Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Aveledo resigns as chair of MUD: my heartfelt thanks for his hard work

No break even for lunch. Turning on I learn that Ramon Guillermo Aveledo has resigned his chair at the head of the MUD.

The Venezuelan narco-state kicks open its closet door

Long time readers of this blog know it: Venezuela suffers under a dictatorship where drug traffic has played a major role, promoting corruption and the over all break up of the constitutional state. Yet, as long as Chavez was alive a fiction of democracy was maintained, a fiction where someone that was not a direct drug dealer was in charge. This week end events about how the Venezuelan regime used some of the worst thuggish ways to get back one of its capo taken away in Aruba prove beyond doubt that we are not into dissimulation anymore, this is an out and proud narco-state.

This post is not a translation of the preceding one even though the title are the same. Instead let's do an exercise in how to define a narcostate. Indeed, we are past the labels of XXI century fascism, neo-totalitarian or dictatorship regime. A narco-state requires an additional set of descriptions.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

La narco Venezuela salió del closet/armario

Vamos a estar claros: hace mucho tiempo que los que observamos Venezuela de cerca sabíamos que su régimen era militarizado, sufriendo las consecuencias que ello implica, corrupto y narcotraficante, que es lo que hay desde las ultimas décadas del siglo XX. Antes esos regímenes traficaban en esclavos, oro, trata de blancas y otras cosas, pero desde que el norte le sacó gusto a empolvarse las fosas nasales de blanco, evolucionó el sector.
Narco-chusma: 4 en las listas de la DEA y 3
a quien le falta poco para ingresarlas

Pero al mismo tiempo que empezó el norte a drogarse, apareció en el sur una ideología anti norteamericana, o mas bien, anti valores occidentales. El objetivo de las pandillas que van de los Castro hasta el foro de Sao Paulo es minimizar a los Estados Unidos. Eliminarlo seria mejor pero para eso esperarán que la migración desde el sur haga el trabajo. Es mas, esos sistemas políticos anti norte americanos favorecen aun mas la migración.

Una herramienta clave, promocionada por los hermanos Castro, ha sido el trafico de droga a los Estados Unidos y a Europa. En su amargura de fracasados y resentidos se adueñaron de un portaaviones en el Caribe desde el cual han hecho toda clase de fechorías para tratar de destruir los valores occidentales, sin ofrecer nada a cambio. O ofertas transitorias dependientes de los caudillos o guerrillas de turno. Y mientras que sus discípulos hacían esos tráficos, los de Colombia siendo los mas aventajados alumnos, los Castro cobraban su tajada por ayudar, por guardar el botín, por recoger los heridos y esconderlos.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Carvajal 1, Welfare State 0, US of A offside, El Nacional -1

So, as I was afraid, Carvajal was released, and faster than I expected.  I must confess that for a while I thought the Dutch would be firmer, and at least negotiate something solid back for them. Why, the infamous plane blasting would have put enough outrage in its leaders to show resolve! And yet in my first two entries on the subject I was careful to note that there was still a stretch to see Carvajal rot in an US jail.

The Netherlands King visits the naked emperor of chavismo
But the Dutch are the Dutch, they are not principled like Scandinavians, they are not reckless like Latins. Business is ALWAYS business with them, nothing personal. At home they are paragon of civic attitudes and virtue. They will save Anne Frank while in Indonesia the natives did not miss them when the Japanese invaded. In the end they lost both but that is another story.

And let's face it, why would the Netherlands go to war with Venezuela over Aruba? Over what looks now like a botched DEA job? Did they not send Willem and Maxima to see Maduro last November? The only European head of states in a long time willing to breathe the foul air of Caracas.....

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Carvajal affair fallout starts: Aruba flights banned

UPDATED Well, the least we can say is that the arrest of Carvajal in Aruba Wednesday has tied in knots the Venezuelan regime the way a downing of a flight by the Russian has not affected the Dutch, the way Gaza bombings have not created retaliations against Israel (yet, for both).  For us, mere mortals, the arrest of an accused drug lord cannot compare to the victims of a plane crash or with the victims on both side of the border in the middle East; but for the rulers of Thuggistan Venezuela, arresting one of theirs is a capital offense of unspeakable proportions. While the country gets ready to go to war, flights to Aruba are already annulled and threats of all kinds are uttered by people that should know better (but probably have been designated as sort of sicko designated hitter).

Tweet from Laser Airlines announcing the suspension of its flights to Aruba.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Another "Oh Dear!" moment: Hugo Carvajal is arrested in Aruba

UPDATED AGAIN. Scant reports yet, little official confirmation but it seems that indeed Hugo Carvajal has been arrested in Aruba while he was awaiting his diplomatic placet from Dutch authorities to become Venezuela's consul in Aruba. This, my friends, can be a turning moment!

Things you may not wonder about Leopoldo Lopez trial, a mere "Caracas Trial"

The real thugs/goons are not on the stand: two Nazional
Guards are not amused by this anti political prisoner
poster on the high court, TSJ, walls.
Today the long awaited trial of Leopoldo Lopez (together with 4 students that should be tried separately, if at all) has started. I am not going to bother the reader with the sordid details.

For one, we all know what the verdict will be: guilty. The only thing that remains to be seen is how long the trial will be and to which extent the regime will dare apply punishment. We already have a hint as the second session is already scheduled for August 6, and since judicial holidays are coming the third session may be pushed all the way to September. As it has been the case for all political trials (judge Afiuni anyone?) the regime loves to linger on those trials, even if it does not have the facts, even if it is an open masquerade. The point here is to inspire fear in future opponents so they await for public lynching if they dare oppose the regime. Totalitarianism of the XXI century, my friends, deal with it.

So what is left to wonder, to come to the title of this post.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

¿Marea socialista? ¿Salto atrás? ¿Despecho rojo?

No soy PSUVologo ni pretendo serlo. Seria pésimo en eso ya que no puedo entender la mentalidad de la gente dispuesta a entregarle todo a un líder aunque este diga burradas pasmosas (capitalismo en marte, el hombre tiene 4000 años, etc...). Y aun menos cuando esa gente es abiertamente caudillista y patotera militar. Pero en fin, el domingo tuvimos "elecciones" dentro del PSUV y nos toca a nosotros, pobres libres pensadores de la oposición, tratar de entender un poco lo que pasa en ese antro del PSUV (con todo el respeto para los que están dentro el PSUV de buena fe que me sospecho no son tantos hoy en día).

Aparentemente hay dos bandos.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Can Venezuelan "ruling" party PSUV avoid division?

Red tide coming?
I suppose that one week ago writing about the opposition MUD trying not to fall in the sinkhole was going to bring karma to hit me with writing a post about the PSUV fate. Indeed one week without writing brought me today in front of the PSUV holding internal "elections" for its political congress starting in a very few days (July 26) (1).

I am not going to go into the diatribe of obvious low electoral participation (the PSUV has only itself to blame for reporting unrealistic high membership numbers, far higher than its actual average voting record). I am not going to go into all the electoral propaganda to make the country believe these elections are meaningful (Globovision looked today like a more behaved state TV propaganda). No, the true meaning of these elections is what it is trying to hide outside of the electoral contest.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Can the Venezuelan opposition MUD recover?

The question is not idle: two of its "major" directors are forcing us to question thoughtfully not only whether the MUD can renew itself or if it has any strategy against the regime, but if its actually intending to fight the regime, amen of being able to understand what is going on in the country. As for its alleged leader, Capriles Radonski, by now I am afraid I am through with him.

Ramon Jose Medina cynical callousness (redundancy of sorts intended)

This happened:

In this video Ramon Jose Medina says that the MUD has no plans to bring out of jail Leopoldo Lopez, that he put himself into that mess, and we assume from his amused, scornful look, that this is not MUD 's problem. You do not need to understand Spanish, just look at his facial expressions. And now he is trying to back track, but it'aint flying and Voluntad Popular, Lopez's party, has demanded his resignation as second secretary of the MUD, which means second in charge after Aveledo. The communique of VP goes as far as suggesting that Medina is in fact collaborating with the regime (1).

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Unificación cambiaria" for dummies

I have been meaning for a few days to write up a simple way for people to understand why the country seems to have been frozen the last few weeks, even though Giordani is out, Lopez still in, and Capriles remains deaf mute. You may think that it seems a lot of stuff is going on but this is not the case, no matter what glaring headline stares at you. The reason is quite simple; the country is waiting at three real questions that need answers. The first one is will the regime increase gas prices. The second one is will the regime devaluate at around 15 or at around 25 for the USD. And the third question, maybe the more important one, but that NO ONE dares to touch politically, will the regime amend the labor law of 2012, a regulation that is choking all, ALL business in the country, be they state or private owned.

As long as these questions are not answered neither chavismo can plan for its post Maduro nor the opposition find again some form of political coherence. We are all silenced by the catastrophe about to fall on us.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Normal Heart

I watched last night on HBO the film version of the famous Larry Kramer play of 1984 about the AIDS crisis in New York. That sent me for a time warp spin.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Empty hospitals, empty airports

While Capriles and the MUD keep gazing at their navel and while chavismo tries to find a novel idea, the country keeps sinking at a steady pace. Today we had two gems that speak volumes about what await us.

Monday, July 07, 2014

A noisy silence upon our corruption

Silence like a cancer grows.

For the last time maybe I read my Sunday edition of El Universal.  I suppose that the new owners still did not have time to change the contains significantly but I am more than certain that within weeks major journalists will be leaving the paper, that the editorial line will go from confrontational to bland if not outright supportive of the regime. It happened with Ultimas Noticias, it happened with Globovision, it was such since day one at Tves.  And more minor examples that I could list. Today we are left with only two national papers that publish it all, El Nacional and Tal Cual; some local papers like El Carabobeño and El Impulso; some AM radio here and there. Period.  If you live in Yaracuy State, you need to make a significant effort to get news that are not filtered to support the regime in its main points (even though the red page cannot hide the whole truth). The hoi poloi cannot be bothered.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Tourism in Venezuela, uncomfortable and tacky, with the occasional glimpse of past splendors

So, I decided that I had to use my resort week now because I risked not been able to use it later this year.  The S.O. being stable, work crisis being their chronic self, I left for Margarita, alone, for exercise and "me" time. A chronicle of sorts follow.

Fading paradise...

--- --- --- --- --- ---

The first thing is that my plane fare was cheaper than the cab ride between Caracas and its airport. I know, I use a safe taxi system which is somewhat more expensive. But even if I used an airport taxi or teletaxi , it would have been almost the same and when I add the cab fare in Margarita, I do spend 1.6 times in cab fares than air fare. That tells you about the distortions in prices in Venezuela.

Today's quiz: Which is the Venezuelan flag?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Requiem for El Universal?

UPDATE: It has been confirmed.

The rumors on the sale of El Universal are intensifying again. Not only Bocaranada's Runrunes inside El Universal today mention them, but in his web page he gives more details. But as it is usual in Venezuela gossipmongering, they always fall short of spitting out the beans in full. Which of course creates even more uncertainties.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Chavismo and Maduro have their version of "La Salida"

Something funny happened with my last post in Spanish: it got more hits than an English written post and more G+ than usual (note: I have no idea what G+ truly is good for, it just appears with the posts). Yet few comments, as it happens with my Spanish written posts. Still, since a reader asked me to translate it, I am forced to reply that no, it cannot be translated because it has portions that are really designed to humor a Venezuelan audience (like the Flores family placement system), not to mention that humor, even if diffident, is not easy to translate. But I can post a rewrite, an English summary of sorts.

The point of that post was that the Giordani letter and its consequences highlighted that chavismo was possibly considering an exit out of a situation that they cannot control. Thus "the exit / la salida" to copy ironically the failed program of Lopez and Machado. Failed for the time being, but that is another story.

Why would chavismo consider an exit? Several reasons: they cannot control the economic crisis; they know their coalition of interests is unraveling; they know that too many of them will go to jail for their crimes (and there may be a need to select a few scapegoats); many of them would like to enjoy their loot, and would pay a reasonable price to be allowed to do so; and more. Clearly, this is impossible to tie it all up neatly and some changes will have to occur.