Let’s-not-kid-ourselves Chronicles


The New York Times’ William Neuman breaks down the election. Two money quotes:

The government used a huge spending increase to boost the economy and consolidate support before the election, according to Ricardo Hausmann, the director of the Center for International Development at Harvard University. At the same time it used price controls and cheap imports to tamp down inflation.

“They engineered an electoral year boomlet that is now going to fizzle,” said Mr. Hausmann, who supported Mr. Capriles. He predicted a recession that could bring political consequences. “I think there’s going to be disappointment with Chávez fairly soon,” he said.

… and this one

Francisco Rodríguez, an economist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, speculated that Mr. Chávez might propose changing the succession rules so that the vice president, who is selected by the president, serves out the remainder of a vacated presidency. If the opposition weakens from its defeat, the change might win the necessary popular approval.

“He can catch the opposition in a state of disarray and get that passed without much trouble and then he would control the succession issue,” Mr. Rodríguez said.

Francisco is right – this is probably coming. In fact, Luisa Estela Morales, president of the TSJ, said last week said that when people vote for a person, they really vote for a political process. So let’s not kid ourselves with the cancer issue. I used to think that was a way out, not so much any more …

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  1. Where does that change stand in the hierarchy of constitutional amendments? Does it require another referendum or 2/3 assembly vote?

    • According to the Article 341 of the Constitution, if the proposed amendment comes from the National Assembly, it must be discussed and approved by the majority of its members (as the term “qualified” is not written, it’s assumed is a simple majority). But if the proposal comes from the President or from 15% of registered voters, it could go directly into a referendum in the following 30 days.

      • Thanks.

        Then there’s the big question: who? At this moment I can only think of Diosdado, his brother and (gulp!) JVR.

        Needless to say, none of them are as popular as he is.

        • Nicolas Maduro is also mentioned as a possibility. If a hypotetical amendment proposal includes eliminating the barring of family members, then the answer is very clear: Chavez x Chavez.

          • Valid point, but remember that he ran with Putin for Prime Minister (equivalent to the VP). Thus, popular or not, people were still voting por Putin.

  2. Thanks a lot, Francisco Rodríguez, Bank of America, Merril Lynch and Juan Nagel for giving Chávez ideas and, on top of that, spread them as far as you can…

    No nos sigan ayudando, compadres!

  3. Everybody’s been expecting Fidel¨s demise for a while and the SoB is still alive and kicking. I willl not hold my breath – or my life – waiting for Chavez’s retreat because of medical reasons. For all we know, it might never happen…

    • Yes, now comes, as expected, the opposition predictions of IMMINENT DOOM that have always proven to be just as true as the predictions of a Capriles win on this blog. The opposition will continue to predict economic collapse is just around the corner while the Venezuelan economy continues to grow and the government continues to reduce poverty.

      • Who is predicting what? We’re laying out scenarios. Besides, I believe it’s your beloved President who has a habit of springing Constitutional reforms and Enabling laws out of the back of his pocket, so yes, there is precedent.

        If you cut the snark a bit we might be able to get along.

      • I’m not predicting that, but even if it were to happen it wouldn’t affect the govt., just like in 2003. People who cling to those sinister hopes should just find something constructive to do.

        Serious question: what do you think of the prospects for succession and continuity of the process in the case that HCF’s health becomes a more serious issue?

        • What process?? The process of spending/stealing what you don’t have and mortgaging the future? There are no prospects but bankruptcy/debt default/ public service cutbacks, unless an Iran blowup provides a short-term reprieve.

          • It’s not that I disagree with you… I wanted to try out the lingo just to know how it feels (answer: not very good).

  4. I think it was the reason of HCh aiming for 70%, he would have tried a couple of changes directly. Now it would be at least more difficult to get through.
    The election day the alleged cuban physician was all the time near HCh and even gave him some directions, I wonder why, what can he do?
    And the AN suspended the session today, why? It is relevant?

  5. Why did someone offer a ticket and dinero’s? Just as the right wing in States you to say “Love it or Leave it” I could never get them to ante up…And you know I could really go for a Venezuelan hamburger right about now but the Plaza in Doral is a bit far and I don’t think any of the Cisneros clan will have me over for la cerveza de la Polar any time soon,hey but they have moved some of their operations out of North Miami.

    • I’ll give you that… I’d trade any burger joint in the US for the street vendors in Cecilio Acosta in Maracaibo.

    • Cort, I know a place in Venezuela, near the Colombian border, where you can eat boiled chicken every day, live in the beautiful outdoors, hang out with the occasional chavista, and be a REAL “revolutionary”, weapons and all….for absolutely free! You will even meet the occasional foreigner (though he/she will usually be bound and sometimes gagged, and they may not take well to your wonderful revolutionary “zingers”). And the climate is kinda like Florida, USA.

      Don’t worry about the dinero…get a one way ticket to Caracas, hitch a ride to Tachira or Apure, go for a walk in the countryside, and follow your dream, bro! You can talk the talk, now walk the walk!

  6. My prediction is that tomorrow during his enthronement he will announce something to “wind up” and drive the opposition hysterical and finish demoralising it (and force a crack in its ranks), thereafter he will slip his succession clause. Considering the man is paranoid and an egomaniac I can only foresee him placing a family member (a genetic extension of his ego). I predict he tries to place his brother as successor! It is not about ‘el proceso’, ‘la revolucion’, READ MY LIPS, there is no proceso, there is no revolucion. This is not China. It all ends and begins with him. He is the Alpha (the Beta) and the Omega. The anointment of anyone barr a family member as his successor is an anathema. Actually now that I think about it who is the person he admires the most (living)? Fidel Castro! And who is Fidel’s sucessor? Answer: his brother
    I rest my case

    • Something hysterical? Closing Globovision good enough?

      It is a matter of time before he gets the complete media “hegemony” he aspires to.

  7. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Personally I dont think Chavez trusts anyone, he may trust his brother a bit more. . His political strength is to keep everyone else weak and guessing. That game is over if he pushes a succession plan in my view. He may be able to get the law changed to allow a VP to continue in his place but asking for that and having that law allow succession of a family member may be a reach. His loyal love him, everyone else, not so much.

  8. Si, totalmente de acuerdo con lo del cáncer. Another one from “el proceso” will come, perhaps with less charm but they will hold the power. And as long as they will keep pumping money, well “the people” will be happy with the crumbs.

    Juan and Quico, I am torn between the reaction of the Venezuelan people who live inside of the country, kinda too much optimism on a living-in-denial kinda thing, I don’t get the optimism. I mean, I did, I was happy and optimistic two days ago, when I hear Capriles concession speech but then it hit me, like, for more I like Capriles and I think he could be one of the greatest presidents Venezuela ever had, I don’t think for more close he gets up, he is never gonna win, and not because of lacks of votes, but bc of the chavista consejo supremo electoral. You know, we know el golpista is what it is, not a gentleman. Why do you guys think about that? Nothing to worry about? Or someday they will make a mistake, like Al Capone did? They have been perfecting his game for a long time you know.


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