Monday, July 23, 2018

What Josep Borrel really meant : a lost country

Spain had what is normal in a parliamentary system: there was a motion vote that ousted the sitting Mariano Rajoy which automatically replaced him with the "leader" of the opposition, Pedro Sanchez.  This one did not reach premiership after last elections since, well, he barely floated around a quater of the vote. But Spain is a country of instituions and Sanchez heads a ministry that is held in place in large part by the good will of very the leftist PODEMOS who is a big, bought, friend of chavismo.
The door opened again.
Borrel and Chavez son in law.

We need to understand this to interpret, in part only, the recent words of Josep Borrel, the new foreign office holder. He said during a meeting with Venezuela's foreign minister, the creep that got there because he married a Chavez daughter, that Spain will not spearhead sanctions against Venezuela anymore and that dialogue should be renewed [english].  Some in Venezuela interpret this as a success, some as a betrayal, both are wrong.

Let's start with the obvious: spearhead sanctions does not mean Spain will not vote for new sanctions, it only means that Spain will follow the lead on that from other European countries. If, say, France wants new sanctions, Spain will go along the decision of the EU council.  In practical term for the new social democrat (and provisional) government of Spain Venezuela's regime remains as abhorrent as it has always been, except that now with all the pressing problems faced by Sanchez this one does not want to confront PODEMOS on the Venezuelan issue. That will bring no credit or advantage to neither side, even though the internal collapse of the outgoing Partido Popular makes it difficult for them to benefit from further Venezuela posturing. The last one with a firm posture on Venezuela Ciudadanos of Pablo Rivera but to little good for the time being.

But another reason why Spain is softly backpedaling (along the EU?) is that they see no point in putting pressure on the regime right now. Why? Because the Venezuelan opposition has reached such levels of incompetence that they see no way to get rid of chavismo/madurismo. If there was such a way, to whom give the new government? And that is the real sad fact, a continuing situation, exposed by what happens in Nicaragua and the latest idiocies of the opposition.

Even though no one wants to call it by its name, Nicaragua is an open insurrection against a tyranny where people are fighting all over the country. Per capita in Nicaragua there are by now about 4 times more deaths than during the Venezuelan protests of last year. That is right, there were deaths in Venezuela but they mostly came from Caracas and a few here and there. In Nicaragua Managua puts only its share. In Venezuela large swath of the country, even if polls said people had enough of Maduro, remained basically quiet allowing the regime to focus its repression on Caracas, Valencia and Maracaibo. Paramilitary forces were enough for other areas.

The Venezuelan opposition is turning into a burlesque show.  Early in July AD announced that it was leaving the electoral umbrella opposition MUD. And last week, lo and behold, the "leadership" of the MUD was gathering again to try to revive its platform. Even renegade Henri Falcon, the sore loser of May fraudulent election, was invited. But many that count, those that have perhaps a small but real following like Andres Velazquez, Antonio Ledezma or Maria Corina Machado were not invited (not that they have much to show from their actions).

Aveledo, ex secretary of the MUD (and reappointed?) has a clear understanding view of the MUD problems: everyone wants to dress up with the tiger's skin even though that one is alive and well. As such even a revived MUD will fail as bad as the old one failed besides the success of December 2015 elections.  What was the worse in the failure of the MUD is difficult to say. Was that the internal rivalries of the would be presidents Capriles, Lopez, Ramos Allup, Rosales? Was it that a large chunck is more than willing to settle some agreement with the regime and damned be democracy, like Henri Falcon or even Rosales? Is it because the charisma of Machado and Ledezma from out side are making impossible to implement and potential "solution" advanced by the MUD? Is it possible that the bitterness of having been abandoned by the MUD in defending their electoral victories make people like  Velazquez or Guanipa unable to overcome their skepticism?

The fact of the matter is that the mess in the opposition leadership coupled to the lack of political protests are off-putting for the potential help from outside, which in the best of cases would be a helping hand, not a solution.  Let's look at the current and very numerous protests: they are all about wage increase, food items and the like. The MUD reports then but does not offer any constructive measure that could coalesce them into a renewed political movement. In fact, in a country that is nearly on the verge of complete stop due to hyperinflation the Frente Amplio, that still born MUD appendix, has no better idea but to begin to "debate" whether we should go to a general strike or some form of milder suspension of activities. Right, that is what needs to be debated today...

The fact of the matter is that the bulk of the 2017 opposition is tired. We put the hours and hours of marches and protests under sun and rain. We got gassed. We put the body count. While the bulk of the working classes, upset with Maduro and already getting used to the food system CLAP supported us, at best, from the lips out, when not complaining that protest should be better organized so that they could circulate better when they went to work since in all fairness most of them could not afford to lose a day of work. Now hyperinflation has made it useless to work while public transport is disappearing, yielding to platform trucks that carry open air folks like cattle. Sure they did not see it coming. They never saw anything coming, believing until the end that mere protests were enough to force Chavez or Maduro to fix things that they had no intention or ability to do. It has been 20 years and they still think that a wage increase, a few price control is all that it takes. Well, now, with ALL power in hand the regime does not care much for these protests and cynically only increases the wages of the military, its only real support.

The opposition of 2017 is forgetting about the MUD, and is starting to forget about Machado et al.  We are now thinking about ways to leave the country or ways to live off what our exiled relatives can spare for us through cash transfers.  In my case, writing this blog has become exhausting and depressing, not even good enough as an outlet. I spent my time getting after years of battle to put my S.O. on my French health insurance because I needed to overcome the fact that he was not French. But now he has just been accepted, without considering pre-conditions. Yes, the French health system is infinitely more humane and cheaper than the overblown over expensive and near inhumane US system.  But I digress.

Our debate now is how long we will be able to survive on my savings in Venezuela. When this is not possible or living in France is as costly as living in Venezuela then we would rather be in the poverty level in France than discarded middle class in Venezuela. The time would have come to leave, not by choice but by outright necessity.

So yes, Borrel is right, Venezuela is now a problem ONLY for its destabilizing emigration and its drug trafficking. Its people are now beyond help and redemption. Are they not?


  1. You have one small hope left: in January 2019 Maduro is supposed to take office based on an illegitimate election. So an alternate, a government in exile, can be formed if Ledezma, Ortega, and some other leaders can unite. Think about the ramifications.

  2. Why the totally unnecessary dig at the US? Every time you do that, and you never miss an opportunity, I sit back and think of how miserable your life is and hope you keep getting what you've been getting. For once life is fair.

    1. Of course! Sorry! I keep forgetting that Trump solved the health insurance problem of the US. Now it is truly a more perfect union!

      My deepest apologies, from now on I shall reserve my frequent barbs exclusively for Venezuela, the European Union, Cuba and the like communist countries.


    2. epic response, you tell him! Let me try again, my point is not Trump and by the way neither is gay marriage, gayness in general or racism in case you were wondering. My point is how unnecessary and hyperbolic your dig was. "Inhumane" means vicious, sadistic, are you out of your mind? I live in NJ, I know what I am talking about, I use the system my son even had a kidney transplant it is superb and guess what, we are noticeably Hispanic. And here you are all the way from freaking Venezuela tossing grotesque insults in a post that didn't even have anything to do with the US. Is it the resentment the French have of americans for the unforgivable sin of having saved your asses twice or maybe it is the lack of food and stress that are clouding your judgement, most likely both.

    3. Anonymous10:01 PM

      The US health system sucks to high heaven.

      Unless you participate in an employer sponsored plan.

      Folks like me, small businessmen, are forced to buy our health coverage on the open market at much higher premiums compared to similar populations in employer sponsored plans.

      High deductible plans, HMO only and now insurance companies are abandoning state markets leaving consumers with one choice only.

      So thanks, Trump, for blowing up our health system with no replacement.

      Roberto N

    4. Ali

      1) this blog is written by a gay franco venezuelan. If you are a trumpian you will be sorry on occasion. Deal with it.

      2) the US may have saved France twice (1918 is debatable). But Yorktown would not have been won unless the French fleet were blockading the English one (and let me not bring in gun smuggling, La Fayette and what not). So we may not be even but we are not that far apart in debt. I know my history.

      3) I stand by inhumane because for any latino like you that was treated well (very likely courtesy of Obama care) there are other latinos that can eat shit and die (and negroes, and gooks, and whatever). The fact of the matter is that US health system is a) the most expensive in the world b)leaves outside way more people than most European systems and c) does not show better results overall than what Europe offers. I pay 1600 euros a year to get insured from France just by the fact that I am a French citizen. No precondition considered. Even if I were a US citizen, any health coverage with international reach would set me back at least twice that amount with NO additional benefit than what I get from France. And forget about any pre-existing. 3,000 is a LOT of money and from my work in Venezuela under this crisis I have seen many French that had to drop their insurance in France because they could not pay anymore the 1600 (even some retirees that could not afford the 1000 deductible).

      So yes, the US health system has a inhumane component. And Trump made it worse. Lucky you that went through with great success (and I am not even discussing the cost of medicine... and how I cannot get, even paying, stuff for my sick S.O. under the lame excuse, I am not making this up, "move to the US").

      But that is almost besides the point. If you feel offended by my criticism of the US health system you may want top peruse my blog and find about all the great stuff I wrote about the US, JUST AS I DO when I write about Venezuela (or more rarely about France).

    5. Anonymous2:01 PM

      So you are going to sponge off the French for a change, and are angry the US did not let you foist your health costs onto its citizens? Why so angry, you are only getting the govt. you chose (and deserve) after all.

      Maybe you should look into grass recipes, the N Koreans were able to get by on that.

    6. anonymous 8:01

      Since you are anonymous, unable to even make up a name, you deserve even more contempt from my part than the US health system.
      Foist you!

    7. Anonymous5:52 PM

      You hate the US, except when you want to take advantage of free benefits, we get it, your posts have long shown that. But this particular post is clearly sour grapes, you are bitter because you could not get that American health care you so thoroughly despise.

      Us US citizens enjoy the finest health care in the world, whether you care for the rules of it or not. That comes with a price but the fact is people come to the US from all over the world for treatment. The socialists are doing their best to diminish it. Hope that helps.

    8. Daniel, I don't know why you try to explain yourself to people who are ignorant. You never put down the USA, just stated a fact in regards to your experience of the health care system. These responders just spend half their lives looking to put down anyone and everyone they can. They could care less your try heart in the matter of the USA they only look to spout their vial hate. Hence their love for Trump who is the closest thing to all the evil dictators the USA has yet to see. What has he done beside drive hate amongst classes and races of people and side with the Communists of the world while fighting with Europe and Canada. Same ignorance that got Chavez to power has been milked by Trump and it is hilarious to see his supporters say you got what you deserve. Especially when you never once supported Chavez, were active against him and they have the same blind support for a man of equal character to Chavez/Maduro.

    9. Ash

      Of course I know that my words are wasted on that anonymous. People like him suffer from a different brain neuronal system different than yours or mine, be they chavistas, or trumpians or lepenistas or fidelistas, etc.

      But some things cannot let be left unchallenged, like me hating the US. It is for the benefit of other readers, giving them arguments to comfort their positions and emotions when attacked like bullies. And also to show them that these anonymous eventually expose their true self like in his latest tirade (mercifully short) where besides spilling hate he just uses cliches and does not reply specifically to a single point I made.

  3. Oh Daniel, miserable foolish endless govt bs....and as you write, opposition bs as will end of course, but when, and involve what. Congrats on adding S.O. to French medical, thank goodness...a huge if you could only get the appropriate meds...which of course you, assumedly, could in France if you moved.
    Re. Ali and his comment, sorry...his attitude is just not needed right now...and of course, you're right about U.S. med insurance deficiencies.....terrible, ineffectual hugely expensive confused disorganized system that is brutal on large numbers of Americans...….
    Good luck with all your decisions...and thank you for your window into Venezuela

  4. ūü§®The problem isnt a health care problem...Its ability to pay problem ....and its always this group of people that are confused about not forget what America is...its a business...your expected to pay.....end the confusion...its not a Obama..Trump thing...not a gay thing......your ability to pay has direct access to the Best health care it inhumane that it has Value?

  5. I personally don't use the US health care that much but my understanding is that it is the best healthcare system money can buy. Now if you don't have money, the hospitals are still forced to treat you. That's why it's so expensive. They have to recoup costs of treating the indigent. And yes, I don't favor paying for the health of foreigners but it happens if they are in America driving costs even higher.

    1. Anonymous5:55 PM

      Not so fast.

      The US does NOT have the best system money can buy.

      And laying the price increases solely on indigents who cannot pay is naive, at best.

      The US healthcare system was broken when they tried Obamacare, and now completely fucked thank to Trump, who is blowing up Obamacare without a credible replacement in the wings.

      Hopefully you never need to use the US healthcare system, with or without insurance. Because you are going to pay through the nose and still feel sick.

    2. Interesting... Which is the country that has the best system money can buy?

  6. Venezuela's masses living in the barrios remind me of the man at the Gate of the Law in Kafka's The Trial. He dares not challenge the authority of that one single guard at the gate, he dares not enter though no other guards are visible inside. He decides to sit down and wait, until he dies of old age. The man is complicit not a victim.

  7. I think nacanacazo is correct, at least let's consider how a 'for profit' hospital is going to handle a non paying non insured sick person who turns up in its emergency dept...….good luck with that system.
    As to which country has the best system....don't know that Canada has a much fairer system, every cdn resident, virtually, is covered, and, very neat indeed, everyone pays health insurance because everything we buy is taxed and part of that goes to health insurance,,,,i just love the thought that the 18 year old buying his rolling papers ( legal next month I read ), muscle car, or multiple drinks with his friends, is paying into his/our/my health insurance with every purchase..

    we have problems with dental, drug prices etc, we're far from perfect, but the concept is that basic health care is a right, and that concept is accepted, cherished by a huge majority of Canadians and thus by all political parties with virtually zero opposition.....the question we discuss very seriously, are how to expand the health system....into covering some dental for example....if, when, at what cost, with what advantages, initially to which sectors/ages and so forth.

    The U.S. uses about 19 % of its GDP for health care, doesn't cover everyone and covers a large number of people really poorly....the Canadian system uses under 12% of our GDP and covers everyone, and usually well. For the U.S to use over 50% more of its GDP, and by far the highest in the western world, is testimony to the sad state of its health care 'industry'.

  8. Now we read that there's no water much of the time in Caracas.....just keeps getting worse.....I hope you and your s.o. are now in France....

  9. oops, just noticed your tweet side bar, guess you're still there.....hold tight, good luck...….

  10. danny boy....after all these years are you still spouting Frenchie piss and vinegar about the USA? whatza matter baby didnt Obozo appreciate you? I dont know what your healing issue is but its NOT our problem so dont come here. MAGA

    1. Nice to see that I have had such an effect on you. But worry not, I am not going to emigrate to the US. I can do better.


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