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Venezuela News And Views

A blog about life under, and resisting, a dictatorship


From official terror to article 350 - 3) the country chavismo wants

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:18:46 PDT

If chavismo is divided it remains nevertheless that they all share a common vision of the country: we will never be out of office; we will create an opposition we like; we will share only a few things with that likeable opposition; we will erase it as needed and start anew; 90% of power and money at the very least will always be for us.  Then again, when you look at the pictures from this week end military ceremony you do realize that "Caracas, we have a problem".In here I have pointed out a few details on that picture. Maduro went to an army base, isolated from the general public as the crowd was selected (long gone are those Chavez ceremonies at the Carabobo battle field on June 24 when "el pueblo" was welcome with open arms).First, look at the number of bodyguards. Just on that pic we can count at least 9 (red lightning). Let me see whether I get this right: Maduro claims that the army is devoted to him and the revolution and in a major military base, in a major military holiday he feels compelled to bring all these bodyguards? OK, let's move on.Second, one of the bodyguards has a strange wallet circled in yellow. The nuclear code it ain't not. I inquired with a relative that used to be long ago in the army. That rectangular satchel can be open quickly and becomes a series of connected shields behind which the carrier (or Maduro in this case) can protect himself from bullets.  Trust issues anyone?Third. Maduro carries around his wife, Cilia Flores, pink arrow.  She has no official function in the government. She has no function in the army. She does not even belong, that I know, to the National Assembly defense committee (and, anyway, she would not be the only one from that committee entitled to attend). Nobody else carries their wife/spouse to such a ceremony. What gives? Why is she most of the time next to Maduro in public appearances, and always in major ones?  Is she being groomed to become his successor? At this point in our tumultuous political climate I cannot see any other logical thought. This is becoming for real a Nicolae/Elena duo.It is when you see such picture, betraying such a lack of trust, such a need to display what in reality does not exist that you understand better why the regime has convened a constituent assembly: the only not too bloody way to get rid of whomever you do not like or do not trust.  And of course, since a constitutional assembly cannot be trusted anyway, let see how the regime packed it to make sure that a majority will be held by the camarilla in office.I am not going into details. Quickly. First, there should have been a referendum on whether "el pueblo" wanted a new constitution. There was not. Also that referendum should have been deciding how the assembly would be elected if a different method from the current system to elect the National Assembly was chosen. It was not. Moving on.Once the constitutional assembly election is imposed, its electoral system represents a severe regression in human rights as the principle of "one man one vote" is dismissed. Just an example: a vote in some districts represent a dozen of votes in another district, preferably one where the opposition should win. A sort of apartheid vote where the majority of the country will get a minority of the elected. And if that were not enough, about 40% of the constitutional assembly will be elected through a corporatist system where groups of people, according to their occupation, get to vote again (and many who do not qualify for these will not have that vote).  The list of these groups is established arbitrarily by the regime. Like me you find out that you have been registered as X when in fact you should be in Y. But see, the X are the rump corporatist seats allocated to the opposition whereas the Y is where chavismo is pretty sure to get an ample majority since the rolls are linked to social programs that they control.The whole set up is of a very fascist nature, as under Mussolini or Franco, where only males registered in certain groups could vote.And what does that assembly[...]

Week 2 of the dictatorship: tensing more and more

Sat, 08 Apr 2017 22:51:36 PDT

The protest was huge today. HUUGE...  Chacao filled up like in its best days.

An air of "Venezuelan Spring"

And thus was the reaction of the regime, repression more brutal tan before, a rain of tear gas but also direct shots with tear gas canisters which I understand is forbidden internationally.  Whatever it is, the regime has sent its troops not only to repress but also in too many cases to rob the people they catch taking away their cellular phones, at least.

In the evening when all was supposedly done, the regime managed to slip in a tear gas bomb in the offices of Capriles in Caracas, setting them on fire. At midnight the army with heavy weaponry presented itself at the site "for inquiry". Scare tactics everywhere, whenever.  The worry is what will we do with all those corrupt security personnel when this is over. From denazification to dechavistation.

But perhaps the main message of the day, besides the radicalization of the protest and repression, is that the opposition, without newspapers and without TV or radio is managing to pass its message very successfully. Internet will have to go.  And there is another message: outside of Caracas protest are also crescendo. And rallies in support of the regime are weak and in Caracas only.

Only repression is left for Maduro. The only questions are how far and how long.

On to week 2 of dictatorship: getting rid of nuisances

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 21:19:36 PDT

Today was calm compared to yesterday but equally important.The news of course is the annulation of political rights for Capriles. When his term as governor of Miranda ends, then for 15 years he will not be able to run for any office, not even for dog catcher. Inasmuch as this is the flashy headline, that Capriles is barred from future office is not quite the main news of the day: this one we will have to piece it together.But let's start by explaining the Capriles thing. As it is the case in many countries in the world, people who are crooks in office are barred to run again for office, and quite often dismissed from their job on the spot. This, of course, after an independent investigation and some form of trial. In Venezuela this does not happen, it is all at the will of the regime, though what is called Contraloria which is allegedly one of the powers of the state that makes sures corruption is prosecuted. Yeah, right.Let's start with the most famous case, the one of Leopoldo Lopez. He was banned from running for office until he was jailed for alleged violence and sentenced to 17 years. All on trumped charges of course, already denounced as such by the prosecutor at his trial, to boot. But before he was jailed for violence Lopez did take his administrative case to the Inter American Court for Human Rights where he won his case. The ruling, for all practical purposes, said that the sentence against Lopez was an attack at his rights to run for office because it was conducted unfairly, AND because it was not a sentence obtained after a fair trial, just a mere administrative act that could not be appealed in court.Not only the regime refused to recognize that decision but it resigned from that court after that and other losses. See, the regime cannot accept to be ruled by treaties that it freely signed but that suddenly became inconvenient. Now it is getting ready to leave the OAS before that one expels Venezuela. But I digress.The fact of the matter here is that Leopoldo Lopez was barred from running for office because Chavez did not want him to run for office. All the laws used for that were either illegal, misinterpreted, annulled or what not. After that it became "normal" in Venezuela that a bureaucrat decides who may or may not run for election. That bureaucrat being, as expected an appointed chavista and morally corrupt for certain.Be patient, we are getting to the real news of the day.If we look at what they did to Capriles today, it is even worse than what they did for Lopez (on an administrative point, not on the jail suffering through Capriles has also had a long stay in jail when he was mayor of Baruta). Let me list the ruling contradictions that are so blatant and thus make it so newsworthy: the evidence that the regime has no pretense anymore. For them "it is what I say, period. And be happy I even bother writing down a sentence so you can go sue me overseas. See if I care."1) If you can read the communique of the Contraloria in Spanish, do so.  There are only a very few lines as to the alleged crimes of Capriles. But paragraphs and paragraphs as to how the Contraloria is allowed and justified in its decision.  Interesting, no?2) It is to be noted that the "crimes" perpetrated by Capriles are not for personal gain. They may have been about funds spent in different projects than planned, but there is no personal gain I can see. Please, correct me if wrong. And when I mean personal gain I mean money in Capriles pocket (note: he is of a well off family and does not need to steal, just for the record).3) At any rate, if Capriles "crimes" are truly crimes, then the Contraloria should also condemn ALL chavistas governors for the mere fact that they all use public money to finance political chavista acts. This does not even need to be proven in court, it is for all to see.4) Just for the record. When Capriles was sworn in 8 years ago, one of his first acts as governor of Miranda was to send to courts for investigation boxes and boxes on the misdeeds of[...]