The Final Mask


Rangel SilvaIt’s an election season mainstay, a tradition almost. Ahead of every vote since the opposition’s catastrophically misguidedecision to cry “Fraud!” in 2004, government spokesmen go on the record to ponderously demand that the opposition pledge, ahead of time, to respect any result the National Elections Council may hand down. I guess this is meant to claim the moral high-ground for the government, and to remind folk of the nadir of the opposition at its psychotic worst: plainly unwilling, as it once was, to accept that most Venezuelans might disagree with it.

It’s the way the government has ritually repeated that demand over the last six years that makes General Henry Rangel Silva’s pledge to, in effect, stage a coup rather than accept an oppo victory in 2012 so richly perverse, and Chavez’s decision to reward the dictatorial little outburst with a promotion so perfect.

Because that an official in Rangel Silva’s position could pledge to basically piss all over the constitution he’s been pledged to uphold is alarming enough, but that the head of state would feel called on to make it perfectly clear that such full-throated contempt for the constitution is now State Policy is the true mark of a dictatorship.

It’s hard for me to make sense of this bizarre chain of events as anything other than a provocation: a final, desperate bid by Chavez and Co. to flush out any remaining unreliable elements in the armed forces. The statements involved are so plainly outrageous, so bizarrely outside any imaginably constitutional legitimacy or democratic normalcy, it’s clear they’re aimed at provoking a rash reaction for any remaining doubters in a position to make a rash reaction.

The sad thing is that it’s now, when the rhetoric of the revolution has plumbed the depths that Rangel Silva’s ditty has plumbed, it’s at this point that the opposition might actually be well advised to simply withdraw from participation in the warped institutions of this deeply fucked up state, might have good reason to declare that their participation in the charade can only possibly help the dictatorship endure, and might actually have a leg to stand on if they decided that clandestinity offers the only way forward for the democratically minded in Venezuela…but, of course, living under the shadow of its own blunders in 2002-2005, we can’t possibly do that.

Crazy, huh?

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  1. No, we can’t, that’s what they are waiting for.
    They will also try to infiltrate some groups and they will try to provoke us at every stage and in every region (going from suffocating more enterprises and local governments to simply insulting people, leading them to fights when our people try to organise meetings or distribute information).
    But we need to outsmart them. We need more and more to appeal to the ethics of the general population.

    Whatever the militar junta does, we need to show Venezuelans how the military despise pluralism and how they have cheated the people in the name of a revolution that is nothing more than their way of keeping in power in the most gomecista fashion.

    People need to tell the military as Germans did: WE are the people.

  2. Chavez met with Fidel last weekend and I believe the following: He came back with his plan ready, they believe that the country is ripe for the taking and the revolution is moving forwards to the next stage, which is Cuba.

    Will they pull it off? no idea, but they like their chances, they are all in now, all the chips are on RED.

    Good luck everyone, I hope we win.

    PD: of course, cuz Chavez is the player and the judge, he will dance the one step forwards, two back and three forward all the way to the sea of hapiness

  3. Quico, thanks for addressing the absurdity of this. I was planning on doing so this morning but was relieved you did a great job with it.

    There is so much in this bizarre series of events, and I love how it interlinks with the Makled case as well. The other message it sends to the Armed Forces, as if it wasn’t perfectly clear by now, is that jalar bolas pays off big time. Then there’s the Insulza angle which we haven’t even touched on – I wonder what made him rouse from his deep sleep.

    In a ways, this move by Chavez is perfectly logical. A government headed by a coupster gives the military’s highest honor to a general who announces a coup in the future. The circular logic is impenetrable.

    Regardless, Rangel Silva – with his dubious “business ties” with Colombian narcoguerrillas and his announcement of a coup ahead of time – has become our very own Noriega. Hopefully his fate will be the same as that of his doppelganger’s.

  4. Well, until he actually steals the election in 2012 no participating is not an option. He was able to rigg the election for congress because we did not participate in 2005 and left them all the power to do whatever they wanted.

    They are trying to scare us, but I agree with Kepler, we can’t fall into their hands again. I see it as positive that they are on the defensive, preparing for what would happen if they lose, is a big change that means they know they are no longer majority.

    • We will wait for him there. That is the general mood.

      Rangel Silva and rest of brownoses of Hugo would-be-dictator, “Te esperamos en la bajadita”. Because you are going WAY DOWN.

  5. BTW, this is all crazy, but you know what would be crazier still? To hear a Venezuelan politician call it like it is and simply come out and tell the truth: that the Venezuelan Armed Forces are rotten to the core.

    Now *that* would be refreshing.

  6. One needs cojones or ovaries for that. As Daniel said, they prefer to tweet til the batteries give up. The military has been a plague for Venezuela for two centuries already (well, longer, since we were a bloody capitanía general), even during our democratic intermezzo of 1958-1998. Most people in Venezuela do not understand the extent to which this is so.

    • Juan, I think another point they need to address is the judiciary, but they ar afraid to do so, with good reason. At this point we do need to say: the Supreme Court in Venezuela is a joke. It is a JOKE.

    • Kepler,

      “Joke” is not the right word. Jokes are funny, and there is nothing funny about the supreme arbiter of the Constitution being bought and paid for lackeys of the Executive branch of government. Try “tragic”, “travesty”, or “tyrannical”.

    • OK, I see. That’s what I meant. Or perhaps “a very bad joke”…a farce.

      The politicans don’t need to say this. They have to say “those judges have lost any credibility. We do not believe in … we ask for the list of judges to be selected according to a real secret vote of the whole population”. Let’s do it like that.
      Or perhaps it is a digression? Another thing: we need to demand a change in the laws for a referendum so that signatures cannot be used for mobbing. International observers or something. Then Hugo will be afraid of referendums.

    • “The military has been a plague for Venezuela for two centuries already”

      I think I do understand a bit of that. To me it’s an obvious conclusion. As well as for ANYONE who has actually watched our military conduct themselves in public.

      What I cannot understand is that Venezuelans put up with such behavior. Are we a people made of doormats?

      It would be bad enough if they were corrupt and authoritarian and admitted it. But then there’s the conceit that they “serve” this country and have it at heart, that they are somehow better at organizing things (laugh here).

  7. I think the keyword here is “loyalty”. The coup against the Constitution which it implies is more or less a by-product, a side effect. In fact, the rationale of the Rangel’ s promotion to General en Jefe is based on his allegeance to the Constitution (!!!!), read as the legitimation of the regime radical program. The 26S showed how the defence of the Constitution was an opposition issue; it’s time now from the Ch. point of view, to recapture it. But it seems to me that it is above all a message directed to the potential prosecutors of Rangel, and of course it´s linked to the Makled affaire.

  8. Did you say withdraw from participation? You only withdraw from participation if you think you have force enough within the armed forces to de-legitimatize the status quo and precipitate an institutional collapse of the regime. But, if you have support enough from the FFAA why you would withdraw to begin with. You can win and enforce your win. So the dominant strategy is not to withdraw. If you don’t have the support of the FFAA, CH will remain I power either by a coup or by running unopposed in 2012, which one will be the ultimate blow to the already fuzzy democratic credentials of Mr. CH? So the dominant strategy is not to withdraw. Lastly, If the oppo is posed to lose the election in 2012 democratically, it will be suicidal to withdraw. Game theory 101> Oppo leader that read this blog, erase the word withdraw from your vocabulary.

  9. 100 % agree with Omar. It is suicide to withdraw, or show any weakness.

    Oppo politicians and the people need to show some backbone here. If they do not, then what military officers and troops will back them up when the chips are down?

    This is by no means an easy decision for them either. This means blood, and lots of it, before the end game is here.

    Now begins the defining moment of the whole Chavez Charade. If the opposition folds now, then kiss the country goodbye for the next 50-100 years.

    There are many rumors of aggressive expropriations coming soon.

    It is going to be now or never.

    • I agree, but I don’t have any confidence in Venezuela to do what is necessary. Like the man said, “I am from Missouri. You have to show me.”

  10. My question is: Is Garcia Rangel telling the truth or is he just talking nonsense?

    Are the armed forces bolivarian or Venezuelan?

    Are we in deep shit or are we already dead?

  11. Rangel said that an opposition government would be equivalent to selling the country, and that is why the Armed Forces would not tolerate an opposition government.

    He didn’t say “if” they sell out the country, he simply equated opposition with selling out.

  12. Ay bendito.

    So we agree that’s what he said, at least we’re on the same page.

    When Rangel offers proof that the opposition is being funded externally, then we can discuss his “legitimate” ideas. In the meantime, he will remain a deluded narco-thug.

    • External Funding hey? like suitcases full of dollars to Argentina. You could have a point, but this government commits the same crimes that you’re claiming.

    • Another thing, Chris: neither you nor the bloody military nor Chávez are to decide who is in power. It is the people, through elections. Chávez and you and those corrupt military bastards are NOT the people. The people are all and the decision is taken by majority.
      You do not have the majority. Actually: you are not Venezuelan. But Venezuelan Chavistas are not majority anymore and they will keep being less and less. Whatever they think about who is selling off Venezuela, we have a different opinion. You don’t solve things by shooting people, by using violence as Chávez has done so many times. You use elections. And if the milicos lose, no matter if they think we are selling off Venezuela to the gringos, to the Chinese, to the Russians, to the Swiss, to the Martians: they have to bloody shut up. This is not the Wild West.

    • Chris,

      I happened to see the people Chavez murdered in Caracas in 1992.
      It definitely looks like you are very nervous. You pop up here when things start to deteriorate further for your military thugs.

      End of conversation

  13. Sorry for the *literal* copy, but these is for our friend ‘Morons’ who hates to go into grammar specifics:

    “Articulo 328: La Fuerza Armada Nacional constituye una institución esencialmente profesional, sin militancia política, organizada por el Estado para garantizar la independencia y soberanía de la Nación y asegurar la integridad del espacio geográfico, mediante la defensa militar, la cooperación en el mantenimiento del orden interno y la participación activa en el desarrollo nacional, de acuerdo con esta Constitución y con la ley. En el cumplimiento de sus funciones, está al servicio exclusivo de la Nación y en ningún caso al de persona o parcialidad política alguna. Sus pilares fundamentales son la disciplina, la obediencia y la subordinación.

    Artículo 330. Los o las integrantes de la Fuerza Armada Nacional en situación de actividad tienen derecho al sufragio de conformidad con la ley, sin que les esté permitido optar a cargo de elección popular, ni participar en actos de propaganda, militancia o proselitismo político.

    Artículo 331. Los ascensos militares se obtienen por mérito, escalafón y plaza vacante. Son competencia exclusiva de la Fuerza Armada Nacional y estarán regulados por la ley respectiva.”

    (Constitucion de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela)

    Morons, if you don’t speak Spanish, go and find yourself and excellent translator so you can read the Constitution and understand why Rangel’s actions are at odds with our political system – the one that Venezuelans approved by referendum in 1999.

  14. Morons, congratulations on your selective literal-interpretation skills. So what does ‘esencialmente profesional, sin militancia política’ mean?

  15. MoronsinCaracas/Chronically Clueless/Chris Carlson:

    How’s that job with the Venezuelan Govt working out for you? Do you have Chavez’s left cheek, right cheek or are you in the middle with Eva?

  16. Chris,

    You still can’t understand Spanish. The milico was very clear.
    And anyhow: who is going to decide who is selling off the country? You? The bloody military thugs? Hugo the Coup Monger who is selling off Venezuela to the Chinese in such disfavourable terms as few have done in the last 30 years?
    If most Venezuelans decide to have a different government, you have to leave our country and the Chavista thugs have to leave office. PERIOD.
    The military junta doesn’t have the majority anymore, even if we still have oil prices that are over 600% what they were in the previous years before Pérez Jimenez’s admirer, Hugo, got elected.

  17. Nah Carlson….I just recognize your style of writing anywhere….and you are not a badass…just a dumbass that is so far up Chavez’s ass that you will never see the light of day.

    • Antonio,

      When people are that” dumb”, and do not have brain problems of any kind, more than likely they have a touch of the ” bad” as well, translated into a desire not to see.

      When people do not want to see, there is a concomitant self centeredness, because when we truly desire the good of all we are careful about taking a good look.

      I am tired of the myriad of ways the insidious popularity of victimization is sweeping the world.The false well intentioned often get to claim a special but undeserved status.

  18. Moron, at least the opposition will SELL the country, the robolution is giving it away for free!!!!

    Come on mate, give me a break! you must be joking hahahaaaa

  19. Don’t feed the troll. One thing is to rebut claims, another entirely different is to fall into useless back-and-forth arguments with people who are not willing to listen.

    Mr Morons will selectively resort to the Constitution when it’s necessary to punish opponents, but will refuse to accept that its beloved government or some of its top public officers constantly engage in unconstitutional actions.

  20. You have written your screen name wrong. It should be Moron Sin Caracas, which is apt since you sound like a Moron, and are not in Caracas

  21. MoronsinCaracas:

    “Rangel Silva said that the Armed Forces would not allow the opposition to “sell the country” and you guys get offended??”

    Yes, but not offended at that. He’s right about *nobody* being allowed to sell the country.

    “So I guess that means you are admitting that you oppos would “sell” the country if you got into power?”

    No, your guess is wrong; it doesn’t mean that. Like I said, *nobody* is allowed to “sell” the country.

    “Thanks for the clarification.”

    You’re welcome. Anytime.

    “So why would anyone with a brain not agree with Rangel Silva?”

    Because of the other things he said, which go against the constitution. Why would anyone with a brain not disagree with him on those counts?

  22. Glad people are seeing what a waste of time this has all been , though I must say if people get their kicks from wasting time , so be it.I am sure we all waste plenty of time in a myriad of ways each day.

  23. with Mel Gibson and the part where the British unleash Mel’s nemesis whose brutality and sadism was given a uniform and a title to carry on as he pleased to end the insurgency. So it seems CH is doing the same…

    How many more sadists are being created and released? Remember Acosta Carlez? the one with the famous burp for taking over a bottling distributor in Carabobo? later rewarded with a Governor title?

    The sad reality is that the regime is creating and releasing sadists against the citizens, we have seen bloggers arrested and charged with incongruent crimes or the t-shirt wearing fan who was charged this week with Offending Chiefs of states….these are but a small window of the kinds of repression the government sponsors everyday

  24. A lot hinges on whether Mekled will be extradited to the US or to Venezuela.If Santos decides decides and is able to have the judges extradite him to Venezuela,he would himself become an enable of Chavez.This could happen if he is convince that Chavez is here to stay and he thinks that the best policy of Colombia would be to appease him( as for example the Spanish government has been doing).

    In Spain the judiciary is independent and this took away the option for the Spanish government to just keep on appeasing Chavez and the Cubillas affair.
    Would the Colombian court also have the independence to make its choice if Santos decides to play along with Chavez?

  25. So let me get this straight MoronsinCaracas. Anyone that recieves aid from aboard is a traitor and the military has the right to step in and remove them in your opinion?

    So I’m guessing you are fine with the honduras coup, because their ex President took aid from Venezuela? And you are all for coups to take place around south america where Chavez has been sending money to fund campaigns of several presidents?

    I guess if so, we simply differ on opinion. I know many here critisized that coup in Honduras as well. If not and you disagree with the Honduras coup, please tell me why would you support one against the opposition?

  26. General Rangel is a Hero of the Nation. There must be, and can be, no return to the bad old days of domination by the oligarchy and its backers in Washington and Brussels.

    Chavez or Death!

    • so what about the new oligarchs? the ones created by the government? why no one goes after them?

      you people are so fixated in the past, you can not seem to understand the same old vices, from the old republic, are just wearing new clothes today and are even stronger and worse than ever under the chavista rule.

      tell me you get the message…you are chasing after the past but fail to see what is going on now…

  27. Sorry if this has been discussed already (it’s a long thread), but does anyone else have the feeling Ultimas Noticias screwed up here? The audio they put up on their website does not contain the quote.

    “La hipótesis (de un gobierno de la oposición) es difícil, sería vender al país, eso no lo va a aceptar la gente, la FAN no, y el pueblo menos.”

    More to the point, everything else in the interview was about the hypothesis that an opposition government would purge the armed forces of Chavez loyalists. UN puts this in brackets (of a government of the opposition) — but in the audio and in the newspaper interview that was not what they seemed to be talking about. So was Rangel saying the army would not accept such a purge, not that it would not accept an oppo government per se?

  28. It’s amazing how you guys got the Constitution wrong!
    It clearly states that after Cobra Commander gets to hand pick who forms part of the CNE, this institution must hold election results until experts in International Politics like Rangel Silva determine if Mossad or Scotland Yard are behind Henri Falcon.
    I, for one, feel reassured that even if more than 50% of the population get duped by Imperialist Propaganda, we can always count on Rangel Silva to analyze who’s selling the country to whom.
    Y’know, ’cause soldiers spend a lot of time on the border, and dedicate themselves to reading through Chomsky and such… Ahora cuéntame uno de vaqueros morones…

  29. The purpose of the Armed Forces is to protect the people. Sometimes that involves protecting them from themselves. And sometimes, it involves protecting them from antisocial, greedy-guts apologists for late-capitalism like yourselves.

    A responsible parent does not let their child play with matches or experiment with drugs, even if they want to. Likewise, it is the duty of the military to protect the people from being seduced by the united states propaganda and the late capitalist ideology, which are as toxic as cocaine and heroin.


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