Friday, June 05, 2015

State terrorism in Venezuela

The appearance of Diosdado Cabello on the front page of the WSJ along a few others such as Aragua governor Tarek el Assaimi with a detailed list of all the investigations underway for their links to drug trafficking and what have you reminded us that there is no happy ending in sight for Venezuela. In case you doubted it this week brought us a few examples. I suppose it all started with the rather successful rallies last Saturday in support of Leopoldo Lopez. I was there and I took the panoramic below (Samsung feature).

Some wrote that it was a fiasco, some exaggerated the success. I think all missed the point: this was the first attempt at mass rallies since we are truly in a dictatorship, since the regime has started killing people in earnest, since the opposition has splintered into those willing to call a spade a spade and those like Ramos Allup much more inclined at some form of status quo. Besides the era of massive marches for either side is over: chavismo even under coercion cannot fill up more than a couple of street blocks and the opposition is tired ans scared and its charismatic leaders jailed or discredited.

Thus for me it was a success. I was there last Saturday and if the attendance was not huge there was an interesting phenomenon: there was a constant, steady, significant flow of people in and out the rally. With insecurity, fear of repression of any type, fear of aggression, need to go somewhere to stand in line to get any good you can put your hand on, the turn out was, well, good. For any count that could be done at the rally place, I would guess the total "visitors" may have been 4-5 fold more. If not more. And this without counting the more than a dozen rallies reasonably well attended around the country. Not only chavismo is unable to hold simultaneous rallies across the countries, but no opposition leader is today able to do so. As such Leopoldo Lopez is now probably the top Venezuelan leader.

Does it do him any good?

This week not. The hunger strike that Lopez and Ceballos (defenestrated mayor of San Cristobal) is turning ugly and Ceballos health is already in trouble.  The Venezuelan regime has already let one hunger strike die (Brito) and there not much hope from outside as "democrats" like Thatcher or Lula have had no qualms at letting hunger strikes run their course. Many are trying to remind this to public opinion in the hope that Lopez and Ceballos will come to their senses.  In totalitarian constructs, hunger strikes are useless, and in fact, welcome. In a country were media is controlled by the regime nobody speaks of the hunger strike. If you are not on twitter you would not know much about it.

Two mayors of Voluntad Popular have been under attack. Lumay Barreto from Apure has been booted out and Guarate from Aragua had its town hall attacked by colectivos who had no qualms in throwing from the second floor journalists. It seems that the regime has decided to step up the pressure against Voluntad Popular now that it is clear that his leader , Lopez, is top dog. And it seems that many in the opposition MUD umbrella are happy to oblige though either their silence of lip service in support of Lopez.

Of course this division of the opposition is of great concern but then again its origin, for me anyway, is in the lameness of many inside that are only too willing to compromise with the regime for a few crumbles, and, most importantly that are denouncing electoral fraud after electoral fraud and yet do nothing about it. Eventually those with principles get tired of those that are, how should I put it nicely, less principled. This all started in May June 2013 when the evidence for fraud in the election of Maduro was clear and yet Capriles in the end decided to wait for yet another opportunity, not wanting to spill Venezuelan blood. This one is being spilled anyway.


  1. Anonymous10:54 PM


    Just want to say this is one your best posts in awhile. Really summarized the current situation in relation to last Saturday's march better than anywhere else I've seen.


    1. Thanks. I take you word for it. I have little time to read much these days (one of the reasons I write less) so I truly do not know what others think. Not that I care much at this point in life ;-)

  2. Yeah, Caprilito and Tintori are still dreaming of a "democratic", "peaceful", "constitutional" way out. They don't understand what the words Criminal Thugs and Dictatorship really mean.

    Expect things to get even worse in Cubazuela, with more and more repression for years to come, and much more blood in the horizon.

    1. As a politician one thing is what you think/know and another is what you can say publicly.

    2. The best option is to do nothing. But doing nothing is really hard, because it involves going to work and doing nothing (or doing it as badly as possible). The chavistas are social parasites. They range from Maduro to corrupt military, to motorcycle riding cops and gangsters. They can't repair anything,don't know how to build anything, or plant potatoes. If the working people had common sense they would just do nothing. I've been writing this for years, and thus far it doesn't sink in. It's not a general strike, because they would use extreme repression. It's a bit subtler. It's slower, but much more effective. And when the chavista ELITE, Raul Castro, the Red Pope, and Dilma Rouseff realize Venezuela isn't a good source of cash they'll take action. Maduro will be relieved from his post by his own handlers, and this should improve things somewhat.

      You see, I've never seen Venezuelans as a people willing to do much about the chavistas, other than complain. So my proposal makes a lot of sense, just sit on your hands and do nothing. It ought to work.

    3. Anonymous1:00 PM

      What do you mean do nothings...exactly? Just go about life as usual as though nothing were happening?Or do you mean stop working.There is a big difference in the two in English.


    4. I am not sure if all Venezuelans died and only the elite Chavista's were left living off their drug trade they would mind much at all. Clearly the country deteriorating and people starving and dieing and crime are all welcome. Productivity is a snail pace now and they go after any sector that is productive. Why would they care if everyone does nothing? They would still have it all.

  3. Roberto Carlos4:28 AM

    Don't worry my Venezuelan friends, Obama will come to the rescue of another enemy of the United States soon.

    1. Your point being?.......

    2. I think Roberto is referring to Obama's move to help the Cuban dictatorship. I think the overall attitude displayed by both the Obama and European Union governments show they only pay lip service to Hunan rights. Most articles about Cuba emphasize business opportunities. This means maduro will probably be given a helping hand by the powers that be, but he needs to create good business opportunities for their companies. Get used to it, you are very disposable. They'll toss you into a meat grinder to make a few bucks.

    3. Obama insisted Tuesday that he’ll continue to press the Cuban government on its human rights record as he secured support from of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who, meeting with Obama in the Oval Office, called the decision to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba an “audacious” one.

      He said Mexico hopes to collaborate with both countries in the effort.

    4. Roberto Carlos3:21 PM

      "Continue to press", meanwhile back at the ranch the process moves forward regardless

      The Castro's release an american jailed in Cuba for the "crime" of helping a cuban family get internet access and Obama "reciprocates" by releasing three cuban spies who murdered truly innocent american civilians. Great deal to continue to press for human rights Mr. Obama!

      All restrictions on sending money to Cuba are lifted. Most travel restrictions are -as far as I can tell - removed or not enforced. Cuba is removed from the terrorism promoting countries for no reason at all, other than the designation gets in the way of moving forward and i guess also "pressing for human rights"?

      And now Mexico will collaborate in the effort. Good word to use for this particular effort. In case you don't know just ask Daniel he knows any "collaborators" first hand from the old country.

    5. Mexico can't even gets its own house in order..The corruption is rampant and affects everyone's lives....... All Latin Americans need to state things are unacceptable and enforce that belief. Until that happens things will hardly change. They have been conditioned to think a certain amount of corruption is OK. They need to have zero tolerance... 0 .... In VZLA I am not sure what is the right thing to do anymore. But it appears to the outside world that they need to stand up for themselves. Every last one......The strength is in numbers. Chavismo knew that well....

  4. Dr. Faustus12:26 AM

    Oh my, Maduro chickened-out on his meeting with the Pope. He also may miss that CELAC conference in Brussels on Wed/Thurs. It is my guess that there is nervousness creeping in the hallways of Miraflores. This government is teetering. The economy is in a free-fall and everyone knows it. Perhaps the long knives are being unsheathed? Dunno. But this is significant.

    1. Charly4:58 AM

      The rumor has it that the pope was about to pull a fast one on him, an exorcism to kick the devil out of that poor idiot.

    2. Island Canuck12:48 PM

      I had a bet going with my wife that he would never go.
      He supposedly has an " ear infection" and can't fly.
      Yeah, right.
      Maybe he got that from swimming in his polluted pool because their is very little pool chlorine in Venezuela.

      You are right about the long knives.

      Yesterday he threatened massacre and death if the revolution fails.

      «Si fracasara la revolución bolivariana y el imperialismo toma el control del país, que se preparen para un tiempo de masacre y muerte»

    3. Dr. Faustus4:08 PM

      Per Island's comment, I am surprised that there have been few comments about that 'massacre and death' threat. Dementia on full display. "If we go down, all of Venezuela goes down! Ah, ... Is Paris burning?" Maduro seems to be losing it. The Miami Herald has an excellent piece this morning as to the dwindling foreign reserves. Powerful stuff. Six months max....

    4. Charles Lemos9:48 AM

      The reserves are even less than reported. Remember that gold deal Venezuela just signed? Most of Venezuela's reserves are in actually in gold, not hard currency such as dollars or euros. You can't pay for stuff with gold so the Central Bank has to unload gold but it's not unloading only borrowing against it. So in accounting terms, that amount remains on the Venezuela's books. Venezuela in the meantime has to pay interest and while it has the right to buy the gold back at the end of the term, the likelihood that it will is next to none. And the reason that Venezuela has most of its reserves in gold is because Chávez ordered the Central Bank to buy gold instead of saving petrodollars.

    5. Anonymous5:56 PM

      The reserves are also in gold. The issue here is the Venezuela (by borrowing against the gold) will also face the commodity risk that the price of gold drops down. Because no one believes Venezuela will be able to pay back the loan this mean a lower LTV and other fees to cover the risk. That drives the effective rate higher.

      All this would be avoided if they sold the gold. But that would be embarrassing.

  5. Gregorio Hernandez and Maria Leoza told Masburro he's on his own, and Chavez said he's busy burning in Hell.

  6. Après lui, le deluge.

  7. According to the ECB, the majority of transfers executed through the Sucre were made to and from Venezuela. Among the products that most have been exported to Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia are the tuna canned, palm oil, milk, rice, radial tires, vehicles and accessories for trucks, gas cookers, refrigerators and baby diapers. What more has imported is urea, drugs and vaccines.


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