If bread is lacking, better bring some games

The logo of the 1983 Pan Am Games

The Chavernment asked the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) for the right to organize the 18th Pan American Games in 2019.

Those games would be held in Bolívar State (the host city is yet undecided) to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Angostura Congress.

Sports Minister Héctor Rodríguez admits that the infrastructure for the games has to be completely built from scratch. That’s pretty encouraging…

Caracas was the host of the 9th Pam Am Games in 1983, as part of Simón Bolívar’s bicentennial. Corruption in the organization of the games was so pervasive, they had to burn the evidence.

Other cities looking to host the 2019 games are Santiago (Chile), Bogotá (Colombia) and La Punta (Argentina). Right now, Santiago looks favored (it was the original host of the 1987 edition, which ended up in Indianapolis), as the next South American Games will be there next year. But anything goes with PASO, stuck with the same president since 1975.

This article brought to mind the famous phrase “panem et circenses”. Just when bread is scarce in the country, the Chavernment looks to a future sport event to distract us.

Caracas 83’s opening ceremony is now available on YouTube. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

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  1. OT Shock Alert: Maduro/Cabello targeted in assassination plot. No arrests yet. Sheesh, that didn’t take long. Page 32 of the book “dictators for dummies:” Claim assassination attempt.

    • Venezuela has some of the most incompetent assassins I have ever heard of. These “assassins” have attempted to kill various Chavista leaders a few dozen times, yet never even managed to take a single shot?

          • Actually, this was simply a sensation of an assassination.

            Ironic in a country in which 95%+ of all murders are not solved, these guys manage to survive and claim an assassination plot was underway. Objective lesson? Great at preventing crimes that didn’t happen, not so great at solving crimes that did happen.

            Makes you wonder if one of them was assassinated, would they be capable of catching the real plotter? If Maduro goes, all signs will point to some plotter named “Godgiven” that will likely escape. Meanwhile, if Cabello is assassinated, informants will indicate that it was orchestrated by a mysterious “El Mustachio” whose true identity will not be discovered.

            Just another day in Venezuela with yet another dog and pony show attempt at intraparty unity.

  2. In this I have to disagree with you. If there’s one thing that can enhance the reputation of a city or country, that a government can organize and that’s relatively harmless, it’s organizing sport events. It brings in business and showcases your country or city.

    Of course that does not prevent political douche bags of the Utopian variety from using said games to promote their own political system and/or the perfect society they are creating. The problem with the Chavernment is that it should hide what it has begotten for Venezuela.

    Begin by “showcasing” our safe and cheerful society with flying lead around sport fields. And that’s just a minor issue, considering that other visiting delegations have suffered fatalities at the hands of criminals outside the field or stage.

    As for business and investment to be attracted and enticed to the country, oh well, I guess that exporters in other countries should have no problem with selling stuff to a nation that’s an importer of everything but oil.

    We are actually in a situation where we have the same incentives to host an event as an improbable hybrid of North Korea (for the vibrancy and initiative) and Somalia (for the safety and lawfulness).

    • Of course one would expect the organizers to be able to find some other city in a banana Republic with money to spare and a douchy dictator State in Latin America where the President is not moribund, while the country’s “institutions” honor his deathbed by mimicking his condition absent for medical motives, and where athletes and other participants will be safer due to society and government, civility and general respect for human life not melting down better security. Even Cuba can fit the bill better.

    • I agree with you that hosting sport events like the Pan Am games would be good for the country, but I don’t believe it should be the priority of Venezuela right now.

      Beside, these guys are not for the task. They actually admit they’re nowhere near ready in infrastructure (except Cachamay Stadium). Santiago and Bogota are more prepared.

      Esto es simplemente un capricho de Hector Rodriguez y de Francisco Rangel Gomez.

        • Exactly. One more thing I was thinking. There is a sport event Venezuelan should host in the near future: The World Baseball Classic. Our baseball stadiums are very, very old.

  3. Francisco,

    I have to digress with you when you cite an article in Aporrea, with many imprecisions (ex. CAP giving concessions of 100 years in two islands of Los Roques, it was for 10 small houses in Madrizqui also known as Cayo Pirata…) , as a support to the mismanagement of the 1983 Panamerican Games.

    You have to see in the context that these games were held after the first major devaluation and nevertheless, it was a good opportunity for the city of Caracas to renew many of its stadium: The University Baseball Stadium got new seating, electronic scoreboard, new grass, etc. the University Olympic got new chairs, a synthetic track (also known as “Tartan” for the 3M trademark), the Brigido Iriarte stadium got a new “tartan Track” (original was placed around 1976-78), also new seating. The Olympic Viillage was built in Guarenas (VIlla Panamericana).

    it is very probable that there was mismanagement with the funds, although the president of the Organization Comitee (“Papelon” Borges) was a respected volleyball athlete.

    Here you have another view of these games, from an insider:


    • Thanks moses for your comment. First, Quico didn’t write the post. It was me, GEHA.

      Second, JC included the reference to COPAN’83 corruption allegations in the article. I heard of those before, but I admit I didn’t think of that at the time I wrote this. As I was two years old at the time, I can’t speak for myself about what happened then.

  4. Gustavo,

    Sorry I did not read the author of the article, JC is one of your co-authors ? He should check for better sources … The 1983 games were well rememebereg by many people from Caracas, just do a quick Google search with” Panamericanos 1993″ and you will see. Luis Herrera has been downplayed by many people for may years,you should read “EL Llanero Solidario” from Ramon Guillermo Aveledo to see another view of him…

    • He added that line. The rest is all mine.

      Events like this are always positive. Two years before the 83 games, my hometown of Barquisimeto was chosen as the host of the Bolivarian Games, with only months to organize. They beat the odds and delivered, to the point that the city was called then “the miracle city”. More than 30 years later, its legacy still endures: The Dome, the Village and other sport sites are still active (remodeled after the 2001 National Games).

      • Why do I need better sources? Was there no corruption in COPAN 83? Is it not true that the files burned to the ground?

        I’m not the co-author, but we all edit each others’ stuff and I made the call to add the reference to corruption because it is SURE to be an issue if these games come to be. In fact, I would wager that’s the sole reason the Chavernment is pushing this idiotic idea.

        • I didn’t doubt you, the commenter did. I heard about COPAN’83 but I don’t know enough to either corroborate or deny such story. I agree that corrpution in this kind of events is an issue. Those games in Barquisimeto had corruption too. The Olympics have their own share of scandals. Even London 2012 had the G4S fiasco.

  5. Juan Cristobal (JC): So in your opinion an “unbiased” article in Aporrea website is a good source for Venezuelan history ?

    I tried a Google search using Copan, 1983, Panamericanos and found a lot of thrash. Copan, acronym also means “occupy the attention of a person” (among other meanings) in spanish…

    Part of the problem in researching information that ocurred before 1994 – 96 through internet (When El Universal and El Nacional newspapers went online) is that there is no Venezuelan newspaper archives online in PDF format (or other) before that date, as far as I know . So, if you have to research info before that date, from Venezuelan newspapers, you have to go to the newspapers microfilm archives, and believe me, that is a real PITA (For both who like acronyms….). It takes around 30 minutes to cover material frrm 2 – 3 weeks, page by page (Your eyes, paper and pencil are your indexer tools….). I know, since once I did a research browsing Microfilms reels at la Biblioeca Nacional, near el Panteon.

    Compare this with Spanish newspaper ABC, were you can go to the early 1900´s looking for newspaper article, with a quick indexer:


    Some day we will have direct access to Venezuelan history, a least from local newspaper point of view.

    • I used Aporrea because, as you well point out, I couldn’t find other sources. But the COPAN corruption allegations are true, everyone who read a newspaper back then remembers the stories.


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