Sunday, October 16, 2016

So? Can we all agree on the D word?

This is kind of a melancholy post. For years now I have been calling this a dictatorship. It took sometime to start seeing it expressed in the foreign press. And even as I type there are some in Venezuela or overseas (I am looking at you, Zapatero just for today's denialist) that still refuse to use the D word, expecting who knows what leniency from who knows where.

For me the D word applies since Chavez closed Radio Caracas in 2007. Or if you want a more material date you can use early 2013 when the constitutional coup of the moment allowed Maduro to become Chavez successor. And many other moments you may prefer. It really does not matter much, the dictatorial nature of the regime has been obvious from the start, from the very first social program of Chavez "Plan Bolivar 2000" that established the Venezuelan army as a discretionary manager of public money, and thus corruption.

I remember it all. Try me.

This year the dictatorship has been forced to become more frontal, more classical. Until this year the excuse that Venezuela was an autocratic regime and not a dictatorship was that the opposition did manage some electoral victories, that there were still an opposition paper here and there, albeit on trial. Etc. But all those were mere excuses. For the left there was no way that the beloved populist could have generated such a monstrously corrupt and inefficient system.  For the right it was that declaring Venezuela to be a dictatorship would mean taking action for which democrats seem to have lost the taste for, and for quite a while now. The last outrage and successful international take, if I remember well, was against Fujimori who in my book is not any worse than Chavez, and certainly less calamitous for the general welfare of the people. Honduras and Paraguay were mere side shows where the changes eventually prevailed because, well, these changes had a true legal foundation.

But never was Chavez to be sternly criticized until Argentina's Macri made it to office. And yet, with more bark than bite so far.

But now things have become unacceptable and Venezuela is preparing to be suspended from Mercosur in a little bit more than a month while the OAS may suddenly decided to make a concrete Democratic Chart application. Only Erdogan receives Maduro.

Since last December the regime has proceded to the following:
*Using the judicial power to block almost all actions from the National Assembly
*Rule through a state of emergency system bypassing any legal control
*Go through a wave of arrestations and creation of political prisoners without any legal supervision, with "evidence" planted directly by the people performing the arrest
*Sue the last two remaining national daily papers
*Block any control activity that the National Assembly has in the constitution
*Suspend any election, going as far as saying that elections were not an important right
*Dispose of national assets to find fresh cash
*Decree that all remaining private companies must sell 50% of their production to the government
*Etc...... including heavy intelligence insulting propaganda to pretend that all is fine and dandy in Venezuela

But the latest was in my opinion a fatal mistake for the regime. Maduro decided that the National Budget would be approved by decree law, with the support of course of the Judicial Constitutional Court. Now, I am not going to go into the unconstitutional and illegal ways in which the regime decides taxation and how it disposes of the funds through appointed folks.Trust me, the case is clear against the regime.

Since "No taxation without representation", and we know how that ended, it has been the rule in any and every democracy that the budget must be validated by a parliament. Even if that parliament is elected under fraud, but there must be a Parliament Act. Why is such a parliamentary act a requirement? Because it is the contract symbol that the state is the guarantor of the money lent or borrowed. Failure to do such an act means simply that the only responsible party is the guy in charge and that his mere death slipping at night in the bathtub is enough to question whether his successor has any obligation in fulfilling previous commitments.

In short, if you lend money to the Venezuelan government as of today, you have zero guarantee, LEGAL guarantee, that you will ever be paid back (that we are broke and unable to pay our debt is another story, but I digress). And considering that the guy in charge, Maduro, is an ass, with a shaky hold at best, I wonder who will bail the country out...

There are two implications here.

First, obviously, that taking over discretionary disposition of all the nation's income is the most naked act of dictatorship a regime can do. Never mind that in the same ceremony where the "budget" was signed Maduro already decided that he would not give money to any opposition district which by law he is forced to do, even if he has way to deliver less than the survival requirements of such districts. Thus now we are free from having to discuss over and over the dictatorial nature of the regime. All understand money, all understand that Maduro has officially privatized the budget. Even commies understand that.

The second consideration is that we are in big trouble. If the regime has resorted to such an extreme move it is because it feels that its end is near, that too many inside the regime are about to meet their legal destiny in some court. Since it has been proven amply that the regime could not care less about the welfare of the people (starvation cases, distressing lack of heath care for which I can personally vouch for as my SO has been left without chemotherapeutic without the possibility of legally buy it overseas) then it has been easy for them to take the final decision.

By privatizing the national budget the regime grabs directly whatever is left of the country resources to use them to support Cuba and the repression machinery needed to remain in office. That is right, there is not enough money for the rest, it will all be used to sustain the repression and ensuring a minimum of popular support to be able to recruit enough of those that will do that repression. I will note that the forced sale of 50% of production (that will probably not be paid on time, if at all, and after having lost all relevant value due to inflation) represents about what the regime can physically manage in that legal robbery handling, and what it needs roughly for its CLAP distribution system (who not surprisingly in the beggarly nature of chavismo support has allowed Maduro to get back to 30% in polls). Never mind that by forcing such sale the regime acknowledges that all the expropriations made under Chavez have only yielded a cemetery of once food producing businesses.

So there it is, the regime has played its last card.

The regime could not possibly care less about what the fate of the country and its people may be. There is no other card to be played, there is no expropriation that can be done which can satisfy the needs of the people, unless looting of homes is next. Expropriation of banks is useless when inflation is scheduled to be 4 digits next year. Nothing left for populism, not even borrowing as no one will be foolish enough to lend a penny to the the regime now. All has been wasted. There is only the little bit of food produced by the private sector and a worthless budget which can at least pay for the criminals that are needed for public order.


  1. Charly7:48 AM

    Can we all agree on the D word? No, this is behind the times. The word is the F word. Not what you think but F for Failed state. A few days ago, the collectivo La Piedrita instructed the CICPC to clear 23 de Enero until they got the green light to patrol the barrio once again. Between the collectivos, the FARC rear guard, the ELN who is all over the border with Colombia all the generales narcotraficantes, this country is slowly sinking to the level of Somalia. Watch if they will not start hijacking ships along the coast of Venezuela pretty soon. Over the last few months, the fiscalia has ordered SEBIN to release several prisoners and SEBIN has not obeyed these orders. Why? Because these prisoners have to pay a ransom first. Apparently it is very hefty, somewhere between USD 500k and a cool million. Little states within the state. For the first time, I heard something in public tonight: "In order to get rid of Chavistas we have to kill them". Looks like people are slowly building a thick skin, welcome to the new Colombia.

  2. I go with the "K" word. Kleptocracy. Or "NK': Narco-Kleptocracy.

    Of course Vzla has been a dictatorship of sorts for a long time. But a disguised dictatorship, tropical style. These days, you have disguised dictatorships as in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other European small countries, or in Africa and Asia. You have very few openly dictatorial regimes left, as in North Korea, Cuba, Rwanda..

    Now they disguise their despotism, tyranny, concentration of power in various ways.. they allow for some travel, some independent press, a bogus "congress", bogus elections.. they try to attend international 'democratic' meetings, etc. But if you google the word 'dictatorship' it's quite clear..

    Nowadays the preferred, trendy term is "authoritarian government".. That's how democratic yet twisted governments (USA, Spain, France, Uruguay, etc) manage to do business with horrible Tyrannies like Cuba or Cubazuela.

    But the most accurate word is:

    Venezuela is not a classic, full blown Dictatorship. It certainly ain't no Democracy, nor a "Socialist" Republic.. It's an arroz-con-mango, but above all an anti-constitutional, authoritarian, corrup narco-military regime. Corruption and Money rule. Masburro and Cabello and all the other Chavistoide Crooks are still in power because Millions are Stealing Millions of US$ and Euros every week. The filthy military, the putrid TSJ, the police, Sebin, Guardia Nazional, they all still support the failed regime because of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    A Kleptocracy, of the tropical type, more than just another disguised dictatorship. That's what it is.

  3. Anonymous5:20 PM

    I agree with Charly, the time for D word is gone already, it's time for F word - or mabye even SS (Syria, Somalia).

  4. I think it was a dictatorship since the time the regime broke the law and used public funds to run its election campaigns. From that point on it was just how much did they have to shiw of the dictatorship in order to accomplish what they wanted. Sure now in days they have to display a full blown dictatorship in order to accomplish their goals. I think they have lots of cards to play yet. They will lift price controls, start using more usa currency and begin to implement a level of military anti crime and provide basic medical. The end plan is provide a Cuban model of subsistance that people can live with after having lived such hell.

  5. Good post. Now you have to figure out if you leave the country, submit to a life as a slave, or fight. If you plan to fight don't tell anybody. And don't let them capture you alive. The Cubans have been teaching them how to torture real good.

  6. All elections lead to elected dictatorships. Elections are farces whose only purpose is to legitimize the govt. They help govts control us not the other way around. Ponder Comrade Stalin's words on elections in the USSR:

    "Here, in our country, on the contrary, elections are held in an entirely different atmosphere. Here there are no capitalists and no landlords and, consequently, no pressure is exerted by propertied classes on non-propertied classes. Here elections are held in an atmosphere of collaboration between the workers, the peasants and the intelligentsia, in an atmosphere of mutual confidence between them, in an atmosphere, I would say, of mutual friendship; because there are no capitalists in our country, no landlords, no exploitation and nobody, in fact, to bring pressure to bear on people in order to distort their will.

    "That is why our elections are the only really free and really democratic elections in the whole world.

    "Such free and really democratic elections could arise only on the basis of the triumph of the socialist system, only on the basis of the fact that in our country socialism is not merely being built, but has already become part of life, of the daily life of the people."

  7. Anonymous11:44 PM

    And your country is?

  8. Anonymous1:58 AM

    Well, I hope you continue with your blog and keep posting information as well as ongoing events in Venezuela. Quite interesting for an outsider looking in.


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