Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Maduro's "El Sacudón" or the fine art of doing nothing

So Maduro had a "cadena" tonight to announce his new cabinet, new measures, etc...  As usual since he is legally but not legitimately president I have not followed it. Through Tweeter and a few articles I get all what I really need. See, once you have understood that the regime cannot change because it would collapse, then there is nothing to expect anymore but more repression, more controls, more intervention. All becomes very predictable and tonight was no exception.
The real game in town?

For example he announced the usual Castro like slogan of now 5 revolutions inside the revolution because apparently after 15 years of Chavez public administration is still controlled by bourgeoisie. He is right on that last one except that it is the chavista corrupt bourgeoisie carefully nurtured over the last decade so as to have a body of public servants corrupt and henceforth subject blackmail. That helps insure the survival of the regime. Thus the 5 new revolutions are nothing more but yet a new attempt at a parallel control system of government such as it was the case for the Misiones, the comunas, the milicia, the colectivos, etc..

No economic measures of significance were announced. Things keep getting worse, oil price fail to increase to save the regime in spite of multiple wars, so this one has decided to light a candle, pray to lord Chavez and hope for a miracle rather than devaluate, increase the price of oil, free at least some sectors of the economy to lower scarcity of at least a couple of basic items.

As usual some ministers were once again rotated though the different chairs, most remained unchanged, betraying the frozen power nature of chavismo tribal groups. As I type there is still no complete list, though I believe that the last cabinet change list was never published either, at least not in an official manner, some ministers discretely retaking their positions. Yet, at least for once some appointments or reappointments are telling of at least the beginning of an evolution within chavismo.

The first surprise is that all powerful Rafael Ramirez, the guy that knows where all the money went the past 10 years has been sent from PDVSA/Oil Ministry to the foreign ministry. It is difficult to decide whether this was a punishment, a promotion or a preparation for things to come.

I am sure that Ramirez will leave his PDVSA offices with a pen drive carrying all the dirt he may need to protect himself so we need not to worry much on him. He also has allowed so much to be stolen that surely he has taken a few safety millions for his family least something happens to him. But he is not out of the cabinet, he is going to the foreign office where he will have two advantages. First he gets away of PDVSA at a time of his misdirected policies are coming home to roost; less crap will fall on him in a country as forgetful as Venezuela is. Second, he gets to burnish his image of statesmen, if he wants to; you know, to prepare himself to replace Maduro in case of early elections. I can add that since his economical proposal have apparently not been accepted he is off the hook to try to solve these problems, merely travelling abroad to explain other countries why is it that at Miraflores Palace they keep messing up stuff and why he should be in charge.
Khaki and red musical chairs? Interesting...

On the other hand this could indeed be the beginning of the end for Ramirez, until the regime finds a way to neutralize the pen drive he surely carries as a necklace with a back up in some Swiss vault.

At the very least the departure of Ramirez is a small piece of good news. The presidency of PDVSA is finally separated from the ministry of oil. That is, the comptroller and comptrollee are not the same person, as it was always the case before Chavez gave it all to Ramirez. So administratively we will have two guys now, which in addition will not be saddled with all the other stuff Ramirez had to do. Surely this is an improvement, no? But there is a bad news along: one of Chavez brothers/cousin/relative is the new mister of oil which tells us that the Chavez family is starting its comeback, to cash in its inheritance...

Finally, the "departure" of Ramirez is also accompanied by the stability of the military personnel in charge and of the radical wing. Indeed, if Ramirez was seen as a "pragmatic" (something that yours truly never bought since there is no pragmatist inside the regime)  his transfer can only mean that the fight is becoming more marked between the army and the radicals while the pragamatist, those that would allow a soviet NEP of sorts in Venezuela are pushed aside. Note that this is a simplification as the army is itself divided among the business generals and the radical generals but we know less about that.

From the military side, for example, Rodriguez Torres, the interior minister remains in office. This is due at his appreciated repression skills because it is certainly not due to any ability to lower crime index in Venezuela, unless fudging numbers is and accepted security policy.

From the radical side, for example, Jaua goes from the foreign ministry to the "comunas" one. That is, the commune system development in Venezuela, one of the 5 revolutions launched today and mentioned above. It is to be noted that the intention of "comunas" is to by pass the elected authorities (Mayors, Governors) by creating territorial units which regroup dozens to hundreds of "consejos comunales" who can cut across municipal districts and even state districts. What's wrong, you may say. Nothing really, if you accept as democratic that the power basis of these comunas are the consejos comunales whose decisions are taken though show of hands under the scrutiny of red shirted officials. In case you do not get it, if you form a consejo comunal and the local chavista is not the president, then your consejo does not get legal recognition and you are shunted from the comunas system, and the monies that allegedly come with it. In case you still do not get it, the comunas will be chavista or will not be.  It is to develop the comuna totalitarian nature that Jaua, a remarkably scruples free radical, is sent to.

Meanwhile for the hoi poloi the long lines for food and medicine will continue, inflation is now officially at a 60% annual rate and growing. The regime has more important things to take care of, such as increase its control and finish off opposition.


  1. Kremlinology of Venezuela... Mirafloreslogy???

  2. Island Canuck3:25 PM

    Following last night's event on Twitter & CC was really frustrating.

    It was like lighting a rocket on New Year's Eve, watching the fuse burn down & then....NOTHING!!

    The incompetence & ignorance of these people has no limit.

    Everytime you think that maybe they might grow some pelotas they stick to their cowardice.

  3. Charly3:53 PM

    If this sacudon was in his private life he'd need a little blue pill booster for sure.

    1. With Cilia Flores he needs a blue booster EVERY TIME

    2. Charly2:29 AM

      Gros jaloux (On peut rigoler j'espère, vaut mieux rire que pleurer dans ces temps maudis)

    3. Charly2:30 AM


  4. Anonymous4:58 PM

    I must be missing something in regards to the pen drive??? What possible information could he have that the gov't would just not dismiss as he was a spy for the other side and made the information up as they have with anyone else that has came forward with their secrets? The majority (poor) only see what Maduro (the puppet) wants them to see. He will simply call any person showing information against the gov't as a reason for why the country is in the shape it is in.

    Canadian looking in

  5. Ken Price5:29 PM

    The only thing the PEN drive holds, of real value, is a list of Swiss bank accounts.

  6. Gear oil if you want oil products for your CNC products you can purchase from us.

  7. Off topic but interesting quote in wapo regarding sidor and others
    "Victor Álvarez, who served under Chávez as minister of basic industry, said there were good reasons to invest in Sidor’s revival beyond the political and social benefits of keeping workers employed. Development plans left by Chávez call for new railroad lines, bridges and housing, all of which could be supplied with local steel.

    But it would be a lot cheaper to get it from India or China.

    One official close to the Sidor negotiations who was not authorized to speak publicly said it makes little sense for Venezuela to sink more money into inefficient steelmaking.

    “We could let Sidor die and import all the steel we need,” he said. “And there would still be enough to pay the workers’ salaries.”

  8. Eulogio del Pino is an excellent replacement for Ramirez. This move tells me Raul realizes it will take a much more professional approach to reverse oil production decline. Eulogio is familiar with the production system and its weaknesses. The Chavez family member was put in the ministry to provide royal family blessing for Eulogio's moves.

    The problem they'll face is the need to do an incredible amount of house cleaning.

    As for Ramirez having information to damage the chavista regime, I bet he has the records of transactions carried out by Chavez to finance communist parties, think tanks, university professors, and politicians everywhere. Because this cash was approved by Chavez it would damage Venezuela's relations with other nations where it has been using petrodollars to interfere in their internal affairs.

    1. Anonymous5:24 PM

      I could see your point in terms of him potentially having the knowledge on where money has been sent. Also true numbers on money and oil given to Cuba and else where that even though the poor ignorant would never care may shed more light on the amounts stolen.

      Canadian looking in

    2. Anonymous Canadian, they have spent a lot in nations other than Cuba. For example here in Spain it has been reported they finance a new left wing party called Podemos, led by a Chavista type.

      We know of donations such as the ones given to an actor in the USA (Glover) to make a film that was never made. There is also money given to Chile´s communist party. I suspect but I can´t confirm there is serious money going to college professors in the USA. They have a pro Chavez meetings at the University of Michigan, the guys who fly there for these meetings and talks have to have somebody pay their plane tickets.

      It just goes on and on. What really seems to be quite surprising is to see how the US government remains absolutely silent about these cash channels.

    3. Anonymous5:17 PM

      The USA has issues of their own but above all we must remember it is never about politics just money. Most all gov't in most countries is a front for control/power meaning money. The politics of USA versus Venezuela is played out by both countries in hopes of satisfying the people but behind the scenes what makes friends of the government money drives all. Venezuela truly wanted to hurt the USA and many other capital countries they would invest and mass produce oil sewering the world markets. The billionaires around the world including Obama's buddy Warren Buffet make a lot of money off of their oil especially at $90+ a barrel. The rich who control gov'ts are happy and could care less about the tragedy happening in Venezuela.

      Canadian looking in

  9. Boludo Tejano11:38 PM

    Fernando Leanme
    I suspect but I can´t confirm there is serious money going to college professors in the USA.

    Whether there is or not Chavista money being doled out to college professors in the US, there is a considerable cohort of college professors in the USA who out of the "goodness of their hearts," without any money from Chavismo, who would love to praise Chavismo. Far left, hates the US- from the viewpoint of many college professors in the US- what's not to like about Chavismo?

    Then we have Dr. Mark Weisbrot [Whitebread], who can always be counted on to write some "scholarly" support of Chavismo. Does he get some Chavista dosh? Can't prove it, but is likely.

    1. Anonymous4:36 PM


      It's not just the far left, it is also many average uninformed "progressives" or those who insist on finger wagging,telling others what morality is or is not, and worst of all think that if they hate themselves enough,they will look good in the eyes of others( a left- over from old New England Puritanism?


    2. Charly9:34 PM

      They call themselves "progressive". I had to work with two of these pain-in-the-ass recently. Dead beat!


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