A holiday respite

Bet you caraqueños don't know what this is...
Bet you caraqueños don’t know what this is…

Barring unforseen circumstances, i.e. The Man dying, we are going to go offline for a few days. We’ll be back toward the end of next week.

Happy holidays, everyone. Hug your loved ones, and appreciate every moment. Don’t put your faith in idols with feet of clay, for you are bound to be disappointed (and come across as a lunatic in the process).

The Hugo Chávez era is ending, and a new one is beginning. It may be worse, it may be better, but it sure will be different.


Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


    • Caracas south-east NOW: 11:00 pm…

      Fireworks, people going out (AT THIS HOUR!), music, cries of joy… sounds like Christmas is here at last…

      Silence in the TV Channels…

      Do you have news down there, or up there, or wherever? I suppose you are all celebrating traditional holidays, like the “Winter solstice” (way older than Christmas!).

      Something’s going on…

      And, Cort, vultures are admirable in a very “Greene” way: they eat rotten flesh and keep the environment clean! They are not pretty to look at, but, you know, they accomplish a very necessary function…

      Join the “Greene” crowd. At least, we didn’t kill “the man”…

  1. Can we rename this blog already? Vultures Chronicles would be good. Or maybe Carcass Chronicles? Cadaver Chronicles? I’ll leave it up to you.

    • I was going to delete the comment, but I’m going to let it stand to respond very briefly: the ad-hominem is uncalled for. I am not making any sort of judgment about Chávez’s death. If you must know, I actually feel sorry for him – he must be in excrutiating pain. I am trying to be respectful about this whole ordeal.

      But the topic is not off-limits, and in fact it is the most important story in, and about, Venezuela.

      Finally, I think you owe us an apology. For months, every time we talked about Chávez’s illness, you and fellow PSFs would laugh it off. Now, death is staring you in the face. We were right all along – the issue was real, and the implications huge.

      • I never said that Chavez was not ill, or even that he was in the clear. It has always been a possibility that he would not win his battle with cancer.

        What has been criticized here is the constant salivating about his death, talking about it as if it had already happened, as if his death were a sure thing, a slam dunk, in an almost celebratory fashion. I can’t think of a single webpage that has spent more time dwelling on it, constantly predicting his death over and over again (you were right all along? Even a clock is right twice a day). It is just icky.

        (Example: you don’t show your respect for someone who is dying by referring to them as “The Man” and talking about them as if they were already a goner. Or is that the way you treat everyone you know who is struggling for their life?)

        So let’s change the name already. My favorite is Carcass Chronicles. Just remove the “a” and add an “s” on the end. Perfect!

        What do you say?

        • *broken clock. By the way, if I start predicting your death every few months I’ll eventually be right. Does that mean I was “right all along”? You be the judge.

          • Exactly. They really don’t see how predicting Chavez’s death every few months would give anyone the idea of renaming the blog to “Vultures Chronicles” or “Cadaver Chronicles”. Juan threatening to delete your comment, and demanding an apology is priceless. Please do not give up your efforts to communicate with these people.

          • Juan, you’ve finally done it; you’ve split GAC”s personality into 2 equal parts, openly dialoging with each other around an esnobista CC table. Congratulations!

        • I think referring to him as “The Man” is actually quite respectful. But suit yourself… Nobody here is salivating. I understand you’re feeling a lot of pain at watching the demise of Chávez, but don’t take it out on us. It’s not our fault. I suggest you take your anger out on the people who have been constantly deceiving, hiding, and misinforming the public about the true nature of Chávez’s health.

          • Continuously talking about a person’s death as if it already happened sure makes it sound like you just can’t wait for it to be reality. Some examples in recent days:

            “It’s strange to think that Hugo Chávez might be dead right now. Or he might die in the next 72 hours.”

            “He may show up a few times more, but let’s be honest here: the Hugo Chávez era is over.”

            “The Hugo Chávez era is ending”

            “… favorite to win a quickie election following Chávez’s demise”

            “the guy’s probably dying now.”

            “check back in six months or so: when the guy’s gone, we’re going to miss him.”

            “President-in-waiting Nicolás Maduro”

            “Sooner rather than later?”

            “we need to keep in mind that Chávez’s death and the election that would follow may be months away.”

            You may not be salivating. But then again, I’m not sure if vultures salivate much?

          • Wake up – it’s a blog, opinions are included.

            And does it not seem odd that when all other forms of state-dominated media have been eluding the president’s health issues, blogs and informal news are the only sources we have? Some revolution. I’d rather a blog that discusses the situation and possible circumstances than official sources hiding facts.

          • “it’s a blog, opinions are included”

            Um, Get a Clue seems only to be commenting on his perception of the blog based on the opinions of its contributers. By doing so, is he not also expressing his opinion? If so, someone should remind Juan before he starts deleting comments merely for expressing opinions that he disagrees with, as he actually threatens to do above.

            Juan accuses Get a Clue of employing an “ad hominem” argument where clearly he does not, in a failed attempt to justify his near-deletion of a comment he doesn’t like.

          • What a nonsensical defense, pcv. Or are you GAC’s alter-ego?
            And btw, unless you know a man who uses “icky” in his conversation — I don’t — GAC is a female, who happens to be an airhead member of the I Heart Chávez fan club. We are worried about her mental health during these very difficult days for her #1 patient in Cuba who, it seems, might not make it.

          • For pcv…

            Bear in mind that all perceptions, as you call them, are entirely relative to the individual. As an adherent of one political faction lurking and/or commenting on one of the more or less rational opposing faction’s blogs, of course your or GACs perceptions will be rather different from the majority of the people on this blog.

            This is no different from an atheist commenting on a born-again Christian blog and intentionally mocking, insulting, or otherwise deriding the beliefs of the majority of the people there. (Or, the reverse of the situation, as the case may be). There is nothing to be gained from doing it aside from a certain degree of self-satisfaction that they are wrong and you are right…neither you nor the majority will change their opinions as they are pretty much entrenched.

            Is it really that difficult to concede such a notion? I, for one, find it difficult to understand the tenacity with which certain Chavista commentators feel the need to continually hammer comments on this blog. Its almost manic, and I do not mean the good kind.

            My cousin, a psychiatrist, says this sort of behavior is often (not always) a manifestation of deep frustration and an inability to compensate for the sunk cost (my term there, not his) of a person’s beliefs wherein the values tend to be either contradictory with something else such as observed reality, common sense, etc. or they’ve been exposed as utterly empty and the psychological response is to adhere to them all the more fanatically.

            Smart guy, my cousin.

            Anyway, lets be abjectly honest, regardless of one’s viewpoint: something is decidedly up with Chavez as we’ve seen radical changes in behaviors of both his ruling circle and in the man himself over the past year. That alone, points to a highly likely imminent mortality. Like it or not, if he was hale and hearty, it would be a moot point, but it isn’t.

            So is it too much to ask for rational discourse without partisan attacks at this juncture? To quote a different cousin, “y’all gotta do this thang together.” The sooner you do, the easier it will be to find solutions to the plethora of problems facing Venezuela.

          • piti, so sorry for disrupting your epistemically sealed circlejerk. do you seriously only read sources that reinforce your existing views, ask your cousin if that is healthy.

          • So, you don’t like people “continuously talking about a person’s death as if it already happened…”, but you keep coming to this blog to hear about it. Interesting.

          • The best response to all his complaints, ever.

            Yes this blog focuses on it, because official media in Venezuela is completely dishonest about Chavez’s health. If this blog didn’t speculate on Chavez’s health, it would be an insult to Chavez, implicitly saying the guy doesn’t matter. The fact that GAC comes back here all the time shows he himself is interested in finding out anything possible about Chavez’s health.

          • That is as perfectly concise as it can be…and it speaks volumes to chavistas. They’re constantly running in circles to try and figure out what the hell their argument is. And they keep running and running and running.

            On another note, wicked name. Getashrink very well may be Getaclue’s kryptonite.

          • Yes Jonathan, running in circles. Kind of like when you criticized my opinions with the defense that “its a blog, opinions are included.” I guess opinions about those opinions are not included? Hmmm.

            And please do elaborate on people “trying to figure out what the hell their argument is.” I have yet to see you make even one coherent argument.

          • I have yet to read one single insight over Venezuela’s political history, or proof of a deep-seated knowledge of Venezuela’s language and its people by GAC, who uses this forum as a way to wag her finger from afar. Dumb broad.

          • Well, let’s just take a recent example.

            I correctly predicted Chavez would win in October by more than 10 points, and repeatedly made that point here before the elections.

            Meanwhile all of you were engaged in a circle-jerk with obviously fake polls, and bone-headed predictions about it being “too close to call.”

            That was “one single insight” that had you all listened to you might not have made such fools out of yourselves.

          • That’s not insight, GAC, demonstrating your innate knowledge of the political history of a country with which you’re intimately familiar. Yours is parrot-talk. Like that of trained seals who get duped by the word “revolution”, and still haven’t figured out that it masks a narco corridor, a cult of personality, a roll-out of mediocrity and half-baked promises, all of this sham being perfectly suited for other countries, just not your own.

          • Get A Clue has no sense of humour, and not even a suspicion of what irony means, Mr. Syd. It’s like talking to an empty flower-pot… Ni siquiera hay flores para comer ahí…

            Por lo demás, creo que lo más recomendable sería que se tomara un enterovioformo, o que buscara algo que hacer con las manos… ¿Macramé, quizás, o armar rompecabezas? En fin, cualquier tipo de “terapia ocupacional” estaría bien…

            Santa Teresa de Jesús, la poetisa mística española, solía, cuando una de las monjitas jóvenes empezaba a tener revelaciones, visiones y otras loqueteras, mandarla a lavar los trastos, ollas y cazuelas más grasientas de la cocina del convento. Nada como el trabajo manual para dejarse de pendejadas…

            A good idea for “Get A Clue” (I forgot GAC’s lack knowledge of the Spanish language and its subtleties) would be on those lines: to go to a kitchen soup and start doing something for the poor of her/his own country… Or join a Wicca covenant, or the Peace Corps… he/she is already a Salvation Army by him/her/self, so that’s no use…

          • In fact, it’s “the man’s” own fault.., for being human and thinking he wasn’t…

            A question, Get A Clue: how do your species dress for mourning? Red? Black? Red and Black?

            Maybe you should wear a yellow-saffron-orange-red outfit, something coloured as the dawn… We could call it… what? MOURNING GLORIES, maybe?

          • Given the amount of debt and involvement with China, should it come down to it, white would be a wholly appropriate color.

            Bit o’ Trivia: In ancient Rome, the prostitutes wore flame-colored robes, gowns, or togas with the wealthier/higher class courtesans having a variety of yellow-orange-saffron-red colors in their outfit advertising their “wares”.

        • Don’t push it–unless you want me to side with Juan on this one! He has been plenty respectful–much more so than I would expect from him, honestly. (Juan is full of suprises, always entertaining, esp. when he’s full of it–and the reason I read CC). The quotes you pull out are extremely telling about his perspective (and that adopted by CC as of late), but aside from making jokes about renaming the site (I agree that “Carcass Chronicles” is the best), I don’t see you have much of a point.

        • Hugo Chavez is due respect as a human being and as the elected representative – if not of ‘the people’ – at least of those millions who voted for him. Few commentators on this blog would disagree with that. But respect is not the same as waiting supinely for the powers-that-be to tell us what’s happening and what we’re supposed to do next. Venezuelans are citizens, not subjects. Or mushrooms, to be kept in the dark and fed on shit.

          And there are other important forms of respect too. Like respect for the constitution, for instance, whose Art. 143 requires public servants to maintain the public ‘informed in a timely and truthful fashion’ as to what they are up to. How many times have we been told – by Izarra, by Diosdado, by Tom, Dick and Harry in the National Assembly – that Chavez was fine, only for The Man himself to show up, within hours, and confirm that Bocaranda was right all along (without any apology of course, from anyone concerned). I seem to recall a certain hysterical diputada wishing (‘ojala’) cancer on those (correctly, it turned out) who claimed he had cancer. When have we ever heard from his doctors?

          Then there’s the respect for minorities which is an essential part of any true democracy. When has Hugo Chavez – or for that matter, any of his leading spokesmen – shown respect for those who disagree with him (and who also represent millions of voters)?

          To the contrary, he has spent fourteen years mocking, insulting and generally denigrating his adversaries, often in the most vulgar and offensive way, not to mention using his control of the judiciary to persecute them. Does the man who is capable of this kind of filth (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztrmn3gSV20) have the right to demand respect? He gets it because his opponents are more decent than he is, and because it’s the right thing to do, but not because of any kind of reciprocity. Just bear that in mind.

          • I think that is a bit harsh, particularly now that he is likely dying. Pretty much everyone but the bottom of the barrel of humanity deserves some respect. I honestly feel bad for the man and what he is going through, both physically and more importantly, mentally.

            Allow me to elaborate. I am not, strictly speaking, anti-Chavez. I am certainly not pro-Chavez, for that matter either. I am an outside observer with numerous ties to the country he rules.

            My opinion of the man is that he is a charismatic idealist, a spectacular orator and a good political strategist who at the same time is a singularly poor manager due to his lack of focus on the minutiae he sets in train and his decision to allow ideology to trump practicality and who also succumbs from time to time to arrogance and manic tendencies.

            I am not excusing the outcomes; whether as Commandante, President, or CEO of Venezuela, Inc., he is ultimately responsible for results great and small that arise from his decisions. Had he been a little bit more focused on those same results and followed up with them as a good manager should, I think things would be very different.

            He has had control of what should be one of the world’s wealthiest countries for the past 14 years and turned it, effectively, into the last great economic sandbox. Quite literally, the country has become an economic version of minecraft. The fact that Venezuela isn’t continually climbing into first world status, but must enviously cast its eyes at countries such as Chile or Brazil (who interestingly have far more moderate policies and far greater economic succcess) as they make great strides forward. Instead, on the international stage, Venezuela has become known for a handful of things: oil, baseball players, beautiful albeit empty women (who, despite an obsessive industry geared towards winning pageants, still can’t quite get it right, e.g. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/20/miss-universe-venezuela-answer-video_n_2335735.html) and a president who is given of the appearance of a half-mad demagogue by the world media.

            I’m not saying that some things haven’t improved. Even so, for all the opportunity cost of the things involved, the improvements have been infinitesimally smaller than what they should be by comparison. The evidence of this is legion.

            So what will be his legacy? A bankrupt country that has long stated sovereignity must trump all but has allowed itself to become a debt-slave to foreign nations? A morally bankrupt nation where criminals of all stripes act with impunity while those citizens who are non-criminals turn a blind eye to protect themselves? A political movement which was originally about equality but instead has devolved on a circle as corrupt as anything offered by the IV Republic? A society split on social classisms which, while much of the rest of the world has moved forward from such issues that existed in the 18th and 19th centuries, in Venezuela they have actually regressed to the pardos v. haciendados of Bolivar’s time? The stewardship of one of the richest nations in natural resources on the planet wherein the plundering by other nations was halted, yet instead, that stewardship has allowed it being plundered by its native sons for their own gain? The lack of a strong ideological and political heir to carry on the works after he passes, knowing that when he is gone, his former adherents will turn on each other like jackals?

            I don’t know which pains him more at this point: the extreme pain from his various ailments, or the knowledge that as the end of his mortal existence approaches, his legacy must be far, far from what he would wish it should be…for a man of his vigor and mentality that anguish must be be soul-crushing.

            His failings are exactly that: his. He is culpable for all manner of crimes, corruption and outrages perpetrated by him, those under him, or that took place on his watch. Love him, or hate him; that I can understand. But, respect the essential humanity of the man and how hard it must for him to know that when he dies, his grand passion and his dream dies with him. That is where really agony exists and in this, he is unfortunately perhaps the closest to Simon Bolivar he has ever been.

          • He deserves only respect for his familly. He is a sack of shit who always claimed no quarters with the enemy and was ruthless with everyone. Respect? Pitty? B.s.

          • Three things, piti.

            One: …as the end of his mortal existence approaches, his legacy must be far, far from what he would wish it should be…for a man of his vigor and mentality that anguish must be be soul-crushing.

            I doubt very much that there is any real anguish residing in Chávez’ soul. If a man is delusional, and I do believe that condition forms as much a part of Chávez as his manic depression, he will mentally conjure just about any image that he wishes, not only for and about himself, but about his environment. It’s like being able to constantly whitewash whatever ill presents itself, while blaming outside factors (oppo, CIA, whatever) for the resulting incompetence.

            Two: I am an outside observer with numerous ties to the country he rules.

            If the leader of your own country had taken the path that Chávez has for Venezuela, most members of Congress aiding and abetting that economic downward spiral, you would be far more sanguine about your opinions. And I would understand that. On the other hand, and this brings me to point number

            Three: In your rational and disapassionate overview, you have managed to perfectly capture many of Venezuela’s ills, particularly the country’s lack of both a collective backbone and a long-term vision. That is the stew in which Chávez landed, before he made it worse, far worse, economically speaking, with the help of another psychologically disturbed leader, who decades earlier failed in his attempt to invade Venezuela.

          • Syd: “If a man is delusional, … he will mentally conjure just about any image that he wishes, not only for and about himself, but about his environment.”

            You mean like conjuring up images that all your political enemies are “psychologically disturbed” individuals? Yes, that definitely is delusional.

          • I realize you’re hurting, GAC, for the pending loss of a crusader of the revolutionary dreams you have for a country, in which you have nothing invested. And I realize that the poetic world you fashion for yourself, allows no day-to-day realities. But do, at least, try to be accurate, dearie, when you pull out your schoolmarm routine to chide someone for using a plural, when only a singular was mentioned.

          • “another psychologically disturbed leader” implies more than one. Do you have difficulty in counting to two?

          • Yes, you’re right. There are two psychologically disturbed leaders that are inextricably linked in this Cuban-Venezuelan drama of oil and vengeance and power.

            I suspect you lack the capacity to fully understand the Spanish language. Or, that you need a mythical father figure. For any sane person, observing the politics of foreign nations, would wonder about leaders who have created a cult of personality to rule over their respective nations, both using the same technique of forced, linked broadcasting, for hours at a time, over the course of many years, their folksy tales underscored by fiery polarization and veiled threats that cover up conseequent mediocrity.

            That is just one observation. But you apparently find it to be a perfectly normal way to lead a country (as long as it isn’t your country). And that tells me a great deal about you, when I’m not wondering why you keep coming back to these boards of like-minded souls that don’t agree with you. If your insights were luminous and based on a deep knowledge of the Venezuela’s political history, I’d think you were being paid for your zeal in repeatedly dipping your toes in this blog. But you and I both know that that is not the case, that financial incentive is not the reason for your need to puncture the discussions among those who are worried about the economic (do you know meaning of that word, dearie?) direction and polarized social fabric of their country.

          • So you can count to two after all (with some help)!! Now maybe you can go back and respond to my original comment?

  2. In the event the Mayans are correct and we’ll all be hit by a ball of fire at 5pm, today, I just wanted to say, what a pleasure it’s been to read and to comment on this blog, over the many years. Only one thing pains me: we’ll never know the outcome of Chávez illness, or see the new mausoleum burn to smithereens.

    (Oops, schoolmarm Get a clue, wags her finger from abroad, chastising us for being “icky”. Really, Miss GAC? Icky? What’s next, baby talk?)


    • The alleged Mayan apocalypse has a MUCH greater chance of turning out to be true than the opposition has of gaining political power democratically any time soon, lol.

      But apparently the Mayan calendar resets and there will be another 3000 years. That should give the opposition enough time to find a way to win some votes.

      • Agreed. The prime example is of course the 2010 election which the opposition won numerically, but got fewer seats due to Chavismo’s gerrymandering.

        The new era about to begin is of course that of Chavista neo-liberalism, with massive spending cuts and debt repayment programs. I for one am very happy to know Chavistas will be at the helm to reap what they have sowed.

  3. “The Hugo Chávez era is ending, and a new one is beginning.” Yes, this is surely reflected by last Sunday’s election results, lol. My god, you must really try harder to conceal your delusion!

  4. “someone should remind Juan before he starts deleting comments merely for expressing opinions that he disagrees with, as he actually threatens to do above.” I actually agree with you, as useless as GAC comment was, it should´t be deleted, i don´t want to see this blog become aporrea or any other chavista blog/forum on the web that deletes comments that fail to meet the criteria of 100% adulation for the goverment.

  5. Hello-o-o-o? Anyone out there? Unless I’m in purgatory and don’t yet realize it, the Mayan prediction of a world on fire just finished its product life cycle. Like what’s going to happen to chavismo without Chávez.

  6. Just so y”all can say I was nice at least once, Happy Winter solstice! Get some rest, party hardy and maybe, just maybe you might have a better New Year but I doubt it.

    Rojo Rojito


  7. 2013 might bring
    Harmony and understanding
    Sympathy and trust abounding
    No more falsehoods or derisions
    Golden living dreams of visions
    Mystic crystal revalation
    And the mind’s true liberation ETC ETC ,,,

  8. “When the Moon is it the Seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets, and love will steer the stars…”

    CÉDULA, Y CONTRA LA PARED… cuerda de ancianos apátridas…

  9. Hair was too easy…
    how about?
    Ja, ¿was können Sie denn eigentlich? Well, what can you do, actually?

    Rekurrieren, appellieren Petition, appeal,
    Reklamieren, revidieren, Complain, review,
    Reziepieren, subvertieren, Prescribe, subvert,
    Devolvieren, involvieren, Devolve, involve,
    Protestieren, liquidieren, Protest, liquidate,
    Exzerptieren, extorquieren Excerpt, extort,
    Arbitrieren, resümieren! Arbitrate, summarize!

    Happy Holidays

  10. Every New Year’s Day we see his big grey helicopter fly over. Won’t see it this year. Peace everyone. May it turn out for the better. Thanks for a year of Caracas Chronicles.

  11. Did the Mayans really want to predict the end of Chavez not the world? Chavez apparently had a tracheotomy which might prevent his voice from being normal again.

      • Poetic justice, Mr. Syd, for someone like him…

        After being “el chivo que más mea” y “el que nunca se calla”, now he will be forced to be silent and communicate with “one blink, two blinks, three blinks”. Why does this gives me so much pleasure? Don’t know…

  12. Me gustaría Venezolanos dentro y fuera de Venezuela, a pesar de todas las incertidumbres, deseos bendito de Navidad y buena suerte y sabiduría para el 2013 y más allá. Espero que mejores tiempos se romperá y su hermoso país volverá a participar con los demás países de América Latina, en términos de la economía y el turismo. Usted tiene un hermoso país hermoso. Mucha sabiduría y felicitaciones por parte de los Países Bajos.
    Que Dios te guíe en este camino difícil. Amén!!

  13. Thanks Juan for this blog and all your contributions. Also congratulations to Francisco Toro who authored the op ed piece in the NYT before 7 oct, quite a good piece. My new years resolution and some 2013 predictions:1) an orderly change of leadership in Venezuela in first half of the yr 2) Capriles to win elections at some point in 2013 by a narrow but still acceptable margin 3) the black market fx will pass bs 20 likely to close at 22-24 4) international reserves will fall below $20 billion but above 15 bn. 5) inflation will be 35-40 percent 6) gdp growth 1-2 per cent. 7) debt/gdp will surpass 90 per cent at the new official rate 8) venezuela wont default, yet but 2014-2015 will be critical. 9) fan will stay loyal to electoral results 10) a new chapter will open in Venezuelas history…..2013 is the year of change good on the political side bad on the ecomic. Happy new year everyone! Jose amos

  14. Buenas!
    Debo admitir que hasta hace poco no me molaba demasiado elsitio, pero actualmente estoy entrando
    regularmente y me ha empezado a gustar.
    A seguir asi!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here