Thursday, April 14, 2016

How long can Maduro hold?

The annulation of the Amnesty Law was so predictable that I did not bother with a post. Twitter was enough. However, what is worth a post is a meditation on how long a kleptocracy cum drug trafficking regime can hold it together.

The first thing we must consider is that by now the regime makes no pretense whatsoever. Under Chavez, at least some minimal delay was held, when possible.  Some lengthy presidential cadena "predicted" what a wished for action of other "powers of the state" should happen, and a few days later, voilá! X got to jail, Y was expelled, Z was annulled.  Now progress has been made: Maduro asks for an opinion and within a couple of days the high court, TSJ, serves notice. Unanimously of course.

There is no pretense whatsoever, not even the occasional dissent vote in the bench. You know, they could take turns to say a nay out of 32 justices. Rulings are written even sloppier than they used to be. In fact we even wonder if the court takes the time to read the annulled law. I, for one, think that as soon as a given article is voted at the Assembly, some chavista sends it to the court to prepare the annulment before the final law is even voted. How else could the TSJ beat any speed ruling record observed in any democracy, or even dictatorship for all that I know?

It is not only the TSJ that is blunt about paying no attention to the Assembly or the opposition wishes. The illegal electoral board, CNE, is writing new rules as it goes to stop any electoral initiative from the opposition. That is, the Chavez regime who went from plebiscite to plebiscite is now in the no-election mode. See, Chavez made victory credible (albeit known cheating). Today everyone knows, even chavistas, that neither Maduro nor Cabello could get elected consejo comunal dog catcher.

There are two ways to understand what is going on. Of course, what I repeat all the time, the driving force here is that the regime cannot allow to hand in power to someone else because that would mean that scores of chavistas would soon find their way to jail. Thugs and criminals and narco-traffickers are not known to surrender peacefully to popular will, no matter how lopsided that one is.

Thus the question: is this a show of strength or a show of weakness?

The weakness is easy to demonstrate. The regime has its own polls, even if it refuses to acknowledge the real life poll of December 6 2015. Popular support is fading so fast that open air meetings are rarer, least someone would take a picture of the real attendance (not long until a drone is flown over a chavista real-rally?). Thus the regime is in survival mode, a mode where chutzpah is significantly enhanced along irresponsibility and all sorts of crazy. Yes, the regime is scared, but as in cornered dog scared, biting right and left.

But the show of strength is also easy to understand. This is a regime that is in it for the long run. It is a regime that has made peace with brute force. Already legal and psychological brute force is employed from holding political prisoners to annulling even a weather report voted at the Assembly. Physical force is not as well set yet but the training has been done as we can see from how 2014 protests were repressed, but also now how food riots are repressed these days.

In short, it is a regime that knows it has the weapons and that is the holder of its own truth, a truth of having the financial power to ensure the survival of a small elite which has robbed enough for it. Golden exile is not an option for many of them anymore, but they have stashed enough to pay all the mercenaries they will need to pay to stay in Venezuela and enjoy the riches of life even though the people that placed them into office are starving and dying of unspeakable diseases that normal countries have eradicated. In short, they have become such criminals that they are beyond good and evil, they are amoral, pitiless.

Which brings us to the longevity of such regimes. Considering the continuous degradation of the standard of living, the equilibrium point is when Catia and Petare will get so hungry that they are the ones that will be starting the opposition marches instead of Prados del Este. The date? I do not know, they are not hungry enough yet, not enough of their children have died yet. But the time will come, probably sooner than expected. After all, let's not forget  that no matter how military like Padrino, the defense minister, are associated to the corruption of the regime, when they give the order to shoot to the troop this one may not follow: the troop will know why the people are protesting because, well, it is their parents and brothers, and cousins...

I will remind the patient reader that there are historical precedents where the troop refused to follow generals orders, and that was that. I see no reason for Venezuela to be any different, the more so that the troop did not enjoy the booty that their generals grabbed.


  1. patient reader7:16 AM

    Daniel, your observation may prove prescient. Unlike trying to make any sense of the AN/TSJ/CNE/Miraflores sideshow, It's a given that all hinges on how the military will act. I understand the military brass is guaranteed generous food and provisions. To what extent each of the rank and file receive similar and are so-well provisioned (no colas!) as to be able to share and provide for their own families and, undoubtedly, a large mass of grateful civilian friends. It may well be, as in wartime, that non-military handouts are a crime. The soldiers get to watch their own families suffer? Thus it's the key observation where the military breaks down or remains cohesive and bound to the command. This then decides whether the country may begin a chaotic balkanization, what would be an inevitably violent, geographic gerrymandering of Chavista zones and Opposition zones. This might begin in earnest as an action by Nicholas&Co allocating ever-dwindling resources to favor selected Chavista enclaves.

  2. I don't think anything will happen unless the National Assembly turns the screws tighter. The best way they can do so is to continue legislating to have the Supreme Court shoot them down with spurious decisions, plus they can use their tenuous control over the purse by issuing resolutions and or laws which warn foreign parties not to enter into agreements or make loans with a government which refuses constitutional controls and is known to be extremely corrupt.

    A very strategic change would also be to ensure that Maduros link to Raúl Castro, and the fact that Venezuela is semi colonized by the Cuban dictatorship is well know to the Venezuelan people and the international community.

    As you know I lived in Venezuela, and I saw the Cuban command and control system close up. But Venezuelans have been too proud (or scared?) to acknowledge a smaller, poorer country took over their government.

  3. "there are historical precedents where the troop refused to follow generals orders, and that was that." Those fat generals, when the threat of mutiny comes, will suddenly be stalwart defenders of human rights and democracy. And they'll make deals with a post-Maduro regime to be given amnesty.

  4. All of this requires the people as a whole to rise up. The thugs that rule the poor neighborhoods will take being the authority in a crappy world over getting off their asses and working hard to make a decent living. They get more of a high from having authority then money.
    Their is way more examples of mass starvation of a populous without regime change as has happened in Cuba then mass populous uprising on a violent dictatorship. These dictatorships all over the world have enslaved their people to a life of absolute hardship and torture and nothing changes. As for loans the only ones now are countries like china with terms so onesided that even if Venezuela defaults they all ready got their return.
    The only reason to have hope at all for Venezuela unlike so many other dictatorships is its oil and the fact that the worlds mega oil corporations will want it and the regime stands in their way. Hence one way or another they will provide influence in getting rid of the filthy regime in Venezuela.

  5. "However, what is worth a post is a meditation on how long a kleptocracy cum drug trafficking regime can hold it together."

    Finally someone calling Vzla's criminal regime exactly what it is: a Kleptocracy. (Which I've been doing for over a year). To defeat an enemy, you must understand what it is: Not a "democracy", of course, not some "socialism" of "communism", certainly no "republic" with separation of powers.Not an outright classic dictatorship either, "authoritarian regime" yes, but not totally either.."Leftist', centrist, rightish, capitalist.." Nope.

    It's just a wicked hybrid, a combination of all the above. But all misnomers. The only true way to define this Chavismo monster is Klepetocracy. Google it up. A disguised "socialist" "government" for the "pueblo" against "el imperio" and "la burguesia".. All lies.

    They are just a bunch of spineless Mega-Thieves. Is that clear enough? They don't truly believe in any Castrista "communism" principles, they truly don't care about "el pueblo", at all, what they care about is Money. And power, privileges, special advantages. But Money, above all. They are really very Capitalistic, including the fake Aporrea clowns. They love the good life, big bank accounts, fancy cars, houses, apartments, cruises, fancy watches and fancy planes.

    A Kleptocracy, as simple as that. A disguised "government" that is just a tool to Steal massive fortunes. That's all it is.

    1. Although the regime may be a Klepetocracy they are certainly being one within the definition of a dictatorship. That is a regime can be a dictator within the definition and par tof how it rules is to put down other forms of gov't that opposes it.
      I would honestly say the best form of gov't to define Venezuela is a Kakistocracy meaning governed by the least qualified and or most unprincipled citizens, governed by the worst.

    2. But it's a new hybrid of dictatorship, not a classic one like Cuba or North Korea. There are still some free media left, other political parties, some elections, not that many political prisoners, some freedom of expression, etc. The criminal regime is authoritarian, but disguises as a "republic" or a "socialistic democracy". And many people buy that, in Vzla and abroad. So it's hard to qualify exactly. Daniel often calls it "criminal regime", which is correct, but it's criminality in terms of human right abuses, constitution violations, etc is derives from its insatiable thirst for Money.

      The Chavista Thugs in power are not as incapable or "incompetent" or "stupid" as many keep saying. They are just Mega-Thieves. They know what simple things need to be done to fix the economy, promote private business, fix PDVSA, etc. A 12 year old knows that. But they fire good, qualified people and companies, they mess with exchange controls, etc, only to STEAL as much as possible. Kleptocracy is the root of all problems, nothing else besides massive and (and massive lack of education in "el pueblo", believes any lies they are told). Simple: Theft and Ignorance.

  6. The other thing many people fail to understand, or at least do not dare to declare publicly, is the massive Complicity of Millions and Millions of "pueblo people". Small, medium and large thieves, participating in the national Kleptocracy that is Kleptozuela. Everywhere, every town, at all levels, private and public industries. Government or non government. Enchufados, by the Millions. Complicit with Guisos of all sorts, accepting dirty favors, gifts, of plain bribes, left and right.

    For starters, of course, you have a World-Record 35 or 37 bogus "Ministries". Not even Burkina Faso beats that. They say there are about 3.5 Million public employees there, but I venture to guess there are over 7 Million "pueblo" people enchufados in the regimes' long tentacles, all over the country. One way or another. On direct government payroll, or indirectly, benefiting from bogus contracts in construction, food, or any other industries. There a very few Honest, hard-working people left. It's almost impossible to run a healthy, honest business in Vzla without taking bribes, bribing people, or at least keeping quiet and playing the game. Very few left like Daniel here, and he knows what the filthy environment is..

    So the Kleptocracy is not just "the government" and the politicians, and some heavy bolichicos in PDVSA, Corpoelec, the Derwicks, etc. No. It's Millions of regular people at all levels who participate in the Mega-Guiso. Or how else do you explain people surviving on "minimum salaries" that can buy you nothing? From the sindicalista, the small company managers, the contratistas, to most workers in all public companies..

    That is what makes Kleptozuela what it has become, corrupt to the bone, everywhere. Even more than half of the new MUD deputies are probably already corrupt and in the game. That is how Chavismo has survived 17 years, even Maduro is surviving year after year, with a massive social crisis. Because a LOT of people are complicit, by the Millions.

    1. People are suckers for free handouts, turning their heads to the fact that someone has to pay for them. Sanders is betting on it and look at how many people turn out to suck it up.

    2. Anonymous7:43 PM

      To be fair to Sanders, he is explicit in that the programs will come with a big tax hike on individuals, not just rich or corporations.

      The only time Chavista regime mentions sacrifice is in the context of the noble economic war against the imperio and overcoming difficulties brought on by that.

  7. A few updates against the government:
    Glass-Maker Owens-Illinois Wins Right to Enforce $500 Million for Venezuela Expropriation

    Schlumberger to Cut Venezuela Oil Services on Non-Payment

    Maduro and his crooks are squeezed harder.

  8. The AN needs to pass a law that will be good for the country, absolutely intolerable to the Regime, and horrify the world that it has been rejected by the corrupt TSJ. What that law is, I do not know. But when this happens the outrage may prove to be too much. And kick off the final process of cleaning them all out. They need something clever.... TO entrap the Regimen into their own Unconstitutionality. Or at least further into it.

  9. Right now we have two entities at a standstill. AN issues new laws and Maduro nullifies them. Rinse & repeat.

    The military is the only one left with enough muscle to overcome the standstill. I believe that it will act only if it's guaranteed a seat at the new governing table (just as it does now) in order to break it. But I believe that things will have to get much, much worse such that the military feels the economic pinch and the realization that it is best to strike a deal with the opposition...I hope it is sooner rather than later.

  10. CARACAS -- Venezuela's electoral body, the CNE, denied again Thursday a petition to initiate a recall process against President Nicolas Maduro, closing the main democratic way out of the present Venezuelan crisis, according to the opposition.

    While not approving the form that the opposition used, the CNE promised to analyze the opposition's petition carefully but without saying when will it announce a decision.

    The opposition took the new delay hard.

    “Agents of the PSUV (Maduro’s political party, founded by late President Hugo Chavez) inside the CNE attack the peace of the Republic,” said the opposition umbrella organization MUD in a press statement. MUD points out that the CNE has been dragging its feet for a month now.

    This is the fourth time that the CNE has frustrated the Opposition's efforts to exercise its right to a recall referendum.

    "CNE keeps blocking the recall referendum," tweeted Henry Ramos Allup, the President of the legislative National Assembly, where the opposition holds a super-majority. The CNE "denies us the form to collect signatures and accuses us of subversion if we insist."

    In a three to one vote, the CNE directors decided not to give the opposition a pre-approved form to collect the signatures needed to launch a vote to revoke Maduro´s rule.

    Opposition lawmaker Delsa Solorzano said the National Assembly should sack the CNE directors, while legislator Alfonso Marquina said that signatures should be collected anyway, starting this weekend, even in a non CNE sanctioned form.

    Signatures collected in a form not approved by the electoral authority can be rejected, according to the electoral law.

    1. Anonymous7:45 PM

      What was the formal reason given for not giving a pre-approved form? They usually give on

    2. The CNE did provide the opposition with a form. They collected over 2 million signatures. The CNE has 5 days to approve the signatures, but they keep stalling. There have been protests, will little change.

    3. The CNE did provide the opposition with a form. They collected over 2 million signatures. The CNE has 5 days to approve the signatures, but they keep stalling. There have been protests, will little change.

  11. The NA is ignored by the regime, the world and the worse part is the people. The people of Venezuela complain abiut all the problems the regime has done but few will do anytging hence nothing changes. They all want someone else to do the dirty work of getting rid of a regime they created. Pure laziness. Most good people who put up a fight got tired of the ignorant lazy people and left. For most part the only ones left in the opposition are self serving and stick it out in hopes of power and money in future for themselves. Such a beautiful resource rich country with endless potential dominated by the ugliest of human nature.

  12. kernel_panic1:21 AM

    Completely OT

    Daniel, in your twitter feed you have a link to your instagram, however, the link is broken. The link currently points to when it should point to

    1. It is a mistake of Twitter that automatically reads it as a Twitter address. I split it so now there is no link as we cannot add a foreign link in the profile text. Or at least I do not know how to do it.


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