Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in review: the year we could not ignore anymore their "plan"

This year was quite rich in hints that not only the regime has no intention to ever leave office, but that it has a dark place in mind where it wants to take Venezuelan society. Even this blogger who thought that these guys were simply too incompetent to establish a "XXI century socialism", a.k.a. revamped communism, has to concede that they do not care about that because their real goal is clear and precise in their mind, though rather discrete in its public expression.

2013 in review: the year statistics became meaningless

As I have been writing this series of 2013 posts it seems that the gods are with me and that everyday I am getting a fresh new evidence to strengthen my point. Today the Central Bank, BCV, finally released November inflation number, almost a month late, AND December inflation, a day EARLY!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 in review: the year we realized nobody cares about Venezuela's plight whatsoever

This one I had in mind but reader Charly comment pushed me to write it.

2013 in review: the year we knew that thug chavismo would do anything, ANYTHING, to stay in office

This is going to be the easiest entry of this series to write, I think.  Through 2013 we saw many astounding things that we never thought possible in a country that pretends to have a constitution and rule of law. But when a group of corrupt thugs and criminals are in charge it is obvious that they are not going to relinquish power the easy way and thus constitutions become good enough to supply the lack of sanitary paper.

In short order.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 in review: the year we also lost freedom of information

The paradox for the casual observer of Venezuela is that people like me can write in blogs or in twitter the darndest things without anything happening to us. Yet. But it is a very misleading appreciation.

2013 in review: the year we realized that the Venezuelan electorate is wretched and vile

To open this entry allow me to mention a fabulous article of Javier Brassesco in El Universal today. Venezuela celebrates on December 28th its equivalent of April's fool in the rest of the world. What Brassesco shows us today is that Caracas has felt at least 18 times for the false promises the regime made to improve the city. Since 1999 he enumerates 18 major instances that may have gotten as far as the first stone and pretty much nothing else since.  For good measure one of the 18 he mentions is pre-Chavez, but he also tells us that Chavez made sure that "Paseo Vargas" can never be fulfilled because it is now blocked by Soviet style buildings he disposed in its way because of Mision Vivienda, one of the greatest stains on urban design ever.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 in review: the year they rubbed in our faces that this is a military dictatorship

We have to grant something to Chavez: he was political enough to be careful to pretend to hide that we were a military dictatorship. For example in very visible posts he put a lot of women that were mere errand boys (chief "justice", attorney general, minister for elections). Real power always rested in his hands and a counted machos, often working in the shadows. And most of them were military with a sprinkling of Cuban attachés like Maduro.  But we knew, the more so if you needed to deal a lot with the high administration, that real power was always behind the desk of some military "on leave".  Without looking further, 12 governors today, 50%, are military or military related. To which you can add the chair of the Nazional Assembly and a few ministers. Nothing major happens in Venezuela without the army knowledge and approval.

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 in review: the year Leopoldo Lopez was man of the year

If I am going to indulge in "end of year" reviews I might go ahead and commit the biggest sin of all, decide who was man of the year in Venezuela.

2013 in review: the year we learned we were bankrupt

I have never really quite indulged in "end of year reviews". But even if this blog is written to be read all through the year, 2013 has been momentous enough that for once it may be worth our time to rethink a little bit about some of the past events. Also, this time of year is when the blog gets least visitors for the year, and probably the hits come from the most hard core lot. I suppose it is a homage to you guys to write some short and to the point posts as to the salient events of the year about to end. We can comment those among ourselves.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The 2014 Christmas post

Let's forget for a couple of days our daily labors. And this year has plenty of things I would very much like to forget, from the public to the private sphere.  But so goes life.

Wishing you all a happy holiday, even if you could not find Harina PAN to make your hallacas.

Getting ready for 2014 (6): 2014 in Venezuela

So, now that I have dressed a dismal portrait of the country's perspectives for 2014 what else can I add?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Getting ready for 2014 (5): short term options

There are only short term options for all the players, they cannot plan beyond June, truly. Chavismo has a little bit more leeway as it holds all the money levers and thus can afford to imagine plans B and C and D for the after June when plan A fails. However the opposition risks strongly to be trapped in a reactive position. The weakening of Capriles leadership deprives it from its only credible proactive spokesperson. Then again there is at least 4 opposition leaders that can take the initiative if need be.

Chavismo short term options

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Getting ready for 2014 (4): a lose lose game for the opposition?

As I was starting this series, events kept unfolding and what I was going to write as to the opposition perspectives is going to be nicely supplemented.  The thing is that against all odds, and even against political wisdom, Maduro gathered Wednesday with the newly elected opposition mayors at Miraflores palace.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Getting ready for 2014 (3): there are two electoral problems

The knowledgeable reader may wonder how come I chose as a third forecast entry to talk about the electoral system since technically there are no elections before December 2015. Don't we have more pressing problems to solve like the economic crisis ahead, the leadership of the opposition, or more pragmatically, ways to resist for two years the dictatorship and force this one to go again to elections, even if rigged?

Getting ready for 2014 (2): chavismo today and its options

Describing chavismo today is a little bit like trying to describe a secretive dictatorship which has a lot in the open.  It is that schizophrenia of sorts that makes it difficult to see what is really going on since we can never tell what is real from the fluff sent to confuse us.  If we keep it simple we can still try get a picture of the group, essential if we want to understand its motive and guess its options for 2014.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Getting ready for 2014 (1): the baseline starting point, a tanking economy

So now that we have completed an election cycle, that the last election day of that cycle is just behind us, that there is no scheduled election until December 2015, it is time to start wondering what is in store next for us.  What is going to be the overriding factor next year, well, it is already, is the economy of Venezuela. Thus let's start describing briefly in which conditions Venezuela is finishing the year. The least and kindest we can say is that the situation is grim.

Monday, December 16, 2013

That nasty tendency to settle scores, or the truth about Sunday 8

In politics even the best friends at some point feel compelled to settle scores.  Thus we should not be surprised when followers ask for blood, as it is happening now from the press, through Twitter, to my competing blogs, who are all only too happy it seems to accuse the MUD of sugar coating the truth and what not. Me, a long time critic of Capriles, find myself in the need to add a post scriptum to defend him (sort of)  to my conclusion entry of last Friday.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Happy shoppers who voted for Maduro

This week like most business in Venezuela we finished up our years work and closed down until mid January. So I was shopping around these past two days to set up our farewell little Christmas gathering at work and it was a nightmare.  I do not know what happened between Thursday and Friday but San Felipe suffered a nervous break down. There were humongous lines everywhere as finally toilet paper, corn flour, chicken and what not arrived, all together at the same time.  So I have this little photo reportage to show you ONLY part of what I saw Thursday and Friday.
Central Madeirense back stage entrance......

Friday, December 13, 2013

The 2013 mayoral election results (7 and last): loose ends and psychological conclusions

After reviewing a few aspects of the results of last Sunday it is time to write down a preliminary conclusion. Preliminary is an appropriate choice of words since the election is still going full swing as I type: the regime is refusing to acknowledge the results and in the city halls it is forced to abandon or failed to take many measures are taken, from looting of the city property to appoint "protectors". We assume that these "protectors", a poor colonial term by the way, are for those chavista voters that are not a majority in that opposition ruled district, as if the incoming mayors had any desire to install a ferocious dictatorship even if they had the means to do so.  With these actions the regime does not prove it that it is not anymore democratic, that ship has long sailed. No, what the regime is proving to those who care to see is that it may not have suffered a major defeat last Sunday but it has suffered a major psychological one. In  public opinion it is transforming this election into a major defeat. Victorious regimes do not need to loot city hall, to appoint protectors, to explain why they won. They just win and move on.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The 2013 mayoral election results (6): three telling races, Guasdualito, Valencia and Barquisimeto

With 300 + races to watch and without computing power, not even reasonable Internet speed, there is little that I can do for an extensive interpretation.  However, again, with merely describing three noteworthy results we can have a picture of the situation and how the regime did "win" this election.  Barquisimeto is for me the most symbolical loss of the regime, and the best example of the treachery this one displays to win at all cost. Valencia is an example on how messy the opposition is in its organization sometimes. And Guasdualito the bright spot where reality eventually hits the regime.


Yaracuy governor first meeting with "his" mayors

The 14 of them, duly red shirted, duly 4F baseball capped. I do not know about you but this looks so undemocratic, that elected mayors must do as first activity to recognize the overlordship of the governor. Not to mention that some of them have, how can I put that nicely?, thug faces?  Note that this is not a working meeting, almost none has a pen and paper.  This is a staged photo op for the glory of the governor who does not even bother facing us (though I suppose in the official press releases we will see his face, this is a mere tweet from the assistant but how so more telling...)

Our governor with the 14 red reddish [?] mayors #YaracuyKeptItsPromiseComandante

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The 2013 mayoral election results (5): creating codependency on the state yields gains

We are left to wonder how come a country that is so badly ruled, with so much insecurity, with soon a triple digit inflation,  with double digit scarcity index, can still manage to give around 50% of its votes to the people that are spreading misery around.  True, there is an absolute obscene electoral fraud that explains why they actually reach 50%, but the fraud would not work if the regime were not guaranteed, say, at least a 40% of the votes. And 40% of the votes in current conditions is already too much for this blogger to understand. There have been this year countries with less problems than ours that went rioting in the streets (Thailand, Ukraine, Brazil...). And yet Venezuela sees many protests but only from people wanting to solve their own issues, not caring anything about the collective issues.  For all our problems there has not being anything significant in 2013 as a large scale protest across the country. Not that it will not come, even the Soviet Union eventually fell. But that is another story.

The 2013 mayoral election results (4): overall count for the opposition

This one is going to be short. I am just going to list what I was given as the results in town halls depending on parties.  You need to remember that the CNE is not quite done yet, that appeals may come and that many parties are trying to drive the winners to their side.  Those winners, even if they belong to a given party, are quite aware that they got elected with other party votes and do not mind at all to pretend that their links are not that strong, that in fact they are switch hitters of sort.  A concrete example is Baruta in Caracas. Gerardo Blyde may be from UNT (the Zulia local franchise) but he is very aware that in Baruta half of the votes at least are PJ and that UNT only has a share within the other half.  He will kiss and make nice with  PJ whenever it is required.

This is the list, so far, to the best of my knowledge, with my comments.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Carta abierta a los chavistas que se la echan de democratas

Hay muchos chavistas que están claros, que lo que quieren es comunismo o cobrar parejo.  Pero hay algunos de esos que ademas se la echan de demócratas pero no entienden la contradicción inherente entre comunista/corrupto y demócrata a carta cabal.  Muchos chavistas, y mientras mas encumbrados mas propensos a eso, se permiten insultar al que no esté de acuerdo con ellos, llegando a quitarle el sentido propio a palabras tan cargadas como fascista. A través de sus bocas marico, fascista, vende patria, etc. son meros adjetivos banalizados que describen a quien quiera que sea que no les da el paso en la calle o no los deja colearse en la taquilla. Esa banalización no es accidental, es adrede, es parte del proceso, se desea ningunear al recipiente, matar el espíritu democrático invocando a la violencia. Es propiamente fascista.

Esta semana Nicolás Maduro nos ofrece mas ejemplos de esa aberrante confusión entre democracia y la magnesia.

Three post mortems

The webpress carries three interesting post postmortems on the Sunday result. What unites them is that they are those appropriate to the closing of an electoral cycle that started in 2010, even if that was not clear at the moment.  I suspect that already when Chavez was running the 2010 legislative campaign he knew that he was sick, or that his economic model was going to run aground at some point soon, eaten by the corruption that he could neither control nor do without since it was the main support beam of his political control apparatus.

The 2013 mayoral election results (3): Voluntad Popular shows its bite

Since in the second entry of this series I dealt with Primero Justicia, arguably the main voting group inside the opposition, I should go to the one that has become yesterday the second biggest force inside the opposition umbrella organization, MUD.  As the CNE slowly releases its last results, hoping that people will not notice that the victory claimed by Maduro is not so, we learn that the opposition has increased its share of mayors to 68 (+3 MAS dissidents, thus for a total so far of 71). The quantity may still seem low but that quality is quite something else. But that is for another entry.

Today in a press communique Voluntad Popular, the party led by Leopoldo Lopez, has announced that 18 new mayors are issued from its ranks. That is, 18 out of 71 which gives 25%. Not bad for a brand new party that had 0% last Saturday. Even Hinterlaces, the now chavista pollster called them "batacazo", surprise winner. And four of these town halls are big prizes. Well, not the biggest prizes but certainly fair ones.

Monday, December 09, 2013

The 2013 mayoral election results (2): a bad day for Primero Justicia and Capriles

To start looking into the different results and making interpretations it is important to keep in mind a few things. For example, there are no legal elections scheduled for a couple of years, the National Assembly being the next ones for December 2015. Certainly with a regime as it is we can always expect a referendum, a recall something, etc. But it is clear that even a constitutional assembly is a long reach for an opposition that cannot keep its voters motivated. It requires A LOT of motivation to go to a constitutional assembly and not only Capriles failed to make this election a referendum on Maduro, a lousy president if any, but he lost about 2 million voters that went to the mall, watched TV, etc. That chavismo has as many refusing to show up is no consolation.  Thus we are going to have to live with what we have now: 3 governors, not even a quarter of mayors, and no TV. It is going to be a long two years in which the regime will make sure that the opposition does not get the means to finance an election, any election, even one for condominium chair if possible. This way the dictatorship can pretend to pass as a democracy knowing that it cannot lose elections.

The 2013 mayoral election results (1): general considerations

For many reasons this blog did not cover in depth the campaign for this municipal elections, which for simplicity in the title of this series I will call "mayoral" even though there is a need to look into some interesting local councilor results.  However, analyzing the results can be done with more leisure, relying in part on past knowledge. Before starting with the details, a brief and general evaluation, starting with my own "predictions".

Sunday, December 08, 2013

December 2013 election day post

10:27 PM

I think that I need to close this election day post now. All is quiet and analysis start. However I will leave you with food for thought:

Tibisay's lecture even for those who boycotted it like I did, reeks of massaging the corpse. That is, the CNE seems, to me anyway, to have picked up the most favorable results to chavismo and presented only those, leaving for us to add it up later the less favorable and truly evaluate what happened today.  When all is said and done, we can also observe that the obscene advantage of the regime and its lack of scruples in breaking commerce and shop owners for electoral purposes has paid off in part, in particular in Caracas where Ledezma victory seems weaker than what it was a month ago.

10:16 PM


Opposition takes back Valencia (no surprise) but fails in Maracay (not unsurprising since the natural candidate Mardo was barred).
Barquisimeto to MUD, great victory.
Barinas, of Chavezlandia goes opposition, major insult!!!!!
Maracaibo and Caracas at large are retained (as it should have been).

More later.

My personal take on today's vote and results

From previous post it is clear that today's results are going to be a surprise to all. The only thing we can truly measure is how rotten may be the Venezuelan elector which only votes for its own benefit, regardless of what a lousy living condition s/he is subjected to.  The value added for chavismo is resentment which makes for a desire to punish those that have more than what they do, even if themselves have grown fat in the last decade. The added value for the opposition is to start steeling itself for the hard fighting days ahead. How these two opposite values will play is only going to be sensed tonight: they will truly come to be the major factors only when hunger starts hitting people sometime next year when it will force them to either question a system that does not provide, or an indolence to fight back and unjust system.

Interactive feature for Sunday results

Since I will not be able to start an election day post until late in the afternoon, and since many readers look forward to such post (they are the most visited posts of the blog) I have come up quickly with a pseudo interactive feature to entertain yourselves until I come back in line.

Do they really want to vote for that?

I am sorry, but the more the time passes the less I understand why people, even if blackmailed, still vote for this fascist farce that chavismo has become. Today I was doing some errands to try to set up a new TV for my S.O. who has a full month of medical rest at home before he is fit to work again.  So I went to a Compumall store to find some connectors, something that until early November I could always find. This is what I found this time around.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

This the way to reach "el pueblo"

Voluntad Popular is, as far as I am concerned, the one with the best political videos in that they go to the point and reach the jugular.   The one below may be in Spanish but the tone on popular baseball Venezuelan talk leaves no doubt that all the regime top team is foul, just a bunch of broken woods.  Enjoy and pass along before the regime blocks it.

Electoral coverage by VN&V

This time around it is going to be very limited, if any. Here is why.

Last day electoral considerations for Venezuela Sunday vote

It is kind of a little bit petty to write on a tacky election in Venezuela the day the world mourns Nelson Mandela, a man who for all his possible faults is universally admired, and deservedly so.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

El egoismo del abstencionista opositor

Se lee que uno tiene que respetar al elector de oposición que decide abstenerse, que tenemos derecho a disentir, que cada quien tiene su opinión, que eso es lo que nos hace diferentes de los chavistas, etc.  Difiero en gran parte. Pero estos días he descubierto una manera diferente de ver el problema: en las circunstancias actuales del país, el opositor que decide abstenerse deliberadamente el próximo domingo es un egoísta. Permítame explicar el por que.

Maduro el dialogante

Este fin de semana el presidente de la legitimidad cuestionable se dio el lujo en una entrevista que le concedió al hagiógrafo José Vicente Rangel de decir que iba a llamar al diálogo el 9 de diciembre.  Mas allá del hecho que Maduro tiene potestad de llamar al diálogo desde hace ya un año, la pregunta es saber si el hombre tiene credibilidad alguna sobre este asunto. No que la tenga en otros asuntos, pero eso es otro tema. Veamos pues si Maduro tiene credencial alguna para esos de diálogos.

De lo poco que sabemos de su vida, porque ni siquiera sabemos donde nació, el hombre fue formado, es un decir, en la Cuba de los hermanos Castro. Lo único de lo cual estamos seguros es que en Cuba no le enseñaron diálogo. Esa materia no existe en los currículos de la isla desde 1958.

Monday, December 02, 2013

La oferta electoral engañosa del chavismo

Hay que decirlo, el mensaje chavista para la elección del domingo es mas mas fraudulento que nunca. Aunque pareciese que eso no fuese posible. Nota: no soy soy un caído de la mata en eso de mentiras electorales pero la campaña del chavismo es una inaudita mezcla de lo vulgar y lo ruin.

Empecemos por el saqueo y la distorsión de precios y otros etc.  Sintiendo que el pueblo esta preocupado y con razón que las tiendas van a quedar vacías al no hacer reposición de mercancía a menos que el estado pague por el desvarío, el régimen este fin de semana montó un show en la tienda DAKA de Boleita. Juzguen ustedes.

¿Antigüedades o lote frío de secadores?

The fraudulent chavista electoral message

I need to say it: the chavista message for the next election is more fraudulent than ever, if it were possible.... Note: I am not an electoral prude but chavismo electoral propaganda and actions are quite a mix of the tacky and the mean.

Venezuela voting in December 8 is much more than a mere election

Last weekend I wrote the only substantive post on the December election I will write. Besides a passing comment here and there (like chavista thugs burning down the stage in Maracay where Capriles was about to make a supporting speech for the local candidate or a MUD council candidate murdered in Zulia by hired guns), this is no time to indulge in a leisurely tour of Venezuelan local peculiarities that influence local outcomes like I did extensively in 2008 or 2010. There is no point even in looking at my now traditional Caucaguita tracking post which last installment may suggest that Ocariz could cross the 50% line.