How can people this inept win? By militarizing the mobilization effort, that's how!

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PSUV Strategy Session
PSUV Messaging Strategy Session

For those of you keeping score at home, this is what Campaign 2013 is about according to Planet Maduro: The hateful opposition deserves our vengeance, love is the greatest form of socialist resolve, with Maduro peace will be assured, we must destroy bourgeois values, I am the son of Chávez, I am also a humble bus driver, you should honor Chávez´ legacy, we should work this out together, we have a right to delirium, my contender is a crazy heir to the nazis.

Bear in mind, the Maduro camp had three months to prepare a campaign…and this is what they came up with? A hodgepodge of messages with no discernible underlying theme or unifying message?

It’s almost as though they don’t care, as though they don’t think the “talking” and “communicating” part of the campaign has any firm relationship with their prospects of victory.

In fact, it’s exactly like that. What chavismo is relying on to put them on top has nothing to do with anything Nicolás Maduro says, and everything to do with a massive, unprecedented plan to turn the Armed Forces into the executive arm of PSUV’s Voter Mobilization Drive:

The original is here. (If you live in Venezuela and that link doesn’t work, well, that tells its own story, doesn’t it?)

We’ve never seen something like this: an explicit Guardia Nacional plan to lead the coordination between the Bolivarian Militia with PSUV’s precinct-by-precinct mobilization plan.

What we’re seeing is the culmination of a 14 year trend towards erasing the Chinese Wall that used to stand between State and Ruling Party, a bourgeois conceit chavismo never accepted in the first place.

It’s a plan that holds out the charming possibility that misión beneficiaries who fail to turn out on the morning of April 14th will receive a nice visit from a uniformed, armed miliciano telling him – not asking him – to go vote now.

Last October’s election was a mere dress rehearsal for what’s about to come down on us. After Defense Minister Molero’s alarming declaration at Chávez’s funeral, now we have the operational plan. That closes the circle.

As with any mobilization drive, the first step is to identify your voters, a task where control of the state gives chavismo a decisive advantage. All those misión databases and apartment waiting lists sure come in handy when you’re trying to ID the people you need to go to the polls.

Next, you put in the captahuellas, the fingerprint identification machines that allow you to track – in real time – who has turned up and who hasn’t (but only if the “you” in the previous sentence is the government, por supuesto.)

On the day, when you need to actually mobilize the tens of thousands of motorcyclists, taxi drivers and bus drivers to cart hundreds of thousands of people to the polls, having the man with the deepest pockets in Venezuela double-up as your mobilization director sure comes in handy. (So what if those pockets are full of public funds?!)

And finally, when it comes to bullying those people to turn up to vote for your guy, you just “happen” to have an armed militia at your service. Convenient!

People throw around talk about the government’s maquinaria advantage, but it isn’t until you get down to the nitty gritty that you realize just how crushing it is. So crushing, in fact, that it renders the rest of the “campaign” an afterthought – Nicolás can rebuznar as much as he feels like, he knows he’s covered.

1 COMMENT

  1. Capriles denounced this morning what he called “the Stalin Plan”… Let’s see what happens. But toripollo is sliding, the difference is getting shorter and so i guess their radicalism grows in inverse proportion!

  2. Welcome to the dictatorship of the proletariat, introductory class: What does the existing state apparatus mean for the revolutionary party in power? Quite simply, it serves to whatever extent it can in the creation and development of a new revolutionary democracy. We’re not playing the game that you invented, with your rules.

    • You sir are an embarrassment. I really hope you’re not Venezuelan; i refuse to believe i’m sharing a country with such a dissociate..

    • yoyo, there is a broad spectrum of governing approaches associated with the left that you appear to uphold, and you should be careful, because the particular brand Maduro is pushing is nasty. To evaluate your own stance on this see for instance:
      http://www.politicalcompass.org/
      I’d be curious to know where you fall…

    • “We’re not playing the game that you invented, with your rules.”

      Yes you are. You just like to dabble in some other country’s descent into authoritarianism.

      • Note the use of the royal “we” for I-can’t-take-personal-responsibility-for-anything-I-say-or-think.

        Hey yoyo, with that credo of destruction, what in the world have actually built, from the ground up? Or, do you just dabble in a bunch of words and a lot of sniggering?

    • That is just another way of saying repression, suppression and finally extermination of all those that do not agree with the PSUV. By the way Yoyo, under the traditional Marxist definition of bourgeoisie, the PSUV would be it, since they have a de facto monopoly over the means of production in Venezuela as well as a monopoly over governmental affairs…. 🙂

    • Ironically, Chavez showed that the dictatorship of the proletariat was unnecessary, that people could elect representitives who wanted to implement socialism, and do so under their free will. You are effectively arguing that Chavez’ elections and policies were unnecessary, and of course, because of the boligarchs, we now need said dictatorship to keep things running. I expect a referendum some day after Maduro is anointed where these same guards come to peoples’ doors and have them give up their right to vote completely.

  3. Publication f that plan should make it utterly impossible for anyone to refer to this as being a free election. A Maduro government cannot be legitimate if it uses the army as its canvassers and organizers. It will be a military regime, period.

    • Well, in addition to that, publication of that plan should be an embarassment for whomever designed the slideshow. Its a trainwreck. I’m pretty convinced that no one in the Revolution ever went to B-school and had to design presentations…of course, other signs, like complete financial mismanagement, obliviousness to economic factors, organizational inefficiency on an epic scale, and the prevalance of random acts of strategic planning might also point in that direction as well, but who am I to judge.

      Funny thing about power: once you have it, all your qualifications become moot. You just have to maintain it by any and all means necessary and voila! 14-A. (or 7-O for that matter).

    • I don’t know, I have seem the turn out the vote machinery in action in my parents barrio and it was never carried out by the military… the military help was visible when they would not prohibit electoral propaganda near the centers or when the chavistas coordinators could come and go as they please but I never saw an armed officer knocking on the door of a chavista inviting him to go vote or else… this is certainly worrysome

    • Ranita 1: Don’t you think it’s getting awful hot in this pot, ranita?
      Ranita 2: No vale, ranita, it’s been warm in here for a long time…
      Ranita 1: That’s true, and yet I have a distinct feeling it’s just that little bit warmer now..
      Ranita 2: Tú siempre tan exagerada vale, it’s just a warm pot of water
      Ranita 1: Será? Bueh, just swim around as usual then…

  4. Excellent post!! Although I don’t like conspiracy theories about fraud (lease Erik Ekvall). I gotta say, the captahuella argument is pretty convincing.

    Imagine you are one of the 100k people who lost their home in dec 2010. You live in a shelter and you registered for Mision Vivienda WITH YOUR FINGERPRINT. You are waiting for the house of your dreams El Presidente Lider Supremo promised you. You were given all the facilities so you could change your voting center. The day of the election a PDVSA bus comes to pick you up, you get to the center and you don’t have to do the line. BUUUT before you vote you have to scan your fingerprint -the same fingerprint you gave Mision Vivienda- with the captahuella next to the machine.

    Can someone argue this doesn’t coerce voters?

    • Great point, and presented in a much, much better fashion than Ekvall. I skipped large portions of his rant because I just could’t.

  5. Elections under Chavismo are beginning to be more like the old traditional ´reclutas’ or ‘recruitment raids’ where young men where pressed into army service by armed troops forcibly taking them from their neighborhoods and homes and pushing them into barracks.

  6. I submit to you all that there are two types of Chavistas: those who are loyal and those who are obedient. Among those who were obedient, are those who wormed their way up to positions of relative power, and they are not finished. The rest will continue to obey was long as there is a threat hanging over them. Among the loyal, there will be disillusion. To stay in power will demand much from a bus driver. The game of throwns is about to begin!

  7. IMO engaging in debates with the various trolls that inhabit CC defeats the purpose of staying in the subject at hand, by the diverse commentators. I guess that’s their plan…

  8. Quico, depressing story. You avoided going there in the post but……. so you think it’s hopeless? That Capriles has no chance?

    Personally, I think it’s easier to mobilize excited voters than unexcited ones. The latter seems to be the case (from afar). Will the added militarization of the whole process help offset the lack of Chavista enthusiasm, at least just enough? Or is lack of Chavista enthusiam a myth?

    Too many question marks? Not enough?

  9. “How can people this inept win?”

    Because their opponents are ten times MORE inept. Ridiculously so.

    Yesterday you spent most of the day discussing how piñatas are the root of Venezuela’s social problems. Today you post an old slideshow from last year and claim that it is the only reason Chavismo wins elections.

    It is pretty clear at this point that Maduro is an idiot. What’s sad is that he’s still less of an idiot than the opposition candidate.

    • I should also say, that as dumb as Maduro is showing himself to be, his advantage is that he represents the continuation of a certain policy framework.

      The opposition, on the other hand, has a ridiculously vapid campaign that won’t say a word about what they would actually do in power. Oscariz summed up their whole campaign message today:

      Ocariz dijo que las propuestas de Capriles consisten entre tres puntos clavez “vamos a ganar más, vamos a comer mejor y vamos a dormir tranquilos”.

      Wow, what a brilliant campaign message!

      • #DialecticContradictions

        Today you post an old slideshow from last year and claim that it is the only reason Chavismo wins elections.

        as dumb as Maduro is showing himself to be, his advantage is that he represents the continuation of a certain policy framework.

      • Dude.. Sometimes I can’t tell if you really are trolling or what.
        But, you DO realize that Maduro’s platform is exactly what Quico described in the 1st paragraph of this post, right? “Wow, what a brilliant campaign message!”
        If your guy wasn’t so darn chicken we could compare their ideas simultaneously in what is known as a debate.. Y’know, how most other democratic and civlized countries do things..

        • I sometimes wonder if GAC actually despises the Venezeulan government, but supports it only because of its relationship in ideology to his own (or simply because for him, its the best game in town). He may have liked Chavez, but I’ve only ever seen him be lukewarm (or silent) about the others. Even he thinks Maduro is an “idiot”.

          I wonder how many leftists, when examining the likely outcomes of the election and the policies that will be subsequently imposed, will feel rather disenchanted with the rojo rojito revolution in a year?

          • Yea I hear you.. I will never understand how people can let an ideology distort REALITY.

            Possible that they will feel disenchanted w/ the rojo-lucion, but find a way to blame it on la buerguesia, la oligarquia, la derecha, the CIA, el Niño, the spin of the earth, etc.

          • Ideology… you mean like neoliberalism?

            It is also possible that they feel disenchanted with the revolution, but that they know the alternative is much worse. Did you ever think about that?

          • Chavismo is the epitome of neoliberalism. Really. Nothing has changed since the 1989 IMF reforms. Before then Venezuela had a fixed exchange rate, had an 80% import tax, and import substitution. Basically it was practically buffered from globalization and was able to protect itself from foreign capital encroaching on it.

            Those protections are gone now, and the chavistas have done nothing to change the situation. Venezuela is happily working within the confines of neoliberal global capitalism. It’s exporting a huge chunk of its fuel to the United States, its favorite Emmanuel Goldstein, it’s favorite imperialist business partner. It’s even importing massive amounts of gasoline from the United States to the tune of $200 a barrel which it sells to Venezuelans at $5 a barrel, when 85% of Venezuelans don’t even have a car. Pretty neoliberal crony bullshit if you ask me.

          • You’re confused JC. Venezuela was not neoliberal in the 1980s when it had a fixed exchange rate, exchange controls, etc. Neoliberal reforms were enacted in the 1990s with the removal of these policies, cutting state spending, privatization of state companies. etc.

          • Re-read my post. I am saying that Chavistas have not ended the neoliberal reforms. They’ve, rather, actually embraced them. I see nothing to disagree with your reply to me.

          • Ah, you’re right. I misread what you were saying. However it is ludicrous to claim nothing has changed since the IMF reforms, as literally every single reform of 1989 has been reversed. This isn’t even debatable.

            As for protections being gone now, you apparently don’t understand how currency controls work. The government directly controls what is imported, meaning it can prioritize domestic production over imported goods. In this case an import tax isn’t necessary, and only makes goods that aren’t produced domestically that much more expensive.

            Exporting oil to the United States has nothing to do with neoliberalism. You seem to not understand what neoliberalism means. I would recommend reading about it.

          • What do you think the “fixed exchange rates” were for? They were a currency control in and of themselves. By doing away with it and moving to the dual exchange system the government opened up imports and made Venezuela an export dependent country, relying on globalization to get things done. Latin American import substitution was an extremely good idea, but it was done away with as well. The government itself may “control” what’s imported, but that doesn’t change that it’s rather neoliberal in practice, by acting on the global markets as yet another subservient nation to more powerful states.

            Capriles has already denounced devaluation and has called upon a 40% wage increase to offset the damage it’s doing. Meanwhile simply stopping giving oil away to Petrocribe states would allow Venezuela to save billions.

        • “You DO realize that Maduro’s platform is exactly what Quico described in the 1st paragraph of this post, right?”

          Relying on Francisco Toro to tell you what Maduro’s message is, is like relying on Rush Limbaugh to tell you about the Obama administration.

          This truth is this is actually very simple. Maduro’s platform is to continue the same policy framework of the last decade. You can see that negatively or positively, but you can’t pretend that he doesn’t have a platform.

          The opposition, on the other hand, won’t tell us what they would do in power. And that’s for good reason, because we all really know that they are neoliberals at heart and would love to enact free market pro-business policies.

          This really isn’t that complicated. You have to be trying really hard to not understand it.

    • Yes, it’s not that the Army does the get-out-the-vote part of the campaign, it’s that Caracas Chronicles discusses piñatas! If fascism is descending on Venezuela; it is the fault of those OPPOSED to fascism! They are weak!

  10. When you control the machinery of state your message can be as dumb as you want it to be. “Herp a derp, look at me, I’m Chavez’s brother from another mother…” If Maduro’s message is retarded (and it is) it’s precisely because people vote according to short term gains. The only way this government will be unseated is when the economic maelstrom they’ve created becomes so god-awful that it begins to impact common people’s wallets in an immediate and devastating way. Otherwise, they can be as fascistic and authoritarian as they want and little can be done about it.

    • On the topic of “economic maelstroms” anyone have any idea how likely a default will be in 2013? Will this be like the Gortari-Zedillo transition in Mexico in 1994? Curious that that transition marked the end of the PRI’s uninterrupted “revolution.” Maybe Cuba can provide a package to rescue Venezuela…

    • By this logic anything modern technology developed under capitalism is “un milagro”: the microwave, the cellphone, the airplane, the coca-cola bottle…

          • Yes, but what angelic power could Jobs possibly have? After all, even he didn’t affect a papal election unlike some other recently deceased individual.

          • Bombastic simpleton!. Windows. The Chavismo of computers.

            See what happens when a bunch of uneducated people acquire electronic devices!

            Let Linux show you the light.

          • I know, right?!? Totally apropos! Convince the world you are the one and only through aggressive marketing? Check. Destroy all rivals by means fair and foul? Check. Amass a huge warchest to defeat all comers? Check. Put on a fair face through humanitarian acts and goodwill to the world and a foul one to your competitors through monopolistic tendencies? Check. Attempt to silence all dissent and corner the market? Check.

            I mean, is there any better comparison than, say, a Star Wars Rebellion v Empire motif out there when looking at the state of Vzla politics?

          • Hmmm… I see him more as Gollum with the weird behavior, split personalities and obsessiveness.

            Now Cabello as the Witch-King? I’d buy that for a dollar.

          • I see your I’d buy that for a dollar and raise you an I’m authorized to use physical force.

  11. It’s like PC (Maduro) vs. Mac (Capriles) in the 90’s: I can’t believe we’re loosing to these guys.

      • Actually that’s a dumb analogy, or at least not a very good one for you, since Mac is still losing to PC two decades later.

        • Depends on your metric. Apple went into audio distribution and the phone market where their iOS dominates over Windows Mobile (and Windows mobile will never catch up). Of course in the PC market space Windows dominates over OSX by a long shot. I think a more apt analogy would be that Maduro is Apple iOS and Capriles is Android. Apple thrives on image, on a cult of personality, while Capriles just gets shit done (the hundreds of schools he’s got completed in Miranda state and the focus on education for the future of Venezuela).

  12. I see the election as something more like this…

    You can almost put real names to some of the folk in the video.

  13. After seeing Nicolás talking about how Chávez appeared to him as a little bird, there’s a part of me that tells me: This is like fighting Sauron, an ethereal being whose influence makes up for its lack of corporeal form, these last few days of byzarre spectacle around Chavez’s death that proves to me that they don’t even want to hide it anymore, Chavismo is now a religion

  14. Wasnt Maduro active in some kind of Hindu Mystical Cult years ago before he rose to first rank political prominence under Chavez ??, Might it be that beside his interest in exploitating simple peoples taste for the mistical and syrupy sentimental ( linking it to Chavez death and deification ) he really likes following that line of ´discourse´??. It may seem very kitschy and ridiculous to us , but hey! he is no intellectual limelight or the product of any serious educational system . There is something incongruous in his involvement with a Hindu Mistical Cults and his purported heavy indoctrination as a Communist cadre in Cuba or maybe he is just a bad actor , lacking in histrionic gifts and therefore tends to ‘over reach’ in attempting to project a religious kind of experience for popular consumption which he doesnt actually feel !! In any events his mistical gesturing stinks and maybe thats the reason why his place in the polls is dropping!!

    • There is something infantile about those who gravitate towards a transplanted cult, as developed by a (Hindu) mystic who, in turn, devises a series of rules and regulations which the seeker desperately needs. That infantilism also manifests itself among those who look for idealism in theoretically-based politics. So I would say that there is not as much incongruity as you might think, between the two pursuits.

      What I found particularly manipulative in Maduro’s storytelling was his repeated use of the mystical number 3. The first was Chávez’ flying after March 5th: “voló, voló, voló”. The second reference dealt with the 3 times the little bird whooshed around Maduro’s head.

      Leopoldo Castillo has a great analogy in today’s Aló Ciudadano, bringing to play the well-known tradition of Cuban storytelling for radio, sounds and all. Miguel Octavio uncharacteristically spits venom on the subject in today’s post in The Devil’s Advocate.

  15. Francisco Toro was never Nate Silver and I don’t think anyone was going to compare this blog to the FiveThirtyEight but this is beyond absurd.

    So here we are – according to this blog Maduro may win only because the government can somehow intimidate everyone into voting for him.

    Thing is, even if this were true, this is totally, and I mean totally, besides the point. Maduro’s win, and it will be a big win, won’t have anything to do with the GNB and everything to do with the fact that most Venezuelans seem to WANT Maduro to win, presumably because they like him, his predecessor who endorsed him, and his government more than they like his opponent.

    How do we know this? We know it because of something that this blog is very obviously trying to avoid: opinion polls.

    Lets see:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/29/venezuela-election-2013-m_n_2980492.html

    Datanalysis has Maduro ahead of Capriles by 49% to 35% or 14 percentage points

    Interestingly the Datanlysis polls say that 79% have a favorable image of Chavez, 56% a favorable image of Maduro and 56% think positively of the countries situation. Nothing in those numbers for Capriles, nor reasons to cheat.

    Next we have IVAD:

    http://www.noticias24.com/venezuela/noticia/159737/maduro-aventaja-en-18-puntos-a-capriles-de-cara-al-14-a-segun-ivad/

    According to IVAD Maduro is up 53.3% to 34.7% for Capriles or a more than 18 point advantage for Maduro.

    Then we have Hinterlaces.

    http://www.noticias24.com/venezuela/noticia/159436/estudio-de-hinterlaces-otorga-a-maduro-un-55-de-intencion-de-voto-mientras-que-capriles-tendria-un-35/

    Hinterlaces has Maduro up 55% to 25% or a 20 point advantage.

    Sorry, but if there is some pressing need to cheat with a full court press by the CNE and the GNB it sure isn’t jumping out from these poll numbers.

    Interestingly the closest poll I could find (though still a blow out) is by some possibly bogus (and bogus pro-Chavez?!?!) polling company GIS XXI.

    http://www.elmundo.es/america/2013/04/01/venezuela/1364849852.html

    There Maduro has a mere 10.6% lead, 55 to 44.

    Looking at the hard numbers we see very consistently that Maduro will win by a wide margin because Venezuelans favor him over Capriles by a wide margin. Nothing to do with the CNE, GNB nor the logical and factual contortions of Francisco Toro.

    I hadn’t paid that much attention to this blog for some time until Chavez’s death. It is striking how it has given up on any pretense of presenting Venezuela as it actually is and analysis why that “is” is and what can be done to change it. Rather, it just now makes up its own magical reality that doesn’t actually exist anywhere outside this blog.

    So out of touch has CC gotten that I have to say you can read much more lucid and reality based analysis on Alex Boyd’s blog:

    http://alekboyd.blogspot.com/2013/03/nicolas-maduro-14-abril-elecciones.html

    And I think people know I don’t say that because Boyd and I are friends.

    • We are not trying to avoid opinion polls. Witness the fact that we published your boring little rant right here. You come to this blog for the freedom of expression the lunatics you so heartily endorse deny all Venezuelans.

      Maduro will win. It means he’s popular. It doesn’t mean he’s right. And neither are you. Maduro will be a disaster for Venezuela, thanks in part to people like you.

      • OW is saying this blog no longer offers an accurate depiction of the electoral reality. Quoting the main man Quico:

        “What chavismo is relying on to put them on top has […] EVERYTHING [emphasis mine] to do with [the military plan for election day].”

        In your reply to OW, you ignore his point completely, which is that chavismo is NOT relying AT ALL on this military plan to win the vote.

        Reality flipped upside down in the name of propaganda. You ignore any evidence to the contrary.

        • I think Quico’s point is that the Armed Forces angle is chavismo’s insurance policy, just in case the polls get tight or something else happens.

          • Quico knows that the polls aren’t tight, which makes him entirely misleading whichever way you want to generously interpret his vague comment.

            His entire thrust was that this is coercion of the public. Needless to say he didn’t expand on how exactly a soldier would force someone to vote PSUV. Or thousands of people. Or the hundreds of thousands that would represent an adequate “insurance policy”.

          • Armed soldier in military fatigues knocks on your door. “Ma’am, we know you haven’t voted yet, and you’re on the rolls of the Misiones. You’re also on the waiting list for Misión Vivienda. I’m here to bring you to the voting center, to remind you to vote for Nicolás Maduro.”

            It’s really quite simple, I don’t understand how you don’t see it. Then again, you believe cancer can be infected and Chávez talks through birds, so your view of reality is … different.

          • Well, your scenario of soldiers knocking thousands of doors on election day is nothing to do with reality. That’s the whole point of the 1×10 – yes, voters themselves can knock on doors too – and be far more persuasive!!

  16. Doesn’t Maduro have some plan that Chavez gave him in some little book that no one has seen? That’s what he is supposedly rolling out. Wonder what the last page of that reads like.

  17. OW, why don’t you come to Venezuela and see the realities of what Chavismo has done to this country. Talk to some of the public employees who are forced to march instead of doing their jobs, contribute their hard-earned money to the PSUV campaign, and vote under the threat that if they vote for the opposition, they will lose their jobs. Talk to the thousands of people who have already lost their jobs because the companies they work for have been expropriated and run into the ground or are on the verge of bankruptcy because the owners can not get access to the raw materials they need to maintain production or cannot export their products. The worst reality of what we are living on a day to day basis is the polarization of society because of the hate-filled speeches of Chavez and now his goons who are desperately seeking to maintain power so that they can continue to enrich themselves while they lead this phony revolution.

    Come back to Caracas Chronicles in another year and let’s see how many of the people who are going to vote for Maduro on the 14th are still enthused about him and this government. In the meantime, get a life!

  18. Maduro’s campaign has been the worst presidential campaign I’ve seen in my life. With no significant news/scandals after Chavez’s death (no chavista really cares about SICAD’s devaluation) he has wasted more than half of his hereditary votes, going from almost 18% to 7%, in only two weeks! This is astonishing considering the fact that he has some the best propaganda people in the world at his disposal and complete control over national mass media. In any case, 7% is still a lot and its very difficult that people who have not jumped the “talanquera” do so in the last 12 days.

    I feel there is a lot of disappointment in the chavismo towards Maduro, and I think abstention levels would be very high, providing Capriles a winning chance, if not for their “plan remolque”. Lastly, you still hear a lot of chavistas say “We need to vote for Maduro because that is what chavez wanted”.

    I think Maduro will win the elections, but he will have less than 40% approval by the end of the year, and we will see a lot of disappointed chavistas break from PSUV and form their own party or join Henri Falcon’s new party. Maduro’s popularity will go down very fast, but with the massive control apparatus they have, it is difficult to predict if that will be enough to trigger a change of government in the future.

    Eso es lo que hay

  19. Doubt very much that Chadertons credibility in Washington circles is very high or that he is paid any attention when he speaks . Of course he knows this. This speech is meant for his bosses in Caracas , to have them remember him as one of the most vociferous ‘loyals’ . The guy is beneath comptempt !! The election is the ‘now’ thing but Opposition leaders should put more of their attention on what will happen 6 to 12 months from now , when even if an economic breakdown is averted Maduro will be facing economic and social challenges the like of which have never seen before !! , this is a planting season for the opposition , the crop collecting season will come when the whole system of Chavismo delusions starts to shake and tumble .

  20. My cousin is married to a DSS who was actually stationed in Caracas for a few years.

    Basically, they really don’t pay any attention to what Chavista officials say. They just know that it is all for a domestic audience. As long as the flow of oil keeps coming to those refineries in the Gulf, the USA is on cruise control. Obviously, they would prefer someone who didn’t pick the USA as its Emmanual Goldstein, or a government whose officials and generals aren’t so heavily involved in narco trafficking, or a government who cared about human rights, but there isn’t any real concern.

    So Maduro can accuse USA of sabotage, or murder, or whatever, but it’s just noise. Nothing changes. Keep the oil flowing. Away from the cameras, there is little or no animosity towards USA diplomats.

    The diplomatic security staff in Venezuela’s worry is chiefly from kidnappers and the sort, same as anyone else in the country.

    • I’ve always said that the US government, whether democrat or republican, will not do anything against the Venezuelan government unless they pose a threat to national security. They know what they say its just for show; in fact the Venezuelan government purchases more stuff from the US now more than ever! The worse Venezuela is doing, the better for the US as they can continue selling to us.

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