Sunday, February 25, 2018

Petrifying the turmoil

Two weeks without a post. Things have been difficult here. Never mind that by the time you feel like writing on something there is right there a new sound blast from the least expected corner.

So, a brief pick of the telling headlines will have to do. And not necessarily in chronological order as my tired mind has trouble keeping track of all that happens.

The "talk" has been elections, of course. But in the street the talk is where can I find food, will I be able to pay for it. There is no more talk on medicine: you cannot find it and you cannot pay for it anyway. But of that Maduro has no care. In an interview granted to what he thought was a friendly journo he revealed himself ignorant of the basic stuff that happens to people. Either that or that he has become an Olympic class liar.  Remember when Bush senior was marveled by code bars?

The point is that the regime is in election overdrive. The reason remains the same: they need to strengthen their hold on office because if they lose power they will end up in jail. The objective thus becomes to put fraudulent elections behind them and then force the world to recognize the power at Miraflores Palace. Never does it cross their mind that this time around the world may not follow the "tradition" of dealing with dictatorships in default mode because what the regimes want to pass as a normal dictatorship is in fact a narco-state. And that cannot be accepted. Period.

The pressing factor here is twice: the opposition leadership has collapsed and the economy has collapsed. But likely through hyperinflation some form of revolting leadership will arise and then even with massive electoral cheating it may not be possible to "win" elections. Time is the essence and thus the folly of advancing a presidential election to April 22 when the swearing in cannot take place before January 2019 anyway.

That treacherous set up is so far not recognized by the world that matters. The only defenders are Russia for selfish hegemony reasons and China because they only care about getting their money back and by now they are certain that they will lose less with Maduro since this one has no trouble starving his people to pay China's debt. Even at the OAS trouble brews: at the last session only four country voted infamously for Maduro: Bolivia, Suriname, Dominica and Saint Vincent. Two bought shitty islands and two narco countries. You do the math.

That lack of allies is a problem for the reelection as there is need for money to shower around.  Russia and China seem to be less prodigal with funds than what the regime expected.  Even Putin knows that throwing good money after bad is not good policy (ref: USSR). So the regime invented the PETRO, a cryptic currency ersatz that is neither a currency neither cryptic, in the good way.  It was launched this week to big fanfare and Maduro claimed that on its first day it raised over 700 millions. Next day experts doubted it reached 180 millions. How could it be otherwise? Petro is based on un-pumped oil in a country that cannot pay its debt with the little of oil it still manages to pump. And besides, it is not freely managed but controlled from the regime who decides what its real price is. In short: people got the point quickly that the Petro was a scam, at best a way to launder money to avoid US and EU fiscal sanctions. Thus the bust, by any other name.

But while Maduro minions were concocting their schemes they run afoul Diosdado Cabello. See, the guy controls the official party PSUV and the largest group within the Constituent Assembly (he seems to have missed full control but no one does better than he does there).  If he certainly understands that a chavista must be sat for the next 6 years at Miraflores he does not have to like it. He also understands full well that 6 years of Maduro are 6 years where this one will try to get rid of Diosdado, going as far as surrendering him the International Law as a small price to have his regime recognized again.

So Diosdado pulled a fast one by announcing that he was going to ask the Constituent Assembly to call for a simultaneous election of a new National Assembly which has still three years of mandate ahead.

There is no need to add to the twitter thread I posted on Monday. It all still stands.  In short what Diosdado tries to do is to use the April 22 election to force the regime to elect a new national assembly that he will be able to control as a counter weight to Maduro. He can do that because there is no time to run a proper elections and thus as PSUV chair he will be the one appointing the candidates he likes. Electoral cheating in assistance even if the opposition were to win a handful of seats he will be assured to hold a majority by himself with his PSUV. That Maduro is trying clumsily to create his OWN party outside of the PSUV, Somos Venezuela, was certainly an incentive for Diosdado to act as he did.

It took two days for Maduro to reply. But reply he did and demanded that all legislative bodies be included in that election, that is to add municipal councils and state assemblies.  Sure enough a couple of days later it was announced that such an election could not be organized by April 22 and thus only the presidential poll will be held on April 22. We are waiting with bated breath the next move of Diosdado.

So there is the current turmoil inside chavismo, the same Maduro versus Cabello standout. I do not see where they will find enough Petro to freeze all of this.

Meanwhile the opposition keeps faithfully to its ineffectual self, calling for a boycott of the vote (mercifully!) but unable to state it with conviction and even less to offer an alternative strategy that would make that boycott meaningful.

So there you have it. 

For real news visit my Instagram where I have been documenting the hyperinflation effect on the everyday of people. Button on the right side of this window.


The Prime Minister of Dominica @skerritR is the one you can reach. Write him a tweet or retweet my thread to him today.  Do not waste time on Evo or the commie from Saint Vincent. The drug lord of Suriname probably cannot read English. The three are beyond the pale but I have the feeling that Skerrit is redeemable.


  1. I can add that oil production keeps dropping, traffic is lighter, there are long power cuts, and as far as I can tell Julio Borges left the country.

  2. just set a goal to write something, anything once a week... say sunday. That will make people look for it at that point in the week.

  3. Thornhill3:09 AM

    "some form of revolting leadership will arise", I admit some may find the opposition revolting but I don't think that is what you really meant how about "some form of opposition leadership will emerge".

    "Next day experts doubted it reached 180 millions" who are these "experts"? I would like to know because the way the Petro is set up it is impossible to know.

    "shitty islands"? How dare you call any country in the world shitty. You'll never be in CNN now.

    1. I called some Caribbean island nations shitty islands way before Trump.

      "revolting leadership" leadership that will lead the revolt against the dictatorship.

      Petro: don't sue me, it is all over the news. Not the state news for sure.

    2. Clearly the petro is a con, as after the claim they still didn't know what platform it was in. However, the Regime will force all companies to take payment in it with the regimes established value allowing the regime to continue to bribe the military with Petro's since they have no more dollars.

  4. Boludo Tejano12:06 AM

    Time is the essence and thus the folly of advancing a presidential election to April 22 when the swearing in cannot take place before January 2019 anyway.

    An eight month plus gap between election and inauguration? Any Constitution that would permit that is VERY POORLY DESIGNED. So much for the "perfect Constitution," as El Finado once described it. There will be 8 months to protest the electoral fraud. That will most likely boomerang on Maduro and company.

    I wonder if there will be some action at the electoral mesas on April 22: sit-ins come to mind. Such as have 100 sit-ins arrive every 15 minutes at as many mesas as possible. They could arrest 5 thousand involved in a sit-in at the mesas, but wouldn't have the space in jail for a million. Or have voters come in one at a time but refuse to leave the mesa.(Daniel, if you feel the need to delete this paragraph, I understand.)

    Here is an interesting comparison with Chavezuela.In the midst of the collapse of Argentina's hyperinflated economy in 1989, Raúl Alfonsín left office five months before his successor was due to be inaugurated. Ironically, Venezuela also has a hyperinflated economy in collapse but MUCH MORE SO than Argentina in 1989. In 1989, Argentina's GDP per capita income fell 8.4% in 1989. from the previous year. Interestingly enough, Venezuela's GDP per capita fell 10.1% in 1989.

    The IMF has Venezuela's per capita income falling 37.2% from 2013-2018, and 41.7% from 2013-2018. But Maduro intends to hang on for another five years, and probably wants to hang on for a lifetime. Raúl Alfonsín was no Maduro, or vice versa.

  5. Boludo Tejano5:05 AM

    Even at the OAS trouble brews: at the last session only four country voted infamously for Maduro: Bolivia, Suriname, Dominica and Saint Vincent. Two bought shitty islands and two narco countries.
    Nicaragua and Ecuador, once best buds with Chavezuela, both abstained. It appears that there were different reasons for abstaining: political principles for Ecuador, and $$$ for Nicaragua.
    While Lenin Moreno was Correa's handpicked choice to succeed him, Moreno has shown some independence from Correa- such as supporting the referendum vote that limited Presidents to just one re-election. In that context, Ecuador's abstention is not that much of a surprise. Lenin Moreno stood against despotism in Ecuador, so it wouldn't be a surprise he wouldn't support despotism in Chavezuela. Granted, Moreno's stand against letting Correa be re-elected President for Life may be influenced by Moreno's preferring to put a potential rival permanently on the sideline, but it still took guts to come out against what his mentor wanted.

    What do we make of Danny Boy's abstention for Nicaragua? Daniel Ortega, like El Finado, Evo, Correa, and Maduro, is in favor of President-for-Life, as long as HE is the President. Ortega doesn't have the anti-authoritarian credentials of Lenin Moreno. Danny Boy does despotism rather well, but rather smoother than Maduro. It comes down to the Bejmamins.

    Nicaragua's Central Bank provides a listing of PDVSA "loans" to to Nicaragua.Banco Central de Nicaragua: Informe de Cooperación Oficial Externa_ I Semestre 2017 _Octubre 2017. (page 11)

    "Venezuelan cooperation in the ALBA framework."(millions of dollars)
    2008 457
    2009 490.6
    2010 532.8
    2011 577.2
    2012 729.3
    2013 654.3
    2014 686
    2015 368.1
    2016 248.6
    2017 I sem 63.5

    That is a total of $4.8 billion of "cooperation" for Nicaragua. From a peak of $729 million in "cooperation" in 2012, Chavezuelan aid to Nicaragua fell by two-thirds to $248.6 million in 2016. Judging from the $63.5 million for the first half of 2017, it would appear that from 2012 to 2017, Venezuelan "cooperation" to Nicaragua fell by 5/6 to about $120 million, or around 83%.

    Of the 4.8 billion:
    $3.709 billion PDVSA
    $984.3 million "Direct Foreign Investment" (refinery and electricity generation+ "other)
    $34 million BANDES
    $79.4 million Donations: none after 2009
    Total $4.807 Billion of "cooperation"

    PDVSA is listed as a loan and also as "Excluding Foreign Investment" - whatever that means.

    The Nicaraguan economy has been doing well, though from a much lower base than Venezuela's. Per capita GDP in constant dollars increased 33% from 2006-2016, to $5136 (2011 dollars). From 2006 to 2016, exports increased from $1.9 billion to $4.8 billion- big increase in textile exports to the US.

    Danny Boy isn't getting that much from Chavezuela these days, and with the good performance of the Nicaraguan economy, the reduced dosh from Chavezuela doesn't hurt Nicaragua all that much. Thus the abstention.

  6. Boludo Tejano5:10 AM

    Here is Danny Boy's message to Maduro: No Money, No Love. Courtesy of Mighty Sparrow.

  7. To be way more precise, Klepto-Cubazuela is not just a "narco-state", it's a Genocidal Narco-Tyranny, or in short, Criminal Kleptocracy.


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