Our long, national psychodrama continues


rumors-1Taking advantage of the long weekend, I was going to sit down and write one of several posts lurking in my head. There is one on education, another one on political parties, and yet another one on Venezuela’s fiscal situation.

But it all seems pointless.

Today, we spent yet another day drowning in a swirl of rumours about Hugo Chávez’s health. (If you must know, he possibly had a pulmonary embolism, or he didn’t. He is at death’s door, or he is alert and giving orders. Who knows.)

Of course, no official word came on the real status of the President’s health. The day was topped off when Vice-President Nicolás Maduro, in a bizarre cadena from Havana, basically left all questions unanswered. The President’s condition, he said, “is complicated.”

No shit.

Here is a partial list of the known unknowns, in spite of chavista tools trying to convince us of how entirely forthcoming they have all been:

a) we don’t know what type of cancer he has, nor what stage, nor his prognosis.

b) we don’t know what he was operated on.

c) we don’t know the exact nature of his “complications.”

d) we don’t know if/when he will be able to take the Oath of Office, and we don’t know what will happen if he doesn’t.

e) we don’t know who will be selected head of the National Assembly, in theory, the person in charge of the country if the President cannot take the oath.

f) we don’t know who is in charge of the President’s health, whether it is a Cuban doctor, a Spaniard, a Russian, or what.

I guess now would be a primo time for Guyana to invade us. After all, there is really no one at the helm. The people in charge while micomandantepresidente “gets better” have no clue what they are doing. Witness how Maduro, while in Cuba, left the country in charge of the guy who is presiding over the worst wave of blackouts our country has seen since the invention of electricity.

I mean, really Nicolás? Hector Navarro? It’s like the Peter Principle … on steroids.

En fin, life goes on (for some). Tomorrow we will welcome the new year, oil will keep flowing, and there won’t be any space for us to discuss other issues.

We sit, we tweet, and we wait.

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  1. The Government of the Republic of Poland in exile lasted 51 years. Formed in September 1939 and based in France, until the Nazis invaded that country, as well, the Polish government in exile set up new headquarters in London UK. The arrangement lasted until the end of the Communist rule in Poland, in December 1990.

    The little video is ominous. The more or less relaxed Rosa Virginia and her chicle-chewing maridito, seem to indicate that Chávez still lives. Maduro’s mention of ‘el busto del apóstol bolivariano, José Martí, en el pico Turquino de la Sierra Maestra’ gives me the creeps, as though there’s every intention to further homogenize the political histories of two nations. Por gota.

    Of course, political tourists (PSFs) will be delighted. So long as this blending doesn’t happen to their own countries.

  2. It may be different in the capital but 90% of the conversation going on where I am is about food. As in: there’s some guy selling queso de mano off a truck in such and such, for 40 bolos, less salty than the guy in such and such makes, vamonos…

    It is all building to a gigantic climax. And then everyone hits the road and goes home at exactly the same time….

  3. The part that amuses me is the need for the newspaper. Not so much that it lends credibility, but the fact that they need to lend such credibility at all and they recognize the fact. I used to think that the only folk who used newspapers to verify dates were kidnap victims in pleas to their families that they were still alive and like to be ransomed.

    Of course, there’s about 30 million secuestrinos at this moment since leadership is essentially paralyzed.

    Now, the big money question: Who, exactly, was the newspaper for? El Pueblo? Foreign and domestic press? The opposition? Or…more frightening, the inner circle of Chavismo?

  4. Transicion en Gotas: We will probably never know (before the Castros are booted from Cuba for good) how many hours they had him in that state before they decided to announce that he was not exactly shipshape but going down.

    A small taste of Soviet secrecy and lying. I hope the people backing Chavez like it for it’s likely to be one of the last.

  5. Just like those who complain most about crime are those most insulated from it, those who complain most about this medical uncertainty are those with the least to lose from it.

      • The best indicator of whether you complain about crime, or this medical uncertainty, is your social class. Everyone else has more important priorities, like housing, healthcare, education, etc.

        Check your privilege, guys.

        • According to surveys the number 1 problem in the nation is crime.


          It is not me saying it. It is GISXXI. As well as the others. In fact, if you actually check the stats the biggest murder victims are not the middle-class and up who can afford to live in safer areas sometimes with private security. The victims are those in the barrios.

          As another fact, none of the issues you mentioned appear as a priority in people’s minds.

          Perhaps you should check your biases.

          • I didn’t say #1 problem, I said who complains about the problem.

            And to Gustavo below,

            I didn’t say victims, I said who complains about the problem.

          • I am pretty certain that those who complain about the problem the most are the relatives of the victims. The surveys show that they complain too. Surveys are filled by sample groups that represent the population.

            Where did you get that the complainers are the privileged? And also what’s wrong with that? It is a legitimate complaint after all. One can relate to the victims even if one has not been one. What’s your point?

          • You are right, baseless evidence. Crime has not quadrupled since 1998 (Sticking to your script you would say that as revenue has raise so does crime, so crime is the evidence that Venezuelans are doing so much better!) Chavez has not publicly said that stealing when you are hungry is morally justified. Its a baseless assumption to say that there is no independence of power when the National Assembly relinquished its role and gave all law making powers to Chavez and that TSJ functions as a branch of the PSUV . The broader point is that if Obama wanted to pass any type of gun control legislation he would had to face filibuster, the NRA, the House and a conservative Supreme Court and probably lose with a high political pirce. Chavismo has no obstacle in passing any kind of comprehensive legislation to stop crime and has not done because they just don’t care.

          • Again, you repeat the same baseless assertions, apparently without regard for the truth.

            The National Assembly relinquished its role? The TSJ functions as a branch of the PSUV? Says who? Some nut job crooks that you all now see as your heroes? I can find similar idiots who say the same things about Obama in the United States. The only difference is no one listens to them because they are idiots.

            Did Chavez not form a national police force? Whoops, there goes your whole nonsense about them not doing anything.

          • Sorry,
            If Obama received enabling powers to legislate such as this one, where he can legislate in any matter without Congress approval or opposition
            If besides he had a Supreme Court that openly backs him (and that declared constitutional each and every one and in full content all the laws passed using said enabling law) and yet he still could not do anything about gun violence in the US he would be as responsible as Chavez is for crime in Venezuela.
            About the baseless evidence clai, I think Chavismo, the National Assembly and the TSJ are pretty open about not sharing the “bourgeois” concept of traditional separation of powers and the intervention of the judiciary and the submission of the National Assembly to Chavez leadership is pretty self evident to anyone watching Venezuelan reality with a minimal degree of objectiveness.

          • You seem to equate powers agreeing about things, or having the same ideology, with powers not being independent. That’s not a logical conclusion.

            If the National Assembly decides to give certain powers to the executive, this is not a demonstration of a lack of independence. This is an independent decision that can be made by the National Assembly, it is constitutional, and it had been done many times before Chavez. Try again.

          • The 1961 Constitution only allowed enabling laws in economic matter,s not for others. Criminal law was always considered off limits of executive legislative power. As a matter of fact, Chavez was the first President in Venezuela with powers to legislate on criminal matters. Considering the fact that murders have quadrupled that makes his failure all the more patent. So my point still stands, he had an unprecedented power to fight crime and failed to do so.
            About the argument that is a regional problem, murders have no quadrupled in most of Latin America, in many countries it has actually lowered. Most of the increase in Venezuela cannot be blame on “regional” problems, specially considering that the increase happened in the middle of economic growth which did not occur in many of the countries where crime increased, quite on the contrary

          • 21,000 people were murdered in Venezuela this year.
            21,000 people!
            Twenty. One. Thousand. People.

            And we need to “check our privilege” for raising our voice about this senseless unchecked slaughter?!

            You’re not only insane, you’re a grade a asshole.

          • You’re right. On both counts. The statistics on homicide in Venezuela need to be highlighted, not just in 2012. Perhaps they should be inserted, however briefly, into the drafted obit on Chávez by foreign journos, many of whom have long turned a blind eye (if they even had a clue) on the human sacrifices to this *socialist* experiment.

          • yoyo, you’re dead wrong on this one. Crime is a HUGE problem, recognized by pretty much everyone. It may be true that some sectors complain about it more than others, but it is universally recognized as a MAJOR problem.

            Where the bozos here get it wrong is in their attempts to immediately attribute it to “socialism” without having actually studied the issue, and without having actually tried to discover its real causes.

          • Crime has gone way up in Venezuela. Must be Chavez’s fault right? Just like the huge increases in crime in places like El Salvador and Honduras are also the fault of those countries’ presidents. There could not possibly be any other explanation.

          • The government is responsible for public safety. By definition. Chavez has been the head of the government for 14 years. Is Chavez the only responsible? Hell no. There are tons of more people that share the responsibility with him. But Chavez is partly responsible.

            Regardless of the externalities or causes, the current government and its executive staff have failed to deal with the issue and should be held accountable for the failures or lack of will to fulfill those responsibilities invested in them.

          • Yes, just like the increase in public shootings in the United States is the fault of Barack Obama. There can’t possibly be any other explanation…

          • It is not the fault of Obama, but he and his government are responsible for the safety of the kids in public schools. And they should be held accountable for it.

            And as tragic as that event is, it is pretty statistically insignificant as they happen rarely. 21,000 deaths in one year, is really a nationwide concern.

          • People who say you can’t blame the crime on Chavez overlook whom he has promoted to the highest positions of power and his own example and sources of support.

          • Barack Obama should be held accountable for the rise in public shootings in the United States??? I’ve not heard anyone make that argument, because it is completely moronic. But you’ve demonstrated that your logic forces you to come to ridiculous conclusions.

          • The level of cynicism by comparing the situation Venezuela with the Us is outstanding. We live in a country where the legislative and judicial branches of the President with no independence whatsoever. Nothing has stop Chavez from passing a bill or reform to reduce crime, there are no checks and balance to what he can do, They just don’t care enough about the issue. Besides that a government with a violent, class warfare speech that has justified crime is by definition barred from having any strong stance on crime. he by concentrating all powers in himself Chavez has made himself responsible for pretty much anything that goes wrong with government administration in Venezuela.
            By the way int he US Obama inherited a violence problem, murders have quadrupled since 1998, the level of crime IS a consequence of chavismo.

          • Zzzzzzzzz…. Practically everything you said is false. The lack of independence of powers is an assumption, based on nothing. Just because one party controls the powers does not necessarily mean they aren’t independent (one party has controlled multiple powers in the United States on multiple occasions, as is the case right now!). Chavez has never justified crime, he has taken many measures to fight crime such as the formation of a national police force.

            Making a bunch of baseless assertions doesn’t prove anything. But it is obvious that you base your beliefs on what you want to believe, not on evidence.

          • See, I can also make a long rant full of nonsense assertions:

            The level of cynicism by comparing the situation Venezuela with the Us is outstanding. We live in a country where the legislative and executive branches are controlled by the President with no independence whatsoever. Nothing has stop Obama from passing a bill or reform to reduce crime, there are no checks and balance to what he can do, They just don’t care enough about the issue. Besides that a government with a violent, class warfare speech that has justified crime is by definition barred from having any strong stance on crime. he by concentrating all powers in himself Obama has made himself responsible for pretty much anything that goes wrong with government administration in the United States.
            By the way in Venezuela Chavez inherited a violence problem, public shootings have quadrupled since 2008, the level of crime IS a consequence of Obamismo.

          • GAC,
            Who then should be held accountable for the increased levels of violent deaths? And the long series of failed strategies? And the prison disaster? Who? Capitalism perhaps? The evil empire?

          • Rodrigo,

            Sensible people understand that complex problems like crime cannot be blamed on a single person or political party, much less someone’s “rhetoric”. Only an idiot would think you can place a “who” on this kind of social problem. The roots of the problem go much deeper, and must be analyzed comprehensively. Violent deaths have not only increased in Venezuela in recent years. They have increased in many Latin American countries, some worse than Venezuela. The real roots of the problem are more likely to be found in the high inequality that worsened throughout the 1990s and has only marginally improved in recent years, and increasing urbanization that has led to ever-growing city slums. The fact that problems like crime and overfilled prisons, etc. have plagued governments in Latin America for decades shows to any rational person that the problem does not have an obvious solution, nor is it something that any government can be expected to find a quick solution to. Trying to place a “who” on it is an obvious attempt to politicize a very complex problem to fit your own agenda.

          • Look GAC, you may be right in the sense that the government is no more responsible for the crime levels than your doctor is responsible for any disease you might get, but if you get a nasty disease, you would expect the doctor to apply the best possible treatment, wouldn’t you?

            Do you really believe the government is anywhere close to doing the best that can be done concerning crime?

          • As Harry Truman used to say, “The buck stops here.” As Hugo Chavez/his Government/TROLLS say, the buck stops anywhere else but here….

          • Get a Shrink,

            I would expect the doctor to do everything he can, with the understanding that the doctor’s abilities are limited, and that some diseases do not have an easy cure.

            Saying that the government has not done the best they can do on crime is a far cry from implying that the 20,000 dead this year are “a consequence of Chavismo” or are “human sacrifices to this socialist experiment” as your friends have said here.

            Funny how asking people to be reasonable is somehow seen as an extreme position around here.

          • GAC,
            Let’s leave at that crime’s root cause is not in government. But we as citizen expected the government to do something. And this one has failed utterly in getting anywhere with the issue..

          • So, Afiuni follows the constitution and excercises her power through her decisionas a judge, chavez doesn’t like it and makes her go to prison, does that seems like separation of powers to you gac? a president ordering to imprison a judge?

          • The whole point is that she DIDN’T exercise her power legally. She allowed a suspect to flee justice by circumventing the established procedures and violating the rules.

            And the president did not order her to be imprisoned. She was already imprisoned when Chavez made his famous comments.

    • If you could see how your heroes and their families live yoyo. If you could see it…you would see who in fact has the most at stake in this drama.

      • I guess that’s an accurate comment. We have little to lose and a lot to gain from his passing. Chavistas, Cubans, etc. … tho$e have a lot to lo$e.

        • I know many who grew up in the same conditions and in the same place as Chavez. They became engineers, a doctor, a farmer, a divorciado struggling to support kids on a small wage, a lawyer, a university professor. Some did not advance. Chavez is not the articulation of a class struggle so much as a personal ambition which found the language of class struggle as its means of advancement. He could have been an evangelico or a salesman. He’s done much to advance a small group of loyal supporters and family, little if anything of lasting value for the throngs whose hopes he has played on, and much lasting damage in terms of enabling a culture of mistrust, corruption, violence and impunity. In the end yes, what stands out is the money. The conspicuous privilege and consumption cuts through all the ideological bullshit and reveals chavismo to anyone needing any reminder as a complete fraud. Lastima. They will build a monument in Sabaneta and that will employ some people for a period of time.

    • We have to lose a lot from Venezuela NOT being a Republic but a Bolivarian (meaning Banana, if you want black liquid banana) Republic. This is only a symptom.

      As for crime, your quite clueless comment shows you never lived in Venezuela.

  6. GAC, just to give you some evidence form time ago. In 1998 there was a group formed of the armed forces called “teatros de operaciones” that were responsible for the sealing of the borders with Colombia since the neighbor country was in state of failure and crime was rampant in that country. In 1999, when Chavez obtained power, one of his first actions was to eliminate these teatros de operaciones. Since then, the border states experienced an increase in violent murders and kidnappings common in the colombian side of the border. These type of crimes were pretty much explained in Colombia becuase of the narco-guerrillas, the paramilitaries and organized crime. It is known the various contacts that the Chavernment has with FARC, so, It could even be theorized that it was a deliberate attempt to destabilize the country. You try to defend the defenseless.


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