Thursday, February 13, 2014

Being forthcoming with readers

This morning I had a slight encounter with Juan Nagel which is more a matter of him not representing accurately my position than any real disagreement.  But thinking about it he indirectly implied that maybe I should be clearer about my position on this current mess. After all, he did in his portal (yes, it is his now :-) ) Thus the need of this entry to summarize what I have been saying all along, before the events unfolding as I type drag me into more emotional turmoil.
My gripe with Capriles and the MUD is that their strategy from the start had for me serious limitations. You can find plenty of echoes from several posts BEFORE the primaries of February 2011, including explanations why I did not trust Capriles then. I still do not, I think his time has expired but once the primaries were held I was a dutiful soldier and praised him for his hard work and self sacrifice as needed. That does not mean that the opposition/MUD (duality intended) should toss him outright, it just means that Capriles needs to prove that he has the right ideas for the months to come if he wants to lead with credibility the opposition. Right now it is my opinion he does not, but that also has been stated in other posts, no point ranting again here.

I have always thought that it is essential for any presidential timber to have principles and clear ideas and never to be afraid to lose an election on principles. This is the price to pay if you truly want to get someday a mandate to change your world. Ask Reagan, Churchill, de Gaulle, Thatcher, Mitterrand, and even Chavez to name a few famous ones, just from democratic countries (resistance leaders á la Aung Sang have other additional requirements). I happen to think that in the case of Venezuela this was even truer considering the extensive brain washing of a substantial part of the population, and the conscience buying for pennies of another large chunk.  Today, as I see how partial the judiciary and security system of the country have become, more than ever we need a principled leader. And an accommodating one like Capriles presents himself, backed with an even more accommodating alliance like the MUD, will never be able to control the gangs that have found a niche in the state system.

In front of Capriles we do have more principled leaders in Machado, Lopez and even Ledezma. But with their own limitations, the only one with a clearer sign of not being afraid to lose for principles being Machado, which probably explains in part her difficulties in forming her own political party. Note: by principles I mean clear, principled political ideas regardless of their possible unpopularity. Any of them may be a saint of a thief, that is another discussion.

To complete this already explosive cocktail there is an electoral set back from last November when Capriles wasted his rightful claim of having had his April victory stolen. Have we heard anything from the international courts they were supposed to go?  Have they called on UNASUR, MERCOSUR or the OAS? they may but it does not make headlines.

The fuse for this cocktail to explode is the fast worsening economic crisis. I can tell you from my last two weeks in Caracas that if the regime does not act soon, as in tomorrow, by April we may start considering to ask for international help, just as if chavismo had been a major natural disaster wiping our crops. Well, it has been as a matter of fact, but a topic for yet more posts.

To simplify the cacophony of the opposition (which apparently since yesterday is subsidizing) we can describe it as two currents.

The first current, lead by PJ, AD, Capriles and even Aveledo to my surprise, considers that the regime is going to collapse and that it is worth to negotiate something, even if unfavorable, so that this charade may continue for X years, so as to avoid a blood bath. With the added bonus that the political parties that survive will be the official opposition who accepted the unfair terms.  There is a big problem with that approach: the regime is a gang of thugs and violence will be inevitable, if anything when the own chavista supporters get tired of lack of Harina P.A.N. Fascist regimes that went softly into the sunset did it so because their economy was not in bad shape (Franco, Pinochet). The others end up badly. Venezuela will follow that rule.

The second current accepts more readily that we live under a dictatorship, that we are dealing with thugs, that violence is unavoidable and that we may as well set the time of that confrontation. Clearly the smart reader already knows that I am with that group.  But that does not mean that all is valid. To confront a regime we must be right and ready, just as we were not in 2002 when Chavez fell easier than expected and when we were not ready yet to take over allowing an adventurer like Carmona to make a coup that did not last 24 hours.

Thus whether Lopez and MCM and Ledezma are right in preparing for the confrontation they are wrong in that their timing is off. Their proposal is not clear in the streets, the more so that they have neither endorsed again the MUD plan or discarded it outright. For example we had Lopez musing about social democracy. Ledezma posturing as the grand old man for Caracas. Machado unable to create a solid, if small, party behind her. Not to mention that they have not been able to sit together and create, say, a ten points something that can be easily distributed to the chavista populace that is now deprived to access to informative TV or radio. In their excuse, it is possible that they think the situation of the country is dire enough that they cannot afford the luxury of an extra couple of months preparation...

But of course after what happened yesterday, after the clear demonstration that a large portion of the country has lost patience, that inside chavismo "el pueblo" does not seem much willing to defend its revolution, all my points above may have suddenly become moot.  Still, I restate them so as to be freer to comment on what is coming.

Thank you for your patience.


  1. Charly7:07 PM

    Más claro no canta un gallo

  2. Anonymous7:22 PM

    I would like to add following words: there has been a latent confrontation between two big currents since 2002, a civil war scenary. At that former time and since the "oposition" has been avoiding to accept this. This Chavez legacy has been just internalize by Leopoldo López. There is no way out of this scenary, not to think a political one as was not in 1958.
    A naked tough regime can only lost progressively that battle. The real oposition should go underground as possible to try to fight with all means that animals...
    Best wishes...

  3. Anonymous8:14 PM

    May your blog grow and prosper.
    Warms my heart to read your principled exposition,
    minus the diatribe, minus the heated blinded rants.
    Thank you.

    1. Anonymous8:16 PM

      I'm xp
      but had to use anonymous,
      to leave the msg.

  4. "Dirty War" has just been declared in Venezuela and you still want to talk election strategies? Seriously?

    1. You can never stop talking election. If you do then you lower yourself to the level of the fascists.

      That you do things in addition to discussing elections is another story.

    2. Nailed it Daniel.
      Wether it is a coup(wich i don't support), or a general strike/civil unrest/gtfo scenario, elections are the first step after the regime is out.

  5. The timing was off. You are completely right. Cadakaso was only 4 months ago. The social justice illusions created by the November events have not faded away, chavismo regained the voter´s trust and has yet to lose it.
    When people start eating the remote controls of their bargain-priced TV sets because there is nothing else to feed on, then it´ll be time. And it´s coming, from all you and the Devil post, the economy seems to be going down that path.

  6. "The time is always right to do what is right."

    Martin Luther King, Jr.


  7. Anonymous11:25 PM

    An article which appeared in today's "Independent" - UK

  8. Anonymous11:26 PM

    .....and I forgot the link !

  9. Anonymous12:12 AM

    Three people killed after motorcycle-riding vigilante gang fires at anti-government protesters in Venezuela.
    From Three people killed after motorcycle-riding vigilante gang fires at anti-government protesters in Venezuela

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  10. During the Roman Civil Wars moderation never won out. That was because, the fanaticism, at both ends, prevailed. I mention this point because the Chavistas's extremism, and use of terrorism, has taken moderation off the table. I, like many, had once hoped that some sort of conciliation was possible. But as Daniel put it, "after what happened yesterday"

  11. 1979 BP5:16 AM

    At the point of no return. Run or fight to dead.

  12. Anonymous6:34 AM

    Apparantly some national guard who have temporarily arrested students have been telling them not to stop no matter what.

    This is good news.

  13. Juan Cristobal8:24 AM

    I appreciate the post. I do think, however, that it's more than having wrong timing. Failing right now could seriously hurt the opposition's chances of activating street protests say six months from now, when they might be more effective. Jumping the gun is not free of consequences when you have very few bullets...

    1. Juan.
      El pueblo doesn't know whats going on.People just see it as another inconvenience, traffic jams and crappy public transportation. They are in their own hypnosis bubble.

      This is still a bunch of angry students for them. Here in Maracaibo people are still doing lines for products,still going to work contra viento y marea, and still saying "estos malparios estudiantes trancando la calle otra vez", as i heard on the bus today.

      Heck, i want to go out and support but there is the everyday life pressure, job,money,girlfriend,san valentin. It's not that easy, even for those of us who want to act.

    2. Well, I understand and agree with everything you say, including girlfriend but "San Valentín"? Give me a break! Is that part of a religion in Venezuela now?
      People would roll their eyes elsewhere with that.

      But I agree with Juan Cristobal fully here.

    3. Anonymous2:04 PM


      Perhaps one day when you have children with your "girlfriend". You will be able to explain to them that people can't leave Venezuela because it was an inconvenience to protest.

      People are jumping on capriles for not taking to the streets after the election. Perhaps one day they will just reflect with themselves.

      More time to prepare is always better. But at the same time you have no way to predict what might change that is not in your favor.

      That said, I think people need to do their best to make this work now. If you think things are not organized then do your best to try and make them organized.

      If financials are an issue, put a paypal button on your site and your readers will so their best to help.

    4. Juan Cristobal

      The question may be "will there be something worth saving 6 months from now?"

    5. Juan Cristobal4:37 AM

      Ah, the "it's now or never" defense. I guess your stance on the current strategy hinges on how much you buy that premise, which is probably correlated with personality types.

    6. JC

      Huh? For me?

      First, there was a 'may be' in my answer.

      Second, indeed, I may be out of a business and a job in two months from now. The question is not rhetorical no matter how lightly you dismiss it for those at ground zero.

      Flippant does not suit you.

  14. Anonymous10:25 AM

    Still, the headlines outside of Venezuela have caused great damage to the government, insofar as it was not able to portray this as a "coup", which is what it wanted. Smart phones and Twitter took care of that. They will not be able to use that card for a while. K, Evo, and Ortega whining will not change that. As far as the world is concerned, maduro sent his paratroopers and hordes of vigilantes to kill a bunch of unarmed students.

    Also, the workers in the censored media were shocked by what happened and are starting to protest. Chataing, Globo's resignations and Últimas Noticias' assemblies might spark a massive movement that will eventually break the self imposed silence. What happened to NTN24 also disgusted international media outlets that operate in Latin America. That will have a high price as well.

    OTOH, Pianist Gabriela Montero wrote a powerful open letter to Abreu and Dudamel, exposing their indiference to what is currently happening in our country. It has gone viral and will help to start undoing their costly propaganda efforts on that front.

    In my view, while I agree that the timing was off, this protest has moved the conflict in a direction that is in no way beneficial for the regime. It might also force the opposition to stop the insufferable guabineo.


    1. Anonymous2:06 PM

      Well said.

    2. What exact time would you have preferred Gold?


    3. Anonymous6:57 PM

      15 of April 2013

  15. The time for civil unrest in Venezuela is LONG overdue.


  16. How many of the folks commenting here are actually, physically in Venezuela - besides Daniel, of course...Nagel made some very good points at Ccs Chronicles, so did Daniel. everyone has differing 25 cents = Doesn't matter what the oppo does, whether it's united or not, whether Capriles is a possibly better leader than Lopez, Machado et al. The county will continue sinking, no dollars, broke, hence worsening shortages, longer lines, higher inflation, a dead currency. Maduro and goons can't fix it, and neither can anyone in the oppo. More repression very likely as the regime tries to snuff out dissent before it grows to anything resembling a critical mass. That time will come eventually because Venezuela's economy is twinning Titanic's plunge into the abyss. Maduro's troubles are just starting. Cabello, who some may recall coordinated the Bolivarian Circles (aka colectivos) in April 2002, is eyeing Maduro's job and already has "alliances' that include El Pollo Carvajal and Leocenis Garcia, among others. His chief competitor for Maduro's job, Interior & Justice Min Rodriguez Torres, also is moving behind the scenes. It remains to be seen if a captain will outrank a major general when the shit hits the fan. There's LOTS of noise in the military, hence Godgiven Hair's alarm. Even the self-proclaimed Boludarian officers know that political instability of the kind Maduro and Cabello and other civilian radicals are stoking with their colectivo thugs is lethally dangerous. Maduro, meanwhile, is toast inside the revolution. Maduro ONLY has power because of Chavez's personal endorsement at the end of his miserable life. He can't even get the parasitic Chavez family out of La Casona where the dead president's daughters party hearty with premium booze and other party favors akin to northern blizzards...but Maduro already has used up any political capital that endorsement gave him. Don't be surprised if Maduro's alleged Colombian birth becomes an issue later this year.

  17. Milonga6:41 PM

    Totally agree with Anonymous, 4:55 AM - Smartphones and Twitter are doing the real revolution. Oscar Arias @oariascr just posted a powerful video with his "I am not going to be silent when human rights are being trampled" and quoting Luther King: silence is treason. People have lost patience. Let's see how it plays from now on. Thanks for your post and for explaining you position. Somehow, I think you needed that (putting your thoughts in perspective) more than your readers!!!

  18. Having watched a "People Power Revolution" succeed in person, I agree that this needs more time and better preparation to pull together. I also agree that they need to present a viable plan. People have lost patience and it is only getting worse (or better, depending on your point of view). The current student protests are only serving as a catharsis. After all the time they have had to prepare, I am disappointed in what I am seeing. This could be done so much better.


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