For those of you who prefer your Election Setup Pieces in spoken word format


Here’s my in-depth, 20 minute interview for Worldview, the global news magazine show on WBEZ (Chicagoan for NPR).

If you’ve been reading the blog these last few days, you’ll recognize the various riffs from various things I’ve been writing. I dunno, maybe it’s forwardable.

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  2. I think there’s a grave misconception economically, and simply parroted by this interview, about Venezuela’s “economic improvement” under Chavez, and also helps explain the phrase in the interview “no bang for the buck”: 1)”GDP improved from $4M/capita to $10M/capita”–sure, with an 8 years’ or so frozen exchange rate, which , when increased from today’s approx. Bs. 4/$ to a more realistic Bs. 10/$ returns Venezuelan GDP right back to $4m/capita=no improvement.; 2)”Unemployment decreased from 15% to 8%”–real Venezuelan unemployment is 50-60% calculated by serious international standards, since part-time workers/street vendors/ Misiones are not included as “employed” (even Rory hinted at this, but quickly glossed over it); 3)”Poverty has decreased”, according to Chavez from 20% to nothing, but, according to a UCAB study, is around 50%. The Venezuelan minimum wage of about Bs.2M/mo. when valued at a realistic Bs. 10/$ is a miserable $200/mo. Mercal is the only really effective “Mision”, and its below-cost food is what’s keeping millions of Venezuelans fed. Finally, by the way, how many “middle class” have you met on your trip here benefiting from the gasoline subsidy?? I don’t know any middle class that are left here, and, if so, they are few, and a minimum % of total population.

    • agree that there’s still an awful lot of window dressing that doesn’t get, well, undressed. Thanks for some naked truths. More needed.

  3. So, after listening to the first couple of minutes:

    Lemme get this straight Quico, you place Datanalisis as the #1 pollster in Vzla, and then Varianzas and then? … Really? -Beyond pathetic… Cara ´e queso´s record is bad to say the least, I actually LOVED Edo´s latest on LVL…

  4. Great interview. I love NPR and WBEZ Chicago (home of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and. this American Life).

    My only complaint is that you didn’t seem to talk about the lack of civil liberties and touched lightly on insecurity, but that’s just trying to find something to critique.

  5. The international press is covering the election heavily this time, and this is generating interest from a lot of new commentators in this blog. I sense that there is a general feeling that we are about to see history in the making. And, I think this feeling is correct.

    There is a very small childish part of me that resents the newcomers, “They didn’t spend years of their lives following all the developments that led to this moment! And, now they want to come in and share the glory?” As I said, “a very small childish part”. The much larger and rational part of me is celebrating this massive interest. Francisco Toro, Juan Cristobal, Miguel Octavio, and Daniel Duquenel have been blogging for over a decade, tirelessley writing post after post, exposing the lies, the corruption, and the ideological fallicies of Chavismo for what they are. Little by little, they have chipped away at the “Big Lie” created by Hugo Chavez and consumed and regurgitated with little question by the international press and by “useful idiots” everywhere, such as Sean Penn and Oliver Stone. Now, I see that they, and many others, including their faithful (albeit sometimes quarellsome) commentators have finally succeeded. The fraud has been exposed. The pretender has been un-masked. The emperor has been shown to be naked.

    Quico, et al: Whatever happens on Sunday, you guys have succeeded and have won your battles. There will be more to be said and done, but your original mission has been accomplished. Congratulations and thank you!

    • I’ve been following Caracas Chronicles and Devils Excrement for about 3 years now (Devils Excrement for longer, perhaps, just because Miguel was the go-to place and I didn’t know of Caracas Chronicles) but I didn’t become invested until Libya. I have effectively no stake in this election whatsoever and it matters little to me from a pragmatic standpoint. However, after Libya was “won” I needed something else to spend my time on and I have followed the Venezuelan elections rather closely.

      My Spanish hasn’t been perfect but because of my unrelenting desire to follow the Venezuelan elections it has improved ten fold I think. I don’t know if I’d credit these guys or the “opposition blogosphere” in general for my personal transformation, though they have contributed. It’s more that, hey, here’s a country that should be doing far better than it is and “screw it” I want to know more, be more knowledgeable, be more invested, understand more, be proactive. In that vein CC and DE have been basically information sources. Not the end all. Not the totalization. But a resource. A useful, interesting, insightful resource, at that. It’s impossible to place some value on their postings as far as their influence on my positions, but it would be completely wrong to say that their influence hasn’t been significant.

      Left wingers I am familiar with would say CC or even DE were right wing fascist information outlets, and so on, but then you go out and you look at the direct sources and it turns out they’re innocuous at best. It’s not the source, it’s the analysis. It’s the observation. It’s the facts.

      Rambling aside, I basically repeat what you’ve said. Thank you CC (and Devils Excrement) for providing a (mostly) balanced view of these things. Even crazy left wingers can appreciate the hard ass work you’ve done. No matter the outcome it’s been damn fun!

  6. 8:50 – “I think that is absolutely right, no question about that”

    the only reason I am voting Sunday for the opposition candidate is because unlike you, I happen to disagree with the anchor’s statement, otherwise, I would definitively cast my vote for chavez. If Venezuelan are indeed better off today, if the social programs are really working, independently of the reason, either because your counter point of chavez governing at times of skyrocketing oil prices, or any other – WHY to go back to the other guys, even if we believe chavez is not very good at his job – Who guarantees that Capriles can utilize more efficiently $105 per barrel than chavez can? Why to risk it? For god sake “Venezuelans are better off today”

    sorry your “no question about that” to me is simply trying to come out as fair and balance, so as you did later in the interview, hit chavez hard, and look like a reasonable, and credible journalist in their eyes . .

    si ganamos el domingo, san benito nos ayude, “your no question about that” será desmentido por todos los venezolanos, otherwise you were right ☺

    • I’m sorry Alex, you are how old? From what you write I am going to guess you are 22 tops.

      Where do you get that voting for Capriles is :” Going back to the other guys”?

      How do you justify:

      Expropriations, Judge Afiuni’s illegal incarceration, 150,000 murders in 13 years, rampant corruption, violent discourse, daily blackouts? Just to mention a few things

      Is it your contention that given all of the above, and much more, we are somehow better off than before? You must have been born in 1990 or so.

      Chavez got elected because people were fed up with the political class that had ruled from 1958 forward. Compared to them, Chavez is as bad as the cancer he allegedly has, if not 10 times worse.

      Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to go back to “the other guys either”. For you to make your statement it is likely you did not live “under the other guys”.

      I respect that you can have your opinion. But to have a population depend mostly on government handouts is no way to run a country, especially when that government depends on one commodity and throttles free enterprise to boot.

      With all due respect, while I am glad to hear that you want to cast your vote for Capriles, you really need to think hard about what a government should do for its citizens, beginning with not marginalizing those who do not agree with it, and not become the sole means of subsistence for them either.

  7. ?? clearly my point did not come across as intended ☹

    -at 8:15 – “a lot of venezuelan are asking themselves are we better off because chavez is in power, and I see a lot of them answering yes” is not me saying it, I am just quoting the interviewer.
    -back to the other guys I got from chavez, I thought he is the one that keep repeating it, not like I agree with him.
    -and you are right, I cannot justify any of that – not sure where you got I would .


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