Thursday, August 08, 2013

What happened today: the post-Chavez regime digs in and scales up repression

Certainly today's headline is the Venezuelan High Court, TSJ, emitting one of its most shameful decisions ever (and the competition is stiff). But three other events today are equally telling and all put together are true reasons to worry.
Gladys Gutierrez,
the new chavismo head bitch, dye job and all...

Let's start with the headline. The TSJ had to make a decision on the challenge to the election of last April. The problem it faced is that any decision that would imply an actual revision of voting conditions for last April would without a doubt open a can of worms. There were already two clearly established electoral irregularities that did not require lengthy study: people accompanied forcibly to vote, on video, and the lists of people "dead" that did vote. Those two, by themselves, were enough to erase the "vote advantage" of Maduro in April and examination of the other claims would reveal that Maduro lost. The TSJ, formed by regime's place holders who simply sign decisions written by political agents, were in an impossible situation: accepting to review the challenges was opening the door for proving the illegitimacy of Maduro; refusing to review the challenges was tantamount to recognize that fraud had taken place. They chose a variation of the second, which is that the 10 electoral challenges were ill written and groundless, thus inadmissible for examination. The 10 challenges! As if all lawyers of the opposition were equally incompetent! As if the videos and death roll did not exist! As if what international observers reported on April 14 was misguided!

But that was not all with the TSJ. It decided to fine Capriles for slandering the TSJ and sent the challenge dossier to the prosecutors office to investigate further and see if other criminal charges could be advanced against Capriles. Now, this is exceedingly serious because it is not only a direct attempt at freedom of expression but it offers the regime a precedent for a new repression tool.  What Capriles is accused and condemned before trial (he is already fined!) is to have criticized the TSJ decisions of January and March that gave an unfair advantage to Maduro.  If Capriles is fined then this blogger also should be, and thousands of journalists, lawyers, OpEd columnists, etc, etc... who have stated the obvious, that the TSJ decision of proclaim Maduro sitting president for the electoral campaign was a violation of the constitution as only an "elected" sitting president can enjoy that benefit. This is extremely grave because now any critic of any institution of the state can be attacked by that one as defamation, terrorism and what not.

If this was not enough there are two more items to note. This morning one of the right hand of Capriles apartment was searched at 6 AM. Oscar Perez is accused on nebulous connections with Mardo, because they exchanged e-mails or something.... At this time I still cannot find a good account of the why of the case, besides him being one of the key guys of Capriles for Miranda. The timing is certainly interesting: Capriles and his people have been served notice, they are going to be hounded. And the rest of us if we support him, I presume.

But the signal of intensified repression and the reinforcing of the thugs group in power come from inside chavismo itself. Not only there will be no primary nor discussion over the mayor candidates inside chavismo but we learned that ALREADY 33 outgoing mayors will not be allowed to go for reëlection and are demanded to support their appointed wanna-be successors. Stalinist purge stand trial light version for our times.

Future narco mayor's brother?
And it is not over as all the candidates have yet to be announced.  If there are flash in the pans in the new nominees to districts that are more than likely to be lost by chavismo, it also happens that mayors of safe districts are also given the boot (1). For example in Vargas mayor, the current holder, which I have reliable witness of his particularly corrupt administration, has been booted. Alexis Toledo will be replaced by General Carlos Alcala Cordones. Who is this general, for those of you new to this game?  He is the brother of Cliver Alcala Cordones. This one has already been featured unfavorably in this blog, but what is the most damning is that he is in the DEA/US lists of Venezuelan involved in international drug traffic. Imagine that this just retiring general, but excessively connected with the thuggiest part of the regime, will be controlling the district with the main port and airport of Venezuela, and surely will decide what military is named to control these installations, an officer that will report in all likelihood only to Cliver, or whomever Cliver reports to in Cuba or at Cabello's office.....

I guess that by now the reader will have guessed what is the conclusion of this entry: the regime has decided to intensify its repression. Again, its inability to deal with the economic crisis and its decreasing polls are pushing it to abandon any pretense and serve notice to the opposition, external or internal, that the days of "dissent" are over and that we are moving toward a more classical form of dictatorship.

1) It is necessary to remind the reader that in a XXI century dictatorship what really matters is the control of money and justice. Thus the regime may allow the opposition to control though elections a few districts that are going to be neutered anyway. What matters for the regime is the control of key districts like those with airport and harbors, military bases, etc...


Added later. William Neuman of the NYT just out with his piece. I am not impressed, and I merely cite it so you know you need to read blogs to know the whole story....ut I truly think

Added later 2. I realize some will complain I did not write about "what next?". But we need to be serious and think this one carefully through. Let me sleep it over.

Errata. When writing this entry I got misled by one of the links I read into confusing Cliver with Carlos Alcala Cordones. They are brothers together in the army but Carlos is not on the DEA list, it is Cliver. Even though it is Cliver who is the unmasked thug it is hard to think that his brother is not somewhat involved in the "business", or at least with the thugs of the regime on non drug related activities. So I have not changed much the paragraph on them, just corrected for names and explained the relationship. It is up to Carlos, if he is elected mayor, to prove me wrong.


  1. the days of "dissent" are over and that we are moving toward a more classical form of dictatorship.

    Agree. The pretend mask of democracy has been slipping off for a few weeks now...

  2. The opposition has no chance to win in court because there is no justice and there is no possibility of winning an election when the tyrants control the vote count process and media. I heard that the military is now going to have its own media and businesses too. I am trying to figure out if they are modelled after the USSR or China or North Korea or Cuba the most.

    I doubt it can last as long as it did in the Soviet Union, but I guess the future will tell us.

  3. Not knowing the specifics of how Cuba "selects" candidates for the lower level participatory democracy, I have to wonder if Maduro is just taking direction from Havana to set up a mirror political environment. It certainly seems that way with the persecution of the opposition.

    1. NorskeDiv10:07 PM

      Quite frankly, I think the rest of South America would let him get away with it. Mercosur would stand aside and watch it happen so long as Venezuela's petro-dollars keep flowing.


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