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.

The way international community has been ignoring the plight of Venezuela, the end of its democracy is quite astounding. I must say before I continue that I am among those that are convinced that Marines are never going to land in Venezuela to get rid of chavismo, nor the Foreign Legion, etc...  The French may be willing to send soldiers in Central Africa or Mali, the US does not mind wars in the Middle East, but they are convinced, as is most of the rest of the educated world that the Venezuelan people is getting pretty much what it deserves for so many decades of superficiality in its politics, using bluntly oil money to soften the edges instead of investing it.

I am going to give you an unexpected example by some Norwegian au pair like woman currently in Barquisimeto. She has opened a blog that with 4 single posts has already more comments than all political English language blogs put together in a week... OK, I filter and discourage comments but that is not the point. The point is that her success is great because she is highly superficial, writing about all that is chevere in Venezuela and blithely writing that if people want to read about problems (reality?) they can read the newspapers.... The queen of the comeflor in short. I even wondered whether she was not a chavista missile aiming at the flotation line, but no, I think she is the true thing, the ultimate PSF in the good sense of the word.

If you care to peruse through the hundred of comments she is getting you will realize that many are from Venezuelans overseas that would never be caught dead posting a comment in political blog. Oh, they know what is going in on in Venezuela, they escaped it. But they carried with them the nostalgia for emptiness.

I suppose that embassies in Caracas report diligently on this, on why people prone abstention, on why they vote for Maduro because Chavez told them to do so, on why one day they don a red shirt to stand in line at Mercal, the next at Daka to loot and the third one bitching at the regime for the latest power outage. We are all chevere and our main opposition leader preaches that he will be like Chavez when he rules but less corrupt and more efficient.  And you want those countries to help us?

Of course Colombia and Brazil and the US are making a terrible mistake because sooner or later Venezuela is going to go bust and hundreds of thousands will try to leave the country and go there. Colombia is the worst offender on this regard because they should know better, they should know that our extensive border will make the refugee crisis terrible once the day comes.

And yet in front the electoral fraud of last April Latin America did nothing. Santos at least had the decency to receive Capriles in Bogota but the rest simply could not care less whether elections had been stolen, as long as Maduro kept paying Chavez debts. The US is of course comforted in its idea that they are superior to Latin Americans, Venezuela being the best example. Once and imperialists, always an imperialist.

Simply put, there is contempt for Venezuela, for voting for such a corrupt regime and for being so unwilling to do what it takes to confront it. We get the government we deserve and they are simply not going to waste anytime on us. A mistake of course, but neither Santos nor Roussef not Piñera and even less Bachelet are going to do anything about it. And Kerry just cares enough in that the US wants to have a steady supply of oil while it completes its transition to different energy sources. Then, sayonara Venezuela!

Yours truly has known that for a long time and wrote about it. Let's just hope that those in the opposition leadership learned their lesson in 2013, that garnering foreign support requires a lot of work, a lot of personal commitment, a lot of risk taking. Foreign opinion only supports heroes like the ones in Kiev or Istanbul. Or at least they get interested with tough cookies like in Bangkok or Juba.  In 2002 we were somewhat interesting. Now we are a bore.

Aide toi et le ciel t'aidera!


  1. Brazil at least has left wing sympathies, and give a special pass to throw democracy overboard as long as it is left wing.If even Cuba gets the green light what can you expect of any other left wing dictatorship or semi dictatorship.

    About the get involved in countering a left wing dictatorship like Maduro's is a very delicate matter because of the sensitivity of all LA countries by the US unless it has been specifically approved by them and as such an effort would be counter -productive.Any game made in curtailing Venezuelan dictatorship would be more than offset by alll of LA coming together to condemn it.

    The argument that these regimes( Cuba and Venezuela) are really fascist, more than left wing is irrelevant because they have the good housekeeping seal of approval of the LA countries who define them as left wing( image or not).


  2. As a fellow Norwegian (living in Norway with a wife that now simply refuses to visit her homeland) I can relate to how that Norwegian woman thinks. You have to take into account that she's staying there for some time and not the rest of her life, so she's decided to take this as a positive experience. I can assure you that I'd rather prefer her blogging than the usual Norwegian "we are the best country in the world"-lot. Most Norwegians would be quite direct about issues that would bother them if they were in her situation. Which would not be very popular among Venezuelans.

    As for foreign interest: Venezuela caught a lot of interest when it was still seen as an international lighthouse of enthusiastic socialist idiots around Europe and the US. As things didn't work out this time either, it turned into a not so interesting issue. And now when explaining what happened to Venezuela most people here would say: Yes, but they keep voting for chavismo, so why should _we_ care if the economy goes to hell, human rights abuses, crime or whatever, if those living there don't care enough to get rid of these corrupt villains?

    1. I am not criticizing the Norwegian girl. That is why I wrote "PSF in the good sense of the term", that is, bright eyes, new vision, high hopes. It lasts for a while and then crashes down with reality. I am waiting to read her blog in a couple of months :)

    2. really? no criticism of the Norwegian "girl"? That is, when you, Daniel, write: " unexpected example by some Norwegian au pair like woman currently in Barquisimeto."
      Uuuuf! File that under: how to surreptitiously use dismissive hostility ...
      Outside of that, I agree with your observation that this young woman may well change her tune in a couple of months. (Though it may take a year or two.) But I don't agree with your put-downs of the lighter side of things, especially with all the negatives floating around. And yes, Stig Heiss, agree. If Vnzlns aren't interested enough, aren't serious enough about getting their and their country's act together, why would the rest of the world give a sh*t?

    3. As a Venezuelan living in Europe I have to agree with you...but also with your wife. You see: we are aware of the nice traits of Venezuela, but we also are aware of the others, but unlike you, we really grew up in the middle of them, so the exotic factor, unlike from her or towards her, is not with us in Venezuela. It is our country and we see how it has been transformed for the worst.

      I agree that woman is trying to make the best out of it and that's the attitude to have.

      People everywhere tend to react very annoyed if a foreigner starts to nag about their country, even if they do nag about it first.

      I really want Daniel to spill the beans and say what he expects from foreign countries towards Venezuela. He, I suppose, is not for a Marine-led invasion. But: does he think the outside world should
      isolate Venezuela like it did with South Africa? Really?
      Does he think there is a chance of that if they don't do it with Kazakhstan or similar countries where people have even less chance of expressing their dissatisfaction?

      Yes, our Latin American neighbours are a shame for not voicing their concerns even with some tiny statements of concern, like Europeans do when one of theirs is going astray (think Hungary and Cohn-Bendit -not the only one- declaring the head of state of Hungary was becoming a Chávez). But we can't expect much from them. We should expect more from our own people.

    4. Syd

      OK, I was a little bit hypocritical on purpose as a way to suggest that had I wanted to I could have trashed her texts. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt, the eye glow of the innocent. This being said when you write "hostility" I think you go to far in my intentions because I truly have no hostility for her. All my hostility reserves have been drained by Chavez, Maduro and Cabello. Nothing left for anyone. Gimme some credit!

    5. Kepler

      Spill the beans?


      I think it has been quite abundant in many posts tagged "foreign intervention" and the like that the only countries that should do something about Venezuela are its neighbors because when all hell breaks lose they will receive a huge wave of refugees.

      Uribe at least was aware of that. Colombia did manage to sever itself from its Venezuelan ties and yet Santos caved in to his industrialists AFTER the worse had passed and Colombia economy had replaced in part its former Venezuelan market. It did not do them much good because Venezuela is in a permanent state of indebtedness towards Colombia and contraband increased dramatically affecting local border economy.

      The US could also have done something by, say, diminishing its oil imports from Venezuela faster, or simply becoming late in paying its bills. Just like Venezuela does for its bills to its contractors: they only pay them when they are cornered or when they wanted Chavez to be received in a state visit.

  3. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

    1. Don't worry then. Venezuela will "get the oil".
      Keystone XL will be built and allow more Canadian oil to flow to Houston refineries and reducing purchases of VZ oil.
      Mexico's changes in oil law will allow more oil to go to Houston refineries...
      So, you see. The oil business in the USA does care about VZ.
      They are working hard to screw the VZ government.

  4. In view of the general public apathy to "foreign" matters not directly and immediately affecting them, and the apparent inclination of politicians to say what they think their constituents want to hear (ditto the "legitimate" media), I suspect that interest in what's happening in Venezuela would be minimal. It's unfortunate but comparing the "hits" to articles on my blog related to U.S. domestic policy and those related to foreign policy, that's the sense I get.

    If there were foreign intervention in Venezuela, I suspect that the consequences would be worse, not better, for Venezuela.

  5. I would like to think that the US has declined to intervene because we have learned from Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, etc. that intervention only works when it supports the will and determination of the people and not a foreign agenda. Sadly, the last 60 years suggest we are much better at "following the money" than following lofty ideals.

  6. Eduardo12:26 AM

    There is some kind of political hypocrisy that gives freeway to the leftist movements. Like it or not, but the leftist are very active in propaganda and in victimizing themselves. It’s common in the whole of L. America. Besides, they tend to have more support when confronted with rallies and protest. I can recall how Evo Morales could knock down governments, but when confronted with the same arm, all the presidents were quick to meet and declare that they supported him.

    The UNASUR presidents supported Maduro after his election, but he should have ordered counting and showing the “election notebooks” (cuadernos de votación), and so on. Nobody followed the promise.

    On the other side, there feels a bit of passivity in a broad segment of the Venezuelan population. There are no legal claims of the Lawyers association, on behalf of the legality. There is no institutional expression of the engineers regarding all the problems with construction, civil and legal infrastructure. And so on.
    And there is needed a much more aggressive counterpropaganda of the opposition. And I don’t mean insulting the government. One can show, for example, all the construction done in other countries with Venezuelan money, in a small banner along the queue to buy food.

    You can repeat the promises of the government, and show the reality to the side. Especially painful would be to show the increases to the minimum salary, compared the Bolivarian Forces increase, and the inflation / and food inflation. Not a lie, not an insult. Only facts. And let people convince themselves of the situation.

    Sorry if it seems I'm pontificating. But I really feel that more action is needed.

  7. You should not expect as many comments on your blog as someone who blogs about celebrities or fashion would get. There is a simple reason. Most of us that read your blog (daily) don't have a huge amount of information to add because we don't live in Venezuela. Also, your blog is well written such that after I read it, I think you covered the subject. But on the other hand, anyone and everyone will feel that they can write a comment about a celebrity or fashion and they will feel that their opinion is valid. So, I think a non-serious blog will get 100X the number of comments per reader than a blog such as yours.

  8. Eduardo1:41 AM

    "legal" infrastructure.

    Typo for "electrical infrastructure"

  9. I think, this is the reality.. Venezuela, because it has piles of money coming from PDVS, can get away with being a fascist socialist state- beacuse theya re not really "botehring" any other country. Even Colombia has "kissed" and made up. And the poorer "socialist" countries, Nicaragua, et al, are using this pipeline of either " cheap credit" purchases or cheap oil to keep their countries alfoat. THe US- is tired from 15 years of wars, and also- has ignored Latin America politically for many years. THis is a huge error on US part- but they are and will continue to pay for this mistake. Venezuela is in a unique position in the whole world to be oil rich and socialist - I suppose you can class Russia as the same... Because of Venezuela's oil "Cash flow" nobody is REALLY suffering there- wait in lines- yes, crime- horrible, basic food stuffs available off and on- true! BUT in reality, I think Venezuela will continue like this for years to come. NO CHANGE at ALL! Sort of like Belarus... sad but true.. and that, Senor Daniel, is what I see. I, as a US business person, used to do HUGE percentage of m business with PDVSA- but got tired of waiting up to 14 MONTH for them to pay invoices. So I focus on other places... Feliz ANO NUEVO! and.. I hope I am 100% WRONG in my future prognosis... only time will tell

  10. Anonymous5:47 PM

    I have to agree with Daniel, the (US) Marines aren't going to come because our current President is trying to build his image as a peacemaker. However, I do remember Panama... But we are no where close to that point yet.
    I am an American who is married to a Venezuelan, who is now a nationalized American.

  11. For what it's worth, my wife has just obtained a comprehensive travel brochure on South America as we may visit there in the future. Every country gets a mention - except Venezuela. I know people from New Zealand who have visited Cuba - but no one talks about visiting Venezuela. What does that tell you?

  12. If the US does something, they are seen as meddlers, if they do nothing they are seen as abandoners....They can't win no matter what they do or don't do...And they are not going to do "something" to have it criticized by all of Latin America, most likely, and even more so from so many inside VNZA. Now I don't agree with the do nothing attitude, but it is what they are doing. As for the rest of Americans, they don't even know where VNZA is, they don't get airplay on the news, they don't know the political situation, and they are not going to support something that they know nothing about. And congress won't do anything without the nation behind it, worse not even knowing about it. So it is not so much the world does nothing. Way too many people know nothing about it. VNZA and the people need to make a lot of noise themselves first, before it will hit the airwaves and then, maybe then people will start to react here and worldwide...Not before....There were some rumblings in the US immediately after the election fraud..But because it died down in VNZA, it died down here. Someone dropped the ball there. A wave needs to get rolling before it can gain speed, gather more support and force and eventually crest..It wont happen while there are just ripples..Just my 2 cents....Feliz Ano Nuevo !!! The blog post are always excellent and concise....Dios Te Bendiga Usted Y VNZA..

  13. On the Norwegian revisited:

    Oh, dear! Now I see that Norwegian woman is censoring at a worst level than Aporrea. There were a couple who just made the slightest relativating comments and they were deleted. It is amazing. I think her level of analysis will be more in line with the blogs from European students under 24 about the Erasmus Programme: party, party, party (sigh). Political scientist my foot.

    On Daniel and foreign affairs:

    The thing with the US is that the US government does not intervene with commercial relationships of US companies unless it gets to the extremes (like with Iran). And in that I have to agree with them. I don't see too much room for manoeuvre for them, given the whole history. And you can see how unsuccessful the "embargo" with Cuba (which is hardly one) has been.

    It's the Latin American countries that really have let us down.

    1. Guess I'll have to tell her she learned fast the art of censorship from the Venezuelan government. It's a shame. On the other hand, this blog has turned viral among the oil-venezuelans here in Norway. Everybody's talking about that woman...

    2. Stig

      In good or in bad?

    3. Most are happy about her blogging, but I heard one didn't like it when she wrote that Venezuela was in the top 10 of countries where it is easy to start business. He said "This can't be true, it's impossible". So yeah, I think most are kind of enjoying her writing an outsider's perspective of Venezuela, it seems that they are in deep need of something positive about Venezuela, someone finally writing about Venezuela they can be proud of. Of course, most know why they're her in the sub-artic working and not in Venezuela working...


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