Sunday, May 05, 2013

Who minds the Realm?

The decomposition of the regime goes apace. These last couple of days we peeled off yet another myth: that Maduro had an inkling on diplomacy. After all, he had been Chavez foreign secretary for more than half a decade before been anointed. Surely he must have learned something. But after having clashed, unnecessarily  with Spain, he clashed with even less reason and potentially more damage with Peru, ending today with a special cadena trying to clash with Obama and linking him to the Devil. (1)

In other words, Maduro was not a foreign minister, he was Chavez's errands boy. And this leaves us in a very dangerous situation. See, in serious countries, foreign policy is a state matter, directed by those in charge certainly, but always with a modicum of consult with the opposition since they could well assume the burden if they reach office. You certainly do not want to give them an extra blame against you, when they can claim to be cleaning your overseas mess, and you now in the opposition. Thus, the US president usually takes along a ranking Senator from the other side of the aisle in official state visits. And in parliamentary Europe, foreign minister go frequently to their parliament to account and explain. Even France's Sarkozy named a socialist foreign minister!

But in Venezuela foreign policy ceased to be a state policy around 2000-2002 and became strictly a policy to serve the interests of Chavez, in his dreams of continental grandeur and world epic. Foreign ministers came and went with a certain frequency until Chavez assumed it all in his hand, naming what was a mere errand boy for visits he could skip, Maduro. From then on there was no need to change foreign minsters anymore.

The problem is that now that Chavez is gone, nobody around Maduro remembers that Venezuela foreign policy should be a state matter, and nobody knows what to do with a system geared for Chavez interests when this one is not interested anymore. Maduro which was thought by many, never by yours truly by the way, to be a negotiating man, a polite and affable one, has revealed that he was a mere thug all along, to the point of being unable to call on Cabello after this one has had beaten up the opposition in Venezuela's National Assembly. No matter what power struggle may be going inside chavismo, Cabello offered a great opportunity for Maduro to score a point and this one instead decided to sink further in world opinion.

I have been watching this week the first season of Games of Thrones and there was a line from the Varys character that seemed appropriate  When Ned Stark asked him who he served he replied that he served the Realm, "someone had to do it".  And today I thought of it because truly, I wonder if anyone in office today is serving the Realm of Venezuela. I would even settle for knowing that at least someone has the sense to feel the need to do it.

I am at a loss since Chavez left (I am not going to discuss the before here) to find any action inside chavismo which goes beyond personal interest, personal ambition, personal preservation. From Maduro to Cabello, from Tibisay to Luisa Estela, all rule against the state, the law, the tradition, the people, the whatever. All have in mind, strictly, the "what's in for me?"  No decisive economic measure has been taken besides a devastating devaluation done on the run to secure election funding. No new law has been offered except for a ruling on the work law which is going to slow down economy even further. No attempt at finding stability, any stability, has been done; unless you count repression as a road to stability. Nothing but pet projects and posturing.

And after the latest Maduro outburst to make enemies when what we need are friends, I truly wonder if anyone inside the regime is minding the country, if at least one of them is going to say "enough!".  I suppose they all know what the Cuban masters did to Eddard Stark.


1) No need to go into details. Maduro reacted to a mere statement from Obama where this one said it was ridiculous to detain as a "spy" a mere naive movie maker.  Same exaggeration with Peru where the foreign minster, provisional head of UNASUR, asked for peace and tolerance and was insulted, ambassador to Lima recalled, just to call it over within hours as if nothing. And to make sure he would make Santos further uncomfortable with him, he accused Uribe to want to kill him.


  1. Anonymous8:27 AM

    Maduro has been losing popularity with El Pueblo, where he is now below 40%. And now to save himself he is attempting to go after foreign governments who are simply asking the government to talk with the opposition and to stop the violence.

    I think we are now finally to the point where a coup is now possible, but only if new elections were immediately called for. This is because El Pueblo would be willing to allow a do-over election to take place...and the US should be willing to keep Chavez's allies (Cuba, Argentina, Bolivia, etc.) at bay...

    1. Anonymous12:35 PM

      It's a rather sad, Orwellian attempt to invent a foreign enemy to rally the population behind him. It's so clumsily made it'll probably backfire. :)

    2. Charly2:17 PM

      Too early to call new elections, the necrosis is going apace, wait for the limbs to fall off first, the TSJ, the CNE, the National Assembly. Then the time will come for the cleanup. I still cannot believe the decomposition is going so fast. Cabello was right, Chavez was the retaining wall, now the patients have taken over the asylum, and JVR, supposedly so good at tending bridges, well just another old fart.

    3. Island Canuck3:43 PM

      Just published in El Universal.

      70% approve the petitions of Capriles to the Supreme Court:

      Looks like things are moving right along.

    4. Island Canuck3:45 PM

      Sorry that should have read to the CNE (Election Board)

    5. From where I sit, far away, I agree with Charly. It seems too early yet to call for new elections. Maduro is not quite maduro to fall off that tree.

      What I am reading, though, gives me great hope. And that is, few leaders and officials are now being cowed into submission. They no longer fear rocking the boat.

      You have Lourdes Alcorta in Peru, telling it as it is. You have Obama calling ridiculous Maduro's claims that Tim the filmmaker is a spy. You have Ledezma countering the threats from the government that they will take him to the Fiscalía ("do so and I will denounce how you all are 'endeudando' the country").

      This reply mode to threats would have been unthinkable, even 6 months ago. We are making progress. And in the process, the grass roots are getting más arrechos and more serious -- a welcomed change. For that bailoterapia stuff of the past had to go. It was ridiculous.

      If Vzla as nation can get past this sorry time, it may just be for the good, as it begins to build -- for the first time -- a sense of nationhood.

      I am hopeful.

      P.S. Found interesting, too, Maduro's backtracking on his earlier threats to the Peruvian minister of foreign affairs, once Peru roared. (They do that particularly well.) Panamanian Willy Cochez had this to say about the backtracking:

      Guillermo A. Cochez @willycochez
      Se echó para atrás con lo del Perú por órdenes d Cuba. Oye chico, no te pelees con los latinos. Hazlo sólo con los gringos y el imperio

  2. Milonga4:39 PM

    I am just hoping this will backfire on everyone that supports him because they are showing their real undemocratic vein. It's the Foro de San Pablo, stupid! Actually, and very unfortunately, the problem is that the economies all around Latin America are beginning to show signs of weakness, after 10 years of high raw material prices. And give-aways to Cuba and the lot, Brazil including. This, not totalitarism, will chop many heads. It makes me sick.

    1. Dr. Faustus5:15 PM

      "..the problem is that the economies all around Latin America are beginning to show signs of weakness, after 10 years of high raw material prices. And give-aways to Cuba and the lot, Brazil including...."

      That is precisely correct. There can no longer be any more "give-aways" because of Venezuela's approaching financial cliff. What does Argentina owe Venezuela? ..13 billion? How about PetroCaribbe? ...20 billion? Cuba? ...where to begin. Isn't the oil revenue part of Venezuela's heritage? The waste assets here is unbelievable.

  3. Don't underestimate the Cuban influence on the behavior seen to date and please compare about what happened in Cuba and other countries during a transition. Create illusions of disarray, etc for entertainment while they moved ahead on creating the new framework foe the next 10 years

    Sadly we all believed that chabge we will occur via the institutions

    Change in Venezuela will only come in the way of a civilized or uncivilized uprising. Pick your flavor Tunisia, Egypt or Lybian to name a few recent ones

    If we are looking for a real change then we have to swallow hard and make historical decisions

    I doubt Capriles can lead this change however

    1. very astute comment David, especially the 1st paragraph. Some recent decisions are so bad (odd) that you begin to think it must be 'accidentally on purpose'.

      Also agree re Capriles.

  4. Anonymous5:45 PM

    I wouldn't be counting or hoping for new elections. The electoral system is still broken and corrupt, and a credible outcome is far from a reality. Will either side accept the outcome knowing that the system is still flawed? Are there sufficient financials for either side to support another compaign and election?

    Capriles won the last, and probably the last two elections. Blast the April 14 results out of the water and award rightfully Capriles the winner. Start the rebuilding process.

  5. Michel Garcia6:10 PM

    Also, on the international front:
    Maduro to be investigated by paraguayan justice.

    1. Boludo Tejano8:55 PM

      Last month, when Presidents Evita III of Argentina and Mjuica of Ururguay told the newly elected President of Paraguay that they were waiting for the "return of Paraguay" to Mercosur, a Paraguayan legislator's reply to Evita III and Mujica was "Go to hell."
      While this stance was indicative of Paraguayan popular opinion, the President-elect , who wants Paraguay to return to Mercosur, would most likely not have supported such an "undiplomatic" statement. With the investigation of Maduro, it sounds as if the "Go to Hell" contingent in Paraguay is amassing more power.
      Does not look good for Maduro, to have berated Peruvian diplomats for "interference in Venezuelan affairs" -for supporting transparent electoral processes in Venezuela- to have his blatant interference in Paraguayan affairs to be brought up.

  6. Anonymous6:11 PM

    I am starting to think that"be careful what you wish for" might apply to Vzla right now, we all want Maduro to fall but that might leave the road open for a Cabello presidency......that would be the end of the country as we know it....

    1. I truly do not think now that Cabello can make it. A coup is always possible but unviable. The best Caebllo can hope is a provisional set up before new elections to which he cannot be candidate.

    2. Anonymous10:26 PM

      Hm, why he couldn't be the candidate?

    3. he certainly can be candidate but he is unelectable. Even with fraud.

    4. Michel Garcia7:11 AM

      Only the most radical chaviztas would vote for him, but not the rest, mainly because he's the living symbol of the BoliBourgeoisie, the Nouveau Riche of the "revolution". Add to that his past comments about ending businesses (and, possibly, cutting relations) with Cuba, Belarus, Iran, and North Korea, and center on China and Russia, and improve relations with the USA, and you have a completelly unelectable candidate by the overlords.

  7. Great posts lately. And to think just a few months ago we thought you'd be retiring from blogging. What would we do without you, my friend?

    1. Hear, hear.

    2. Wish I'd discovered this blog some time ago.

    3. Every thing changed January 9. Now I am fighting an open dictatorship and my crying wolf was finally proven right.

      And of course, thank you for the compliment :)

  8. Anonymous2:53 AM

    Did anyone else see the Miami Herald article and the documentation of the Government's mobilization efforts? Shows how they CNE is illegally helping the governement, how the government is using its own resources in the mobilization, and how the fraud was committed on election day...

  9. Anonymous4:46 AM

    The truths will gradually surface about the cne/cuban vote manipulation, as well as the truths about chavez's real month of his death. Maduro and cabello will be tarred and feathered before it is over.


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