#EpicFail in Los Próceres

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I just came back from la Academia Militar, after 8 hours of lines and shoving and a metallic sun and a magenta sunburn. I did not get to see Chavez, and neither will at least 3/4ths of the people who are there patiently waiting, yes, crying and singing since before dawn today. They are determined to see their comandante, and I cannot stress enough how impossible this wish will be to fulfill.

As I walked back along the 1,5 kms. or so of lines upon lines upon lines of people, and saw the eager faces of thousands upon thousands of supporters, many old ladies, children, pregnant mothers … I felt really sad for them, for they will be disappointed.

The casket viewing process is magnanimously disorganized. There’s no police or military oversight except for 100 students of the Universidad Nacional de Seguridad who are guarding the front gate of the entrance to Chávez’s coffin-room. Other than that, people are left entirely up to their own devices. There are no ropes, no signs, no first-aid tents for all the people I saw fainting of heat stroke. The entirety of Los Próceres Boulevard is flanked by puddles of piss because there are too few portapotties. Every now and then, there is a water truck, but not much else by way of anticipating such a large and uncontrolled agglomeration of people. Nobody even knew where the cola started. I counted five different winding queues, spread out over the massive stretch of pavement, which all started arbitrarily and led to nowhere in particular.

As an aside for chisme, I talked to a lady who had just seen Chávez. She told me he was purplish. Apparently the 8 hours he spent decomposing in the sun yesterday took a toll on his appearance.

All in all, I would say this epic and spectacular failure is kind of a metaphor for how the government will act from now on, completely improvised, mismanaged, irresponsable, and incapable of properly planning for both obvious and unforeseen complications.

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1 COMMENT

    • More like this blog in a nutshell. Not a high point, I’m sure you’ll agree when you read it again tomorrow.

      Let us know when you vote for someone whose funeral attracted 100 people.

    • Speaking of funerals which attracted ‘more than a 100 people,’ would it be impertinent to ask the new rulers of Venezuela what this whole dog and pony show is gonna cost? To the economy? Every government employee is ‘off work’ for 7 or more days. The private economy has come to a standstill as well. The store shelves are empty. Nothing is moving within the country. Are they unloading freight at Puerto Cabello, or is everyone standing around waiting for new orders? One word: ominous.

  1. He is leaving in the exact same manner as he ruled. Good, perhaps grandiose intentions; mismangement and poor execution.

    I wonder how the lack of closure will affect the psyche of the masses.

    For what its worth… if you had purchased those portapotties at the supermarket during your epic cake search, you could have sold them with enough markup to offset the cost of purloined flour on the black market! #NeverTauntFate

  2. This kinda reminds me of the rock-crowd insanity that took place during the days of morning prior to the funeral of Princess Diana. Why are all you people here? Mobs and mobs of people were standing around Kensington Palace each wanting to be a participant in this historic ‘event.’ I was there! And, yes, there were port-a-potties in Hyde Park.

  3. “All in all, I would say this epic and spectacular failure is kind of a metaphor for how the government will act from now on, completely improvised, mismanaged and incapable of properly planning for both obvious and unforeseen complications.”

    It sounds like the Chavez era, without the voice-over.

    • looks like the photos show details of two different sides of the coffin, Syd. And you better than anyone can spot a million reasons why the color tone on a single coffin might look different in different photos taken with different cameras at different times in different places.

      • Anything is possible. And of course, coloring can vary for any number of reasons.

        What I find strange is the detail at one end of the coffin; it doesn’t match the end of the other. Unless the labrado is for the placement of an identifying label (Hello, my name is ..;-)

        What I find normal is that officialdom and family would not really want the difunto to be exposed for such a long time in the hot sun. If this were the case, then it would be sad that the pueblo was fooled into thinking that the ataúd did, indeed, contain their idol.

        Ves?

          • Clearly, the government didn’t plan ahead, knowing damn well the number of people that would show up to accompany the coffin, on its way to the Military Academy. #LackOfRespectToThePuebloTheySayTheyCareAbout.

            Given that lack of respect, what else could one possibly expect from the government, if not their cheesy choice plan to dupe the pueblo?

            I challenge any PSF to prove that the coffin that snaked its way through the crowds did, indeed, contain Chávez.

            My thinking is that the government chose a cheap ataúd, draped with the Vzlan flag in half-assed fashion, as a phony icon, through the throngs who were poorly serviced for a public event of this magnitude.

        • Only here, among this group of people, could you find anyone idiotic enough to take this seriously. Congratulations Syd. At least Quico was not idiotic enough to go along with it.

          • I can’t wait for your proof, GAC, that the coffins were one and the same, and that the one that snaked its way for hours in the blazing sun, contained the corpse of Chávez.

            You talk about about respect for the pueblo. But that’s all it is. Talk.

          • * the corpse of Chávez (already in the first stage of embalsamamiento o plastinación?? — heat or strong sunlight definitely not recommended)

      • It’s clear that these are two different coffins. It’s not the tone, it’s the design, those can’t be two ends of the same coffin.
        But I don’t know what is the source for the image on the left side. It could be someone else’s funeral because I haven’t found that photo with google.

  4. Yesterday’s cadena was equally dissapointing. Technically, it was a mess. Many long static shots, defficient use of the aerial shots and it looked like it was shot on Betamax. HD it ain’t.

  5. As Syd says…there were two different coffins, not only by color, but size and also the carving is different…. You can see the photos around twitter. So this poor planning and weirdness is what springs all these multiple conspiracy theory rumors… Including the sighting of the purplish cadaver. Maybe it’s a wax figure, or maybe he is still in Cuba. In a coma. Or not… Who knows? It would have been easier if they mummified him and put him in the middle of the mauseoleum cum sketeboard ramp- as they did with ho chi minh- whom i saw a month ago. At least he is there forever yellow and thin , so people can visit ad infinitum. Very organized, very prim and proper. But then, they are not venezuelans.
    I’m sure he’ll soon enter the” santos malandro”s pantheons soon enough, like negro primero.

    • The color could well be different from, as Quico points out, variances in camera/cell phone vis-à-vis the available lighting. As well wood, even from the same lot, has different markings. Finally, the cabecera is often wider than the foot of a coffin, so sizing differences in these two sides are, for me, irrelevant. But it’s the significant difference in the labrado that puzzles me.

      • Syd, Im no expert, except that ive been to so many funerals lately. In Venezuela coffins are rectangular, and the labrado is identical on both ends. We could ask Juan’s friend… she is in the business.
        Having said that, ayer en Caracas hizo una pepa de sol que ni te cuento! 6 or 7 hours under that heat was not ideal for a corpse. I cannot blame them if they indeed lied to el pueblo.
        Sorry for the typos, i’m on a tablet.

  6. I meant chavez, together with maria lionza, jose gregorio, negro primero et al.. It ‘s only fitting. Me encanta como escribe emiliana…

  7. This strikes me as rather petty, especially in light of the circumstances. I dropped by here for the first time in years thinking that perhaps Quico might have something magnanimous to say, as he’s never struck me as a heartless type. Instead, I’m treated to this (introduced by Juan, unsurprisingly). In my view, an honorable intellectual strives for something more than shrillness and condescention at a time of mourning among his or her political adversaries. Sometimes we all may need to be reminded of that.

    • Thank you for your sermon, Justin. Where were you with magnanimous comments on Franklin Brito, on Simonovis, on Judge Afiuni?

        • We have the same right as any not to be moralistic and hypocriticall. A todo muerto se le respeta pero no a todo muerto se le llora. Y eso panita no me lo quita nadie. Es la consecuencia de su comportamiento inadecuado, irrespetuoso y polarizante. No me j—- justin.

  8. Si, tenian que haber planeado mejor la muerte de Chavez, vale. Una vez mas, esta página es el colmo de la ridiculez…

    • Sí, vale, qué lamentable ha sido la falta de preparación de parte de los oficialistas. Porque la enfermedad fatal de Chávez llegó tan, pero tan repentinamente, que a todos nos tomó por sorpresa.

    • No es la planificación de su muerte que critico ( que debo decir, fue impecable en cuanto a sus tiempos), pero la falta básica de previsiones logísticas para organizar un evento de tal magnitud. Es irresponsable que el gobierno no se haya ocupado ni de un detalle básico como puede serlo la seguridad, o la hidratación, o de dónde comienza la cola….

    • Por supollo, estar pegado de la linea oficial de doblepensamiento te tranco las sinapsis, y se nota! A pesar de la desinformacion imperante con la que andabas tan feliz… Que no fueron tres recaidas del cancer y complicaciones e infecciones recurrentes suficientes para que hasta el mas tapado concluyera que “este hombre puede morirse en cualquier momento, y probablemente se muera pronto”

  9. BREAKING: Nicolas Maduro is speaking live. Chavez’s body will be embalmed and put on public display. After the State funeral tomorrow, his body will be moved again from Los Proceres to a new location and the display will continue for another seven days.

  10. Of the bits of the cadena I saw, I was struck by the incompetence of the march. The flag on the coffin was often shifting and not spread out evenly, it looked like they might drop it at various times, there wasn’t enough space for them to manuevre it between the crowds at points. I was actually waiting for it to fall.

    An important state funeral in most countries, particularly autocratic ones, would look much grander.

    • “An important state funeral in most countries, particularly autocratic ones, would look much grander.”

      Thus the disorganized, more “down-to-earth” chavista funeral makes for better pictures if they want to sell it as less militaristic, more populistic event. Not that it is on purpose, necessarily.

      • I remember watching JFK’s funeral and burial (very solem, restrained,, dignified mournful) in Washington DC and then the tv presentation of Lady Dianas funeral ( so strangely unbritish , so tacky and frivolously sentimental ) , and now the views from Chavez ferocious chaotic funeral procession , and cant help but wonder about what these contrasting spectacles tell us about the culture and ethos of the mourners .

  11. Que les dije hace un ratico? Ya vamos a tener a nuestro propio ho chi minh tropical:
    “Maduro indicó que este viernes el cuerpo de Chávez será trasladado hasta el Cuartel de la Montaña (Museo Histórico Militar) y que será embalsamado para que el pueblo pueda verlo en una urna de cristal por siempre.” Hate to say i told you so…

  12. Appropriate for the man. But not for the occasion. A huge poorly not at all planned “romeria” cum popular funeral which makes even the ordinary Adeco romerias look dignified, and is light years to the sobriety of any State Funeral in Venezuela before. Do you think they shall start soon to cover the premises with santero imagery? And, hysterical displays of grief are not sincere unless you slash at least one wrist…

  13. Funny that they choose the very place where their leader surrendered. And i don’t mean funny ja ja i mean funny weird.

  14. I think it’s awesome to know it’s a mess, but remember. Reality doesn’t matter, only the perception of reality does. So for most of the country, the only thing they’ll see and hear is a massive amount of people crying and lining up for hours to say good bye to the “segundo libertador” and they will show sympathy and solidarity for them and for Maduro & Co.

  15. And yet, so many people (every single account from every person, journalist or not, who went there states of the immensely large crowd that has gathered there) are still there forming lines and waiting, and will continue to do so, until they get a chance to see their beloved leader. I don’t really care if this is a perfect metaphor for Chavez’ administration, because everywhere you look in Venezuela you can easily find some example that serves that purpose; I bet we could be here for days finding so many different and clever and sad analogies for what this government has done to the country.

    But are we taking a few seconds to reflect on what might mean that so many people, old, young, sick and healthy alike will stand for hours and probably days hungry and dirty, under a blazing sun, elbow to elbow, surrounded by chaos and sweat and piss and who-knows-what-else for a chance of saying a brief goodbye to Chavez?

    There’s the reality of our country right there: half of us just so easily neglect the other’s half realities, problems and wishes.

    • well said. But I would add that half of us have never really bothered to educate, to elevate the other half, not even this government, which talked a good game, but delivered so poorly, if at all.

  16. My God, even after he is dead you cannot help yourselves from publoishing mezquina shit! At least 2 million people turned up. Do the math. Even if 200 pass the urn per minute for 24 hours (and it is only 22 so far as I write), this means that at most only 288,000 would have passed to give their respects to Chavez. It is not surprising that Emiliana Duarte could not get to see Chavez.

    In any case escuálidos do not have the stamina or the commitment to wait. Waiting time is atleast 12 hours with three colas 5 km in length in Los Próceres.

    In any case, there will be opportunities to see Chavez for the next seven days in the Military Miseum in the 23 de Enero and then he will be placed in a crystal urn so that all Venezuelans who want to, can see Chavez in death but withe spark of love inspiration in their hearts.

    Similar to Ho Chi Minh, Lenin and Mao.

    I understand that natioanl heroes can only be placed in the Panteón Nacional 25 years after their death, but cannot confirm this.

    Election date should be called next week. I am willing to bet on two things:

    1) Maduro will receive more votes than Chavez did on October 7th. If you cannot see why then you are just out of touch with Venezuela as a whole.
    2) There will be more than one candidate from the opposition

    The word going round here is – “¡Con Maduro será más duro!”

    Quico asked for resraint on one thread in the context of Chavez’s passing. Seems to me that people such as Emiliana pur fingers to keyboard without thinking too much. Thinking forms part of being restrined. Correct Emiliana? You really need to grow up.

    • The word going round here is – “¡Con Maduro será más duro!”

      I agree with this statement…so duro that his own people will turn against him. Just wait.

    • then he will be placed in a crystal urn so that all Venezuelans who want to, can see Chavez in death but withe spark of love inspiration in their hearts.

      LOL you’re a nini I can tell now at long last. Superior trollage there old buddy.

    • Seems like you didnt saw Moleros speech calling for unity and also to vote for maduro to “darle a la madre a esos fascistas” So, you know, really magnanimous of him.

    • And the point of this pseudo-religious pseudo-patriotic and totally fascist display of “popular” piety is, exactly, what? Your point is, what with the breathless comment?
      That we should show respect for a show that deserves less respect than the one they did with Celia Cruz? What now? Should he become a well-traveled corpse, all for the political advantage of Maduro?
      That we should equate the dead autocratic President Commander – who was not a mass murderer – with the aforesaid embalmed mass murderers and their adoration?
      That we should stand in awe at ignorance and fanaticism? Of the sheer numbers of the gullible and curious? Yeah, right…
      That we are not a Republic anymore? Have you ever heard of the concept of State Funeral for an elected official? This ain’t that. This is CIRCUS and SAINTHOOD BUILDING in TIN AND PLASTER. There are clowns and itinerant preachers/witch doctors who can show better taste at organizing one.

    • “¡Con Maduro será más duro!”… ayy papa, mejor salganse del closet de una, y digan “con maduro se te pone duro” que mariconerias que se oyen, el otros dia Izarra le dejo un “te amo” a su lider querido.

      “Similar to Ho Chi Minh, Lenin and Mao”

      Exactamente, y mira como esos paises le han dado la vuelta al cultismo ridículo, salen ahora los venezolanos 70 años mas tarde con el mas grande anacronismo de la historia. Pffff

    • Arturo,

      Chávez never wanted to be embalmed. He wanted to be buried in Sabaneta de Barinas. In 2009, he said the following about the Bodies Revealed exhibit when it went to Venezuela:

      “Entraron e este país para hacer exposiciones, andan por el mundo y la gente paga para ver un cuerpo humano destrozado; ¡un cadáver!” […] “Esa exposición anda por el mundo. Tienen Internet, propaganda, presentan un show: venga y véase usted mismo por dentro . Y ganan mucho dinero. ¿Dónde está el respeto al ser humano? Como dice Antonio Aponte: Esos cadáveres, ¿de quién son? ¿Por qué están insepultos? “.

      http://www.radiomundial.com.ve/node/148877

  17. bla bla bla Arturo lo mismo de siempre estas ladilla!

    on a more thoughtful note, perhaps locally no prep was given to the logistics of the capilla ardiente wait line, but from abroad, the sense is they took good care of having talking points and spokespersons, spin heads, acolytes and apologists lined up to flood the media at a moments notice.

    In Canada, many important media outlets are only beginning to publish more realistic accounts on Chavez legacy, etc. The big noise of the first 24 hrs and thus the seed in the 99% of the people have been already planted on the benevolent leader, long etc.

    Cuban managed, Venezuela financed #chavezsainthooddrive I say.

    I am taking bets on which iconography makes it to the t-shirts. takers?
    Go girl! Eduarte.

        • Syd, they placed the order on monday. I’m guessing things got messi too early. Today I’ve seen some people wearing them at the funeral, but white or red.

      • Few people realize that the idea for the framed eyes thing was ripped of a documentary by the legendary street artist Banksy called Exit Throught The Gift Shop. In the movie, a possibly fake character comes up with his own extremely superficial version of grafitti. His trademark is two eyes in the Chavez format but without the Chavez shape and a word under it in the exact same type as is commonly used for shite like “community and patrionality:” “OBEY.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exit_Through_the_Gift_Shop

  18. Chavez will be well-protected by Military/Tupamaros in the 23. The official quandary now is where he can be assured sufficient protection in the future on a more permanent basis , if he cannot be in the Panteon, and if they don’t dare put him in the Mausoleum. As for your 2 bets, you’ll probably win 1), and will probably lose 2). As for permanently on display under (bullet/bomb-proof) glass, the only comment is–grotesque.

  19. “The entirety of Los Próceres Boulevard is flanked by puddles of piss because there are too few portapotties…. ”

    dude…. I can picture the scene… you wanna think they could be a little bit more nicer to their love pods… but Hugo and su combo loves ya…

  20. How many dozens, or hundreds, of people will die from heat stroke and physiological stress during this absurd government encouraged mourning period? Sadly appropriate that even in death, Hugo Chavez causes pain and suffering for El Pueblo he claimed to love.

    • And what are we going to do with those accusations of “necrophilia”? ’cause I ain’t no friend of the dead…

  21. Chavista Mathematics- 23 people per second have viewed Chavez. This is a funeral not the start of a marathon race. At least 1,982,720 phantom persons were added to line to enhance what little reputation Chavez has left.

    “Chavez, a former paratrooper, died on Tuesday aged 58 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was president for 14 years and is now lying in state at a military academy where the government says more than 2 million supporters have viewed it since Wednesday.”

    1. Chavez had been on display less than 24 hours =1440 minutes=86400 seconds.
    2. Two million views divided by 86400 seconds=23 viewers per second.

    Even if there were ten lines of people, they would pass by at a fast as hell rate of 2 persons per second without interruption for 24 hours.

    17280 persons per day is about max.
    Lets say that each person got on average 5 seconds with the dead commandante.
    That would be only roughly 17280 persons. The visiting dictators, I mean dignitaries, would likely get 10 minutes each so enough photos could be taken slowing it down more. Conclusion- 1,982,720 extra persons (2000000-17280) were added to line.

    This Chavista mathematics holds in other places. Such building 25,000 housing units and saying that 380,000 were built. Or in official murder rates, inflation rates, poverty rates. I am going to build the first Chavista calculator for them and make a fortune.

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