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Venezuela News And Views



A blog about surviving the Chavez and heirs neo-dictatorship



 



La terrible semana de Nicolas Maduro

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 08:18:58 PST

Hay momentos politicos que son explícitos en cuanto a la descomposición de un regimen. Si bien no vemos la fecha de expiración sabemos por el olor que el producto esta venciéndose. Esta semana a sido una de esas, donde se agregan mas letras a lo escrito en la pared.

El vice presidente de Venezuela ha sido sancionado por corrupto, traficante de droga y sostén de terroristas. Además ya no podrá ser presidente de Venezuela porque ningún pais que haga negocio con el malvado imperio podría firmar acuerdos con  Venezuela. O mas bien dicho, tendrían que escoger entre Venezuela y los EE.UU.  Pueden adivinar a quien escogerán.

En represalias al desgobierno del regimen no se le ocurre otra cosa que prohibir la señal del canal de noticias mas conocido del mundo, CNN. Una insensatez extrema que posiblemente ni le de réditos entre sus seguidores que se preguntarán si la censura a CNNE acelerará las distribuciones del las bolsas CLAP.  Pasará a la historia como uno de los mas ridículos asesinatos de mensajeros. Hasta las abuelitas tiernas aprenderán a hacer streaming de Internet.

El gobierno inocentemente cree que es necesario apaciguar a Trump en caso de que Putin le eche una mano. Trump les contesta clavando por el pecho una foto de Lilian Tintori en la Casa Blanca twiteada por el mesmo.... El apoyo mas explícito de gobierno norteamericano a la oposicion de Venezuela hasta ahora. Y una lección magistral sobre la diferencia entre "políticas de estado" y "políticas de caudillos".

En venganza al TSJ  se le ocurre emitir la sentencia final sobre el caso Lopez. Otro craso error porque así al fin los defensores de Lopez pueden proceder a las cortes internacionales en toda legalidad.

Pero si a Trump no se insulta sí se insulta a Rajoy. Con eso se asegura la unión de los demócratas españoles y se confirma la pobredumbre de PODEMOS, uno de los escasos aliados,  que cada dia apesta más a chavismo. Y de paso matan a Zapatero para enterrar un dialogo que les había ayudado bastante.

Y no nos olvidemos de los errores internos que también cuentan. A los estudiantes de la Universidad Central el  TSJ les suspendió las elecciones porque le dio la gana y punto. Pues a los estudiantes nos le pareció respetar al TSJ y hoy fueron a votar igual. Veremos si los antiguos tira piedras de la UCV ahora en el gobierno van a reprimir.

Y rematamos con la extension por un mes mas de la validez del billete de 100 bolivares. El billete de 100 que Maduro había querido matar en 3 dias ha sobrevivido por 3 meses. Y después hay gente que no entiende que el bolivar de Cúcuta cruzó la raya de los 4000 por un pobre dolarcito. No es la especulación, estúpido. Es la incompetencia.

Pero no todo ha sido malo para el regimen. La MUD se reorganizó de una manera muy poco prometedora. Y hay un concierto de inutiles que prefieren criticar a Lilian por sabotear la oposicion. Veremos cuales de ellos marchan mañana para Leopoldo.
Pero así son las cosas, en las horas mas negras parece que el pobre Nicolas puede contar con la mano amiga de la oposición.



In praise of the Trump-Tintori meeting

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 09:52:56 PST

The meeting between Leopoldo Lopez wife, Lilian Tintori and the US president Donald Trump has not found favor among many people, many of them that should have known better. Thus the need for this brief post that I am sure will please no one.


The Venezuelan currency on the black market lost 50% of its value in not even ten days. Note that in October it was hovering at 1100 and this afternoon it has already crossed the 4200 barrier. Thus we can say that the depreciation over a month is around 75%.  I do not think that historically Venezuela's currency has experienced such a drop in such a short time.

Economist will have all sorts of fancy explanations to give you. The regime will speak of a terrorist attack on Venezuela by the imperialism, refusing to consider that the Fidel Castro, finally croaked, model is the guilty party. What I am going to tell you is what this means at ground zero, the one of yours truly.

It means that with the hyperinflation setting in with our two paycheck combined we may not be able to cover food and medical expenses of my SO, even with insurance.

It means that assuming that I can find and purchase raw material to keep producing it would be so expensive to produce that no one will be able to afford me (or no one else for that matter).

It means that considering that national food is insufficient we will not be able to purchase imported food.

It means that come February, when the full effect of this is felt, I may be out of a job, out of food, out of medicine for the SO. And it will not be a question of price and money in the bank. Simply, the shelves will be barren.

Why o why?

Well, it all started when the regime decided to pass a national budget without approbation by the National Assembly. As expected, once creditors were told that nothing outside of a National Assembly vote would be recognized as debt, then loans stopped. Oil prices did not go up. Plus other well known factors of a dysfunctional economy. Conclusion? Bankruptcy and a dollar that goes from 1000 to a USD to 4000 in about a month time.

It is just that simple folks, truly. An absolute lack of confidence in the regime.

The worst thing of all is that there is little that can be done at this point, the damage is too deep. A mere relaxation on price controls or currency exchange will not do. We are like in Eastern Europe circa Berlin Wall collapse. The regime tried for so long to avoid an economy bang that it created the conditions for a nuclear economic bang. Now we need to do, SIMULTANEOUSLY, removing currency control, removing price controls, negotiate with the IMF some sort of bridge loan to help the poorest people to eat.

And all of this is only possible with a change of government. It is not even a matter of sharing responsibilities with the opposition, it is too late for that (and I have my doubts about the opposition wanting to reach office now, but that is matter for a future post).




Obama's debacle

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 22:09:13 PST

I used to be upset when people in the US were surprised that I did not like spicy food. For them, we in Lat Am ate all Mexican spicy hot. Venezuela has actually a rather bland cooking, and hot is preferred by few for a few only.I am reminded of that because as I am watching the Trump transition I am starting to get cold shivers. I am afraid that those Trump will put at National Security and State are going to see everything South of the Rio Grande as, well, the same thing. Just make a big wall and the US will be juuuust fine.But this weekend I have been getting truly cold sweats as I am listening to Obama's farewell tour and his unseemly plaintive speeches as to the values of the West, as to wait and see on Trump even if Obama's eyes and tone say something else totally. Trying to pass the baton to Merkel was a sad moment. What we are witnessing is a man that realizes that not only his 8 years have been lost but his complacency may have greater consequences.He has only himself to blame for that. I am not going to go into how he was slapped for the economy when he should have been thanked. Nor am I going to speak about his turning US foreign policy towards Asia so that in the end China may benefit more than the US. This one, after all, may have been unavoidable and the only thing any US president could do is to work out the time timetables and the distribution of bitter pills.  But I am going to speak with property on the mess that Obama is leaving Venezuela in.The grand scheme of Obama was the opening to Cuba that he would start and Hillary would complete. One of the condition for the success of that policy was for Venezuela not to blow up. One reason was that Venezuelan money was needed to pay for Cuba transition. Another one was to allow Santos in Colombia to do whatever wicked game he had in mind. Yet another one was that the US did not care much about a country that would so willingly inflict so much damage on itself (can't blame the US for that!).Unfortunately for Obama the old guard reared its ugly head in Cuba and decided that as long as the Fidel colleagues were alive no change would come. Maybe when enough of them were dead or gaga then, and only then, the dictatorship could start to evolve. Sometime in the next decade. And then oil prices bottomed out for the long run and Venezuela went broke, dragging Cuba down but repression up.Thus Obama decided to wait and see, to let Hillary get elected and let her finish his legacy. Now he is not only getting neither, but his delays are going to make everything worse for the whole subcontinent.In Venezuela Obama's last act was to defuse a break down just before election day. When tensions were rising he dispatched Shannon to browbeat everyone in the opposition. As it has always been the case, whenever Shannon intervenes, the democratic opposition of Venezuela suffers a set back. This time was not going to be different.  Within days Trump was elected president and instantly Obama lost any capacity of pressure against the Venezuelan regime. This one slowly but surely has started to rise again as the opposition concession of a truce at the bequest of Obama and the Pope has caused a rift inside. This rift threatens the dissolution of the front, with catastrophic consequences for the country.In short, if Obama and the Pope wanted to avoid civil war in Venezuela they may have actually increased the chances of this happening. May? Actually I am almost certain. I am actually surprised at some of the bold recent moves that show that the regime is not even concerned by the OAS. Our fate is strictly with MERCOSUR and whatever the Pope may decide to wriggle through its mediation efforts (though for all appearances one even wonders about the Pope listening to the Venezuelan church). Peanuts, in the end.In short for Venezuela there will be no recall election, there will be no liberalization of the electoral system, there may no be any type of election for at least a year, there will be more repression even though a handful[...]



Divisional Perplexity in Caracas

Sun, 13 Nov 2016 17:47:28 PST

Confused about the rather dismal "dialogue" results, and further confused by the strange reactions to these results (besides the previsible ones in Twitter from Miami demanding that we go without fault tomorrow to burn down Miraflores Palace) I have been trying to understand what the heck is going on.In a word: divisions.The dialogue cannot advance any faster for many reasons. First it is not a dialogue, it is a discussion about a ransom note that kidnappers have no intention to honor anyway. They want to cash the rescue and kill you at the end in case you go to the police to report the crime. That is the level of dysfunctional psychosis reached by the regime, they still think they can have an honorable career.The second reason remains an old one. Too many inside the regime know what their fate would be if an agreement were to be signed. These people cannot be rescued under any term and thus they will do the utmost to sabotage, deny, torpedo any discussion. The most glaring case being Diosdado Cabello who keeps touring the country saying that the dialogue is going nowhere. People like him know that if an agreement is signed they can start measuring their jail cell for drapes.A third but lesser reason is that some inside of the opposition are willing to settle more than others. But even there the regime seems unwilling to accommodate as these people will not settle for mere cash as it used to be the case in past defections from the opposition.That is why we did not see more self congratulation from the regime than what one would have expected but also less outrage from the opposition than one would have been expecting. After all, the regime knows it has got to negotiate something, anything, and the opposition knows it has no weapons to take Maduro out so its options are limited.  It remains for us now to resume briefly the divisions in each camp.Inside the regime right now, as it changes fast, we have the negationists, those that refuse to sit at the table. Diosdado is the leader. Then we have the negationist light who sit there because at least they know what the other guys are talking about. We can include foremost here the governor of Aragua, Tareck El Aissami, equally under investigation by the DEA. Let's note that these people will take everyone down with them, chavista or not.We move on to the radical-psychos, those who have lost their mind long ago but feel obscurely somewhere that the gig is up and only by gaining time they may find a way out. I have named of course the Rodriguez duo who want to shoot you whenever they will be able to get away with it but meanwhile they consent just to insult you across a table.Finally we have the razzmatazz of chavismo that goes from military that do not want to end up at The Hague to those still with a marble or two in their heads and think that maybe some negotiation may allow them to retire somewhere. At the table we have the infamous Chaderton, the best they can offer. Ain't it something?The opposition is certainly more palatable, at least they speak in complete sentences with correct punctuation, even if it is to admit defeat.  Fortunately for them the radicals are not sitting. Maria Corina has not been invited and the arguably more organized opposition party of Venezuela, Voluntad Popular, has refused to sit down as long as Leopoldo is in jail. We do not know for sure at this point whether this is a plus for the opposition. Indeed, Voluntad Popular  can offer the excuse to stand up and leave, or be the carrot to bring the regime to a real measurable concession so as to bring VP to the table. We shall see.There are two sets from the opposition at the table. One is old party AD of Ramos Allup, who already conceded that the Recall Election is dead, together with up comer PJ with Capriles and divisions of its own apparently. They represent the hard negotiation, with hues. The other side are the wishy-washy like governor Falcon or UNT from Zulia state. These are willing to negotiate [...]



The triumphant failure of the dialogue in Venezuela

Sun, 13 Nov 2016 16:56:43 PST

I suppose that there must be somewhere a grand design to all of this. That we are asked to swallow hard because it is all for the best. That we should trust the Vatican envoy when he is in ecstasy about the progress made. Or is it that he is claiming victory as he is on his way to the airport to leave once and for all?So let's look at what I think is a dismal result for two weeks of expectations. I never hoped for much but this is, well, words fail me. Let's see if I can try to explain it by doing a positive and negative spin to the 5 "points of agreement" reached today.1- ---acordaron trabajar de manera conjunta para combatir toda forma de sabotaje, boicot o agresión---Agreement to work together against all forms of {economical} sabotage, boycott or agression---Positive spin: the regime will accept to take measures to change the economic system so that production will improve and we will have less scarcity.Negative spin: unfuckingbelievable!!!!  The opposition buys the regime's theses that the economic crisis is not its fault but that of external factors sabitaging. In short the opposition accepts to share the blame of a crisis that is entirely of the regime's making.  And I cannot even charitably conceded that it is in the aim to silence the propaganda of the regime: just you wait!2- ...superación de la situación de desacato de la Asamblea Nacional... overcoming the situation of disobedience of the National Assembly...Positive spin: the regime acknowledges that there is an impasse and that something must be done. For this it will allow a repeat election of Amazonas representatives and name the 2 electoral board members whose term expires in a few days (2 out of 5 in the CNE)Negative spin: first the language puts the blame on the National Assembly for refusing to follow the clearly unconstitutional dictates of the high court TSJ. That it was about the Amazonas representatives is not an excuse: it is inadmissible that they have been suspended 11 months ago by the TSJ and that this one has not declared whether these elections were valid or needed to be repeated.  Nowhere in the world such a delay would be acceptable.Equally detestable, the opposition accepts that the regime will get one of the two new CNE members to be named when according to the National Assembly composition it should get none. The CNE should now be 2 to 3 in favor of the opposition and the regime will now retain a 3 to 2, and thus control of the electoral machinery with all the advantages that this implies including the electoral abuses that have been amply described.3- Everybody agrees on defending Venezuela's right on a chunk of Guyana called Essequibo.Positive spin: WTF?Negative spin: WTF!4- A "live together in peace agreement" has been approved.Positive spin: Let's all sing kumbayaNegative spin: wasn't there a constitution and rule of law to take care of that? OR is it now that we will live in peace because the regime decides it so? Where is the evidence of that intention?5- Mumble jumble about organization of future conversationsPositive spin: we are still talking, nobody slammed the door.Negative spin, the regime gains a few more precious weeksI mean, this is bad. In addition we learn that the next general sit down is December 6 which is an insult to the opposition as it is the one year anniversary of its landslide 2/3 majority which has been reduced to paltry negotiations so it can still breathe some. To add insult to injury the psychopath of Jorge Rodriguez is acting like the big bad Woolf enticing those in the opposition to see the positive results and thus to depose arms and join the dialogue.What conclusions can we take, minimally?First, the recall election is now dead. Even if December 6 were to produce the miracle of such an election there is no time to collet signatures and run it by January 10. RIP opposition main claim.Second, the MUD is playing into the hands of the regime to accelerate its division. How can an[...]



Obama wrecks Venezuelan dialogue, Trump will not revive it

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 19:49:23 PST

{UPDATED}So here we are, at the famous November 11 deadline where supposedly we should evaluate the advances made by the "dialogue" started on October 30th. Listen carefully for the results, you may hear the crickets.As a matter of fact, the half a dozen released political prisoners concession from the regime have been amply compensated through new arrests and further limitations to the National Assembly role. And as I said, the mere acceptance of a two weeks "truce" was enough to kill any hope for a recall election before January 10 and the High Court TSJ made sure of that today.In short, the initial results of the truce seem to indicate that a disappointed opposition following is becoming indifferent as their need to deal with Christmas scarcities start to become more crucial, exactly what the regime wanted. Never mind that the appearance of some obvious divisions have not helped.This is not to say that the regime benefited greatly. Its own internal divisions have also become more apparent, and the relentless crisis awaits for a mere incident to revive massive protests. Let's just say that the regime got some time for some propaganda that allowed a provisional stop to its own follower hemorrhage, multiplied by a minimum wage inducing inflation and the promise of some cheap toys in a CLAP food distribution subsidized bag.The regime did get a hand from the US by the way- As soon as the dialogue was open Thomas Shannon from state flew in to Caracas. He met quickly with Maduro and then with the opposition, and left fast. For the life of me I cannot recall an involvement of Shannon with Venezuela that benefited the Venezuelan opposition, or at the very least that benefited it more, slightly more than the regime. Please, correct me if I am wrong. Whatever his reasons to come were, he got at least one thing, no Venezuela blow up until election day. Not that it helped much Hillary but that is another story. At least this Liberal can take small comfort in the loss of Hillary that Shannon will be out of office soon.The fact of the matter is that this latest Shannon outing is in perfect following of 8 years of Obama basic do nothing on Venezuela, in the grand tradition of George Bush, already hinted at by Bill Clinton. And, I am willing to bet on it, a proud tradition that will be followed by Trump. As soon as he is sworn in he will realize that the US has more serious problems to deal with than the consequences of an idiotic electorate that voted back their country into Banana Republicorama. In addition, Trump enterprises will quickly look at possible hotel development in Venezuela and will realize that the beaches are contaminated, are not private enough, that there is no water nor food nor electricity, and that the personnel has been hopelessly damaged by 17 years of chavismo beggarization. Not even sending now available sheriff Arpaio to solve insecurity could motivate the Trump organization.George Bush did not touch Chavez because he needed Venezuela oil for his Iraq adventure. That was that- Condi could be deeply insulted by Chavez and barely an eye would bat. Obama did not need oil that much anymore and, well, his interests were in Asia more than anywhere else. Venezuela only came into play when he got into the hubris that he would solve the transition away from the Castro and that he needed Venezuela to pay for it. What he thought to be his crowning legacy not only did not help him to have Hillary elected but will probably come back to haunt him in the ridicule field of fortune. The more so if Venezuela ends in a tragedy.As for Trump, he did the true and tested Republican Cuban move in Florida. Late in the campaign he went to promise a stern hand against the Castro/Maduro regimes and voila, he got Florida. Probably this time around there were enough Venezuelans that could vote and did it so for him, falling for the GOP cause like Cubans have basically done since the 60ies, for nothing. W[...]



A letter to disapointed Clinton supporters aimlessly loitering

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 19:23:39 PST

You are idiots. There was an election, you lost. That Hillary got more popular vote is irrelevant: it is a federal country, a union of 50 countries and thus the will of a majority of former independent countries is a must, like it or not. This is the reason of the electoral college and trust me, in a presidential system like the US you need all what you can to make it harder the election of a president and control him/her. Instead of rioting in the streets think about what else could you have done to get more votes for Hillary. Did you canvass enough? Did you offer to carry people to voting stations? Did you attend fervently Hillary meetings, or those from her surrogates? Did you at least make sure to let your family and acquaintances know that because you were gay/black/latino/etc. their vote for Trump would affect you directly? How long did it take you to shift from Bernie to Hillary?


Listen guys, I went through that. In fact I have been going on through 17 years of unfairly losing elections and being manipulated by people who are intellectually less advanced than me. Yes, I an owning what I just said. My current president is a true asshole. Compared to Maduro  Trump is a hardworking towering genius. Even the dumb rednecks that voted for him are better than the equivalent that vote for Maduro: rednecks do work and pay taxes, last time I checked anyway. Here not only they do not pay taxes but as long as they receive a free bag of something, even if it becomes a rarer occurrence, they keep supporting Maduro.

You do not like Trump ideas? That makes two of us. Protesting Trump electoral victory only helps him. Time will come to protest him, right now it is not only a disservice to your cause but it is a disservice to democracy. Or is it that things like Black Lives Matter who came to Venezuela to support Maduro are affecting the belief in democracy and making too many black people stay home and allow for Trump to carry, say, Michigan?

Now it is not the time to riot, it is the time for introspection. Since you feel so superior to the Trump voter (or the chavista voter as the case may be) do as Paul Krugman did or I did in 2006, write about it, think about it, understand why your side lost, allow yourself to be bitter, to think the worst of the other side, to grieve, but remain constructive. Then you will be able to do something about it. Do not be a spoiled brat. Trust me, Hillary is not going to join you in the streets. Nor is Bernie for that matter. Nor should they.

If you are still not convinced by my words, then be my guest, visit Venezuela and stay a while where you will be beaten by your government for protesting even though your elections were totally rigged, and with the public knowledge of that. Please, do not pass for victims. You had 8 years of Obama. If you did not do anything out of it, it is your fault, not Trump's. Or Hillary, or mine for that matter.

There goes to tell you that a Liberal can be as unpolitically correct as any.