Don't be fooled: Henri Falcon is the No. 1 traitor to the cause of democracy in Venezuela. See this: https://t.co/j7PdJ063ij @miamiherald pic.twitter.com/vkoo6YbzNQ— Andres Oppenheimer (@oppenheimera) May 4, 2018
Andres Oppenheimer is a long established and respect journalist/Op-Ed writer at the Miami Herald. When he speaks about Latin America his batting average is, well, let's say 90%. I am not measuring details here, but the general flow of politics in Latin America. One of his rare misses is chavismo in its earlier days. He was not fooled but he was among those who expected that the usages of power and administration would tame Chavez enough to avoid an utter mess and eventually have him leave power by reasonable means. He has made more than amends since that, become one of the first true coherent critics of Chavez. But today, at least on Venezuela, he hit a home run. Do read that piece which is going to explain better what is going in Venezuela right now than, well, at least 90% of the other ones you may come across.
And I agree, so much that I have to upgrade Henri Falcon from manipulated (?) fool to traitor. The charade has lasted long enough. If Falcon had a real plan as he led us to believe, he should have dropped out of the election by May first, at the latest. To be still in the run, and for those who support him can only be called treason to Venezuela, allowing Maduro to hide his electoral fraud and making Venezuela endure who knows which other torments. Let me give you one single proof.
One of the sine qua non conditions to obtain electoral success in Venezuela is to have witnesses, many, at ALL voting tables. This is not enough to win the election, but if you do not man all of then adequately you will lose. Look at the elections for governor and mayor, even the opposition recognized that they did not have the people. And the pattern of votes did change between districts monitored and those not.
By May first the Falcon campaign team should have announced that they have already, say, 75% of voting centers covered. Not only such announcement has not been made convincingly but you know that it would be fake news. Without the participation of the opposition as a whole you cannot find enough people for that task. Furthermore, it is simply impossible that a magically united opposition could organize a vote monitoring system in the two weeks left. Period.
And speaking of torments awaiting us. Well, we do not have to wait for May 21, they started yesterday with what amounts to the nationalization of the largest bank in the country, and the taking over of another major bank today. Apparently a third bank is planned to be assaulted next Monday, giving its directors enough time to flee the country this week end, at least I hope for them.
Do note that I am not even bothering to name the banks, on purpose. The interesting point is WHY?
We all knew that the regime is broke, that the country is broke and that May 21 come the only place the regime can go to get some funds for yet a final wasteful "social" program is to take over the private banking sector (Chavez already took a few out a few years ago). This is of course a major mistake and will not help the regime get the reconnaissance it so cravenly needs, though I am sure it will find chanting thurifers on the left.
The clue comes in the way it was done.
The bank main office was taken by secret service masked guys, as if they were expecting to find who knows what in the vaults. There are probably not even banknotes there. When you take a white collar crime building you can do that without guns and with people in the open. Clearly the regime has decided that any form of repression needs to be hidden. I am wondering if this is a fascist or a communist method, or if chavismo is creating new ways to express the neo-totalitarian state.
For allegedly 90 days a woman with no experience in managing a bank, and even less the major bank of the country is put in charge. OK, they can put who they want, man, woman, Cuban. But her name is of middle eastern origin and one of the major mafias inside of the regime is of middle eastern origin, starting with the internationally declared drug trafficker, Tarek El-Aissami currently serving as vice president. But again, if he is at the source, why send masked assault guards? Are those HIS troops and he wants discretion?
But I digress. There are a lot of stories circulating and I recommend you not to take them seriously for the time being. These banks have done nothing illegal, or if they did it was with the full knowledge of the regime that allowed it so, if anything to launder their ill acquired riches.
The timing, before elections with all public employees forced to have their payroll accounts in state owned banks and thus knowing first hand how awfully managed are state banks, is not going to gain the regime many votes. The regime does not need to take the banks fund over, it can print money as it pleases, which incidentally is ruining the banking system and thus avoiding the need to nationalize them.
What gives? It is a mere gang war between regime factions, at least the "boliburgues" and military through corrupt contract against a more radical left that is left out of the bounty. Both of them, sensing that the end maybe near, are trying to save whatever money they can salvage from the wreck. That, or seizing the banks so they can bring their stolen money from overseas since apparently it is going to be rather difficult to hide the loot now.
In other words, chavistas betraying those who helped them get rich, be it Maduro or the banks.
Meanwhile we have bank directors that had likely nothing to do with the whole gang war sitting in jail in lieu of those who stole the money these directors were forced to manage.