A Portrait of the Yes Man as a Young Man

Estamos chévere
Estamos chévere

I’m still amazed by the sheer dearth of information we have about our soon-to-be-president. Once more, Ultimas Noticias comes to the rescue, with a juicy article that’s long on color and short, inevitably short, on policy content.

Turns out that “Maduro consults the I-Ching at difficult times (such as April 11th) and is a follower of Sai Baba.”

There’s plenty more after the jump.

Sus primeros pasos en la política los dio en sus tiempos de estudiantes. “Era el de los juegos pesados”, recuerda uno de sus compañeros de liceo. “Tocaba el bajo y a veces la guitarra, pero era malísimo. No tenía oído. Lo del grupo Enigma era pura descarga”.

Desde entonces, el ya bigotudo Maduro (y también melenudo) tenía la costumbre de usar pantalones sobre la cintura y camisas arremangadas. Era el pana con carro (de su papá): un desvencijado Ford Fairlane color crema.

El “niño bien” de Los Chaguaramos se incorporó rápidamente a la dinámica del liceo en El Valle. Las borracheras con anís y ron a ritmo de rock pesado -con música de Saga o Barón Rojo.

Las cenas de pan con mortadela. La dirigencia estudiantil en el José Ávalos. Las visitas a los barrios para llevar los “círculos de estudio” que promovía la Liga Socialista. Un año de estudios políticos en Cuba. “Era el que menos pensábamos que se dedicaría a la política. No se lo tomaba en serio. Además era un embarcador. Nunca llegaba a la hora”, recuerda su amigo de la secundaria.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. I really don’t get why the Sai Baba thing is controversial. So he idolizes a dead brown-skinned man whose mental sanity is questionable – what else is new? 😉

    In general, I prefer if we keep religious beliefs off the table. I don’t like it when people question my own, so I’d rather not question other people’s.

    I’d much rather we go after his and Cilia’s shady dealings. That, apparently, is something chavista bases really don’t like.

    BTW, remember that time when Maduro was prevented from boarding a flight to Orlando because he wanted to pay for first-class tickets in cash? He was at the UN and was going to Disney World or something …

    • Is Quico suggesting it’s controversial? It’s somewhat exotic, like Baduel’s belief in reincarnation. But looked at from another point of view, it is absolutely mainstream Venezuelan to mix-and-match your religions, add a dose of New Age mysticism and santeria and celebrate Halloween. I disagree, Juan, that you can ‘keep religious beliefs off the table’. It might be desirable in the abstract, but how can you do that when we’re knee-deep in prayer-sessions for the comandante’s recovery, Chavez is waving crucifixes around and even Cuban babalaos get in on the act? I’m afraid the government has harnessed religion to its political cause, not to mention seeking to dictate private morality as if it were a matter for the state. The real, or professed, religious views of its principal leaders are a matter of fair comment, I think, under the circumstances.

    • Juan, Religious or quasi-religious leanings are very much on the table. Especially when these leanings are unorthodox for the majority, and are held dear to someone taking the reins of government over that majority.

      Mind, body, spirit. These interlinked aspects of human existence form part of a package. And each one should be on the table when assessing governance.

      To get back to Maduro’s belief in the I-Ching. Will that provide the direction on how Venezuela is to be governed, during the Yes man’s tenure?

    • …and my religion is Chavez. Religion part of fray and deserves to be discussed. Airport incident @ JFK. One-way cash cash ticket flagged him. He was arrogant and obnoxious.

  2. More broadly, Juan, while Maduro’s crackpot new age spirtuality (sorry, I can’t bring myself to be polite about this) may not really be of very much relevance, it’s certainly more relevant than the crap band he played in in college, the color of his dad’s Ford, his immune system’s reaction to flowers or his accident record as a MetroBus driver…and yet, profile writers are forced to turn to such minutiae because, did I mention, NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING WORTH KNOWING ABOUT HIS POLITICS!!!!

    • With a little patience I’m sure you’ll become very well informed of his politics. The fuss about not knowing much right now is just frustration that you’ve got nothing to prematurely/retroactively accuse him of. Just assume there’ll be more of the same, that’s your best bet.

      The only certain thing is that in your eyes, he must be slandered and maligned as much and as quickly as possible.

      • How presumptuous to want to know anything about the successor designate and his views on running the country. Follow el commandate’s instructions!

    • As a fellow atheist I would actually have more distrust of a leader that follows unconventional religions. At least if he’s Christian or some conventional religion he may just be following the religion for appearance’s sake. He may have been born into it and follow it unquestioningly. However, you don’t just fall in with a cult, you actually have to possess the kind of mindset that makes you seek them out. I have a cousin who followed a similar guy to Sai Baba. She believes in everything from ‘auras’ that irradiate her food to indigo children and every other ridiculous thing under the sun. Really bat shit stuff. I would also prefer that religion be kept out of politics but barring that I would take a hard-drinking, whoremongering, hypocritical Christian over a devout cult member any day.

      • you actually have to possess the kind of mindset that makes you seek them out.

        Yes and no.

        In the yes camp are generally those of weak character, or those who never developed direction, say, during their formative years, with or whithout the help of a mentor. So they flounder a little here and there. Maybe they get into drugs and want to clean up. Maybe they’re part of a rock band, and think it’s cool to follow spiritual alternatives than those they grew up with. Maduro belongs to this group. You’ll note from his white garb that he’s really bought into the schtick.

        In the no camp are those of weak character, etc., who are approached by marauding spiritual marketers, trained to look for weakness, and trained to invite same to “dinner”. That was the approach of the “Moonies” in the mid-to-late 70’s.

  3. Cilia Flores!

    With due deference to Helen of Homer’s Iliad, Cilia Flores is the face that will ‘turn back’ a thousand ships, or in this case, Venezuelan voters. That face, and her political corruption, need to be investigated.

  4. If this chess game is well played, neither Maduro nor Cabello will be President. Maybe it’s irrelevant to know more about their lives right now.

  5. From a moment I thought the picture was taken today in the hospital in Havana, and wonder what kind of post-operatory therapy was it to wrap the president in a saffron nighty…

  6. Everyone is talking about politics and I needed to find out through foreign media that the recovery of Chavez does not go that well. Anyone ever thought about what cancer actually does with a person and his or her family?

  7. Honestly I’d like to think this would expose Maduro for a crackpot but apparently belonging to a good-vibes Venezuelan Manson family with afro man at its head isn’t all that shocking to most people. It’s sad but in a country where people mix and match religions and try to pray el comandante’s cancer away this really isn’t too damaging.

    • I wonder how many Venezuelans have actually seen someone depend on the I Ching, consulting it before their daily activities. Here’s what I came across, in the early 70’s. A young man would rest his I Ching(Book of Changes) on its spine, its fore edges ready for partition. He’d drop a penny, and where it landed in the pages, would mark his reading for the day. He showed me one of those readings. To me, it read like the scroll of a fortune cookie. Now, I realize that education in Venezuela has not been well developed, at all levels — for centuries — and still isn’t. And I realize that most people would not know or care that Maduro consults the I-Ching, before making a decision. But I wonder how many would change their minds, if they knew that I-Ching consultations, say on the jail term of a loved one, consisted of dropping a 10 c coin into the I-Ching, much like one would roll a dice.

      • http://www.ichingonline.net/
        K’an / Dangerously Deep

        Water follows Water, spilling over any cliff, flowing past all obstacles, no matter the depth or distance, to the Sea.
        The Superior Person learns flexibility from the mistakes he has made, and grows strong from the obstacles he has overcome, pressing on to show others the Way.


        You are facing a crucial trial along your Journey.
        The danger of this challenge is very real.
        It is a test of your mettle.
        If you can maintain your integrity and stay true to your convictions, you will overcome.
        That’s not as easy as it seems when you are faced with the sacrifice of other things you’ve come to depend upon or hold dear.

      • I had a boss once who liked to have a few drinks and do the I-Ching thing after a hard week of work. Its a ’70s thing. That and Saga. In fact, some I-Ching, some Saga, some weed (I forget what they called it in the 1970s), and then maybe some Fender bass and some cowbell, and a tour around in the Ford Fairlane with guys in mustaches….and then on to back-up PRESIDENT. Not bad. Really bad.

  8. James Joyce Reference??? Quico Toro, and I mean this as the highest possible compliment, you bring elitism to a whole new level. I HEART Caracaschronicles.


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