Ten Years Ago Tonight

Altamira: 10 Years Ago
Altamira: December 31st, 2002

There’s a strange symmetry to it: exactly ten years ago tonight, amid the outbreak of collective mass delusion that was the 2002-2003 Paro, tens of thousands of us were gathered on the Distribuidor Altamira for a flag-waving, slogan chanting New Year’s Eve-cum-political protest.

Tonight, as the country huddles around for a muted celebration in expectation of news from Havanna, it strikes me: 2003 may well be remembered as the second most bizarre New Year’s of the Chávez era.

Happy New Year, everyone. Que nos agarre confesados. 

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


  1. Happy New year tooit it was, after all getting a bit tatty and threadbare, more than other old years, truth be told! “That it befall us after our having been shriven!”

  2. JC and Quico, I’m so sorry that this year has been such a disappointment for you guys (and others, as well). I hope and pray that 2013 turns out to be much better in so many ways for ALL of us!

  3. From top intl. source: Cadena cancelled 2 hours ago, to wait for Jan. 1, for as-yet obscure reason. Time will tell if confirmed. And, a wonderful New Year to the 3 Blog stalwarts, who have done an incredible (often thankless) and very successful job of maintaining this very wonderful, informative, and entertaining Blog!

    • While I think Chávez is dead (he stopped responding to O2 a few hours ago), and that the announcement will be made tomorrow, I fear there’s much more afoot than we could ever think possible, even though the information would not surprise.

      For instance, this on Cuban-Angolan relations reveals the depth of Cuba’s imperialist aims. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angola%E2%80%93Cuba_relations . Ooops, sorry PSF’s, scratch imperialist for *revolutionary*. Ah, yes, that’s better, innit?

      One sentence from that link struck a chord, for it related to GEHA’s post (https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2012/12/29/preparing-for-the-wrong-conflict/):
      “Seeing the mass of Soviet-made military weapons arriving in Angola (destined for Cuban forces and MPLA cadres), Savimbi made a desperate appeal to the West for assistance. “

  4. Este año 2013 puede ser la tolerancia y la paz, no sólo en Venezuela sino en muchos lugares alrededor del mundo. Les deseo a todos ya sus seres queridos mucha salud y prosperidad para el año 2013 y que ustedes están todo el año agradable y constructivo puede hacer. Ir respetuosamente entre sí, sino permanecer al máximo para disfrutar de la vida de una manera digna. Y, sobre todo, hacer lo que el placer y la satisfacción. Feliz Año Nuevo para todos deseable desde Países Bajos Venezuela. God bless you all.
    Traducido por google.

  5. In 2003 we felt as winners of the world , today we feel 100% uncertain of the future, wich seems to me much worse than what is was in 2003

    • In 2003 you were losers and in 2013 you are still in the same condition. Be honest with yourselves for a change. The only things you have in your favor a rumors and lies and people like sicko syd from San Francisco.

      • Well, we have winning ideas. Yeah, 10 years is a long time for a life. But not for a country. Nor for the history of ideas.

        We feel a sense of loss only in the sense that Carlos Rangel and others must have felt it, who had to watch how the gap between developed, industrializing (and sensible) countries and our hallucinating part of Latin America widened to become a chasm. Only Socialism is demode now.

        Chavismo is not an ideology, but a charade built around a man caressing a loser ideology. Like a cargo cult but instead of being made around something that works, built around the political equivalent of the perpetual motion machine (Socialism, which might work on repeal ).

        It will be a shock for you when chavismo does never institute socialism, but devolves into a more corrupt and demagogic (and militaristic) mockery of the Adecos and Copeyanos populism and demagogy. It might hopefully disintegrate before that, either.

      • Yes Arturo and Chavez is not sick and when he dies he will resucitate in three days to take all Venezuelans into the Cuban sea of happiness. You want sick? Chávez in Amuay saying :The show must go on. Chávez calling out to vote in the middle of the Vargas tragedy. Chávez leading innocent enlisted men into a coup. That is really sicko.

  6. I always thought that syd was about the sickest commentator on this blog and she has proved it beyond all resonable doubt today. Still she is a long way away in California.

    Chavez’s son-in-law, Jorge Arreaza, published the following Tweet: http://www.noticias24.com/venezuela/noticia/143583/jorge-arreaza-pide-no-creer-en-rumores-chavez-ha-pasado-el-dia-tranquilo-y-estable-acompanado-de-sus-hijas/

    Of course this is simply not true when it comes down to it, is it syd, you sicko.

    • When there is little information, rumors do tend to fill the vacuum. Maybe they should be a bit more transparent. After all, they’d have nothing to fear if the little they’ve been saying is true…

    • Thank you for your unexplained compliment, Arturo, (and idealized California location). For you to get so riled up about a simple messenger, tells me that I must be very close to the truth, and not just on the hermetic dealings inside your elitist CIMEQ hospital, in Cuba.

      If you want to be the perfect bolsa that you are, to believe the Vz. government, after they have consistently and irresponsibly demonstrated a lack of transparency, that’s your business. In my world, there’s a democracy of ideas. But don’t shove that pap down my throat.

    • Arturo, friend, Syd is for Sydney, Australia, a destination of many forced-emigres from the oppressive Chavista regime….(Syd, don’t respond-let it simmer, thanks.)

      • Epa! I am the one that figured out that Syd was from Sydney – don’t take credit for it, Net. And, Arturo, she is one sick woman…ignore her as she is an agent provocateur.

    • Coño si, Jorge Arreaza, hyper gran chulo de la revolución. Ministro de Ciencia por la gracia de casarse con la hija de Chávez y que hasta ahora no había dicho esta boca es mia. No me jodas.

  7. Kudos to this blog for the many incisive and interesting articles and lively exchanges it allows its readers to enjoy , specially where it is able to rise above the morass of insults that are the stapple of other blogs dealing with the subject of Venezuela’s current regime. If not always 100% precise it is usually highly accurate in many of its assesments or at the very least, enticingly thought provoking in its presentation of the subjects that form part of its discussions agenda. Happy new year to all!!

      • Gustavo thanks! It is evident to me that moving the capital to guarolandia will be the only measure that will save this place. Esta podrida la vaina pa ca!

      • Thank you, Geha. I laughed at the mention of Maduro’s Mona Lisa smile. Perfect observation! But I took exception to this quote about Chávez: “He has dealt with Venezuela as if it were a corporation and he himself its absolutist C.E.O., obsessed with micromanagement, relying on a few advisors to hold the country under tight control. ” Even a privately-held corporation has to be accountable to outside interests. And accountability, other than in Chávez’ fantasy world, has not been the man’s strong suit.

  8. Informe extra-oficial de ayer:
    31/12. 5:10a, 11:37a.
    (Explicación: La Habana, 31 de diciembre de 2012. Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías fue desconectado a las 5:10 am y dejó de respirar a las 11:37 am.)

    Informe oficial de hoy:
    ShinzoAbeJp: Japanese Embassy in Cuba reports that M.Hugo Chávez Frías, president of Venezuela, has died.

      • I’m not sure whether the twitter account is real. That it’s in appalling English is irrelevant. (Why don’t you post in Japanese? See how well you do.)
        As to “why on Earth would Shinzo frigging Abe be the first to know?” I was musing that perhaps the chef at the Jp embassy in Cuba was asked to produce sushi (yuppie food) for the wake at the Vz embassy. The Japanese, not being anyone’s fool, unlike the PSFs that float through here, kinda put 2 and 2 together. No sé. What is certain is that Chávez will not be taking office on January 10th. He knew he was very, very ill on 7O. (You’d have to be a complete idiot not to know that something is terribly wrong, to end up in his condition, less than 3 months later.) He lied massively to his followers and to the nation. He disrespected all of us.

        • “I’m not sure whether the twitter account is real. That it’s in appalling English is irrelevant. (Why don’t you post in Japanese? See how well you do.)”

          No one would care since I’m not a high-ranking politician. Also, why wouldn’t Abe update his Japanese twitter account? That account is as fake as a three-dollar bill.

          “What is certain is that Chávez will not be taking office on January 10th. He knew he was very, very ill on 7O. (You’d have to be a complete idiot not to know that something is terribly wrong, to end up in his condition, less than 3 months later.) He lied massively to his followers and to the nation. He disrespected all of us.”

          Fully agreed on all points – no need to get so defensive with me. 🙂

    • In light of the lack of (reliable) information from the government, a few horsemen of the apocalypse have aimed to extract the truth, by way of various unofficial sources. Just a little while ago, one of these horsemen, Dr. Marquina (@marquina04) said that Ch. is still intubated, showing no signs of improvement, and each time, requiring greater amounts of O2. So, it looks like Ch’ death did not occur, yesterday (@LucioQuincioC dixit). That is, as far as we really know.

  9. Strictly speaking, should it even matter any longer when he dies? He is clearly incapacitated and incapable of carrying out the duties of the office of the presidency. Furthermore, if they made his condition and prognosis public, it would be clear that the incapacity is permanent. According to the Constitution, Maduro takes over and calls for new elections.

    • Probably. And then some. The truth has to be forced upon such people as control Venezuela, usually only by hard reality. They’re simply not accountable. Please take into account the period after death, that chavismo and Chavez’s Cuban handlers shall stretch as much as they can, until the proverbial smell becomes overpowering. It all comes with the bunker mentality typical of both of the above and which they praise as revolutionary, but which is reminiscent of traditional despotism and tyranny rather than republics.

    • blablabla…zzzzzzzzzzz
      la visión de Bolívar + el entendimiento que tuvo Martí del libertador … nuestra historia está unida
      (more rationalization to homogenize 2 histories.)
      la visión de Chávez en el 2012 fue de formar Vz como potencia mundial, un mundo pluriplural y multicéntrico ;-), y de salvar el planeta tierra.
      Se consolidaron las misiones para englobar, entre ellas la misión estrella: vivienda venezuela, donde se construyeron más de 200.000 viviendas para los más pobres.

      Los conocimientos de los médicos cubanos son del más alto nivel. Pero también tienen amor por lo que hacen. (El primer tumor abscedado de Chávez reconoce ese amor cuando fue regado.)

      La periodista le menciona a Maduro que en estos momentos la oposición goza de mayor acogida en la prensa internacional ….
      Maduro contesta que las revoluciones se ganan a través de las pruebas ….

      bueno, ya. me cansé.

    • Amazing, really. Same Chavez verborrea, with history of Cuba’s glorious revolutionary liberation, plus the great Liberator’s plans to liberate Cuba/Puerto Rico, and, if possible, Spain. Dietrich talking to CNN about great Messiah’s anointment of Maduro, “not decided by Cuba,” that Venezuela’s middle classes will vote for Maduro since it will favor them economically/democratically. Dietrich completely incompetent about Venezuela. No one in Venezuela of importance yet to stand up with authority and say, “The Emperor, and Country, have no clothes.”

      • There’s nothing quite like making a revolutionary promo ad and publicly harping on the ‘sicko’ opposition, while the president that you represent is dying by the minute, nearby. Qué fino es Maduro.

    • This interview doesn’t just confirm my view of Maduro as a “henchman”, but indicates the fact that he will be nothing more than a puppet of Cuba. This saddening bore of a campaign informercial is the proof that he’s nowhere near ready to be a leader. He tried to play the Chavez playbook (talk about history or the missions) and failed miserably.

  10. Ten years make a huge difference. We’ve learned, we do not expect dramatic changes, nor miracles. Chavez, even if he actually dies soon, is a reality that will take a very long time to overcome. Demonstrations, frags and songs were an important part of the learning process. They were and they may be important, but the most important issue is how to build strong, long-lasting social and political organizations truly connected to people’s needs and experiences. It is a pending subject. We have new, promising leaders, who have been able to reach the median voters’ preferences –somehow–, but we still lack institutional development and powerful poilitical parties. The process of re-democratization is yet a very long.

  11. I don’t even understand how I finished up here, however I believed this put up used to be great. I don’t recognize who you might be however certainly you’re going to a well-known blogger if you are not already. Cheers!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here