Friday, July 28, 2017

Communication disaster

I have been victim of two power outages that lasted for a total of 14 hours over the two days of strike. As such not only internet was out, but it never came back. The one from my smartphone is weak and barely allows me to read twitter, if it is in a good mood. So I cannot use it as an internet source for my laptop and thus cannot post or do more than very basic e-mail.  I am briefly at the office getting ready to leave before noon if I want to have a chance to get back home for the terrible coming weekend.

I will try to cover what I can in the next crucial days from twitter and instagram and try to post whatever I can post.  But to keep you abreast of the situation, here in brief:

  • general strike has worked in opposition areas. It did not work so well in regime areas becasue, at least in Caracas, colectivos acted to force stores to remain open. But they could not hide that most bus transport system was out. Thus the strike was a regime defeat.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

To sanction, or not

So the talk is on sanctions again since the US/Trump have announced that they are considering strong sanctions if Maduro insists on electing a constitutional assembly next Sunday.

What I am dismayed for is to read that some people that should know better do not want sanctions. One example is Moises Naím who is usually so right on things but who is not quite this time around (1). The argument advanced by those who oppose sanctions are that 1) they do not work 2) they hurt the population more than the regime and 3) they can boost the regime if this one can wrap itself in the flag of nationalism.

Yes and no, and the more so in the case of Venezuela.  Let's try to clarify ideas as I did for the electoral fraud of next Sunday.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The constituent assembly electoral fraud

After finishing a series of posts to explain how we have reached the current situation I thought that it may be good to have targeted entries as we get ready for July 30.  Let's start with the constitutional assembly to be elected on July 30th, if the regime has its way.

Regardless of the legality and scope of that assembly the very electoral system to be used makes it totally unacceptable and forces the opposition to a confrontation. Here is an incomplete laundry list of all that is wrong with the constitutional assembly voting system:

A: the electoral body

*Not all votes are equal. If you vote in Baruta district (235.000 electors) you need at least thirteen of you to compensate for a single vote from, say, Buroz district (17.000 electors).   That is right, one vote of a Buroz denizen is equal to 13 votes of a Baruta denizen and they are both in the SAME state. No need even for an inter state comparison. Why? Because the election to the assembly is one representative per district, regardless of population.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Paro civico 2017

I have not gone into the details of what the opposition plans to do. Then again it is not quite clear, the people are upset anyway and act like crazies and thus the MUD leadership sorts of goes with the wind instead of leading it as it should. Then gain, can anyone lead the country today? Certainly not chavismo for that matter. But I digress from today's sole objective, to let you know how was this beautiful day.

Stopping a country...........

Monday, July 17, 2017

La hora cero: measuring Sunday 16 vote

A little while ago the president of the National Assembly announced the Zero Hour. That means, the hour at which the opposition will start its march for the final overthrow of the regime.

The opposition really has no choice but to confront once and for all the regime.

The denial of chavismo today is spectacular. Then again what else could you expect from people that face jail terms any time soon, people that have stolen much, much more than Lula or Humala who are now ex presidents getting acquainted with jail cells even though they have stolen a fraction of what any asshole minister under chavismo has stolen.  The latest example, last week, is the Swiss tax folks blocking 42 million dollars from the account of Haiman El Troudi mother in law.  Apparently the wife accounts may be next.

Then again you must understand that yesterday event was no mere peanuts. It was, arguably, one of the biggest acts of civil disobedience in history. To find bigger you need to look at Gandhi in India, for example. In the Americas it is possible that the 7 million votes of yesterday are the biggest civilian act ever. The magnitude of the result, the visual images of huge lines in Barcelona, Madrid, Miami, Bogota etc have convinced the world that yesterday was indeed A VOTE, not a consultation anymore. Period.

So we will see what the opposition announces in the coming hours. Get ready, the ride is about to get rougher as the regime is pushed to either compromise or repress as never before, meaning not 100 deaths, but thousands. There is no other way for the regime that yesterday lost any legitimacy it may still had.

And note that the crisis would have been solved easily long ago had the regime wanted to solve it. A mere vote for governors in December 2016 could have done the trick and allow Maduro to serve his full term. Had even 100% of governors been elected for the opposition.

With 95% counted it is 7.186.170 against the regime

Last night I was writing that with a 5 million votes the opposition in Venezuela would have scored a magnificent success.  It will be more than 7 which is an absolute trashing of the regime.

The success was seen early, watching the regime figures who went as far as using old pictures of their marches, one with someone dead since 2014, pretending that their own "test" was the best test ever done on earth, that they have a video of someone voting 17 times (how can such video be made befuddles me) and more that surely I missed.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

From official terror to article 350 - 7) civil disobedience, this Sunday big time

So this is the situation. You have on one side the bad guys, who hold all fire power and are increasingly more willing to use it; the bad guys that have turned into shreds the constitution and are now about to rewrite a constitution that fits better their thug regime; and not only that but they are calling for a constituent assembly (CA) through a rigged electoral system, without any limit on what that assembly could do; and if that is not enough, if partisan voters of the regime can vote  twice is not enough, the regime is now on record of threatening those who do plan to abstain. And more.

So, what are to do the good guys, those who merely want the rule of law and free and fair elections?

Well, after months of protest, month of increasing international support, there are left with two constitutional articles; the 333 and 350.  Their translation below.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

From official terror to article 350 - 6) Luisa and Leopoldo are nothing

On rare occasions in spite of all my daily turmoils I do sense a certain elation. As an history buff I am keenly aware that I am in the middle of History, with a capital H.  Be it when I listen to grenade explosions in Caracas from my patio, or whether I am gassed directly, be it Leopoldo being "freed" or whether Diosdado (and others) announcing that they are about to take arms to defend the revolution, there is no need to have extrasensorial powers to gather that something big is taking place.

How have we reached such a point?

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Leopoldo and Occam

The stunning news this morning is that we woke up learning that in the middle of the night Leopoldo Lopez had been freed from his military prison jail cell at Ramo Verde.  Well, not quite free, as for "medical reasons" that are yet totally unexplained a rather buff Lopez has to remain at his home in Caracas. With the implied threat that if he does not behave well he will get back to the slammer.  But that is more braggadocio of an agonizing regime than any show of strength.
He is baaaack.........
with grey hair........

We also got a deluge of conspiracy theories. So many that I refused to keep reading my Tweets during my normal travails of Saturday.  The one that made me stop early was that the high court, TSJ, was doing that to screw the nations general attorney, Luisa Ortega, by blaming her with bad admisnitrative moves during Lopez trial.

As if the regime needed any excuse to send to jail Luisa Ortega when it choses so....

Thursday, July 06, 2017

France mourns one of her greatest

Sometimes we are not aware that we live in the times of heroes. And they die and we remember.

When she faced a 95% male audience
to regulate abortion in France
Simone Veil was probably the lone France hero alive.  She died last week and the outpouring came from all fronts, except as expected from the far right Front National who could not forgive her among other things that Simone Veil was one of the 2.500 survivors of the 75.000 French Jews sent to Nazi concentration camps. Or rather, that she answered only too well to what Le Pen and daughter are all about.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

From official terror to article 350 - 5) taking off Ortega before 350

Writing this series of articles with long delays in between actually helped me a lot, proving that procrastination pays: the events of today establish beyond doubt that civil rebellion is the lone thing left for the Venezuelan population at large. I say "at large" in all confidence as there is no serious pollsters, even among those who predicted Chavez victories years ago, that gives the regime and Maduro much more that 20%.  And this assuming that they can correct for the fear factor in their polling. The evidence is clear: even in a bad day the opposition drags quickly to the streets, in almost any Venezuelan city, more people to protest than the regime as a whole can do just in Caracas for support, after days of preparation.

July 4 meet July 5

I was reading the US Declaration of Independence again, this most formidable piece of literature, to begin with. Without changing a word this section can apply EXACTLY as is as to the opposition revolt against a colonial regime directed from Cuba. I shuddered!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. 

We should use it tomorrow for the much needed second independence of Venezuela.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

From official terror to article 350 - 4) that hamletian moment

The opposition MUD is subjected to tremendous challenges, all coming from the fact that they need to face off a criminal narco-state without any help from the outside police.

Why the world is not acting on Venezuela knowing very well that it risks receiving a refugee wave of millions is the subject of another text. Never mind that if the regime manages to hold power at the cost of a dictatorial communist "constitution" and thousands of deaths this will set a bad precedent for regimes dreaming of such a perpetuation outcome, like Bolivia, the FARC in Colombia, Nicaragua, to name a few of the rogue systems in Latin America.  The fact of the matter is that the latest failure of the OAS to even come up with a mild declaration is the confession of a world that has lost the notions of good and evil, navel gazing, worried about how to sustain a welfare state that will reward them politically. Times have changed.