Vote for me. The other guys are crazy.


Maduro elefanteI have to admit, I’m more than a little turned off by the current Presidential campaign. Part of my frustrechera lies with the fact that, while Henrique Capriles is engaging in the kind of negative campaign the doctor ordered, he hasn’t really come out and given us the main reason why people should not vote for Maduro.

Maduro and his peeps … are crazy.

We’re not talking a metaphorical crazy here. We’re talking bat-crap insane. I mean, really? Cancer inoculation? Playing regional politics with the Papal election … from heaven? Not-so-subtle hints that Capriles is gay, and in love with Maduro?

Today we have Cilia Flores, our First-Lady-Wannabe, saying that Chávez … won the battle for his health!

Every time these bozos say that Chávez lives, that Chávez triumphed, we need to remind people: they’ve snapped. He’s dead. Move on.

Every time they suggest some hack-brained theory about cancer inoculation, we need to be there saying: they’re crazy.

This is not just ad hominem. We’re not twisting their words. These are their actual thoughts! And they repeat them, over and over. They’ve built a propaganda offensive around pure lunacy.

We need to make the case that somebody who is crazy can’t possibly solve the problems Venezuelans face. Crazy people are not going to make inflation go down, crime go away, and unite the country.

So yes, Capriles is the pitbull, but he needs to go beyond that. He needs to point out the big, fat red elephant in the room and call it by its name.

PS.- I’ll be traveling the next few days, so I’m going to be posting only sparingly. I leave you in good company though.

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  1. Agree with your post.

    Forgot to mention (and I’m amazed this has not been commented) that the government condecorated Chavez’ Cuban medical team! Really? What was the accomplishment:
    – They kept their mouth shut?
    – He lasted past October?

      • This is a homage which foes and followers can agree with,( if you believe the Wikipedia report that the russian medical team blamed the cuban medical team’s initial intervention for shortening Chavez life by a year ) if you loved him because their intervention saved him from an additional year of phisical agony , if you hated him because in doing so they shortened his life by a year . The cuban medical team whichever way you look at it are the heroes of the hour and deserve their medals !!.

      • While all things are possible, since agencies in service to the Empire have tried to kill many leaders including Fidel hundreds of times. I will wait to see hard facts, when and if they are provided and any rush to judgement is pure conjecture by all parties.Something many of this site gravel in.

        But as someone who has worked in healthcare for some 20 years with all types of clients, 4 treatments of Chemo and radiation therapy would kill someone 90 some % of the time.

        Then again we all will die, it is how we live, what we say and do that counts.

        • “…have tried to kill many leaders including Fidel hundreds of times. I will wait to see hard facts…”

          Interesting selective requirement to see hard facts.

          • I don’t understand why the fear and the need of so much protection from an Empire that has failed hundreds of times.

        • OMG, please tell me where you work, Cort Greene, so that I can avoid it like the plague, if I ever develop cancer. I can just see it now, you confusing gravel for Gravol, and God knows what else. That is, when you’re not dreaming up schemes to overturn the administration of the hospital to a bunch of rabble-rousers.

        • Cort, the handful of CIA attempts against Fidel Castro occured in the 1960’s. Please don’t make me get up and get my books but you can start with “Castro’s Secrets” which I think anyone interested in Venezuela should read. Today we know that Fidel had prior knowledge of Dallas 1pm because LHO told them in Mexico. Did you know this? What we still don’t know is who was LHO working for since he was a patsy.

    • Meh. Un Grano de Maiz has been around for years. hose nuts are not new. Collective madness is what is new. And not so much.

      • Exactly,
        collective madness Guido.

        Instead of folie a deux,

        here we have folie des millions.

        My dear dear JuanCristobal,

        I feel the same way.

    • “por encima de las convenciones, las cadenas, las censuras”? Why would any chavista complain about that in this context? I haven’t seen much restraint on any of the government controlled media regarding this line of thought (let alone censorship).

      Today I’m malpensada, everything sounds / reads fishy. But who knows, craziness abounds. March madness, indeed.

  2. Nitpicking much?
    Don’t you think that engaging their lunacy would bring the fight back to Chavismo’s battlefield of choice, that is one dominated by emotions and empathy with the masses? cant you see they are baiting him? I don’t recall the Venezuelan electorate being particularly driven by reason but they sure as heck let emotions play a role at the the ballot box!
    At this point it is pretty clear that Capriles will lose, maybe not as badly as I feared and this is partly because he is campaigning the way he wants to. I for one respect the fact that unlike previous opposition candidates he doesn’t allow Chavez or his co-called heirs set the tone for his campaign.
    The vast majority of our country, that is, those who aren’t radicalized beyond salvation and would never vote for Capriles anyway, know that Chavez died of natural causes. It’s pretty obvious that they are trying to make an epic out of his life to collect electoral dividends, why address it? why help them promote to the myth they want to create by conceding it any relevance in the campaign? the focus is and should be: “you are not Chavez, this election is between you and I, let the president rest in peace”
    Plus as any of us who have ever dealt with death knows, it is hard to say the right thing at a funeral

  3. Well, I’m not sure we want Capriles to win the election now, but maybe. However, it might useful to set up the public psyche for the coming quagmire. If Capriles wanted to win, I would suggest appealing directly to a segment of the Chavista loyalists. 20% would be ample. Remember, for each Chavista loyalist that switches to Capriles, that is one less for Maduro and one more for Capriles. So, a 20% swing would be a 40% increase for Capriles.

    What Capriles should message? He should message that voting for him is not going to change the majority of the National Assembly. As president, he will follow the directions of the Chavismo Assembly, but he would do so much more effectively than a bus driver. Afterall, he has been an effective governor, and he has a good education. Look at the other guy!!!

    • One other thing. I would plant a seed in the minds of Chaves loyalists: “Why do you all think that Hugo Chavez handed you an uneducated bus driver to replace him? Maybe Chavez didn’t want him to win! Maybe he knew that the Revolution needed the discipline and organization skills that Capriles would give to the Revolution!”

  4. I don’t think they are crazy. I think they are cynical. I am beginning to think a significant mass of ther followers are crazy, though.

    On that point, a visitor to this blog might think from the comments that supporters of Chavez are exclusively middle class college educated Americans suffering some advanced stage of mental illness. But they are not a representative sample, either of Americans, or of chavistas.

    So we have to be careful what messages come from the fringes and what messages aim for the fringes…Maduro and co. are not crazy IMHO. But they are saying things that any sane observer would recognize as crazy.

  5. Not insane.

    Merely ignorant, desperate, completely unprincipled liars.

    Note “desperate”. The chavista leaders are terrified of losing the election, and expect to lose, unless by massive lying they can delude enough of the voters one last time.

    • I am more than a little curious as to what at this point a critical mass of Chavez supporters might consider too far gone to stomach. I suspect most of the current support would hold if Maduro proclaimed himself the reincarnation of Moses, so long as he didn’t threaten the major interests involved here: the military, the mafias, the bolibureaucrats and the Cubans.

      • I don’t think there is such thing as too much crazy for the people who are using “De tus manos brota lluvia de vida” as a motto to remember Chávez

      • It won’t take that many. If only a tenth of those who voted for Chavez flip, Capriles wins.

        Bear in mind that the truly fanatical chavista voters are highly visibile, but not all that numerous. And even some of them were fanatical for Chavez, and some of those will be offended by this bizarre display (they will probably abstain).

        Maduro’s campaign will appeal only to committed chavistas; he is trying to motivate them with a mix of hysteria and panic. What he cannot do is maintain Chavez’ special appeal – that he made poor mestizo Venezuelans feel he cared about them.

        He’s trying to conceal the obvious material failures of the chavernment – crime, electricity, food – with a cloud of rhetoric, This will appeal to ideological chavistas – but there really aren’t that many of those. There are a lot of poor and working-class people who have experienced these failures, but trusted Chavez to remedy them. They have no reason to trust Maduro.

        All the “Bolivarian” rhetoric passes right over their heads. Denunciations of the Fourth Republic and puntofijismo are old. Most voters under thirty don’t even know what it means.

        It’s older, more ideological chavistas who have guzzled the Kool-aid.

    • That is cynical and crazy, but most importantly utterly Machiavellian. Whatever their state of mind I’d like to know who writes their stuff. I mean is this scripted? Do the Maduros sit around at night thinking this up?

  6. Capriles is not going to win this election. He is just getting ready for when this whole circus comes down and then tell the ignorant chavistas I told you so. At that point he’ll become president. To me this is the right strategy to really get rid of this infamous plague. Let them deal with what they created and let their crows eat their eyes.

    • Certainly is not going to win and lose by a large margin and if things go south for the winner there are a couple of Chavez’s in the wings.

    • I hope that strategy works… but
      (1) Mugabe shows that even the most incompetent manager can persist if politically wily enough.
      (2) I think military rule is more likely if a meltdown occurs under Maduro rather than a transfer of power to HCR, unless he makes a winning deal. If Chavez did one thing it is get the military used to the reigns of power.

      • Well, I don’t think Venezuela is another Zimbabwe, c’mon are you serious? On a second thought… no, no way.
        Transfer of power through a referendum revocatorio when chavistas get sick and tired (and hungry) of Maduro. You are right though about reins of power.

        • Yes, Venezuela has a comparatively developed economy, is sitting on critical oil reserves and is not landlocked in Africa. Mind you, the comparison is to illustrate that keeping your inner circle happy will get you pretty far as Chavez showed. Zimbabwe at the start of Mugabe’s rule was in much better shape than now. Plus you are not up simply against Maduro, you are up against a syndicate with the military as its backbone. And you’re assuming that they’ll pay attention to constitutional rules… precedent of late says that might be too much to hope for.

        • To add a little more detail:

          The economic history of Zimbabwe began with the transition to majority rule in 1980 and Britain’s ceremonial granting of independence. The new government under Prime Minister Robert Mugabe promoted socialism, partially relying on international aid. The new regime inherited one of the most structurally developed economies and effective state systems in Africa. […]


  7. With all due respect I have the impresion that strict rationality was never Chavez or his followers forte, that for the most part their’s is a delusional world , with lots or reality bits filtered out . That if you opted for Chavez as your messiah you had to leave common sense and a normal sense of reality at the enthrance . Its true that what we see know is fringe lunatic , but people in Chavez land have always inhabited a half crazy world , full of mirages and hallucinating notions . Now in the throes of their histrionically misticized grief at the dear leaders death they may even feel more justified in entertaining their minds with all manner of crazy beliefs. So I wouldnt count on the current crazyness of Maduro’s speeches as making the regimes hard core followers any less enthusiastic. It does make them more laughable , more absurd, and that may be something which opposition minded humorists ( among which there are many gifted talents) may exploit to make the less fanatized Chavez synpathizers look at other alternatives . But I fear that this is as far as we can go in gaining Capriles more voters . In fact I suspect that most of the regimes few followers who are repelled by the current crazyness of Chavez cultdom will not vote for Capriles but instead will stay at home and simply add to the absentiism high figures .

    • Taking as an example people like Cort, the general state of mind of the hardcore ideological chavista is nearly impossible to understand. To see the world as some of them do you have to forget a lot of knowledge you take for granted and substitute it with a nice dollop of superstition.

  8. Truth is an absolute until you are on the winning side. Then it becomes whatever you want it to be.

    If it weren’t for the human cost and the catastrophic impact on innocent lives, including my family members, I’d say let them burn from throwing all the turpentine soaked rags (or oil soaked, which is more apt) in the basement that are just waiting for that accidental match to drop.

  9. The stuff coming out of the government these days, even more than before, is literally unbelievable. My American friends think I’m joking. I really wonder if the Chavista base could possibly believe this crap, or if they just are going along with it to really and truly spite the opposition with impotent incredulity, who they surely enjoy infuriating.

  10. Well this won’t be popular, so apologies in advance. But if you take a lot of these comments and substitute “opposition” for “chavista” or “they” or “them,” you’d get something very similar to what you see in some of the hardest core pro-government sites. I suppose it’s the nature of polarization, the inability to see in me what I decry in the other.

      • Entirely possible, no doubt. Just reflecting a bit on the broader dynamics of polarization. Like I said, apologies for stirring the pot.

          • Absolutely. I guess my point is that regardless of its origins, once a polarizing logic sets in – which I might suggest it has long since done in Venezuela – it comes to affects its participants in roughly similar ways. And it works, largely and perversely, by masking its operations. Just a thought.

          • Polarization can also be a great business model. You take on side and I take the other … “y partimos la cochina”

    • Yeah, but the difference is we’re right and they’re wrong!!!!

      But seriously, I think there is room for dialogue beyond the bluster and campaigning. But on that same note:
      (1) it can be difficult to find common ground, so discussions easily degrade into polarized shouting matches.
      (2) There are also problems with attempting to strike a moderate tone due to the risk of appearing noncommittal to your camp or wishy-washy.
      (3) Another point is that evidence-based politics and economics is fraught with difficulties due to a lack of trust in the data and differences in their interpretation, despite some of the underlying principles being well established, and because many chavistas are delusional.
      (4) Some of the more ideological chavistas hold viewpoints thoroughly orthogonal to those of many (most?) here, for instance some want to turn everything into a commune because they believe all decisions should be made democratically, others want to interfere with economic development because they see it as deleterious to the environment, still others just think trying to make a profit from a commercial transaction equates with morally repugnant evil greed. While I don’t necessarily disagree completely with select ideas expressed by select chavistas, chavismo as a whole seems to serve largely as a catch-all for all sorts of ideas from the fringe. Some ideologically minded individuals seek refuge in the chavista camp to promote their own obscure interests.
      (5) Many of these revolutionary ideas are destructive and therefore not sustainable, which is why they would not survive anywhere but under a friendly regime in a country with a ready supply of cash from oil.

      • Mr Feo, with all due respect , you may be losing the main point of Chavez discourse , and that is that ‘Confronting and Hating your enemies is great , noble , good because they are wicked and inhuman while your are a hero and superior moral being ‘, The whole panoply of ideological rethoric acompanying their speech, is only good, because it justifies and glorifies their ‘heroic’ hatred . There is no rational dialogue which Chavez supporters will tolerate , Thats why they only address their ‘opponents’ with insults , threats and savage oral or phisical violence , The ideas are only window dressing , a pretext to indulge in their joyous sectarian passions !! They do not engage in Politics they only engage in War !!

        • Perhaps I beat too much around the bush coming up with academic arguments when the barbarians have already entered the camp and are pillaging away. Not much worth debating under the circumstances, much less any use in asking them politely to stop. Load your carbines and fire away!

          • Feo: Your desire for finding a way of reducing polarization is perfectly decent , but sadly Chavismo’s deliberate pursuit of polarization is an intrinsic part of their game plan , not an accident of circumstance . Confrontation of an enemy is an essential part of the Malignant Narcicist mind , something they do to feel good about themselves . If they are in a weak position they will simulate for a time that they are peace seekers but once they see their strenght restored they become bullies again and go for confrontation . We saw this see saw attitude in Chavez many times during his political career. Confrontation is known to attract the primitive minded because it makes a weak man feel stronger and full of manly ferocity !! Chavismo takes advantage of this to transform everything into a confrontration even were there is no cause for it. ,

          • Lol, I have always felt like that about this comments section. Like the bridge of a Star Treck ship talking about exploring space when Klingons have already infiltrated and are getting to work on the Warp Core.

          • Haha! Maybe. But I appreciate your earlier response. Very lucid and helpful (though I realize that’s patronizing on my part) Thanks.

      • Thanks, Gordo. I’m not entirely certain I do get the point, or that you get mine. And perhaps that’s the point. In any event, apologies for any offense. Suerte.

  11. How can you travell in this historical and dangerous moment? How can you leave us and Capriles in the middle of presidential run?

    However, good travell, Mr. Toro, God bless you in his journey,

    I’ll stay around here waiting for you.

  12. How do you think a credit rating agency rater will be scratching its head considering what is currently said by the government?

    Would Maduro have sufficient support so as t ask for the sacrifices needed to start repaying even one dollar of Venezuela’s debt?

  13. The rating agencies, they look at the bond market, and once the bond market has priced down your bonds, they come and downgrade (like firemen that come to pour water over ashes). My view is that its all built on a very frail foundation (the economy), a contraction in China and a fall in oil prices and this building will come tumbling down. That so called chavista madness is the delirium of the street boy high on gasoline fumes…come to think about it the whole country has been high on petrol fumes for the past 90 years. Oh for a technological breakthrough that rendered oil irrelevant (or less relevant) how many kleptocracies would fall.

  14. Juan,

    You’re right that Maduro says some crazy shit (though in some of your examples he was clearly joking, and doesn’t really believe those things). The US-caused cancer bit is indeed nuts.

    But as Alejandro eludes to up above, this kind of craziness has more than one side. Capriles is equally guilty of saying outrageously stupid and equally crazy nonsense. Accusing Chavez’s family of planning Chavez’s death, of lying about when he died, etc.?? Are you kidding me?? That Chavez actually died months ago and they had him embalmed in Cuba. That he wasn’t really in the coffin and that they switched coffins. That Raul and Fidel are secretly running the show and are “colonizing” Venezuela.

    You may not think these things sound so crazy because they are coming from your own side, but it is equally nuts. Funny that Rory Carroll doesn’t seem to notice any of the opposition’s batshit craziness in his work.

    What the opposition doesn’t seem to understand is that Chavistas aren’t deciding on who to vote for based on the individual characteristics of the candidate. They don’t see politics like opposition voters who support Capriles because he’s “mi flaco bello”. They will vote for Maduro in order to assure the continuation of certain policies. They don’t care if he’s a bus driver or says crazy shit. They want a continuation of Chavez’s policies, and despite Capriles’ contant promises that he will maintain socially-oriented policies, everyone knows its a lie. Even members of the MUD have admitted that the economically powerful are those who are really in charge of the opposition, something that you never see mentioned around here, or in Carroll’s hack-job journalism.

    • Chavistas aren’t deciding on who to vote for based on the individual characteristics of the candidate. They don’t see politics like opposition voters who support Capriles because he’s “mi flaco bello”.

      Herewith Exhibit A: ,
      before this do-nothing gum-flapper, promoter, provocateuring tarifado was caught in flagrante delicto.

    • GAC, you should look up Caprile’s record. He isn’t just running as an opposition leftist, he has governed like one. Try to find people that worked with his administration on real problems, I’m sure there is even a chavista or two that can give you a slightly different version than mine that still places Capriles as a “state must provide” guy.

      • But isn’t this part of the problem? I for one entirely believe, based on his record in baruta and Miranda, that Capriles would do exactly as he says: deepen the missions, revert devaluation, avoid any sort of “paquete,” etc, in other words, follow through on a pretty orthodox leftist populist program. But that would do little to address the macroeconomic issues – namely continued oil dependency – that makes such a program unsustainable, as we have long heard from some sectors of the opposition. So it’s not despite but because of his credentials and record that Capriles seems to have a problem, maybe of much less magnitude than Maduro if he reduces Venezuela’s international financial footprint, but as Coronil wrote, ultimately just another side of the same oil coin. I believe this was precisely JCN’s point after the October elections. But I may be wrong.

  15. The regime has a credibility problem with those who do not count themselves among its partisans , The almost universal opinion of international observers and media people (not to say the opposition) is that the regime systematically lies and manipulates information to deceive others whenever it suits its purposes .
    When president Chavez falls ill and is ensconced in a Cuban hospital were no one from an independent source can check on his condition and all information flows through the regimes official channels , the response is one of guarded reticence in believing what it says . Moreso when the information is sketchy , vague, and at times self contradictory and when medical proffessionals find it somewhat ‘suspect’ based on their knowledge of the illness which afflicts Pres Chavez.
    The regime has an interest in manipulating information about Chavez conditions to create a climate of opinion favourable to the electoral chances of its designated successor and to allow it to legally and functionally prepare for his succession on the best possible terms .
    This creates an informational vacuum which fosters people to play with conjectures or with speculations born of those snipets of unofficial information that come its way ( the run runes , Dr. Marquinas statements , those from its Venezuelan family doctors etc. ) .
    This state of affairs extends for over 2 months , During this time an absurd play is made of taking measures to ensure Maduro remains as president in violation of express constitutional norms .
    The regime meantime exploits to the hilt the ‘compassion’ factor to histrionize the emotions of its followers in an effort to transform Chavez into a martyr , a suffering saint , a supernatural icon, beyond anything previously seen in Venezuelan history. Evidently with a view to the later electoral exploitation of his cult.
    The things said by Maduro don’t just challenge credulity they compel incredulity in any sane person unless you have been duly idiotized / fanatized by membership in the sacred cult of Chavism. Mr Chavez family is of course passionately committed to the cause of their beloved relative created and will naturally do nothing to discredit it .
    Capriles has simply voiced some of the doubts which many sane people entertain about the true condition of Chavez during his last months of life , doubts which has never been dispelled by an independent medical report as is customary in almost any country in the world . The regime never allowed an independent medical assessment of Chavez condition or death for reasons which of course raise the suspicion that they would inconvenience its plans for an easy succession .
    By mere chance there exists a first hand account that casts doubts on the Regimes assertion that on his arrival Chavez was not dead or brain dead . For reasons of self protection this account is not likely to be publicized any time soon. It is our hope that someday the truth will come out and become known to all.

    • Well said.
      Though there is something attractive about the argument that chavistas will vote for a lunatic because they want continuity.

  16. The opposition’s completely sane electoral (and non-electoral) strategies since the turn of the century:

    That was a really bad election result, let’s try a coup. Oh dear, that didn’t work, let’s shut down the economy. Bugger, he’s still in power, I know, let’s try that recall referendum thing the dictator invented to stop presidents carrying on when the public tires of them. The cheating bastard, we won not him! Evidence? Who needs evidence? Everything bad in the whole country, nay, in the whole world, is down the Chavez. He’s never done any good except persecute us for loving democracy. His misiones are fake, his poverty reduction programs are fake, the economic stats are fake, the polls are fake, the election results are fake. It’s all one big fake. Even those doctors are security agents!

    Hey, here’s a great election winning wheeze. Let’s find a plump black lady who conforms to a 1950’s stereotype and stick her image on the back of a piece of plastic. Then you, and I mean each and every one of you, can just stick it in the hole in the wall and withdraw the entire country’s oil wealth, in cash! Then you get to spend the money, not the government. If you want a school or the roads swept, all you’ve got to do is persuade a few thousand of your mates to invest their windfall. What could be simpler? or saner?

    Oh shit. He won again. Why are the poor so fucking stupid? I can’t even trust my own fucking maid these days. He bribes her with rubbish like free schools and hospitals and a minimum wage. Why she thinks this is worth her vote, when there are intelligent educated people like us around who are used to being in charge, is beyond me. What the hell does she think democracy means?

    OK, are you sitting comfortably? Please forget everything we ever told you. These misiones, well we love ‘em after all. In fact we love ‘em so much, we’re not only going to keep ‘em, we’re going to make them even better! What do you mean, you don’t believe us? Our track record speaks for itself!

    Oh shit. He won again. Anyway, he’ll be dead soon and then it will be our turn, cos who the hell is going to vote for a bus driver as president? A bus driver? I ask you! Even my maid won’t stand for that.

    He’s dead. No, he’s still alive. No, he’s dead again. Alive, dead, alive. Ah, look, he really is dead now, even though he actually been dead for ages and they were just pretending he was still alive. It was all planned by his family and Fidel, for some reason or other! See all those people crying. They’re brainwashed, that’s all. Or bused in. Or both. 14 years of being told that their living standards were rising whilst they were actually falling, and they didn’t suspect a thing! They’re stupid, just like we always told you. We’re not crazy. It’s them.

    Maduro, you utter bastard! How dare you try to cash in the popularity of that evil unpopular ballot-rigging dictator we all hate? You are cynically trying to capture his legacy as if you were number 2 in a movement he headed and his chosen successor! Chavez belongs to East Caracas as much as to El 23. Chavez belongs to us all! Chavez is the people! And you’re crazy Mr Maduro! So there!

    Oh shit…

    • you shit a lot, DD. You remind me of Chávez after his failed coup, while he hid in the military museum, his underwear soiled by, well, shit again. Fecal incontinence must be a condition that chavistas and their foreign sympathizers share.

    • Capriles said none of that, Maduro did. Capriles: “Who knows when he died?”

      That’s it, that was the whole quote about Chavéz’s death.

      Nicely written tho.

    • That was actually pretty funny and very close to reality.

      Now write one about the Chavista craziness. Hope you have the time.

    • I think that is covered by the adage about debating with a crazy person…to an outsider it’s tough to tell who is who.


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