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.”

This is nothing new for longtime readers of this blog.  That the opposition is deeply divided is public knowledge, nor could it be any different since the only thing uniting them is their desire to oust Maduro.  The opposition goes from the left to the right so cobbling together something that can work for all is indeed "devilish". But it has happened on occasion with notable success such as in the referendum to change the constitution, or the 2015 national assembly election.

What irked me today is to find so many people upset by Pompeo, many journalists and opinion makers criticizing Pompeo.  This is not the first time that we see that. Already in 2017 I was writing on how badly the criticism of Almagro to the Venezuelan opposition was taken by my admired Milagros Socorro (and others not so admirable).  The thing here is that the Venezuelan opposition is very thin skinned and for them it is OK for foreigners to criticize Chavez and Maduro as they wish but it is an unacceptable intervention to criticize the holy freedom fighters methods of the opposition.

So, what is the truth behind the words of Pompeo (who I assume was jocular when he said 40 candidates)?  I am not going to play the opposition game of conspiracy theories and self destruction here as you can read on Twitter, ferociously (2).  I am just going to mention:

1) those that have been jockeying for top post for the last decade, willing to sabotage the others when needed: Ramos Allup, Lopez, Capriles, Maria Corina Machado, Henri Falcon to name some of the main culprits (I could add at least 10 more but they are minor compared to these)

2) those who have left the opposition alliance MUD in recent years and spend their time criticizing it, only too often for no good reason: Maria Corina Machado, Henri Falcon and scores of their followers who look more like bots than anything else.

I suppose they all have their reasons for such unproductive politics and it does not matter to me. What matters is that their selfish little interest have delayed an eventual solution to the Venezuelan political crisis, and that is public knowledge. Period.

The consequences of that are terrible, because coming up with an unitarian strategy, a solid project for the country, precise goals for a transition government is too difficult to make as too many of these leaders will not accept a goal that could delay their arrival to the presidency of Venezuela, even if such presidency may be over the smoldering embers of the country because of these delays......

For memory I am going to give you three examples of dysfunction:

  • The opposition has been unable to come up with a primary system. Nobody wants to count itself in such a primary, all preferring to say that their support is bigger than polls or votes, reminding me amusingly of Fidel explaining why Cuba does not need elections.

  • There are only 4 parties that truly carry weight (for the time being), Accion Democratica, Voluntad Popular, Primero Justicia and Un Nuevo Tiempo though I suspect that today we are down to the first three. But the MUD keeps pirated by scores of minor characters and these three biggies refuse to put order and assume alone the leadership because, well, there are a few votes there that might be enough to overtake the other guys in a primary or something. That has been one of the major dysfunctions of the MUD, too long discussions, too much wavering trying to accommodate too many people that should not be sitting at the MUD meetings to begin with..

  • In 2016 the MUD decided to try multiple approach to unseat Maduro instead of focusing all of its energies on a single one (such as the recall election, the most promising one then). That happened, I have no doubt of it, because each main group favored one method over the other: constitutional assembly, revolt, referenda petitions, etc.  In the end the recall election sort of prevailed but it was too late to stop the regime from cunningly avoid its fate.

But I am starting to digress and my readers can certainly on their own add a lot of things.  Instead let's finish this discussing the intent of Pompeo through that very useful leak.

  • The opposition needs to focus.  This means that concrete and simple proposals must appear, suitable for a transistion government.

  • The patience of the international community is running thin and the US is starting to have trouble herding folks from Europe to Patagonia.  There are hints that some staunch anti Maduro government are not so staunch anymore.

  • People that throw stones from the outside (I am looking at you Maria Corina) should either desist or join the MUD to push for concrete proposals. They are not going to be chosen just because they think they deserve it. They need to deserve it like Guaido does these days.

  • Their man is clearly Guaido right now. For all his possible shortcomings he has become a political phenomenon, rides high in polls and is the only reason why possibly the MUD has not collapsed once again (coming up with the Guaido strategy last year was the last brilliant MUD action, pushed by he 4 big players, but it has been downhill ever since) (3)

  • The US, in fact, does not care who the next president will be: anyone would be an improvement. The US just wants the opposition to figure out at least a way to come up fast with that name when the time comes. That person will need to have real support for at least the duration of the transition government (and preferably be pro US and free market but not sine qua non). 

Will the opposition get the message? I doubt it, but it had to be said. For all the prayers of invasion from a big sector of the population these one will not happen in the current situation; too expensive to give the country to an unknown element.   The message thus is also "if you do not do that fast, within months, or weeks, the international front will start breaking up and some countries will sit down with Maduro and you will be screwed forever."


1) apparently Elliot Abrams gave words expanding on Pompeo but they do not appear yet on google news. His support to the National Assembly would indicate that Guaidó is their man.

2) an official said in that same Post article “They [opposition leadership] remain divided over how to take on the Maduro regime — whether or not to enter into dialogue, whether or not to engage with the military, whether or not to run a presidential candidate or boycott elections. They don’t even retweet each other.”

3) “We’ve been working, and it took this long to get to where we are today, where you have a leader — tenuous as it may be — who could’ve been arrested while we’re sitting in this room, who has managed to cobble together the opposition”


  1. doesnt sound like there is any chance of anything being resolved. maybe im too american or something, but it doesnt feel like the political figures in venezuela work together, you would think that with the catastrophe that is occurring in venezuela that they would set aside any differences and just fix problem number 1, which is to get rid of the Chavista folks first. Bring back freedom of speech and begin process of new elections, then they can squabble amongst themselves afterwards. Guiado does appear to be deserving of the new government, considering the number of risks he has taken to be where he is at.

  2. With that cast of characters or their forefathers, one needs no wonder why Chavez got elected in 1998. Looks like Maduro will sit on the throne for a looooong looooong time to come. Too bad for guys my age.

  3. "reasons for such unproductive politics"

    Maybe its all about HUGO:
    H egemony: "Venezuela, which by far in the last couple of years has received the most, got 17 loans from the PRC totaling $65 billion."
    U kraine: "US trading Ukraine for Venezuela"
    G raft, G old and Globalization:
    O il:

  4. Lopez calls Guaido "el presidente", publicly and recently in Spain - dunno about MCM, but she'd probably also accept her role behind the GMan, after the "fair and transparent elections" they call for. The real problem is that will never happen until some Military Force is utilized.

    When will people ever get that? Even if the opposition united firmly - and to some extent they all want Chavismo out - (except perhaps for weasels and scoundrels like Ramos all up and Falcon), the criminals thugs in power will never leave if not forcibly kicked out, simply because they know they face jail time and would lose everything, not many places to hide.

    The local 3000 so-called "generals" and the armed forces are also corrupt and complicit thieves, as most of their clueless armed troops. That's why there is no internal coup de force either, plus they're scared of the thousands of Cuban Intelligence spies ratting them out.

    The real problem is that Chavismo is vast and corruption is everywhere. Kleptozuela includes some of the MUD: greedy, selfish. It's a cultural problem, not just removing Maduro and a few other thugs. There are about 4 million ENCHUFADOS or more, involved in some twisted deals, some form of thievery and countless ruses, or "guisos". Beside the entire Chavista politicians in power, from the alcaldes, ministers, and most of their employess, more millions of people on Chavismo's direct Payroll, complicit in some way, or down right thieves themselves too.

    The MUD es puro barro, muddy indeed, a reflection of the Vnezuelan people, not all but the majority of it: under-educated, when at all, highly corruptible, greedy, lazy, often complicit and culpable. That's where Chavismo came from and that's why it stays in power after 2 decades and counting.. Not just because of Maduro and a dozen other criminal thugs, plus tens of thousand of corrupt military and civilian scoundrels. Then of course you have about 4 million people, often the best people, honest, educated and/or hard-working who left, the rich and then even the poor.

    Most of what's left is damaged, not just Maduro/Cabello/Rodriguez, Reverol, the entire PDVSA or Corpoelec all industries: putrid. The MUD is messed up yes, but it's not L.Lopez or MCM's fault that weasels like Ramos Allup, 3000 "generals" and the armed forces, plus millions of corrupt people are the root of the problem.

    Even if they united firmly behind Guaido, as Leopoldo and even MCM has, only foreign military intervention and FORCE will ever remove the enormous Chavista pest, millions of them at different levels, 'Chavistas' not because they would vote for Maduro against any 'democratic' candidate on fair elections, but because they are often crooked and complicit themselves, uneducated, morally twisted. That's what Chavismo really is, a malign form of Venezolanismo in Narco-Kleptozuela. Where are Marcos Perez Jimenez or Pinochet when you really need them? Extinct. Cubazuela is doomed, unless Pompeo and the US intervenes with force, and they won't. Chinazuela is a reality, get used to it, for decades to come, Cuban style, Haitian style, Zimbabwe style, except even worse right now.

    1. axer773:21 PM

      Sadly the problem with Venezuela is the Venezuelans.... As the old prayer goes... "Dios no te pido que me des, solo pongame donde hay"

  5. Noone will come to rescue Venezuela. I imagine to give weappons to the right people could be a chance. Otherwise wait for the day GMan gets arrested.. and nothing will happen

  6. Sadly no one will rescue Veneuela, unless the people revolt and save their country!

  7. This is a very tough time for Venezuela. It’s hard to believe the conditions it’s citizens are currently going through. The people will have to work hard to unite and hopefully do so without a violent rebellion. Quite the delicate situation at hand. I wish Venezuela the best! Impressive work and excellent blog by the way. Very informative!


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