Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Let's ask Occam to come shave Venezuela

I am bewildered by the amount of analysis coming on Venezuela's situation, some reviving old canards such that it is only a handful of rich kids, to other turning Caracas as a Kiev upon El Güaire. Amen of the emotional debate that range form a secession by Tachira state to silly non violence extremes that would have us believe that freedom  is not worth the death of a single soul. There are all more or less wrong because they all are getting drowned in the details of the horror and/or provocations that have invaded Twitter as the only communication we have left in Venezuela. What makes things worse is that not only Venezuelans have to rely on Twitter, but journalists too.

I think it is time to go back to some basics, away from unnecessary complexity.

Deep cause of the "rebellion"

The deep cause of all of this is that after 15 years of chavismo people are finding out that they have no future. Students will have no jobs once they graduate. Employees are seeing their employer go bankrupt through no fault of their own, or theirs. All know that the job they hold right now may be the last real job they will have for a long time. The despair arises because they feel powerless to change a bad situation that they think, with reason, is not their fault. Hence the recklessness.

Anyone that fails to understand that should not write, and if that person writes you should not read them or you should denounce them. I mean it.  There are other reasons of course for the unrest but they only bring nuance, they change nothing to the core argument exposed above.  In other words, this is not against Chavez or Maduro, this is against a system that has no positive outcome for the people. Today's situation has very little connection to past events, except for being in the timeline of chavismo as the expected decay of a society which is denied basic freedoms.

The basic reason for the regime to repress

People in charge of the government today are people that in 15 years drove the economy into the ground, with 60% inflation, 60% food imports, a growth rate that does not compensate for population growth, a heath and educational system on the skids. The scarce benefits that may have accrued under Chavez are being eaten away fast by the crisis.  In addition the extraordinary levels of corruption of the regime personnel, in particular inside the higher ranks of the army, make it impossible for them to conceive relinquishing power peacefully at some point. Thus we have a system that should be changed because it has run its course. Against this outcome we have a political class not only unwilling but determined to death not to change anything.

We can add one detail. If opposition manifestations are abundant all across the country, support rallies for the regime are contrived events where many are forced to attend, brought in with buses and goods. Even CNN in a video inadvertently showed a truck distributing stuff to chavistas on their way to the march, something unheard off in any opposition rally. Certainly chavismo is still not protesting against its leadership but they are certainly not being supportive.

Again, any interpretation that tries to use ideology or pretends to be objective without acknowledging first what is stated in the paragraph before last must be called erroneous or, charitably, biased.

Why it will get worse

We need to add here two factors that are not so clear cut as the ones stated above.

The first one is the extent of the Castro regime involvement. It is certain that economically the survival of the Castro regime depends on what Venezuela sends them. Thus Cuba has vested interest of a successful repression in Venezuela. For that they can act through its own agents in Venezuela, through Maduro trained for years in Cuba and through the radicals it trained inside of chavismo.

The second one is that the opposition main leader, Capriles Radonski, has lost a lot of political capital by not pursuing vigorously his verified claim of electoral fraud in April 2013. As such Capriles can hardly rein back opposition extremists. Neither on his own can he launch people to the streets unless accompanied by Maria Corina Machado or Leopoldo Lopez. I must add here that anyone that denies electoral fraud in 2013 is not a serious commentator as the claims are very valid. That the regime has refused to examine them is an indirect acknowledgment that revising them would have questioned the Maduro "victory". That Capriles has become mute on the subject has not eliminated the subject.

Thus the regime has found an unexpected salvation board in the current crisis that they keep abetting from provocation to provocation in the hope that the worse effects of the food crisis developing will be blamed on the "opposition" violence even if all the rams are in the hands of the regime. It is important to note that if the regime wanted peace it can get it instantly, even this late in the game. It only needs to put Lopez in house arrest while he awaits trial for the alleged offenses. The same thing for all the students arrested and not released yet.  If there is no peace nor dialogue it is because it is not convenient for the regime.

If we assume the regime succeeds in this strategy, the implication will be that to cover their past management errors they will have had to eliminate the private sector.  All the blame will be put on the remains of private business and the regime may be forced by its radical followers to sanction them even though they cannot produce or deliver goods because of regime policies. It is actually quite possible that the radicals have helped in creating the crisis to destroy the private sector once and for all.

As a consequence, when the grave inevitable food shortages become intolerable the regime will have finally run out of people to blame. That is when the real rebellion will start and when blood will run in the streets for good. But autistic politicians cannot see that, or worse, do not want to see that.


  1. Anonymous10:34 PM

    They may be planing to do that but my humble opinion is that it is a big mistake. Venezuelan always look at the government to solve their problems and never to themselves. They (we) are always waiting for the next Messiahs to do it. In the next few weeks the economics problems will get much worse since nobody is importing or producing anything. At that time, there will be a lot of looting and after they loot everything what will be have?...nobody else to blame, only the government .

  2. Food shortages and their riots do tend to be game changers because all strata of the population will join.

    Way off topic and perhaps not the place to ask:
    Are their any pirate AM radio stations? Seems like it would be time.

  3. Milonga11:32 PM

    No matter what, I believe this is all wishful thinking. Bolivarians, Cubans and the lot have a LOT to lose and one is safeguarding the other should things go wrong. They're here to stay or else the world will know about all the wrongdoings and outward robberies carried out in the name of the so-called revolution. It is not the case of one person falling, its a load of persons falling. No way they are going to let this happen.

    1. People also make mistakes and all eventually fall. Besides Franco or Tito, who ended up in bed, at rest? That the odds are against us should not stop us from trying.

    2. Boludo Tejano12:30 AM

      Besides Franco or Tito, who ended up in bed, at rest?
      For starters:
      USSR: Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko.
      China: Mao 27 years
      Venezuela: Juan Vicente Gómez.- 27 years
      Paraguay: José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia - 26 years
      [Cuba: Fidel: 55 years, but not yet dead, so not yet on the list.]
      But as you say, the odds should not stop you from trying. As you previously pointed out, the ongoing and ensuing foreign exchange strangulation of businesses- which you point out will also reduce agricultural production- will add motivation.

      I am reminded of Herbert Hoover's famine relief in the USSR in the early 1920s, a famine resulting mainly from farmers not responding positively to Leninist dictums. I can see Maduro come begging to the US for some such assistance when the food supply collapses.

    3. Boludo

      OK, you got me there. Though I would not count in successors, but those that went on their own to the top. So Lenin and Mao are good. Gomez no because he was a successor.

      Francia I am not sure. Criteria for the times were not those we had in the XX century. If we go that way then we should put a whole bunch of kings and emperors....

    4. Stalin wasn't exactly at rest. All the boyos sat around and watched him die in his own puke.

  4. Bla bla bla....I'm not being negative. .I've been hitting this blog for years..thru elections. .Chavez cancer.....all the drama.."its a daily chore" and I've traveled there a number of times...all this hand wringing. ..El pueblo couldn't care less..they would live in a cardboard box as long as it has a flat screen" just saying"...and the middle class has to pay bills..feed their kids..go to work...so ask yourself..who turns on the lights..has all the guns..by the way...is so "fierce" did you see the guy getting beat on the ground with a helmet?..who wants to be that person?..so scream...scream as loud and clear as you can..cuz the Guyz in Red never heard that before..

  5. I had to erase comments from Charly because the way things are today they could land me in jail. Thank you for all readers from abstaining to put "suggestive" comments. Contrary to other blogs, this blogger resides in Venezuela and has no intention to pull a general Vivas.

    1. Charly4:23 AM

      All my apologies

    2. No harm done. It is difficult these days not to write what one truly thinks.....

  6. Sometimes this stuff these lefty clowns come up with is just too much:

    @nytimes: Fix Your False Reporting on Venezuela


    1. The propaganda wars over Venezuela continue up here:

      NYT Corrects Venezuela TV Falsehood

    2. Well, a lot of people are not writing as accurately as they should. It is not enough to know how biased Venezuelan TV is, you need to be able to explain it otherwise people like FAIR find tricks to tune you down on "objectivity" when they are just plain pro Chavez agents.

  7. The desperate government fools have finally started to blame Uribe and Colombia. Wonder where this will go? Blaming the US is apparently not working very well.

    1. Anonymous9:22 AM

      There is a slight chance it will go "we'll give you something to cry about" road. I wish someone would take that stance, e.g. over North Korea, to stop this nonsense once and for all. Economic war would be a good example, Maduro has no clue how devastating an actual economic war would be for Venezuela.

  8. Anonymous6:47 AM

    the Cubans do not care about Venezuelan lives. It is in their interest to run the country into the ground. They need Venezuelan territory and its natural resources, they do not need Venezuelans. we shouldn't kid ourselves about this. Maduro, et al. have continued to drink the Cuban "cool aid" served by Chavez, and are blind to the fact that they are facilitating their own destruction. Cuba has no other choice to survive. Venezuela needs to stand up and fight.

  9. Anonymous6:27 PM

    Daniel -- I'm not sure your analysis makes sense. You agree, I'm sure, that the economy is the important backdrop for these protests. Inflation and shortages and devaluation....AND inseguridad and impunity on top of all that. You have done terrific work explaining what the dollar shortages mean for Venezuelan businesses, especially within the food industry.
    So...you think the people of San Cristobal will calm down if the regime moves Leopoldo to house arrest? This doesn't make sense to me. As much as Leopoldo wishes it were otherwise, this is not about him.


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