Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Erdogan, Assad and Aung San Suu Kyi in Caracas

The news these days offer many a temptation to draw cheap parallelisms to Venezuela situation. But those in the title of this entry are far from being a parallel though they could help explain some of the "aspects" of the Venezuelan current debacle.


Comparing what is happening at Taksim square these days with an Arab spring is rather ridiculous, and embarrassing for Erdogan, the questioned Turkish prime minister cum wanna-be strong man, pretending to be a model for the newly freed states. After all, Erdogan has been duly elected in elections that were at the very least freer than those in Venezuela and Turkey economy has boomed for the last decade, with a real economic boom where production increased in real numbers.

What happens today in Turkey is an actual society choice, of people genuinely tired of progressive religious encroachment, decrease in civil liberties and the like even though the leaders claim to do it all with the aim of joining the democratic European Union.  They are now exposed for what they really were: your average conservative that suddenly thinks it has it made and power for ever is a possibility. Unfortunately for democracy for every Bush there is an Obama (just as for every Carter there is a Reagan). Turkey not being yet a solid democracy, with its secular implications, we end up in Taksim square.

I suppose that if chavistas were better educated they could have looked at Erdogan as a possible model. After all he won election after election, had a popular hue even if religious in nature, managed to have self censorship of the press, and was able to force slow but regular change in Turkish society without it noticing it quite, until now. But the Venezuelan "boom" of Chavez was a mere distribution of cash, not an increase in production and now the economy is capsizing. Chavez never was a model except for its methods to ensure that gangs of thugs seize and retain power while killing democracy with its own weapons. We did have a Taksim of sorts with Plaza Altamira in 2002-2003 but this is over as the reality of Venezuelan society caught up with us: we are not a fighting people, we were never democrats and never really aspired to become such, much preferring whomever promised the best "free gifts" from the state. Elections may be stolen, but in the end we do not seem to care as long as we seem to be getting our share of the loot.

Aung San Suu Kyi

The Burma heroine may well finally reach her goal to become Burma next president in 2015. There is still a need to change the constitution there, and for the military to accept that change is now unavoidable. She will have had to wait over twenty years, a nakedly stolen election triumph, who knows how many years in house arrest but in 2015 she will either be president of Burma or whoever wins will have been approved by her.

Is this the fate of Capriles? Does he have to wait 20 years until chavismo eventually let's him reach office?

The big difference here is that ASSK had always a majority of the people with her, and a combative one that on occasion was not afraid to take risks, such as a very few years ago when Buddhists monks themselves almost made it. Poor Capriles barely crossed the 50% line this time around and he cannot hope that the chavistas who for the first time switched their vote will also go down to the streets to defend his victory. This is too much to ask, too fast for them.

What is sadder is that even among the long time opposition voters, many think that tweeter is the way to go to unseat chavismo and they are certainly not ready to suffer personally for that goal.  Capriles may face a few more years in the wilderness and if like ASSK he did suffer some unfair and illegal jail time, he also has more people trying to replace him at the head, amen of the "traitors" pretending to be with the opposition but only too willing to accommodate themselves with a few more years of chavismo. And if it were not for the looming economic debacle we may be looking at a decade more of chavismo at least.


Considering Assad lesson for us is a rather grim prospect. Even if we do not need to be afraid of such a crude and cruel civil war it remains that the chavistas in place are only too willing to take down the economy along their own descent. They are actually doing it, ruining the country in their last grasp at stealing whatever is left to steal. Thuggocracy has never been as observable these days than it has been in the last decade. We could also observe that not tending to the infrastructures of the country for the last decade has some portions of Venezuela look like bombed out areas of Syria.....

Syria cannot be a parallel case for a future scenario in Venezuela. What is going on in Syria is really a religious war complicated by the fact that many religions reside there. Still, the idea that a fanatic group, afraid to lose its privileges, could be a way to retain power is not something that escapes the regime's plans. We could say that the attempt at creating a Chavez cult is a way to introduce something akin to a religion so as to excuse the immobility of society, becoming the reason why the desecrated opposition should never reach power no matter what its numbers may be. What protects us from a cruel civil war like in Syria is that we are too hedonistic and materialistic a society to have enough people fight it out to the bitter end. But we may well still get some form of civil war when people finally start realizing that they have been had by a mafia unwilling to share the loot. Then it will be fanatics versus malcontents, a strange mix for a civil war.



As I was typing this entry last night Erdogan decided to clear up Taksim square, and apparently he is about to do the same with Gezi park even though it was clear that the Taksim group was more political than Gezi one, more concerned with "environmental" matters.

Thus we need to remove once and for all the democratic label to Erdogan and his cronies, as he becomes a duplicitous liar, promising one day to dialogue with the Gezi occupants, only to gas them in full a few hours later. Very Chavez like, democracy to reach power, and then bye-bye to democracy.


  1. Anonymous9:55 AM

    Aung San Suu Kyi is a heroine - the "e" at the end of this word was omitted!

    1. Done!

      Though she is kind of gaunt, like a heroin user ;)

    2. Anonymous4:31 PM

      That's where the name heroin comes from :)

  2. I agree that the comparisons of what is happening in Turkey to the "Arab Spring" revolutions is ridiculous. But, while the goals were very different, Erdogan's government is a good parallel of the slow acquisition and consolidation of power that Chavez achieved. And Erdogan may even have been studying and copying Chavez's moves in this.

  3. Anonymous12:53 AM

    agree with daniel, the oppo seem not to be willing to bleed for the country (vzla). seems like we will have to wait for the barrios to cross some tolerance threshold for inflation, shortages,etc. to ignite some real resistance to the govmnt.

  4. Milonga5:10 AM

    I suppose you have read this, did not read previous entries, lack of time these days, but just in case I'm giving you the link to the WaPo piece on Venezuela: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/venezuela-gets-a-lifeline-from-the-united-states/2013/06/11/ab20c178-d2b1-11e2-8cbe-1bcbee06f8f8_story.html# I read in Tweeter that people are mad at Capriles for asking people to vote in December without solving the CNE fiasco. What is you take? Best regards!

  5. The Turks have only been protesting for a week, and they are already producing propaganda that makes the Venezuelan Opposition efforts pale in comparison:


  6. Boludo Tejano5:20 PM

    Off topic. I wonder what our friend Milonga has to say about the Devil's posting on Bandes Uruguay. Sip some Canarias while you read, Milonga.

  7. Anonymous11:34 AM

    Erdogan isn't a wannabe strongman. He's a wannabe neo-Ottoman Sultan. Being a strong man is just a means to an end. Kind of like for Chavez, controlling things was just a means to feed his massive ego. Roy is right to cite parallels.

    (By the way, the title is confusing, as it suggests these folks actually visited Caracas. I would change "in" to "and.")


  8. Anonymous1:27 PM

    Well, at least the Turks protest. While Venezuelans sit by and "hope" that this Mafia of a government will actually change.

  9. Boludo Tejano3:31 PM

    From How Obama Is Sinking Venezuela's Opposition.

    On the margins of a multilateral summit in Guatemala last week, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jose Jaua, marking the Obama administration's latest attempt to reset relations with the South American nation. What's worrisome is that Secretary Kerry's enthusiasm to find, in his words, a "new way forward" with Venezuela could end up legitimizing Chavez-successor Nicolas Maduro's quest for power and undermining the country's democratic opposition and state institutions.

    On reading this, I suspected that Tim Tracy had been nabbed to subsequently be used as a trump card. We release Tracy, you talk with us and give us legitimacy. While Maduro may be stupid, his handlers are not. The article then goes on to state what I had suspected.

    Rather than accept Maduro's strongman tactics, the Obama administration should take a firm stand and make clear to Caracas that any steps to undermine the country's constitution or threaten the opposition will be detrimental to bilateral ties with the United States. The fact is that Washington holds all the cards. Venezuela's economy is in a free-fall, Maduro's popularity is plummeting, and various public scandals - especially those related to institutional corruption - could further erode public confidence in the current government.
    By resetting relations with the Maduro government now, the United States risks legitimizing the Chavez protégé's ill-gotten hold on power and undercutting the Venezuelan democratic opposition efforts to sustain and expand its popular support. It's time the Obama administration rethink this hasty reset with Maduro.

    John Kerry has a long history of making nice with tyrants. After Kerry was elected to the Senate in 1984, he was Daniel Ortega's friend in Congress. No matter that the Sandinistas, well before Reagan was elected, showed their attachment to Soviet imperialism by signing a joint proclamation with the USSR three months after the USSR had invaded Afghanistan: “The USSR and Nicaragua declare their resolute condemnation of the campaign unleashed by the reactionary and imperialist forces with respect to the events in Afghanistan.” No matter that the Sandinistas jailed a Polish national for six months for suspicion of belonging to Solidarity- as soon as he entered Nicaragua with a valid visa. What counted was that Reagan didn't like the Sandinistas. Which meant that for John Kerry, Daniel Ortega must be a pretty good guy.
    For John Kerry, Maduro is just another tyrant to make nice to.


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