Saturday, December 27, 2014

Amused by the latest "coup" in Venezuela

So, I start my day with this:

The main leaders of the opposition must express themselves [condemn?] nationally and internationally as to the coup from the government. 

Oh my, oh my!  Kind of late, no?

There is no doubt that the recent appointment of the "poder moral", the CNE and the high court (in a few hours) have been done against the constitution, never mind its spirit. No doubt whatsoever, even for chavismo whose brazen hurry in the whole thing is as perfect a confession as you could hope for.

So, why am I amused?

It is funny that suddenly so many people who have prided themselves of a certain circumspection in the past, or who denounced the dictatorship and forgot about it, are suddenly so vocal on the subject. And Castillo is not the one I have in mind specifically: I am certain he was aware of the dictatorship for a long time but his social notoriety and duties inhibited him from loud accusations no matter how true these could be. But he has waited too long for it, just as the opposition MUD has waited too long for a credible reaction now.

See, all that happened this week, all that happened when the election was stolen from Capriles in 2013, all that happened when the succession of Chavez was crassly manipulated, all the legal delays that should have never been, the firing of elected representatives, and more, all comes from the basic self neutering of the national assembly elected in 2010.

For those who do not read this blog with the regularity you should :-), the scheduled national assembly election of December 2010 was advanced illegally by three months. The regime rightly expected that it would lose the 2/3 majority it needed to rule unfettered. The prediction having been fulfilled the regime had sill in place for 3 months the outgoing assembly that, in spite of losing its legitimacy, decided on an enabling law that lasted 18 month and which gave Chavez the necessary absolute control to rule until his reelection campaign in 2012.

That enabling law was, as far as this blog was concerned, a coup and should have been denounced vigorously by the opposition. Yet, this one accepted to take its seats. The more unacceptable that the outgoing assembly did also change the rules of the assembly allowing the chavista "majority" to effectively silence the debate and control attributions of opposition representatives.

That is why I am amused: where is the credibility of the opposition today to denounce that, say, Tibisay Lucena remains at the helm of the electoral board CNE to allow all sorts of electoral cheating?  Now that it is public and notorious that some "leaders" of the MUD like Ramos Allup are "negotiating" to preserve their interests I doubt very much that anything will even be attempted from the MUD, no matter what Castillo wishes. What is discouraging people to vote are not the multiple coups perpetrated by the regime, but the absolute distrust that some in the MUD now inspire, its loss of the little bit of backbone it had until 2012. For all practical purposes the 2015 elections are already lost. The worst is that the regime may actually not need to cheat!


I wrote a series of portraits in Spanish as to some of those responsible for the dictatorship and those responsible specifically for the 2010 coup. Clearly, at least one person knew that today would come.

Ah! And least I forget, as far as I am concerned this has been a dictatorship since 2004.

Is it possible that I am the lone Cassandra in this fucking joint?


  1. Charly8:14 PM

    You are unjust with Leopoldo Castillo. He has been publicly very vocal, then lost his job because of it as the canal he was working for joined the rats. Ramos Allup,Borges, that is another kettle of fish (known as Nam Pla in Thailand and Nyoc Mam in Vietnam).

    1. Read again. I do exculpate Castillo. But I picked his tweet because it has "l'air du temps".

  2. Anonymous10:11 PM

    Good site.

  3. Anonymous10:40 PM

    How many Venezuelans does it take to change a loser government?

    1. Anonymous12:28 AM

      A better question would be how many concerned governments and citizens does it take to change a weak, feeble minded and cowardly regime. I would gather just a bit of outside force as the regime is equipped to the extent of the Ferguson Police Force. Couple of shots from someone other than the regime or the Colectiveos...They would all be in tears and running for their putrid little lives. We need some boots on the ground and some weapons. That is all it would take for Venezuelans to change a loser and corrupt government.

    2. Anonymous12:36 AM

      Like "Little Hugies" big and heroic Brother George W. Bush said after 9/11.

      "We'll Be Seeing Ya" Maduro and Diasolldo better not wear white or yellow pants in the next few months... Sabe?

    3. Your proposed solution won't work. It's evident you don't understand the penetration of cuban secret police in Venezuela. Half of the opposition leadership is owned by the regime. They also have all senior military in their pockets. Why do you think chavez allowed the military to become narcos?

    4. How many Venezuelans does it take to change a loser government?

      I know! I know! The answer is 3. 1 to pull trigger, 1 to empty Treasury and 1 to reminisce about how good the old government was.

  4. Charles Lemos8:40 AM

    I just read the news in Bogotá's El Espectador. I'm horrified to say the least. I've certainly view Venezuela as an authoritarian government (other adjectives might include paranoid, misguided, delusional and dangerous) for quite some time but this now risks transcending into totalitarianism. They are certainly governing by the seats of their pants which is no way to govern a country.

    If politics is a game, then it is the adherence to the rules of game that make that game, or any game, worth playing for the players involved. If one player changes the rules arbitrarily of a game mid-game, then that game is no longer valid. It becomes a farce.

    As a Colombian of course to look east is to see a failed state and look inside is to see impotence because there is really nothing Latin America can do except to watch Venezuela implode. When the topic of Venezuela comes up in conversation, and in my circles it comes up often, the phrases that are voiced que pena (what a shame), un horror, que tristeza (what saddness) and nada que hacer (nothing can be done). We watch with stupefied amazement. We cannot believe that a country as rich as Venezuela is in this condition. Venezuela's debt to GDP ratio is just over 200 percent. Greece was bailed out at a ration of 174 percent of debt to GDP. Moreover that ratio for Venezuela is ever increasing, not because it is taking on more debt but because the economy is contracting. Eighty-eight percent of Venezuela's exports are tied to the oil sector. The country produces so little of the necessities of life that much of its corn in a country that eats arepas must be imported, all of its medicines must be imported, just about all of its basic necessities must be purchased with cold hard cash. And cash Venezuela ain't got. Unlike Argentina which is in a technical default due to its battle with vulture funds, a Venezuelan default on its debt would leave the country in a famine and bereft of just about everything else one takes for granted. Argentina can feed itself and provide itself with the basic necessities of life.

    There are very borders in the world where one can see such acute differences between societal outcomes: South Korea and North Korea, Haiti and Dominican Republic. But Colombia and Venezuela is now another. What's even more confusing is that between Ecuador and Colombia such a gulf does not exist. How is it that Ecuador with a similarly minded regime with a socialist bent and dependence on oil exports has had such a much better outcome than Venezuela? What is it about Venezuela that has led it to imminent collapse? I am at a loss to fully explain it. I can posit a few ideas but there is something really peculiar about Venezuela. Even Cuba is better managed. Its debt to GDP ratio is 36 percent.

    1. Charles, the venezuelan regime is quite different because its leaders are poorly educated and come from a military or gangster background. That regime has been a dictatorship for many years. And they also happen to be controlled to a large extent by cubans. The cubans in turn allowed things to get completely out of hand because they swallowed Rafael Ramirez and PDVSA's ability to produce a lot more oil and cash flow than they produce today. The cuban dictatorship was fooled by Ramirez, del Pino and Chavez (the brother who sat in the PdVsa board of directors, not the dictator).

  5. Roberto Carlos3:35 PM

    "Ah! And least I forget, as far as I am concerned this has been a dictatorship since 2004.
    Is it possible that I am the lone Cassandra in this fucking joint?"

    Oh so now we have been in a dictatorship since 2014, then why why why every time there is an election you ridicule those who say that voting in Venezuela only allow the dictators to continue the illusion of being a democracy and you then go all out with useless Spreadsheets and fancy graphs and analysis of historical patterns etc etc etc ad nauseam.

    So today you finally figure it out.

    I can't wait for you spreadsheets next year.


    1. Clearly, you have not understood my blog. Never mind your selective choice of posts.

      I'll leave it at that.

    2. Island Canuck10:08 PM

      Roberto: Your criticisms are really off point.

      It's obvious that you don't live here.

      Daniel is doing the best job he can under the circumstances.
      It's a very volatile situation here.

      To criticize him for trying to explain to us the reality of the situation is ridiculous.

      Take a deep breath & relax.


Comments policy:

1) Comments are moderated after the sixth day of publication. It may take up to a day or two for your note to appear then.

2) Your post will appear if you follow the basic polite rules of discourse. I will be ruthless in erasing, as well as those who replied to any off rule comment.