thursday to Maduro closing march and rally and I am putting a few of his pictures through this entry for decor. You can interpret them, according to your pre electoral mood, as the last days of chavismo or the dawn of the official Cuban era in Venezuela.

Un video que todos los chavistas deberian ver, si es que les queda algo de moral

El disidente Orlando Luis Lazo describe lo que es la vida en Cuba, la falta de Internet, la represion, y el fascismo social. Eso es lo que viene si votan por Maduro. Asuman su responsabilidad.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sunday's results, an exercise in immateriality

Of course, one must try to evaluate what may happen next Sunday. I, for one, am nonplussed. I still stick to my "47% Venezuelan style" theory and think that we are a lousy people and that we will vote conservative, namely for Maduro. Yes, Maduro is the conservative vote, the one that wants nothing to change, the one that wants to keep receiving stuff for free from the state even if it means accepting precariousness and blackmail as a way of life. In that 47%  many consider Maduro a beast, a Cuban mole, but as long as I hold in my hand the little piece of paper where I was promised a home for free I will vote for him anyway, or for anyone there for that matter.

The Carter Center returns to Venezuela

What are we to make of this return of an institution which has been decried by the Venezuelan people from both sides? Mostly by the opposition we must say, and not without reasons.

First, it is important to note that the Carter Center returns as an “acompañante” not a full-fledged observer. In this quaint figure the Venezuelan electoral board, CNE,  tries to get a free pass from people who basically are only there to watch voting day, and are not allowed to watch all the treachery that takes place in the preceding months. Chavismo through its four workers at the CNE helm tries to fool the world.  But does it manage to do it?

Media problems in Capriles camp

I have just seen a strong and bitter post from Juan Cristobal at Caracas Chronicles where he blames Ana Maria Fernandez for a lousy media communication system at the Capriles campaign. I will not discuss to which extent that person which I personally do not know has an effect on an eventual victory or loss for Capriles and our cause. However I am going to side with him that her handling of the media part of Capriles campaign has been dismal as far as I personally can vouch.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What if chavismo has overreached?

I am back in Yaracuy after a two weeks absence as voting duty calls me (and my business of course  even though these days there is little business to do, but that is another story).

The first thing that caught my attention is that there is no Capriles ads left, not even from last October still hanging here and there. Posters have been removed, walls painted over. If you visit San Felipe today you would be forgiven from thinking that there is a single candidate for next Sunday, Maduro. Coming from Caracas, where Maduro posters are overwhelming  you still see enough evidence that he is not alone in the race. Here, in my local boondocks, no.

April 14 result and abstention


After my post of Monday tossing around some numbers I thought, during the long drive back to San Felipe, that I should be a tad more serious than tossing numbers haphazardly, that maybe an abstention graph like the one Miguel gave last year would be more telling to predict Sunday's result.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Last week Venezuelan electoral evaluation

The Capriles event yesterday in Caracas forces us to revise our assumptions for the result next Sunday. Let's go with the hard data we have.

Margaret Thatcher

I thought I would interrupt briefly Venezuelan election coverage to mention that I admired Margaret Thatcher very much because she was a principled politician, one that was not afraid to take hits for what she believed in. She also knew when to step aside when the time came.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Democracy peaceful last stand: the opposition does its mother of all marches

I do not know how to explain what happened today in Caracas. I have gone through 10 years of marches and nothing was like today. Never did I see as many people, never did I see such a positive mood. And amen of chavistas either subdued or, well, friendly.  It is in the wind....

I took plenty of pictures and I am putting some below, sort of in the order they happened. I hope you enjoy them. The last one is from Avenida Bolivar which I managed to reach but did not dare to enter as you will understand easily. I did not reduce it as much as the others so if you click to enlarge you can see in the fog the stand where Capriles would arrive for his speech about an hour later. A speech, by the way, which was stunning, and the harshest attack yet on Maduro.  Also, I did take some pictures with my Blackberry that I tweeted live. You can go and see them at @danielduquenal

The flow arriving from Altamira at Chacaito
The frangipani are blooming. I thought I'd share. :)

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Provisional post

I will try to "live tweet" a portion of today's march in Caracas. If the wireless system does not collapse..... You can follow at @danielduquenal . Starting around 11 AM caracas time.

Fourth week campaign roundup: Maduro, the unsuitable candidate

Certainly, having been away for a week should disqualify me from writing a review. And yet I am helped out by the crudeness of this past week.

The CNE forbade this ad on electoral fraud by chavismo

The Venezuelan electoral board this week forbade transmission of this political add that clearly makes allusion to the scare tactics that chavismo uses to force people to vote for them.  Do not be surprised by this: that interdict is all but an open confession by the CNE that it is just the mere election ministry of the regime.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Our "47%"

I may be away and busy but news come crashing about what an awful country we have become (never mind that my Latino American colleagues at the meeting I am attending feel bad and pitiful towards me and Venezuela...).

Two events marked most than any because they tell us more about how chavismo manages to retain control than anything else we heard recently. And I am not talking vote buying or corruption or repression: I am talking using Venezuelan "culture" to show that chavismo is the way to go .

Monday, April 01, 2013

Electoral AWOL

Due to business commitments preceding the alleged date of demise of our local imperator, I will not be in Venezuela this week, much preferring to attend a symposium/training course.  I have no idea how my Internet access will be or how much time I will have to scan the news and write at night. Thus the 4th installment of electoral roundup is seriously compromised. Sorry. And I have an idea that where I am going Waldoniel will have a hard time to make up a meaningful clue. But we'll try.


Estos años revolucionarios han re-energizado  una costumbre política nuestra: el salto de talanquera. Pero para poder hablar con propiedad veamos primero lo que implica la expresión “saltar la talanquera”.

En ningún caso, esta expresión campesina, se puede traducir con una marca de poder, o de autodeterminación. Por definición, el potro o novillo que salta la talanquera lo hace para salir del pasto de su dueño al pasto de otro dueño.  La talanquera se salta para escapar o para mejorar, pero nunca para liberarse. La talanquera que se ha de brincar para liberarse da a un rio profundo, a una selva oscura, a un páramo frio, a un mundo de incógnitas. La talanquera que separa de la otra hacienda revela mejores pastos, o esconde los látigos. 

Por lo tanto el que salta la talanquera nunca ha de ser admirado, a menos que la talanquera mire al vacío. Y pocos lo han hecho porque pocos están dispuestos a arriesgarlo todo por la libertad, a aceptar que fuera del corral existe el riesgo de nunca más tener seguridad. Mejor saltarla al vecino, porque otro tipo de seguridad habrá y algo de comida se tendrá. Y ¿Quién quita? podré saltar atrás tal vez.

Hablemos ahora de los saltos recientes.