Tuesday, December 10, 2013

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 2010 vote thus became the first salvo of a new electoral cycle which main focus was to ensure Chavez reelection in 2012, and eventually his succession immediately after though that was not a certainty yet.  Last Sunday, as Maduro re-validated more or less the hold of chavismo on the country, not his own hold but that is another story, we can say that the cycle is over, that we are now entering a brave new world as the shadow of Chavez dissipates fast, confirmed by chavismo loss of Barinas, the capital city of the Chavez family feudal domain. (1)

Let's start by a piece from Aporrea, the chavista portal, where Roland Denis (indubitably of French origin for his "philosophical" labyrinthine style) makes a case that there is a profound division inside chavismo between the new oligarchy that rules over the country and the egalitarian wishes of the masses that keep voting for them until they find something better to do.  Unfortunately the three pieces I present to you are in Spanish and the one from Denis in particular is just too cumbersome to translate.  You will have to trust my interpretation or rely on your Google Translate if your Spanish is not adequate. But if you can read Spanish I strongly recommend them.

Of course the bulk of the article is against Capriles who he refers to easily as "caprichito" when even this blog sparsely uses pejorative terms against Maduro, understanding quite well that abuse of pejorative kills the ideas it tries to convey. Roland Denis should know better than Chavez or Maduro on that.  But the last paragraph is worth translating as one of the best examples you can find around of the savage dichotomy inside chavismo:
The truth is that while the people in the struggle, pro Chavez  in their vote, stamps its majority, it is not the same at all, besides worthy exceptions of course, what that vote has chosen. The already advanced crisis of corporate-bureaucratic model has here its most essential expression, through loyalties, symbolism, fierce clientelism, and specially what the chavista vote means per se, is not yet expressed as electoral defeat. But if this trend remains the same and if the militant chavista people does not become aware and does not know how to put a decisive stop to something that has advanced so far in the abysmal distance between the leaders and the led, that defeat will also come. A disaster pa'caprichito put on silver tray.
But the construct of Denis is not as strong as he would like it to be, as he assumes that indeed el pueblo is revolutionary and that they are all there for the love of the thing and not for the love of the free Mercal grocery bag. Maybe he should wonder where all those chavista came from, not from spontaneous generation but from a clientele system that was created in the 70ies and that chavismo, mostly former adecos, perfected. Thus he should read carefully the next two pieces.

Let's start with the one of Leopoldo Lopez which is a soft but direct call to arms. Pacific arms of course since the opposition has no access to any arsenal while chavismo relies on battalions of armed civilians cruising around in motor bikes in the purest fascist style.

Lopez's piece is short and direct, unlike the twisted argumentation of Denis who like leftist intellectuals create the evidence they need as they need it and thus need to distract the reader so that this one does not detect the intellectual fraud.

Basically what Lopez says is that we should have never accepted the results of April 14. Not that we accepted them, but refusing to fight for them pretending that in December we would flip them back was a mistake that unmotivated the electorate. I am a little skeptic with this approach because all the opposition abstention cannot be placed on a dissatisfaction with Capriles refusing to play tough in April. Many of those who bitch constantly against the regime did not vote because they were at home watching the huge flat screen TV that Maduro allowed them to get in November. Had you dragged them to vote they would have voted against Maduro for sure, they just could no be bothered. Just as Denis assumes that all chavistas in el pueblo are revolutionaries, Lopez assumes that all opposition electors are educated civic citizens that may at some point use abstention as a political tool.

However what is more important in his piece is not this consideration but the implication to challenge the leadership of the opposition.  As it was the case for the Denis piece, it is enough to translate the last lines:
Today we assume from Voluntad Popular the road and the risks that are implied in defending that majority [opposition voters, abstention and not] and we know that thus will do those inside the MUD and lead the alternative. The thesis that we have been promoting today is getting more relevant: street [protest] and voting will be the slogans to propel change.
Of course, Lopez offers himself to lead the charge. But he is not alone. Maria Corina Machado also has her own piece also in El Universal and she is much more direct about the change in leadership and message required for the opposition. In fact, you do not need to wait for the end of the piece, she announces her colors in the title: "the objective is the power".

For her the results of last Sunday have no ambiguity. She knows in horrendous details all the treachery and vote fraud and manipulation that the regime exerted to force people to vote for them. For her, that we got a tie can only mean one thing, that in fair elections we would be a crushing majority. The objective thus is how to face the dictatorship. She uses the D word nakedly, by the way.

How does she plan to reach that objective? Like for the other two pieces cited above, we just need to translate the end:
The time has come for our political generation to offer and lead a clear path, although not easy, toward democracy. A solution that has 3 conditions. Civilian, because the initiative comes from citizens and through its resolve gets the support of the institutions, including the armed forces. Effective, because it involves not just a change of faces or policy, but a profound transformation of the system and its values. And timely because it is immediate, the cannot hold through six or three more years in this [current] direction.

Let's do a reflection and a thorough rectification, preserving the unity as an essential condition. The objective is not to consolidate as a democratic alternative. The objective is the power.
There you have it, a challenge to the current soft chavista light approach of Aveledo and Capriles, a wish to create a more forceful, liberal in the true sense of the term, approach, that includes all with equal opportunities.

I think that Denis should be worried, there is more chances that some of el pueblo may actually find in Machado or Lopez a more realistic approach to success to solve their problems than the theoretical constructs his ilk keeps offering, criticizing the leadership of the regime while refusing to understand that the problem is not the leaders but the system that created them because promoting forcefully equality is the best way to destroy it.


1) for those history lovers we could argue that chavismo has had three electoral cycles. The first one would be from his initial election in 1998 until his survival of the recall election in 2004. With the regional election of late 2004 he second electoral cycle started. It was more of a doldrums period with a harsh wake up in 2007 that forced the regime into outright electoral cheating to obtain an eternal reelection amendment to the constitution and a gerrymandering system that was an additional safeguard in case the opposition could reach a stable 50%.  As such the 2010 vote was at the same time the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one.


  1. Boludo Tejano7:01 PM

    Regarding the prose style of Roland Denis: as muddled in your English translation as in my Spanish reading. A translation cannot make a silk purse out of a pig's ear, as the saying goes. Translating the last paragraph is a good strategy.

    Here is one howler: Lo ocurrido en Maturín y Barinas, plazas de orgullo para el chavismo perdidas, no es más que el agotamiento rápido y progresivo del despotismo como se impusieron muchas candidaturas a alcaldes, pero no de la mayoría chavista en este caso dividida o decidida a la abstención. "What occurred in Maturín y Barinas, lost cities for chavista pride, is nothing more than the rapid,progressive exhaustion of despotism which many candidates and mayors imposed, but not of the chavista majority - in this case divided or abstaining."

    According to Roland Denis, despotism is a bug of Chavismo. No, it's a feature. Top-down is what Chavismo has been about from day 1.

    I agree with you that he has a somewhat idealistic view of the Chavista rank and file. While there are "militants" in the lower ranks, it would appear to me and others who know much more than I, that most in the lower ranks are in the "pa' mi" category.

    Another way of interpreting his militant versus money division in Chavismo is that he is talking about a division at the top. It could be interpreted as the familiar dichotomy of Godgiven $$ versus Cuban/militant tendency.

    Torture: spend your day trying to translate Roland Denis. Or- trying to read Roland Denis, in any language. But in defense of Roland Denis, his muddled prose would be considered standard operating procedure on any "social sciences" department at a US college or university.

    1. Social Sciences department..... how moronic it always sounded to me in the hard sciences......

      So you can imagine waht a doctor in philosophy of the UCV in Caracas can produce. They also produce clowns like Perez Pirella who got slapped by Trejo and Denis, to his credit, concedes that Pirella was a creep and a loser to lose in front of Trejo.

    2. Denis, to his credit, concedes that Pirella was a creep and a loser to lose in front of Trejo.

      No, I'll tell you what would be to Denis's credit: saying that Pirella is a creep and a loser, period, no conditions attached. Saying Pirego is a creep and a loser for losing to Trejo, is like some absurd grade-school taunt.

  2. charly8:45 PM

    "...the twisted argumentation of Denis who like leftist intellectuals create the evidence they need as they need it and thus need to distract the reader so that this one does not detect the intellectual fraud."

    Daniel you can intrude into the brain of a "socialist, "progressive" or whatever they want to call themselves better than Hari Sheldon could. Personally, I am far more superficial and can only say about Denis's piece: C'est du pur galimatia.

    As for CM she is an eagle flying all over the turkeys.

  3. Thank you Daniel, once again you are my go-to-blog for electoral information. This election seams especially open to interpretation and certainly one would not want to kid oneself going into the next two years of Venezuelan history. I guess the 'post-mortem' take you have is as frank as one can be in the face of these results that while not terrible are not the massive outcry that the MUD was looking for.

    Of course surviving a 'plebiscite' is not the same as suddenly being able to govern. There seam to be some serious structural issues with the economy that won't go away with more spending and less investment. Even the 10s of billions of oil revenue don't seam to be enough to cover the ineptitude that has been the constant in these last 15 years. So what happens now that politics is off the plate for a while? What new excuses will be made? And why does no one on the chavista side really seam to care about Econ 101? Arguably if they could make things work a la China, then something would have been gained beyond these spurious political victories that they take to be so grandious when all they prove is that Venezuela still has a lot of poor, ignorant voters. Even if you accept some 'value added' revolutionary identity that makes the chavista feel historically vindicated, at the end of the day it's just passive and parasitical in exactly the same sense that the 'revolution' views its sworn enemy.

  4. unlike the twisted argumentation of Denis who like leftist intellectuals create the evidence they need as they need it and thus need to distract the reader so that this one does not detect the intellectual fraud.

    <3 ... I'm in love. Impossibly, of course.

    1. that <3 was supposed to turn into a heart symbol. Guess not. P.S. Must be Xmas, if we're not being subjected to double and triple verifications, just to post a damned comment ;-)

    2. i did remove the character recognition these days. it should be like direct posting, i just keep moderation for older posts. it has been a while that no idiot chavista has tried to post so i thought i would give it a try. do the character recognition still shows?

    3. and yes, I can still pull out a good sentence here and there :) thanks for noticing.


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