A bizarre Goebbelsian spectacle

“This chart explains how the universe managed not to collapse in on itself under an irresistible surge of irony the second I accused someone else of corruption.”

I don’t have a lot to say about yesterday’s bizarre Goebbelsian spectacle with Diosdado Cabello (of all friggin’ people) accusing Primero Justicia of widespread corruption except that it confirms my earlier hunch that post-Chávez era is poised to substitute repression for the money, charm and personal authority Chávez had and Maduro/Diosdado don’t.

Just for the record: the notion that corruption is more widespread in the opposition than in the government is patently insane. Imagine you’re a greedy, amoral young pol out to line your pockets in public life: which side of the political divide would you go for? The one that controls all the courts, all the prosecutors, all the public media, and $100,000,000 a day in oil revenue, much of which is spent with no oversight, no accountability, not even a budget? Or the penniless side that controls virtually no public funds, is intensively spied on and incessantly harassed by investigators, that can’t raise money openly because its backers are scared of the persecution they’ll face if they play ball and that’s constantly pilloried across a sprawling and growing state media apparatus?

You need to be very far gone down the chavista propaganda rabbit hole to take yesterday’s show seriously, or hell, to suppress the giggle response as you hear Diosdado Cabello acuse anyone of corruption. But faced with an openly repressive authoritarian state, giggling is likely to be in short supply in years to come.

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


  1. Right after Diosdado presented their little show a deputy from the MUD named Hernán Núñez jumped the talanquera and immediately proceeded to wear the new chavista baseball cap with the 4F and chant “viva Chávez”.

    The same day, Pedro Carreño is asking for incarceration of 3 MUD deputies:


    Like they say around here: pa mear y no echar gota.

    • Funny that we didn’t see any PSUV legislators denouncing his betrayal of the electorate or calling for the application of the law they approved as recently as 2010 which penalises such behaviour. In theory, Nuñez should have his parliamentary privileges revoked and the Fiscalia should be required to determine whether he should be banned from holding public office. Don’t hold your breath ….

    • The 3 PJ deputoes – Mardo, Caldera and Marcano will not be incarcerated but placed under house arrest. Get your facts straight or read the Consitution.

      • do you mean the Constitution that allows the vice-president to assume the vacancy of the presidency, on inauguration day, even though the law demands otherwise?

        or do you believe that pigs fly, and that Chávez will soon return to Miraflores, to govern again?

    • Anelim,

      At the risk of exagerating, That’s exactly what the current situation feels like: an opposition that is both increasingly combative and increasingly weak, and a government that wants to destroy its enemies to preserve the “revolution”.

      Who would have thought Diosdado would become the tropical reincarnation of Robespierre, and the assemby the revolutionary tribunal?

      Scary stuff.

  2. I will insist on my pet theory: Cabello is calmly positioning himself as the chavista champion, but staying in the background so Maduro will be alone crashing head on with the deteriorating economic situation.

    After a year and a half of this, it will be easy for Cabello to snatch the power from Maduro, carry out a few hard but sane economic measurements, and stay uncontested in power for a long time…

    • I agree with you: The whole show of yesterday, along with his 4-F speech was to position himself and say: “Wait, Maduro is not the only one getting all the attention. I’m still here”.

      As Quico said before: Los tiempos de Diosdado son perfectos.

      • yup, no other way to read his latest moves… plus, he undoubtedly is the sharpest knife in that drawer (read that in any context you prefer)

      • This means that nothing will happen and in the case of elections Maduro will be the candidate. Why? Because your analysis on vital matters since September 2002 has always been wrong as it is based on wishful thinking.

        • When you make your “no criticism today, just discredit” posts, are they really for us? Or are they for you? Do you feel the need for your Chavista fire to be imprinted in the minds of actual smart people instead of bahing sheep? You stupid fool.

          All we have for you is vague interest when you do criticize.

  3. Sadly, it was a brilliant coup for the PSUV: There are further elements at play: 1) Diosdado has bathed himself in a peculiar Teflon (everybody assumes he’s corrupt and the charges he levies are moot, so it demeans the seriousness of any eventual attack on him; since even Chavistas know he’s a crook, and he has framed everybody as such, anything on this matter will produce yawns, or worse, a defence for “los que roban y dejan robar”); 2) Future donors for the opposition might have to go to even “shadier” roads, not because they did anything illegal, but because cheques can be traced, donors might have to use money-filled envelopes (something which never looks good).

    As for smoking guns, there weren’t any: but for a hardcore Chavista -and they are legion- what matters is that the opposition, old and new is corrupt, and that is a fact of life that needs no evidence.

    Moreover, the defection of Nuñez (a former primary-winner and nominally the MUD leader in Sucre) is both a symbolic and political blow: it will lower the fence for other political acrobats, and inches the PSUV alliance and its satellites closer to a qualified majority.

      • The chavista reality distortion going on in the public sphere in Venezuela is just scary.
        I didn’t see the AN session yesterday, but reading about it makes me sick. It’s disgusting that in the horrible state the country is in the government spends all it’s energy on shit like this. I feel so sorry for what decent Venezuelans are suffering and will have to suffer many times more in the future.

        • A long time ago, a kind-of-gypsy lady told me that I would die in a Guerrilla. This being 1993 seemed laughable. It still does: I don’t know anyone in the opposition who might have firepower to start such a thing, and those who might now, are either too old or too sick of having been guerrilleros in the first place.

          • I´m not worried about firepower. In fact, I´d like to know what our chavistas friends in the blog might think about this conversation seriously taking place. Moreover, several moral questions remind: how to conduct a moral and just war against a so called “democratic” government? I just can recall La Cosiata, in 1827. Bolivar used to say that he did not have any problems conducting a war against Godos in 1812. But a different question was to march towards Caracas to smash Paez’ rebellion; even more worrisome, Santander’s war against Bolivar in open public media from Bogota was a call to rebel. But Bolivar said that these new “enemies” used adjectives such as Liberales, Democratas, etc. How to note the difference between the real and the fake ones? He didn’t want to discover it on dead bodies again. Piar’s face was still fresh in his mind…
            Am I being too romantic? It’s a true story. No chavismo invention.

    • I am surprised it took them this long to start, I was expecting them to do this early in the last presidential Campaign. The judiciary is under their complete control so the leadership of the MUD,any opposition group and supporters are possible targets. The charges and evidence will not have to pass the “red face test” since these actions are political in nature, once in court we all know what can happen. A government controlled judiciary has historically been one of the most efficient methods of repression there is. Also look for the implementation of new laws to facilitate the targeting of PSUV enemies.

    • Let’s not forget the continuous attacks to Capriles these days, asking why was Capriles in Colombia, etc. they seem nervous:

      This woman asks what was Capriles doing in Colombia while the son of Claudio Fermin was murdered on his state, we should ask her where the f… is our president?

      • Capriles was in Colombia seeking drug money to finance terrorism in Venezuela. Everyone knows that and he will eventually be arrested.

        • Ordinarily, I’ve considered you as a garden variety nutcase who has long pinned his hopes on a messiah in order to maintain mental equilibrium. But this statement tells me you’re completely unhinged, unable to separate common sense from rumour and innuendo.

          Everyone knows that Capriles was in Colombia to seek better trade routes to Miranda, both for Harina Pan and for the imminent spike in demand for flowers. (The refrigeration is more reliable in Miranda…)

        • Jesus H Christ!. Really! everybody KNOWS that! And the proof is…? I’m certain this assertion is well documented. Please share. Or is this the new directive on what you must say?

          Honestly, if Capriles really needed drug money he wouldn’t have to travel to Colombia. Venezuela is doing a good job of taking over the business.

          • Arturo didn’t know the cartels moved the business to Venezuela long time ago. All the fight against drugs during the 80s was destroyed when the payaso let them in through the front door. Pfff

  4. Have they clarified why the ex-Iranian bank chief had a $70,000,000 Venezuelan checque in his pocket? That he didn’t declare? If this had been for proper governmental business, it would have gone in a diplomatic bag. If it was for someone’s overseas oersonal bank account, maybe not.

    • I just want to know the cheque was in USD, or in Bolivares? Maybe is because the media cannot say anything in us dollars ( i just realized it) , because I want to know How you will deposit a cheque en Bs overseas if we don’t have a free convertible currency?

      • The check was in Bs not in US dollars. It was issued from the Bnaco de Venezuela and so cannot be redeemed except in Venezuela. BTW – the original source for thsi story was Bild Zeutung in Germany which hardly gives it any creedence at all. Has anyone shown a photo copy of the check to th media. NO. Just anotehr white elephant as are corruption accusations against Diosdado. No evidence has ever been presented.

        • Arturo: Can you show us a photo copy of the check? If not, why are we to believe your word against those who have reported the cheque being written in USD.

          • For what I have read the cheque in is Bolivares…and they i rmember our fabolour prison with the free convertibility issue….yes it has to be declare…but becaus e is any instrument…however waht the fuck you are going to do with a cheque in overseas?dondelocobras…habra un asucursal del banco centra en una embajada en euroa, china… o es que dicen en bf f…orque sta penado?

        • So, someone from another country goes through an airport in Germany with an undeclared check for 300 million Bs, a currency that cannot be used anywhere else other than Venezuela, and you find nothing strange with that??

          Your blind faith in this so called revolution is really moving. It is bigger than the faith in god professed by those people that go walking on their knees for kilometers to pay for a favor they claim god granted them.

    • AP reported last Saturday that a former governor of the Central Bank of Iran caught smuggling a 300 million Bolivar check at a Düsseldorf airport works for Kayson, a company reported by http://iranwatch.org as suspected of aiding the Iranian government to help procure supplies for their nuclear weapon program.

  5. I repeat my earlier prediction: Chavez will appear to recover, and then be “assassinated”. The opposition will be accused, and most oppo leaders will be arrested. The model is of course the Reichstag Fire. There will be a snap election to replace Chavez, with some prominent but ineffectual oppo figure(s) allowed to run as token opposition.

    Given the incredible rat’s nest of commercial regulations enacted by the Chavernment in recent years, it should be trivial for prosecutors to find a charge against anyone they want. I doubt if it is even possible for a business to function while obeying all these rules, or without greasing someone in the government. Any failure to meet reporting requirements, however pointless and difficult, is a violation. Any violation can be used to shut down a business. But a “friendly” official can “arrange” these things. And if the businessman sends the official a Christmas gift, or takes him to dinner – Corruption! (It was of course a “sting” operation.)

    There is a saying: “the process is the punishment”. Merely being charged and tried for a crime can be a ruinous ordeal, even if one is acquitted. Arrest and pre-trial incarceration is still imprisonment – and in Venezuela that would be horrible.

    Also, of course, it should be trivial for chavista police and prosecutors to gin up drug charges or worse against the children of oppo figures, Arrest the target’s 20-year-old daughter for possession, and hold her in prison – a perfect hostage. If he cooperates, she stays in separate quarters – if he balks, she goes in the general population, to be robbed or raped.

    It should not be difficult for the Chavernment to destroy the opposition.

    (Why did Chavez not do this? Because he had real charisma and political appeal. He could win elections on that. His henchmen have none. Hitler, who had charisma, purged a few dozen SA leaders in 1934, and the Stauffenberg conspirators in 1944. But otherwise, no mass arrests and executions among his underlings. Stalin, by contrast, purged and killed again and again – hundreds of thousands of Communists and millions of ordinary Russians. He never believed he could trust anyone to serve him except out of fear and greed.

    Less drastic differences are seen when the popular and effective political boss of a city or district dies or retires. His machine won all elections by organization – fueled by graft – and by his personal appeal. He goes – and his second-rate successors turn to outright vote-stealing, and violence against opposition organizers.)

    The next few years could be very bad for Venezuela.

  6. Observation
    Watched the videos of the legislators in session. I would be scared as hell to have these officials, who are wearing baseball caps, jogging suits, casual dress, walking around in a circus atmosphere making decisions for the country and it’s citizens.

    • The baseball caps thing has an explanation: Capriles used one with the venezuelan flag during his presidential campaign and it became a symbol of it. This week, on the anniversary of the failed coup by Chávez in 1992 they announced a very similar cap with the date of the failed coup in it.

      So the opposition deputies where wearing the Capriles cap in that session and the chavistas were wearing their new ripoff.

      • For your information and to emnlighten you. The baseball cap used by Capriles was “invented” by teh chavistas in 2003. One of the first to use it was Acosta Aarles (before he got rich off the mantuanos in Valencia).

        Little did it matter to Capriles that use of sumbolos patrios in elections is illegal but he did it anyway. Just as the corruption by PJ in its finding. The session at the AN yesterday was just an abreboca as this will continue until PJ is destroyed. Gor PJ these days it is no longer Hay un camino buy Hay un barranco.

    • Have to add to Bois comments, while Núñez talking the talk, the diputados Chavistas aplaudiendo with the buche lleno, comiendo torta, great. Did the guy became a baldhead only so he can look like Chavez, is he suffering from cancer too, or he has a hair problem? I saw the Cabello video also trying to talk like Chavez but without the charisma. I have to say comparing the kids of PJ with Pablo Escobar is almost laughable if it’s not terrible tragic, to have these individuals montados en la olla stealing the penny and calling other people for what? Tax evasion was that the thing, I didn’t understand what was the accusation. Was that PJ guy member of the government stealing government funds?

  7. All this BS about Diosdado being Robespierre is very pleasing for us chvistas. Lickily there is no guillotine hust Tocoron. Just wait until the laundering of dollars is revealedfrom the US in the finacing of Capriles campaogn. Lots os eveidence to be shown to destroy PJ as that is the aim.

    • Dude, you focus on the tiny mouse in the room and not in the huge fat red elephant. Do you want me to provide you with the boastful of evidence on how the PSUV has been using public resources for its benefits? starting with the indiscriminate use of TV, radio and newspapers, the PDVSA and National Guard vehicles used for moving supporters on the elections, plus corruption scandal after corruption scandal. You got to be kidding me.

      I loved Mardo’s speech by the way, reminding us how much that bathroom remodeling costed. No evidence you say? Yeah, right.

    • How bout you learn how to type first, then learn to make sense, then reflect upon what your masters have in mind for you.

      Jalabolas like you end up on the bottom of the pile.

  8. Im reminded of a joke from the old segretationist south , a black man accidentally bumps into a white lady in a street corner and is inmediately indicted for attempting to rape the lady and condemned to be buried up to his head in the middle of a football stadium (filled with a white crowd) while a tiger is let loose to attack him . As the tiger turns arround buried mans head , the defenseless black guy raises his head in a desperate attempt to bite the tigers testicles which causes the furious white crowd to roar ” fight clean you dirty niger”. The whole strange spectacle of DDC tryin to pillory some opposition figures as engaged in seemingly unwholesome funding practices , while he and his colleague are up to their ears in all kind of really foul shennagiganns paints a picture so grotesque and ironic as to entice a kind of sad laughter !!

    • WTF, Bill Bass? Is this the best joke that you can come up with? I do not appreciate and object to jokes that use the “n” word, even though you misspelled it – both show your ignorance.

      • Pipito , You’re certainly right , compared to the joke of DC becoming the, chief Chavez spokesman against poilitical corruption , any joke is flat .Youre obviously a punctilious proofreader , imagine spelling niger with one g !! and oh my gosh ……daring to spell out the naughty naughty ‘n’ word for all to read . But then again at least it gave you the proud pleasure of calling someone who disagrees with you ignorant , to be fair Im also having a bit of fun picking on your pious grandmotherly concern with grammarian political correctness.. It usually the sign of a small mind to be overly concerned with petty punctiliae.

        • Billy, or is it Hillbilly? Allow me to add to your attributes: In addition to being ignorant and having atrocious spelling skills, your have a total lack of logic. Go back to the cave that you came from, hillbilly!

          • Boo-hoo. I do not appreciate and object to jokes that use the “h” word.
            You’re wasting the revolution’s time, prowling around here, rather than stuffing the tweeter channels with praises of chavismo, as per the latest dictum handed down by Diosdado Goebello.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here