Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Welcome 2020

Dear readers, it has been two years in a row that the best wishes I received were the prelude of horrendous years of grief.  I am thus quite weary to partake in the ritual wishes.

But one needs to pick up the pieces, dust off, stand up and walk.

So there you go, have the best possible 2020.

2019 in review part 5: did international sanctions work?

More and more people are questioning the results of over a year of sanctions against the Maduro regime. Are they right?

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 in review part 4: a suicidal opposition?

The opposition to the regime started on solid footing in January when Guaido was elected chair of the National Assembly as this one declared null the "election" of Maduro a few months before.  Unfortunately the high hopes of early 2019 have been dashed and many are trying to put all the blame on Guaido. This is unfair for many reasons.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

2019 in review part 3: the dollar bubble

The economy of Venezuela keeps tanking. And yet some papers are talking "improvement". This is bullshit and only reflects on the superficiality of Venezuelan coverage, still, after all of these years.  Then again if you limit yourself to Caracas you could be fooled, the more so that traveling inside the country is becoming more and more difficult.

Why? Two reasons. Caracas is the showcase of the regime, and this one has relented and allowed public use of the US dollar (other currencies come to nought in spite of the regime attempts at favoring Euros).

Thursday, December 26, 2019

2019 in review part 2: digging its heels

January was loaded with expectations: the fraudulent "reelection" of Maduro months earlier was not recognized by over 50 democratic countries.  Maduro was left to rely on Russia, China and a few low weight accomplices.  The National Assembly elected a new chair, Juan Guaido, young and promising who became an instant hit. Avenues filled again with people protesting against the regime while this one seemed unable to put up any significant show of popular support.

A year has passed and not only Maduro is still in office but there are rumors that among the 50+ countries opposing him some would be willing to sit down and make some deal.

What happened?

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas 2019

I am not sure how many of you are left still reading this blog, but whomever you are, have the best possible Christmas.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Monday, November 18, 2019

Latin America is lost, the left rejoices waiting for the US to fall

There is a surge of populism world wide. My theory is that social media and its fake news have largely contributed to it.  But also, with religion gone and materialism partially satisfied we probably have the phenomenon of lost people who want to believe in something, anything that they think will give direction to their lives.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Latin America wakes me up

I am still here even though three months, almost, have passed since my last post (more on that later).

I could not let pass the present troubles in Latin America without a comment. I read so many idiocies on Tweeter that I needed to vent off by reminding people that what has been going on is not such a surprise. The surprise is that it comes all at once.  So here, from North to South.


The administration of Lopez Obrador has shown its true color when not only it was woefully unprepared to counter the very powerful drug cartels, but preferred to release the captured son of El Chapo rather than send in the army.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Barbados Pass/Fail

It has been two months since I last wrote. My health concerns were certainly a distraction, but discussing the miasma of Venezuelan politics was certainly not encouraging.

However we reached this week a seminal point of sorts: it is the regime this time that walked away from the negotiation table. Who gains? Who lost?

Friday, June 07, 2019

The Pompeo storm

Today we had yet another example on how the failures of the opposition outmatch its successes.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo had a private conversation on Venezuela that was leaked (I personally wonder whether he wanted that to be leaked). In that conversation he said two important things: that the Venezuelan opposition was very hard to organize into some form or real unity and that it was because there were at least 40 folks that wanted the US to annoint them as the next president of Venezuela. (1)

“Our conundrum, which is to keep the opposition united, has proven devilishly difficult”

“The moment Maduro leaves, everybody’s going to raise their hands and [say], ‘Take me, I’m the next president of Venezuela.’ It would be forty-plus people who believe they’re the rightful heir to Maduro.”

Tuesday, June 04, 2019


Following Venezuela from afar is a painful exercise. All that I see are missed opportunities and grand thuggery in action. Not surprising of course when you know the actors. What is most offensive though is the reaction of these actors; as if they expected the outcome to be different than what was predictable.

I am speaking for all, not only the opposition post April 30 debacle, but also the regime failure to come up with a solution to its power holding problems, only insuring that everything will happen again. And let's not forget the international community either desperately clueless or desperately weak (or both).

Wednesday, May 08, 2019


I have been absent for over a month. I did not write even though all hell broke lose in Caracas, and the ridicule of many an item should have been inspiring.

But something happened.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Lost from afar

I feel obliged to blurt something since it is going to be soon a month without an entry.  But then again, contrary to Punditlandia principles where the less you know about a topic the most you believe to be entitled to speak or write about it, it does not feel right to me to write about the suffering of Venezuela this past months, when I am here with all life's comfort.

It has been particularly offensive to read some Liberals, from the Obama administration, preaching absolute non involvement with Venezuela to patronizing congratulations about the recent declaration that the Red  Cross supplies will enter, with the suggestion that the opposition bears some of the responsibility as to why humanitarian help did come sooner to Venezuela.  That type of self sufficiency is unbearable and I find Ilham Omar in a way less offensive, at least she does not patronize.   But it confirms one thing, the Obama administration Southern policy has been a complete fiasco and we see new evidence on the why everyday.

If I digress on that it is because the hand wriggling I read from many parts is obscene. Only now they are  realizing that Maduro is a serious problem? And yet they have been unable to man up to the situation and do something about it.  Europe as a whole is way behind the US. If France spearheads the critics, the recent visit of Prince Charles to Cuba is total disgrace. I think Brexit has fried the UK government brains. They keep condemning Maduro but they send the heir to the pupeteer. 

The point here is that Venezuela is left to cruise fast to disaster. What happened in March is unspeakable.  Besides the obvious strain on the population there is also terminal damage to the economy. 

I lost my mother in law two days ago. She is not a "direct" victim of the blackouts but they certainly sped up her condition, delaying many treatments and lab checks. Not being there does no allow me to decide between  direct and "direct".  Amen of my personal distress at losing the woman with whom I had to share the burden that were the 5 years of Ivan's via crucis, and not  being there to thank her again and say farewell.

But there were material losses. My freezers barely made it through the first 79 hour blackout. Not too much loss there but a total loss in my refrigerator.  When there is no light there is no water and a lot of my gardening went dry.  My family had its own losses and misery, in particular a brother stuck on an eighth floor with 2 kids, wife, and two visiting in laws.  And yet we were not the worse off.

The worse off where people without food, unable to pay for it if they could find some it since there is no cash and no card points.  People who saw their neighbouring food stores being pillaged by chavista hords, directed by the way. People in hospitals, where again the regime locked public entrance least some one would report casualties. People without water for days as we wait for some epidemic to rear its head.  People without security as the lack of light made lock up themselves in the hope that colectivos, paramilitary and mere  criminals would catch them absolutely defenseless.

It has been awful,  being thrown back into the XIXth century suddenly, without even a phone to call for help or inform relatives that, well, you were still alive.

But even more awful is that blackouts are now long and recurrent. And even worse that the regime makes a mockery of it, inventing the stupidest excuses possible, sending people saying that we recovered the ability to talk to each other, village activities of yore, while on state TV, if you could see it, joy, happiness, dancing, patriotic victory screams were the news.

More than ever the regime has shown its two worse defaults, amen of the down right criminal.  First, it's absolute incompetence. With 3 million out of the country, with 30% production from what was produced a few years ago, it is unable to keep electricity as consumption dropped considerably.

And second, that it does not care a shit, that it is genocidal.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Guaidó 1; regime 0; foreign press out.

And thus Juan Guaidó returned to Venezuela. Through the normal entry point in Maiquetia airport.  He went in a triumphant caravan all the way to Caracas to attend a rally. That caravan and rally were immense. And more succesful than whatever show the regime had attempted to put up previous days to make us believe that carnival holiday was joyful, reflecting a happy and content nation.

In short it was a major defeat for chavismo that had to bow to international pressure, and to a popular will favoring Guaido for which denial is now useless.  True, several ambassadors were waiting for Guaidó in Maiquetia to shepherd him to Caracas. But had the regime wanted to arrest Guaidó it would have done so at customs, away from public glare, packing Guaidó in a helicopter to wherever.

The fact of the matter is that the regime caved in, at least for now.  Contrary to what  many said, that the February 23 battle of Cucuta showed the resilience of Maduro, that battle was lost by the regime. Guaidó is the one imposing the agenda. His scene on the highway to Caracas when his caravan stopped in front of public housing to let Guaidó climbing on a car and wave the flag in front of a delirious crowd had a taste of the nails being planted on the regime's coffin.

One of the amazing things for me following this from afar was how the press began slowly to bury Guaidó because he was unable to force the entry of the humanitarian aid.  Was he? Nobody serious in Venezuela expected the aid to enter.  We all knew that it was a show of strength, that the objective was elsewhere. How could so many papers, from the NYT down be so gullible as to write up for some that Maduro was resilient, that the opposition was on its way to yet another big disappointment and what nonsense.

True, that battle to unseat the regime is far from won, but I am almost willing to find it somewhat suspicious for some US papers to be hinting to a premature Guaidó burial least Trump would be seen as scoring a point. I see this ship sailed.

Now you can read many of them on Twitter tonight talking of a "pendulum" or some other flimsy explanation.  Can't wait for the brainy exculpatory articles tomorrow.
Since January 5 the opposition has had a strategy that it has remarkably followed.  Guaidó was the one who decided to bite the bullet and take all risks.

For whatever reason they all went along. For whatever reason it has worked out so far.  He is collecting all the glory, but he is maybe a minute away from a bullet.  All par for the course.

The ill perceived failure of February 23 was not so. Guaidó was doing EXACTLY what he was supposed to do, rounding up support for the next  move, taking advantage of the true vileness the regime was willing to display at Cucuta.  Contrary to what many thought, expected, hoped for, Guaidó was not looking for a cozy exile spot, he was preparing his next moves, the one today being only the first one.

Monday, February 25, 2019

After Cúcuta: what type of intervention?

The tumultuous events of February 23 at the Colombian borders leave a few things clear for the world.

1) the regime is not that strong: it had to use its assault militia, "colectivos", to push back and burn trucks of humanitarian aid. The army apparently is not that reliable, as underlined by scores of military crossing over to Colombia.
2) the regime will do anything to remain in office.  Murdering people in the most abject forms is not a problem for them, not even a brief qualm.
3) the choice now is between a strong move or letting Venezuela rot, infested with Colombian guerilla and drug traffickers with a new wave of emigration that this time could reach 5 millions within a couple of years.  What would be the choice of the international community now that it is demonstrated that the opposition is a large majority who has tried any possible conventional political means, leaving hundreds of fallen?

Saturday, February 23, 2019

From afar, to Cucuta

Trying to speak about what goes on from afar is reckless.

Local information is not good, does not understand what has been going on in Venezuela, let's its own bias take over.

Following tweets does not help much. Opposition tweets are transfigured. Chavista tweets are beyond denial.

Even were I to be in Venezuela it would not have been too easy: massive shut down of any media that shows the Cucuta concert , including Nat geo (or that may discuss the massacre of natives at the hand of the Nazional Guard at the Brazilian border).

Thus I have to resort to go to bed with some comfort pill and hope for a nicer wake up tomorrow morning.

One thing is certain though: the only way out for Maduro is a blood bath. Or a yellow uniform.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Friday, February 08, 2019

The bridge of shame

The picture below has been flying all around the world from different angles.

Chavista hell hole far in the horizon
It is one of the most perfect symbols of the crap that chavismo has always been, just exacerbated these days.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Tug of war

I was distracted with other issues, so let's have a quick catch up, in what seems to be now the usual mode, item by item.

What is the legal status of Juan Guaido?

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Political image of the week: a new generation

The account Instagram of willymckey gave the following picture:

With Guaido, from left to right, Mejia, Pizarro and Gonzalez
You got to love this picture!

In 2007 there was a wave of protests against Chavez due to the closing of RCTV broadcast.  It was strong enough that it got Chavez his first major political defeat with the referendum loss of 2007.

The title of a post on May 31 2007  was "The week the Bolivarian Revolution died".  It died when Chavez lost the students of Venezuela, and thus the future.  Of course, I was writing about the symbolism of that week, full aware in that text that revolutions may see their ideals die but that does not necessarily stop them from dragging on for years.  I just did not expect that it would last another 11 years.

What is so intensely satisfying in that picture is that the 4 men started their career in the protest years of 2007 or whereabouts.

Today you can see them holding the main chairs of the National Assembly. They are the power rising, edging the old opposition class, and perhaps bringing down Maduro.

The history books will one day write on the "2007 generation", of these 4 but of several others jailed, exiled and more.  They are our future and it is thrilling.

Venezuela as moral bankruptcy of the left: seeking "dialogue" at this point is supporting Maduro

Before I go into this I need to clarify the meaning of some terms least people go all bonkers. What I call left is strictly people that are to the left of European social democrats or US liberals.  Myself I politically gravitate between social democrat /liberal and center. Though if the candidate is appealing I have crossed the line more than once.  One of my griefs against Reagan is that he turned decisively Liberal US into a dirty word. Liberals were the heirs of a great tradition of free enterprise and social responsibility; now rednecks toss around Liberal in the same sentence as Commie. And that has been so damaging...

The reason of this rant type of entry is that suddenly out of nowhere some people are proposing that the regime and the Venezuelan opposition "dialogue" again.  At this point in time offering that as the lone idea to bring peace to Venezuela is to mock's people's intelligence. And worse, it does give Maduro some time to recoup and charge again.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Pushing the nuclear button

That is it, the nuclear option has been activated!

On January 6 I was writing
"...The regime will HAVE TO dissolve the NA because this one has the nuclear option. Already since 2015 the NA has warned the world that lending money to Maduro was at their own risks of never recovering it since the NA not having voted on new debt this one is not valid. Now it gets worse, since Maduro is not the recognized president, his signature will have no validity for any act. ANY."
The time has come.  But note that it is not the National Assembly that has pushed it, since it does not have ways to enforce it. It is the USA that has pushed it today.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The eight day challenge: myths of snap elections

Yesterday the European Union, clearly in trouble in finding a single voice on how to deal with the current situation on Venezuela, emitted through some countries what was termed an "ultimatum" to Maduro. What I saw myself as a great tool form the EU generated a tweet storm of rejection that surprised me. Well, maybe not, the Venezuelan tweetosphere has become quite deleterious.  Perhaps that hysterical opposition expects the foreign legion to land tomorrow to free us?
So as a new public service I am going explain a few electoral details to understand the whys of the ultimatum details.

How does operate the European Union foreign policy

Friday, January 25, 2019

Misinformation galore wars: separating the wheat from the chaff

It has been raining political analysis, misplaced opinions, and whatnot, specially from the foreign press, leftists and what not who just learned how to place Venezuela on a map (if that much).

Let's take it in an occamish manner and answer a few questions (keeping in mind idiocies spewed from the left, the leftist press as the worst offender to one's intelligence!)).

Who is Juan Guaido?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Servicio publico / Public service / Service public: RE:23/01/2019

RE. Juan Guaidó 23/01/2019
Servicio publico/Public service/Service public

Español: Escribo esta ayuda explicativa en tres idiomas para que usted pueda argumentar con cualquier ignorante que pretenda ser conocedor de Venezuela.
English: I am writing this so you can argue with any ignorant that pretends to know about Venezuela.
Français : J’écris ceci pour que vous puissiez expliquer aux ignorants qui croient tout savoir sur le Venezuela. 

Explication technique simple du 23 janvier en français

 - L'élection de Maduro en mai 2018 n'a aucune légalité ni légitimité. L'élection a été convoquée en dehors du système judiciaire (élection en mai pour être assermenté en janvier, convoquée par une assemblée constituante illégale, conditions extrêmement défavorables pour tout candidat contre Maduro, etc.).

Simple technical explanation of January 23 crisis in English

My excuses for a bad typo: for some reason Blogger repeated the first two paragraphs, something that did not happen in the French and Spanish versions.  When I proof read it it was a cache copy and thus I did not detect it.  Sorry for those who already had read this post entry. But the arguments still remain equally valid.
- The election of Maduro in May 2018 has no legality or legitimacy. The election was convened outside the legal system (election in May to be sworn in in January, convened by an illegal constituent assembly, extremely unfavorable conditions for any candidate against Maduro, etc.)

Explicación técnica simple del 23 de enero en español

- La elección de Maduro en mayo 2018 no posee ni legalidad ni legitimidad. La elección fue convocada fuera del ordenamiento legal (elección en mayo para juramentarse en enero, convocada por una asamblea constituyente ilegal, condiciones extremadamente desfavorables para cualquier candidato contra Maduro, etc)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

23 de enero, bis repetita placent

Between 2003 and, say, 2015 I wrote furiously this blog denouncing the dictatorship that Chavez wanted to, started to, definitely installed in Venezuela.  And now, irony, when I should be typing furiously what seems to be the end of the regime I have got to drag myself in front of the computer.  I am not the same person.
Our next president?

Yet, since I plan to attend tomorrow's opposition rallies I shall write a short summary of the past 2 weeks to help people cut through the contradictory news; and sometimes misleading news from well intentionned journalists who are, I am afraid, coming a tad late to the party.  Last night for example the French TV called Guaidó "extreme right" which goes on to tell you to watch out for what you read.  This blog is, of course, perfect.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

And so we reached January 13, to everybody's great surprise

What has been remarkable in the last three days is what DID NOT happen. What happened was not necessarily meaningful, nor did it solve any problem but it contributed to set the base line for the next weeks, until January 23 unless the regime cracks down before. (1)

What happened was that Maduro did swear in at the high court (TSJ). As if his word had more value than Venezuelan currency.

And in the next two days the opposition at the National Assembly started the process to declare itself as the new government since Maduro election is not recognized and he did not swear in as the constitution demands. So he does not exist and any paper with his signature as of January 10 is worthless.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

January 9, the eve of "10 de enero"

The fateful day is in a couple of hours.  A brief review of where we stand at. In no particular order.  But first, the way the main drag of Carcas was covered today (and I presume other venues).

The banner reads "I am president" with an hashtag, you know, to make it more contemporary.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Reviewing the "10 de enero" myth: the end of the road

Three weeks ago I was commenting how dire the situation was as the fateful date of January 10 approached. Today things are clearing up and we may get surprises.

First, a brief recall.
1) An illegally elected Maduro on May 20 needs to be sworn in by the National Assembly.
2) the NA powers have been voided by the high court TSJ in an illegal way. No law passed by the NA is valid. Yet the swearing in itself is not a law and thus there is no way to annul the NA on that prerogative. 3) Maduro will not go to the AN for swearing in because not only he cannot do so legally but he cannot appear to be caving in to the NA legitimate demands.  You could talk about the Mexico wall deadlock, but you ain't seen no nothing compared to the deadlock here since 2015.
4) The NA cannot compromise with Maduro because his election was outside of the constitutional requirements, both in date and organization. If a fraction of the opposition would break away to make a new majority pact with chavismo representatives (absent since late 2015) it still would be illegal and that portion of the opposition would have no chance ever to get votes in future elections.