Friday, November 22, 2013

Just a day in the life of a dictatorship: Maduro starts applying the enabling law

I never cease to be impressed by the deep denial that still exists in some people as to Venezuela being a military dictatorship.  Sure enough, there are "elections", a civilian "president" is the one "ruling", you can travel if you can find an airplane ticket, you still can read this blog though more and more the regime practices blocking certain pages, there are "so few" political prisoners, the hundred of thousand people that emigrated out are simply not genuine patriots, etc.

Fortunately for those that still do not understand that dictatorships in the XXI century are of a very different species than the earlier ones, Maduro first day with his new toy should be the beginning of enlightenment.  Even among the opposition: this Saturday finally Capriles has called for protests all around the country. About time.....

There is no need to go much in the details of the two new laws signed today: they are, as expected, designed by the regime to control more the economy and punish those it wants to punish. The laws, as the ones to be published in the next months, are mere excuses that make the task easier in finding motives to crack down. As all such type of laws they will not work out, and in the end they never worked in any country. They are mere examples of laws that a dictatorship emits, nothing more, nothing less.  What is more interesting is how the regime bends backward further, if it were possible, the constitution.

One law is to promote corruption. Through this law Maduro creates a Centro Nacional de Comercio Exterior or National Center for Foreign Trade.  Maduro's reported words are rather confusing. Apparently now if you want to import anything you need to pass though that CNCE and sign a contract that proves you will use the dollars approved as intended and that you will be willing to be monitored in all your operations. We can sort of deal with that, it is just a more centralized CADIVI where those who have the power to grant the dollars, corrupt or not, will remain in similar posts.  Not only this will not stop corruption, it will only make it a little bit more circumvented and thus only increase the price of bribes that you will need to pay to get access to dollars to keep your business running.

Where Maduro loses us is with his announcement is that dollars that are approved will have to be deposited in a local account  instead of being transferred to your directly to your provider as it should be the case. How do I transfer dollars from my account to my provider if 1) I cannot have an account in dollars inside Venezuela and 2) there is a currency control exchange that forbids me such transfers? Is this a circumvented way to force providers to "invest" in Venezuela? A disguised devaluation as such transfers could be taxed? Was it just yet another idiotic misunderstanding of Maduro?

The other law, as expected, was to tie together a series of previous laws that will allow the regime to fix not only prices but also how much you are allowed to make in your business. In short, it is the law that is going to destroy large sectors of the economy that require flexibility in their earnings (seasonal character, for example) or that sell few large ticket items that need large margins to sustain business in between sales.  Maduro claims that this law decree will stabilize the economy. He may be right, it will be base line stability.

Now, if this does not reek enough of dictatorship, let me add that Maduro wants to give the price and earning control law a character of "organica" which does not mean at all wholesome and organic.  In Venezuelan legal tradition there are the so called organic laws which need to be voted by 2/3 of Parliament and can only be modified with a 2/3 vote.  The intention is to approve through such laws what the institutions of the country should be, things that are dangerous to change according to the whim of any government. In other words organic laws are in principle the laws that are used to implement the constitutional provisions as to how is the country organized, and NOT necessarily how it is run since this requires more flexibility to account for changes in economy or society.

Thus the beauty of this Maduro initiative: a president that stole his election in April, that is, 1) who does not have 50% of the electorate behind him, 2) has used a 3/5 vote of an assembly which has been obtained courtesy of gerrymandering, blackmailing representatives and firing others, 3) this 3/5 by the way representing LESS votes of the people in 2010 than the 2/5 sitting across the aisle, to 4) get a law that in the future can only be modified by a 2/3 vote even if it was in practice voted in with a spurious 3/5.  And he will get his wish because he only needs the high court, TSJ, to validate the new law as such. Of course, a high court that has violated the constitution so that Maduro can become president is certain to grant him his wish.

Now, if with this you still think that Maduro is not a dictator then please, do not read this blog anymore. Though, of course, you may be able to read it for only a few days more, until the regime blocks my page or something.


  1. Anonymous6:18 AM

    Maduro wants constitional organic protection for his new law but he does not respect the constitution. This is the same constitution written by Maduro's savior Chavez.

    Is Maduro exempt from constitutional law?

    1. Anonymous12:45 PM

      Are you for real?

  2. margareth12:15 PM

    Daniel can't you look already for unblocking your website? Look at ...anonymous proxy unblock website......or something or you have a twitter account and people can tell you where to go. If you get help we should also have it cause we want to read your blog....;)

  3. Charly2:30 PM

    Those of us who thrive on black market will have a field day, Thank you Mister Maduro, you are my favorite president, I love you.

    1. Anonymous10:54 PM

      And what are you going to do with your many many Bolivars?

  4. I am seeing shocking levels of denial among friends and family who are still in Venezuela.

    “If you desire healing,
    let yourself fall ill
    let yourself fall ill.”
    ― Rumi


    1. Charly4:57 PM

      So am I Firepigette, Just this morning, it is a long wailing on Skype.

    2. Anonymous5:10 PM

      I hope that there is a good turn out tomorrow. Maduro can last much longer than anyone could hope for. Letting his actions poison your mind isn't going to move this country forward. People joining as one and standing up to this will. Half the country opposes him, yet the blind is leading the blind.

    3. Mine too, but I believe it's a self-defense mechanism because what they really have is tremendous fear to confront these bullies.
      I really hope there is an overwhelming turnout tomorrow, but honestly, I'm not too hopeful.

    4. Firepigette: Using laser definitions, rather than engaging in crypto-mystical routines, please explain your Rumi poetry in the face of geopolitical issues now facing Venezuela. Thanks in advance.

  5. Fear I can buy. But denial? No one I know, in their 60's and 70's, who have lived through a previous dictatorship, who have lived through an earlier attempt by Cubans to invade, who have in their family DNA direct or indirect experiences under previous dictatorships, in Venezuela, is under any delusion what this so-called government is all about. Any fantasies by the children and grandchildren of these 60 and 70-somethings are quickly corrected.

    So I don't get the reports by some of the denial they are hearing/reading, only to extrapolate it to a population at large.

    Venezuela has been down this road before, minus the heavy Cuban involvement. And so, outside politicians, most of those in the know, know that it's a question of partial resignation and hope around the corner, rather than assinine behavior and loss of life.

    1. It is so very useless to explain certain things to those cannot understand and It is quite self-explanatory to those who do so.Thanks in advance.


    2. sounds like the answer from a perfect dilettante LOL who copies and pastes snippets from mystics, thinking it'll make her look good. LOL.
      Explanation? Dilettante scurries, unable to explain, to provide sources. Hey what for, on a political blog?

      She oughtta contribute that nonsense to Hallmark cards. A better fit.

    3. LOL,

      It's so amusing to see just how much power I seem to have over you.Every utterance throws you into an aggressive fit.Your landscape is so well ordered in your predictability, even your emotions arrive just on time for a good laugh.


    4. Firepigette: LOL. How amusing to see how much power you BELIEVE you have on people! But then delusions come with the territory. So do air-head dilettantism, pretensions of profundity, a need to project unstable emotions on an entire population (Venezuelans are so naÏve), and outright lies (I have 1000 family members, mostly living in barrios).

      Most of us are onto your condescensions and your need to drag Venezuelans down to your level of misery and false superiority.

  6. Anonymous3:56 AM

    Standard modus operandi for the 21st century seems to be to use socialism to completely destroy the economy, then condemn capitalism as a failure and launch the push to communism. The proletariat seems unwilling to rise up spontaneously like it did in Russia and China these days, hence the cultural Marxist "politically correct multi-culturalism" crap that is destroying western civilization using 3rd world immigration as an alternative strategy pushed by the European Union (a communist Ponzi scheme) and elsewhere. The communists have learned to use the ballot box instead of the gun, but the result is the same. It is ironic that Castro is having to watch the implosion of his cash cow due to the destructive nature of an ideology he has espoused for decades. Now he just needs the gringo oil money to survive.

  7. #23N, #EUTusFotos, #QueNadaTeDetenga , #bastaYa.

    Suuure, "shocking levels of denial among friends and family who are still in Venezuela." Or, taking the socio-political temperature of a nation from a personal facebook page....

    Hasta cuando tantas babosadas. Rumi called. He wants his mumbo-jumbo back.

  8. OT but is there any news or photos of the march yet?

    1. yes, not only on the twitter sites that I noted, and through a feed from various politicians and journos on twitter, but also live through the sometimes congested (also accessible through, and less reliably on: .

      In sum, reliable sources of information, como debe ser.

    2. Why are you so cranky grandpa? Still having trouble taking a whiz. Obamacare will take good care of you.

  9. didn't know what to make of the royal visit to Maduro, today -- left me uncomfortable -- until I saw this valid observation:
    .@NicolasMaduro no pudo reprimir por q los monarcas de los Países Bajos, Willem-Alexander y Máxima Zorreguieta están en Venezuela.

    NOted deliveries of Haier products, elsewhere, as in, if you're not at home, you won't get one..
    En el CIED@pdvsa en la Tahona entregaban cientos de electrodomésticos chinos HAIER.Pagados con petróleo


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