Sunday, February 23, 2014

Political solutions available

This is about 99% an essay on futility but why not.

In time of major political crisis everybody seats down and even if the laws and the constitution cannot be used to solve the crisis, a solution is invoked and agreed upon that may go deeply against the constitution, if needed. I think that after Saturday gigantic show of force from the opposition, we are about to reach such a point, if we have not crossed it already.

The political problems are:
- Maduro has proven incapable to rule. He cannot finish the 5 allocated years.
- An economic crisis of major proportion is on the wings.
- The country has reached a point of despair that there will be for a while constant process that can turn increasingly violent.
- We are a strong presidential system so solutions that remove a president before its time are naturally traumatic.
- There are no independent institutions, all is by the regime.
- The opposition is not untied and strong enough to give a clear push ahead, while the regime is divided enough that it cannot come up with coherent political responses to stay in place, besides repression.
- And last but not least,  very feeble freedom of expression and lack of justice complicate the panorama.

The constitution offers no easy way out
- If the president resigns we need to call elections within a month which means in practice two months. But elections we must have.
- We can call for a constitutional assembly but its mere convocation and election would take 3 to 6 months in the best cases. And approval and implementation of a new constitution will not happen until 2015.
- We can have referenda. On what?
- We can dissolve the National Assembly but this would require at least a couple of weeks for this one to vote down two vice presidents in a row allowing thus the president to dissolve it. By the time a new assembly is elected and installed at the very least 3-5 months have passed. Too long.

This is the solution I offer, but that will be turned down by chavismo that will accept a solution only when Catia dwellers besiege Miraflores palace. But I digress.

The political solution is a two part solution.

Part 1: Return to the 1999 constitution. That means cancelling right now a few of the measures the regime has taken and violate the 1999 constitution. Namely,
- Return to decentralization and let governors and mayors exert their function with their budget returned to them along the competences taken away.
- Reinstitutionalize the country by electing as the Constitution demands a new CNE electoral board, a good third of the High Court and a new comptroller of the nation. That means both sides need to compromise and accept those that are not up to renewal to stay but that the majority of the new personnel is from the opposition. specifically the opposition gets 2 seats at the CNE, 10 seats at the high court and the office of comptroller of the nation, the only way to fight corruption.
- Remove Cubans and army from public administration. Announce a plan that will cut down progressively Cuba's stipend to 0 in 2 years.

Part 2: an economic national agreement.
- Have the opposition agree on a gas price hike, a plan that rings it to cost value in a year.
- Stop any new expropriation and allow evaluation of retro-cession of some of the expropriations done in the recent past, at least in management away from the state (Los Andes, Sidor, cement in particular).
- Create an open system of currency control with an expiration date of no more than 2 years.

All of this can be done in less than three month, can restore enough confidence to cool down the country spirits and may go a long away to temper some of the worst of the economic crisis. The beauty of this is that Maduro stays in office, the bulk of regime bureaucrats stay in office, and the regime keeps managing the country and has time to start putting some of its house in order before external control start bearing in.  Then, late in 2014 we can start discussing other options such as constitutional reform, early elections through special laws, etc...

A possible quickie solution.

If dialogue proves impossible there is only one thing that we can legally do: the national assembly resigns and thus we must go to new elections. I doubt that mediocre representatives will want to risk losing their jobs and pay checks but that is where extra constitutional agreements can be done and the national assembly is simply dissolved in the hope that the new one will, well, be less dysfunctional.

The real solution?

It will never happen but it would mean that Maduro names Aveledo vice president and let's him rule. In short, become a parliamentary regime de facto. In shorter, a transition government of 6 months at least, with a special commission naming provisional people at the institutions until new elections can be held at some point, after some order is restored, without paying attention to the constitutional deadlines.

What will probably happen?

Probably a coup from inside chavismo to replace Maduro. Or a surprising steadying of protest and incorporation of more an more chavistas to it and a revolution. Much bloodier but the Cubans will not have it otherwise.


  1. I predict that the government is going to use much more bloodshed and violence to try and pacify the masses. That huge crowd should have marched down there and threw the bums out today

  2. 1979 BP6:57 AM

    My solution is give back the old bus to Maduro. Likely he will refuse to take his old bus back :)

  3. I agree with the real solution. The resignation of Maduro and a transition government.
    However, are we going to let the PSUV participate? With that endless supply of money plus the brainwash factor? It's difficult, letting for example a corrupt governor like the assassin Ameliach or the empresa de maletin and bachaqueo Overlord Arias Cardenas (son included) just keep draining the money?

    What about the pot scraping factor during the transition? Just let them suck the country as dry as they can during this time? Im not an analyst so forgive me if any of these sound stupid. But yeah, it's not a simple thing, to purge the country,the ministries,the military,the businessess out of all corruption, or at least as much as possible

  4. Anonymous10:53 AM

    Interesting analysis of scenaries. Very difficult to point to the future. At the end it will be other as we think. However, it is time to make clear the goal of the uprising in Venezuela. I would like to add following "wish" to the list.
    To stop the big vein of corruption and inefficiency, the military one, it should begin an open revision of the role and sense of the sole activity of the military in the administration of most branches of Public Admistration. At first in the free asigned Ministers and Agencies. Later via Referendum in the elected positions (Gobernaciones). An open anti-militarist path with the goal in some years to bring those behind a frame of steel-sealed field of action.
    I have a dream...

  5. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Even if there is only one red flag "fluttering" this government of Castro will continue to the bitter end. It will not be influenced by protests, speeches or international pressure.

    A fair number of the Latino political elite are drawn from the school of Fidel and others in the area owe their survival to Venezuelan debt. They would rather see young Venezuelans dead in the streets than risk their objectives, whatever they are.

    Madonna (the singing one), the USA or Maria Lionza will have no impact whatsoever. No one is coming to the rescue. I doubt even the death of the Castro scum would have a positive outcome either.

    The military, aka as drug running corrupt cartel bosses, will not turn. There may be dissent but no reaction, all of them are dirty. The FARC, Tupamaros and others are too deep to be removed in the long term.

    Lopez is in jail, Machado looks frightened and Radonski is in the kitchen. The Americans are considering the advantage, whichever way it seems to blow, and Castro is writing his South American legacy.

    On a positive note the street protests were impressive but without objective.

    And all of this, all of this horrendous nightmare was Hecho in the USA. And it will get worse on a personal basis, coming to you soon one way or another.

    And Radonski's next move will be the important one. And that I expect to be this week.

    1. "Hecho in the USA" I know that there are some circles where blaming the Gringos is de rigour, but I don't expect to find them here. What the hell?

    2. Anonymous3:20 PM

      I believe he was being sarcastic

    3. Anonymous11:59 PM

      The power and authority of Castro's regime was consolidated by the Bay of pigs initiative, or failure if you prefer. The "affair" could be described as a paranoid reaction to Castro's dictatorship and that reaction was undoubtedly "Hecho en USA".
      Indeed the invasion failure highlighted to the Russians that they had a more permanent and, you might say, a proven yet successful geopolitical ally strategically positioned.
      And Soviet aid was forthcoming thereby giving rise to the Castro permanence we know and feel in Venezuela.
      So today we are no more than collateral damage.
      Why we voted for Chavez is another question but the bottomline is that Chavez should never have been.

  6. You completely lost me when you wrote "The beauty of this is that Maduro stays in office." Nothing beautiful about that. Why not the Ukraine way where the AN turns on Maduro, reduces presidential powers for now and calls for a new election in 3 months?

    1. Sure, why not?

      The point is that retaining a neutered Maduro for a few months may calm down the radicals until the transition is over.

  7. Anonymous3:10 PM

    Blame the Gringos...did you forget that you Venezuelans voted for Socialism. First by voting for Chavez (who was once a criminal, jailed), then Maduro. Stop blaming the USA!

    1. Venezuelans didn't vote for socialism. In the beginning Chavez used to deny that he was a commie. I was amazed at how many middle class people voted for him. Before the election in '98 all the middle class people I knew said they would vote for Salas Romer. After the election many said they voted for the red paratrooper because Venezuela needed a change. They didn't say because Venezuela needs more socialism.

      The US is taking advantage of the situation in Venezuela just like the Cubans are. What's happening isn't 100% the US' fault, that's a ridiculous POV, but to deny that the US has had a role is just as ridiculous. Ditto for the Cubans.

    2. The only role the US has is to continue to buy your oil. Apart from that, we have no greater role in the affairs of Venezuela than we do of France or Spain or Ireland. The 1950s were a long time ago. Give it up, already. I can tell you perpetuating the myth that the US is secretly pulling the strings, you create a very hostile environment for ordinary US citizens, who will avoid all travel and business there. Venezuela would be much better off promoting a welcoming atmosphere, rather than fanning the flames of hostility toward their friends from the north.

    3. Hear, hear. To be honest the average American is much more interested in the Northern Hemisphere. Sadly Venezuela only comes up on the radar when something outrageous happens to a US citizen. It's just not that big a deal. When the oil is no longer necessary the US government will pigeon-hole Venezuela right there with Honduras, Ecuador and Nicaragua, something to be endured at endless State Department receptions.

      Sad and stupid. But true.

  8. IMHO The opposition has to try to get as many concessions as possible while we wait for the 2015 National Assembly elections. We MUST win the Assembly back. With a National Assembly on our side, everything is possible.

    1. What good is a NA when every legislator that opposes them will be jailed and the "suplente" is a paid PSUV official?

    2. Bruni, economically we are not making it to 2015. Solutions are needed NOW!

  9. Anonymous5:15 PM

    Re: Probably a coup from inside chavismo to replace Maduro. Or a surprising steadying of protest and incorporation of more an more chavistas to it and a revolution.

    That would of course be the preferred solution. Venezuela needs to speed up the pace of the Revolution, and get rid of the opposition once and for all as a political force.

  10. Maybe, just maybe, realism will prevail amongst the major South American countries. While the usual suspects will support Chavismo, to their bitter end, the more prominent SA countries will isolate this cancer. Then, by means of real and tough sanctions, suffocate it out of existence.

  11. It will be hard to negotiate the Tupamaros out of Catia.


  12. Anonymous6:42 PM

    You shouldn't even talk about elections if under the current CNE/Cuban system. To cry foul in 2012, 2013 presidentials, and then immediately focus to try to win the December regionals under the same system was comical. To insinuate that there will be resignations and a peaceful transition is just wishful thinking. This Cuban narco mafia will not go peacefully into the night.


    1. note that i mentioned elections in the frame of a general agreement that makes elections fair.

  13. Anonymous6:48 PM

    Darren. What I don't understand is why Venezuelans voted for Chavez in the first place. He was involved in a bloody coup to overthrow the government, spent time in jail, most always was seen in a military uniform (how about a suit and tie), very close ties to the Castro clan. The writing was clearly on the wall! Then on the world stage, the United Nations he had the audacity to call President Bush the devil. He obviously was a hot tempered individual. He 'promised he was not a commie'. Lol. I cannot understand how your goverment is so quick to blame the US for their problems. Now Maduro wants to have talks with Obama, the day after critizing us. What a hypocrite! I pray for peace in your country. God bless Venezuela.

    1. How do you make your people think there is an international bogey man ready to invade your country for oil and resoures? You blame the USA. Iran, North Korea, Syria, and of course Venezuela used this model and look where all these countries stand at human rights.

  14. I think Venezuela needs a parliamentary republic with strong decentralization. Moreover, a Truth Commission must be set up to investigate Chavismo's crimes.

  15. Ted Tower8:43 PM

    Venezuela is not Ukraine. The elected president, Maduro will not be going anywhere until after the next election at least. Maduro has support in Venezuela, and a lot in the U.S., and around the world. He is in a very strong position. Any attempt to overthrow him will be seen by many in this hemisphere as a U.S. plot. The attempted coup against Chavez assured this.
    When this ends, however it ends, the elected Maduro government will be stronger and the opposition weaker. It well be decided by the opposition how far they want to pursue this. The farther they do, the weaker they will be when it is over.

    1. Anonymous8:57 PM

      Please normal readers of Daniel's blog don't bother responding to this moron. His intentions are blatantly obvious. Just ignore him and he will go away.

    2. Anonymous, You're wrong! He's not a moron and why are you insulting other morons? This guy has the brain power of a leech (mindless blood sucker). But, Ted not to leave you out, you coward, You are pretty f*cking STUPID! I just wonder were you born this way or did your teachers reconize your stupidity while you were a child?


  17. Even in a country of moderate politics like mine (New Zealand) those in power don't relinquish it lightly. They try every legal trick in the book to retain office. The difference is when they do step over the line they end end up in front of an independent judiciary as one of our NA members is currently facing. Maduro et al don't have that inconvenience. If a "rule' gets in the way of power retention, they just ignore or change it. It's a completely different attitude. He's never going to go without a fight.

    1. That is why democracy is based on separation of powers.

      New Zealand.... My best US friend is actually spending three months there right now....

    2. I hope we are giving him a great time and he reports favorably to you. We've had an excellent - if rather windy - summer.

  18. Anonymous12:02 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  19. Anonymous12:31 AM

    I think the 6.32 comment should be removed.

  20. Anonymous12:51 AM

    Daniel, I think what happened today at retired General Visas home was a major blow to the govt. Hopefully, some current military officers start to move away from the govt now, because they start to see how the Cubans are calling the shots and realize that anyone of them could be taken out by the Cubans. I think the action General Visas was a brave move by him and hopefully it sends a great message to everyone in Venezuela. Love to hear your thoughts on this.



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