Adventures in birtherism

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A: somewhere in Cúcuta!
A: somewhere in Cúcuta!

The Venezuelan birther movement started out on the fringes of political discussion. It was a subject few people dared to touch, and when they did, it was a hush-hush thing. “Chico, ¿tú crees que de verdad Maduro es colombiano?

After a while, the story of Nicolás Maduro’s curiously missing birth records grew some legs. All of the sudden, Henrique Capriles was a birther, and so are most of the opposition members of the National Assembly. The story just won’t go away. It is now part of the opposition mainstream’s political strategy.

So … what gives? Has Venezuela’s opposition finally gone off the deep end?

Now, before you think I, too, have gone birther, I have to fess up: I am on the fence on this issue, waiting for it to play out. I also think it’s important to draw some distinctions between our birther movement and Barack Obama’s.

Part of the reason why we instinctively roll of our eyes re. the birther argument is through association. After all, the US birther movement only succeeded in making fools of themselves, keeping the country distracted for a good year or so. But the Venezuelan birther case is fundamentally different than the American one.

For one, the case against Nicolás Maduro is stronger than the case against Obama ever was. Obama at least had a birth certificate in hand, although that wasn’t enough for US birthers. Moreover, there had been that birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper which US birthers, in their irreverent nuttiness, claimed had been the product of some sort of conspiracy.

With Maduro, we have none of this. Maduro has never shown his birth certificate, nor any other proof that he was born where he claims to have been born. In fact, it’s not even clear where that place would be, since some people in his inner circle say he was born in one place, and other people say he was born in another one.

As for the legal issues, Maduro is on shaky ground there too. If Maduro had been born in Colombia to a Colombian mother – his mother was Colombian, this apparently is not in dispute – and a Venezuelan father, he would have dual Colombian and Venezuelan citizenship according to the Colombian Constitution. This would immediately disqualify him from office, as the Venezuelan Constitution explicitly bars anyone holding dual citizenship from the Presidency.

Putting all that aside, the politics of this thing gets tricky quickly for Maduro. Since Venezuelans don’t really know him well enough yet, and given how the more we see of him, the less we like him, the opposition wants to bank on driving a wedge between “him” and “us.” Birtherism also takes away the whole “I defend the fatherland” spiel. Finally, there is the military component – openly questioning the President’s nationality and legitimacy in this way is bound to stir up the adventurous streak inside every Venezuelan military man.

Deep down, though, the main difference between US birtherism and its Venezuelan version is in the institutional reality it portrays.

In the US, birtherism was seen as nutty because, well, we simply could not believe US institutions would be hoaxed in that fashion.

In Venezuela, however, we can believe it. Had Maduro cheated his way into Miraflores with the complicity of the nation’s courts, armed forces, and electoral body, it would be completely in character with the Bolivarian revolution.

Ultimately, I think that is why the birther story just won’t go away. The articles in the Constitution that talk about the requirements to be President are probably the last few yet to be violated by chavismo. It would simply be fitting if birthers were indeed correct.

1 COMMENT

  1. “As for the legal issues, Maduro is on shaky ground there too. If Maduro had been born in Colombia to a Colombian mother – his mother was Colombian, this apparently is not in dispute – and a Venezuelan father, he would have dual Colombian and Venezuelan citizenship according to the Colombian Constitution. This would immediately disqualify him from office, as the Venezuelan Constitution explicitly bars anyone holding dual citizenship from the Presidency.” The thing is he still could be Venezuelan “born”even if he was born oversees. the only thing that he would have to produce is the document where he rejects the other nationality….

    Either way? does it matters? He is in power, and still “governing” so as always what gives!

  2. Et tu, Francisce?

    Nothing will really change until we all know a huge majority dislikes this government.

    I am not sure someone becomes automatically Colombian if father or mother are Colombian.
    See here: http://www.secretariasenado.gov.co/senado/basedoc/cp/acto_legislativo_01_2002.html

    Now: independently from the fact Maduro might be Colombian, Cuban or from Mars:
    as far as I understand, Oso Yogi’s mother was born in Colombia but Maduro declared in 1994 to Venezuelan authorities she was born in Venezuela. Isn’t that already enough to start a case against Maduro? No, the Supreme Court is Maduro’s.

    Perhaps all this will speed up the animosity against him…just a wee bit.

  3. One other not-so-subtle difference in the comparison of Maduro y Obama: out-there nuts or not, the gringo birthers had access to media, a majority in a parliamentary house, and if they could have truly proven it, they could have brought him down via the mechanism of the SCOTUS. Maduro? Well, he has pretty much every governmental institution in his pocket, so even if it could be proved, nothing would come of it. The TSJ, the AN; any of the nominal mechanisms that could legally bring him down would be pointless because he has them checked, as Lili points out above.

    The only option, would be to take to the streets. Quite frankly, that won’t happen because any protest or riot would disperse on the rumor of Harina PAN at the Mercal around this corner, or maybe that corner.

    When the majority of people are focused on waiting in line for hours to access their bank accounts, butter, or chicken, then anything like a birther movement regarding Maduro is a sideshow of a sideshow that his presidency is becoming.

    Now, if you could tie in his Colombian roots to a planned invasion by Colombia and his election as some overarching strategy by that arch-devil Uribe…

    There are far more productive activities than this that can be done and it distracts from what should be the main message of the opposition: Enough of the shortages, inflation, power outages, corruption. A vote for PSUV is a vote, not for Chavez, but for greed, and theft, want and incompetence.

    Traction is meaningless if the car got no gas.

    • “the gringo birthers had access to media, a majority in a parliamentary house” Whoa, now. The birthers did not have a majority in the house. Birthers were and are a fringe group of nuts.

      • This same fringe that has, with their equally intransigent cohorts on the other side of the aisle, effectively shut down the U.S. government? Don’t underestimate the power of that “fringe”. They have, unfortunately, become far more mainstream with regards to the conservative movement in the U.S.

        Back when there were seven (R) candidates for presidency in late 2011, only three, Messrs. Santorum, Romney and Paul actively said that they didn’t believe. The other four either avoided the answer or actively implied that there was something of the truth to it. And no, I am not including Trump, who isn’t much of a legitimate anything. At one point (2010), 30% of tea party folk believed he was from another country with 29% responding “don’t know” as opposed to 20%/22% for all Americans.

        1/5 of the country (60 million people) isn’t exactly a fringe.

        It would be interesting if someone in Venezuela were to do a similar poll. Are the numbers that high? Higher? Lower or much lower? Without an accurate gauge of the population, pursuing this could be at the very least a distraction and possibly catastrophic and simply continue the polarization of the country when the opposition should be presenting themselves as unifiers in contrast to the ongoing borderline insane conspiracy mongering of the current regime.

        Unfortunately, given the media outlook in Venezuela, I doubt anyone would be willing to do such a poll.

  4. Claiming that Maduro is not legally a native born Venezuelan and thus incapacitated to be president of the country is a dead end street , first on a legal front because even if only one of his parents is a native born Venezuelan he qualifies as a native born venezuelan if he takes up residency in Venezuela even if he was actually born outside its borders . If that gives him a double nationality he can claim to have renounced it and thus to have aquired the right to be legally considered a native born president. On the non legal front proving that he was born in Colombia and meets none of the conditions for being considered legally a native born Venezuelan is a tought job given all the time and means he has had to cover his tracks .even more difficult to have someone in Venezuelan current judicial system declare that he in fact lacks the native born qualifications to be President . Even if proof is offered that he lacks the qualifications to be considered a native born venezuelan most people in venezuela and certainly most of his followers dont care all that much for what they would consider empty legalism . We are not a puritan country where these legal things matter all that much . there is in ordinary venezuelans no cult of the law or rules which is part of the reasons the regime gets away with violating the law again and again on the flimsiest of pretext . The only effect of any such proof (if it can be obtained) is that for opponents of the regime its one more reason to support the view (they already have) that the whole government discourse is made up of a systematic weave of lies, and thus that such discourse lacks all credibility, something which might rile them a bit , that might rouse them to more active participation in opposition activities and thats it . There are bigger fish to fry in the opposition side of things !!

    • What you’re ultimately saying is that opposing Maduro is useless, so we might as well lie down and enjoy the ride.

      • No Juan , Im just saying that there are many other fronts on which to attack Maduro and the regime and that this Colombian birth thing is more in the nature of a nuisance to him that a lethal threat to this already much disputed legitimacy . No way would I ever propose that we simply lie down and take the ride . His legitimacy is bleeding all over the place mostly by reason of the fracas that his government has become.

        • What you’re saying is that even if this were true, it’s not worth fighting for. Hacernos los locos pues. That’s the same as lying down and taking the ride.

          • I think what he is saying is that, given limited resources, the opposition should pick their battles. Is a pyrrhic victory a victory? Yes, but good leadership would prefer a decisive victory rather than one that accomplishes nothing strategically.

            What would this fight accomplish? It will not unify the population, which is what is needed to change the government, even if it could be proven.

            If there is proof, save it for afterwards as a legal basis to effectively nullify everything.

          • No Juan, it is about strategy and tactics. This is the wrong beach front. It is a beach front that will gain you nothing even if you conquer it. Toro made a very good case bellow.

          • Whatever happened to saying the truth? The truth is that Maduro has never produced a birth certificate, and there are serious doubts about his place of birth. And we have to simply ignore that…?

          • But what is the truth? Schrodinger’s cat? Its both and neither, because without something directly observable, there’s no way of knowing. In other words, it doesn’t matter.

            I’m thinking Training Day here. “It’s not what you know, its what you can prove.”

            The burden of proof will be on the accusers. No matter how much they scream, chant, holler or riot, unless they have uncontested evidence that he is, indeed, in violation of the Constitution, then Maduro can simply do nothing and, as in dealing with a raging toddler, let him throw a tantrum until he wears himself out.

            I won’t even digress terribly far down into what would happen even if they did have or could acquire proof. Take it to the TSJ? International community? Buona fortuna.

            Personally, were I him, I’d be okay with this so-called controversy. Why? Its a distraction from real, verifiable and ongoing troubles. Moreover, using Mr. Linares analogy above, I’d let my opponents storm that heavily fortified beach again and again and again wasting their blood and treasure on it until they were just about to take it. Then I’d trot my partida out.

            The birther thing, to my mind, weakens the opposition, not strengthens it; and this is particularly true now when they could rally around the real problems rather than be sucked into a sideshow.

  5. The US birther movement was obviously racist, too. It wasn’t just that he had a birth certificate and an announcement of his birth, contemporaneously, in a Hawaiian newspaper; his mother was American, and no one ever doubted her citizenship. Even if born in Kenya, his citizenship was secure. His colour wasn’t.

    I do think Venezuelan citizenship for the President shouldn’t be a core demand; will Chavismo be acceptable to everyone if Nicolas is removed and Diosdado becomes Comandante?

    Issues are needed which compromise the whole “revolution”, not just one Colombian. Luckily, these are abundant.

  6. I have a minor nit to pick. In the “dual nationality” scenario where he is a Venezuelan citizen “by birth” and also holds Colombian citizenship through his mother, he could always renounce his Colombian citizenship if he ever accepted it.

    Look, just because he is entitled to something does not mean he has to accept it. And he could always renounce his other citizenship.

    Of course, in Venezuela today, where the rule of law is a bad joke, “que es otra raya para el tigre” (what’s another stripe for the tiger). These clowns that run Venezuela have long since made it clear that the “law” is a means to suppress opposition and advance your own interests. Hence, when it is inconvenient, it is ignored.

    • “he could always renounce his Colombian citizenship if he ever accepted it.”

      Their point is that he would have needed to do that prior to becoming President. If he didn’t do it, he would be illegitimate.

      You have to concede that the criollo birthers have a slightly stronger case than the other ones.

  7. I’m kind of enjoying this whole story.

    It keeps him off balance. If it was such a simple matter they would have dealt with it already.
    It’s obviously a sore point &, for me, proves he was born in Colombia.
    Because of the limited ability of much of the population to understand complicated issues they don’t want to get into a detailed explanation.

    Keep it up oppos.
    I’m loving it.

    • “It keeps him off balance.” …Exactly.

      He’s just gotta be nervous over what’s being said over the lunch tables at Fuerte Tiuna.

  8. The facts: “Artículo 96.- (of the Colombian Constitution)
    Son nacionales colombianos:
    1. Por nacimiento:
    a) Los naturales de Colombia, con una de dos condiciones: que el padre o la madre hayan sido
    naturales o nacionales colombianos o que, siendo hijos de extranjeros, alguno de sus padres
    estuviere domiciliado en la República en el momento del nacimiento.
    b) Los hijos de padre o madre colombianos que hubieren nacido en tierra extranjera y luego se
    domiciliaren en la República.”

    And: http://web.registraduria.gov.co/servicios/certificado.htm. Type in 20007077 and you’ll get a pdf that says Maduro’s mom has a valid Colombian Cédula. Which raises an important question, I thought I read that she had passed away, is this true?

    What this means is that Maduro could have a good case if he wanted to be Colombian (God knows why) but he could also make a good case that he never took on Colombian citizenship, even if he was born in Cúcuta and went to school there. There’s wiggle room in the legal interpretation on whether a nationality by birth is automatic and whether you can simply not take it. If there’s wiggle room even in a kosher interpretation of the law, imagine how much wiggle room Maduro has when the TSJ is pretty much at his orders.

    What was a huge faux pas was the fake certificate this guy Cochez showed everyone. That pretty much killed the legitimacy of the birther ideas in Colombia and in la Registraduría (which I feel are important allies if you really want to get into it). Not only did people feel it was foolish, as it was clearly fake to anyone who’s seen a Colombian certificate, it was also perceived as a lack of trust and respect in the Colombian institutions. The day after I heard an official talking about it and he was pretty upset.

    We’re just starting election season in Colombia, the registraduría is going to be very busy verifying the signatures of the candidates that want to register as a new party (i.e. Uribe and his party) and planning 2, possibly 3, election days next year. I’m not a fan of the birther movement, pero esto fue patear la lonchera, as the registraduría is the pretty much the institution that could uncover this issue and now it’s unlikely they’ll cooperate.

    • “I read that she had passed away”

      True.

      “the registraduría is the pretty much the institution that could uncover this issue and now it’s unlikely they’ll cooperate.”

      Perhaps if Uribe is re-elected, which seems very possible, the registraduría could be ordered to put in order…

      “fake certificate this guy Cochez showed…killed the legitimacy of the birther ideas in Colombia”

      I’d agree. How could a lawyer/periodista/chief bottle washer not be more careful, especially when he said he was going to Cúcuta to find things out…

      Now someone is saying that Maduro’s mom gave birth in Bogotá, not Cucuta.

      In sum, this distraction is not a bad thing. For, as Island Canuck alluded, it messes with Maduro’s concentration. And that’s not a bad thing.

      • A small precision Syd,
        Uribe is running for Senator as he can’t be president again. There’s even rumours that he’s there as “cabeza de lista” to get the votes to pull others from his party into the Senate and that he’ll quit to avoid losing his presidential immunity.

        In any case, I don’t think the results of the election in Colombia will make much of a difference, Venezuela is now a low priority and it’s limited to trade agreements and getting the money that Venezuela owes.

        • thank you, cachaco. I thought Uribe had the option of running again for the presidency, just prior to the end of Santos’s term.

  9. The point is that if there is indeed a constitutional violation for which the supposedly independent branches of governments do nothing it will be one more reason for Maduro’s real or perceived illegitimacy which will not hurt the cause of the opposition.
    There is also the issue of the lies that Maduro has told about this.
    There is the proverbial saying about “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”; this might not be that “straw” but it certainly contributes. Any mathematician in the forum? Are you familiar with the concept of “integration”?

  10. I think it’s a monstrous distraction wrapped up in a senseless strategy with a bow of xenophobia on top.

    First, on the merits, such as they are, what we have here is a theory that even if it could be proven true – and it hasn’t been – could be dealt with in the time it would take Nicolas Maduro to go the the TSJ and, surrounded by smiling, clapping red-clad justices, sign his name to the bottom of a letter saying “I hereby renounce a citizenship I wasn’t aware I had.” The. Mutherfucking. End.

    And that, mind you, is the *WORST* case for Maduro.

    So let’s turn the page on the (non-existent) “merits” of this case and turn to the politics.

    Where oh where is this mythical being that was ok with the 19,283 violations of the constitution so far, *but*not*with*this*one*? Who is it that doesn’t mind shortages, Cuban infiltration of every institution, runaway inflation, out-of-control theft of state resources, communicational hegemony, pran run jails, Derwick’s billions, Glencore’s larceny, Cilia’s nepotism but suddenly goes “the guy was born in COLOMBIA?! UP WITH THIS I WILL NOT PUT!!!”

    Give me a fucking break…

    So long as it was the crankish pastime for Willie Cochez and Dr. Marquina and the Westonzuela/El Cafetal subgenus of Reactionarius Escualidensis species, you could sort of roll your eyes at it and move on. You don’t expect any better from this retrograde rump than to go off chasing shiny things to pass the time while the deep social forces that may, eventually, in time, lead to change do their thing.

    But now J.J. Rendon is on the bandwagon… and he’s dragged the Capriles camp along for this insane wild goose chase! A guy carping on about a subject that a miniscule amount of his own base and exactly zero% of the relevant institutions care about, trying to leverage rancid anti-Colombian prejudice that was already long past its sell-by-date 30 years ago all for the jackpot of issuing Mr. Andretti-with-a-Moustache here a speeding ticket at the Indianapolis 500…and all the while burning up international credibility and making himself look weak and ineffectual to boot.

    Think of the message this sends to the broad middle of Venezuelan society, the 60% of the country in class C and D struggling to get by on or around the minimum wage, living far from Caracas, who liked Chavez, know the government sucks, but distrust what they see as a privileged, out of touch opposition. A bunch of doctores sat around a salon in East Side Caracas discussing constitutional esoterica while they have one free day a week and have to spent 4 hours from it standing in line for a kilo of Mercal rice. How much more out-of-touch can you get?

    It’s a catastrophe, Juan, no te mojonées…

    If Capriles’s embrace of populist goodie-giving hadn’t already convinced me that the guy doesn’t have a fucking clue and will go down in history as a mistake, and a footnote, this would so, so do it.

      • You know, I usually think that all of these apparently illegal things that the government do should be addressed at some point by the oppo just so, you know, later they can say: we told you they were screwing and breaking every single law.

        But I have to agree with you here, Francisco: this is just plain nonsense. Capriles & co. could let some lesser guys point this subject out and that would be it, but to see oppo’s main players chasing this mirage and finding it to be the main story in several newspapers today just makes me cringe and think how out of touch with reality (or just plain misguided) must be the guys that are supposed to be leading, and that we’re supposed to follow.

    • No, the worst case scenario for Maduro is to admit that he lied about the place he was born, that in fact he was born in Cúcuta, that he renounces his Colombian nationality … and that either the Armed Forces or Diosdado Cabello depose him on the grounds of being an usurper – something they would be perfectly justified in doing.

      *That* is the worst case scenario for Maduro.

      • We’re talking about real, plausible, could-happen-in-this-life-and-not-in-Neverland scenarios, right? Because as much as I would love that scenario to happen (believe me, I really would: that would mean our country is like the one we’d like it to be), Juan, that’s just wishing for things to be the way they’re not.

    • ” (non-existent) “merits””

      How do you know they are non-existent?

      You’re foaming at the mouth, Quico. Really. You’re embarassing yourself.

    • I’m on board with Toro on this one, altough the possibility exists, tough minimal, that the venezuelan population is so incredibly idiotic in nature that we actually care more about wether Maduro is colombian than everything his goverment is doing to disgrace the country.

  11. Oops, sorry, I thought it was Francisco. It should be: et tu, Juan?

    And Juan often, very often talks about “base”…as if Venezuela were Michigan.
    What are parties in Venezuela? What is the “base” supposed to be to what party? (say, PJ)
    And what is the share of said “base” in the votes of the opposition in Venezuela? How does it compare to the US, Germany, any such country?

    No: the importance of a base in Venezuela is much tinier than what Juan thinks.

    • What the hell are you implying, that we shouldn’t talk about this? It’s become part of the opposition’s main strategy. You might think it’s icky. Quico certainly thinks it’s icky. I think it needs to be discussed. Get off your high horse.

      I didn’t talk about any party base, btw. Don’t know what you’re ranting about.

      • I am not implying, I am stating this has minimal impact, that if we are going to talk about principles, we could already go and ask Maduro whether his mother was born in Rubio and she hasn’t, an investigation should follow because he lied in an official procedure. The others have talked already about the case in which Maduro would indeed have the Colombian nationality: he goes and renounces it.
        But in any case: if we want, we can go for the priorities. Why don’t we explain with details to the Venezuelan masses how PDVSA manangers have allowed for over-billing for hundreds of millions of dollars? Why don’t we denounce firstly why Cilia Flore’s nephew is the one in charge of the Nation’s Treasury?
        And these items will bring us no reputation of xenophobes.

      • Excellent news that the “controversy” about Maduri’s birth certificate is now a main plank of opposition political strategy.

        When you have pathological liars such as Cochez producing Maduro’s Colombian birth crtificate and then it is declaimed as being “false” by the Colombian president himself, you certainly have a vote winning strategy.

        Continue as long as you want. This strategy suits me and my communist buddies.

        The evidence you produce is so weak. Maduro said……….none of this has any value or weight. It is what the documents say and Maduro does not to produce anything as he was accepted by the CNE as candidate.

        You would have a better chance of having Maduro removed trying to prove he was a serial killer or something worse tan that then placing all you hope of the “fact” that he “might” be Colombian. Icky is not the right Word, JC. Being brainless is.

      • I’m with you, Juan. Except for the icky factor.

        I’m amazed by those who so easily dismiss liars in their midst, as though misrepresentation, or out-and-out lies, are perfectly OK. (What planet are you all on? Is that the reason why Cubans have been so successful in permeating the top echelons of government?)

        Let me be clear. Those who lie, who misrepresent are not OK. Not among regular folks. And most certainly not a nation that discovers its head of state can’t be trusted with the most basic requirements.

        We’re not talking about a little white lie, here, folks, una mera mentirilla. We’re talking about trying to pull a fast one. In this particular case, it’s on a grand scale.

        Do I want the MUD to focus solely on birtherism?
        Absolutely not! Nor have they, in spite of rants from those who think otherwise. Fortunately, there are those who quietly battle the front, such as this latest discovery from
        Walter Márquez.

        Let this back-burner pot continue to simmer, as other more pressing issues gain attention. I, for one, don’t want to see buried.

  12. Still with the links to the bicycle incident? Don’t we have enough substantive complaints about Maduro to be resorting to that? Seriously.

    • Even if OT this is really some piece of news Kepler brings us , it can mean two things , one that in the battle between more rational chavista economists like Merentes and ‘wild man from the mountains’ Giordani , Maduro hasnt got the authority to settle or decide their differences so he compromises by giving the post to uncontroversial big wig Ramirez (who is not an economist but a veteran yes man) . The second that were in for a tough ride as Maduro and his team of desperate accolytes try to get through the storm taking mostly cosmetic political control meausures !! If we are waging an economic war what is the enemy doing exactly to make things as difficult as theyve become !! The economy is in total control of the regime , what can anyone in the opposition do to make things difficult for the govt??

  13. I guess that the calculation for the decision of the mainstream opposition to join the birther movement is that there is latent xenophobia against Colombians in Venezuela in all social strata. (I´ve heard “Si un colombiano no te lo hace a la entrada, te lo hace a la salida” from people from all social classes, specially in border states) And that the MUD is not really hoping to oust Maduro because of this, but to make a dent in his popularity using this xenophobia.

  14. Xenophobia should not be guiding principle (of course!) here.

    But two questions are interesting:

    (1) Why hasn’t the question been settled outright by Maduro. Is he dilly-dallying, unsure how to proceed? Is the case against him stronger than people here realize? Does he regard this problem as a non-issue and does the general public agree? Is he bidding his time, ignoring the opposition, will he play his cards after letting this simmer a while and then go “see I told you so”?

    (2) If the opposition wanted to pursue this, is institutional support to investigate further even *theoretically* possible? Are there bureaucrats willing to risk their necks to even google “Maduro Venezuela nacionalidad Colombia”

    I for one think the strategy should depend entirely on the answer to (1).

  15. “Does he regard this problem as a non-issue and does the general public agree?”

    Well people around him & he himself have brought the subject up numerous times with lame comments that prove nothing.

    I think it is indeed a big problem for him that many people will not fully understand.
    Just that he is a Colombian & shouldn’t be president.
    There is a lot of ingrained dislike (jealousy) for Colombians among Venezuelans.

  16. I think you touched on it with the “adventurous streak” part. This would be the kind of thing the guy’s own people latch onto as a pretext to get rid of him, when the time came. It would not be his appalling performance as president, corruption, or anything else of substance.

  17. I agree with Quico. As an “issue” this is a non-starter just as it was in the U.S. This only serves to make the Opposition look petty and distracts from the real issues: Crime, Corruption, Shortages, Incompetence, etc…

    • Roy – it’s ironic that the four ussues you list are precisely why the opposition cannot win elections in Venezuela as they all apply to them …….especaily PJ.

      Give you an example – the otehr day tyhe gross opportunist Ramón Muchacho gave declarations near the Centro San Ignacio and instead of talking about the problems in Chacao where he is favorite to win the alcaldía, he did not even address the issues, that concern us the voters. He stood there and complained about Maduro and the Habilitante.

      These people have no idea and Muchacho for one has Little interest in being mayor here. he just wants to be on the political stage talking garbage which is way above his head.

  18. The place of birth is not the problem. I was born in Italy and I am venezuelan by birth, according to the Constitution. The real problem is the potential dual citizenship, for which the Constitution is very clear: only those without any other citizenship can be President of Venezuela.

    The question then is wether 1) he has the right to the colombian citinzenship 2) he has actually used that right (one can potentially have a second citizenship through parents, spouse, etc. but never actually request it).

    Now, why would someone be required to provide his birth certificate and other candidate should not? Because he/she was born outside the country, married someone with another nationality, or have parents from another country? If so, that is discriminatory for those venezuelan citizens that are in that particular situation. Therefore, ALL candidates should proof they are venezuelan citizens by birth with no other nationality.

    So the real problem here is that there is no clear procedure anywhere (that I know) to verify that a candidate for President, Supreme Court Judge, etc. etc. (there is a long list of those that must have only the vzlan nationality) actually have no other nationality. There should be a thorough search before the person gets to the job. This is not currently done in Venezuela, I guess because it used to be (in the old Constitution) that Venezuelans could not have any other nationality.

  19. “2) he has actually used that right ” I think you’re right on the money. Maduro never claimed a Colombian cédula, even if he had the right to Colombian citizenship, he never exercised it, much less after being 18. You could spin it as a transparency issue, he should be honest and open about where he was born, even if that does not stop him from being President. But at best you’ll show that he’s not transparent (like we didn’t know that), which is far from declaring him ineligible for his position as president.

    • Like Venezuelans don’t know he is not transparent? Those who care know already. They have lied about Chávez, they have lied about everything else. Those who are Chavistas don’t care about transparency one single bit. Not an atom. Not a neutron.
      Those who are ninis just want to be left alone, buy their CADIVI dollars, go to the beach, drink.

      • That’s precisely my point. That’s the most you’d be able to milk out of this cow, not even the electron in the hydrogen atom of water in a glass of milk.

  20. Does the opposition run focus groups to find issues that resonate with people? I just don’t understand what they hope to accomplish expending effort on this?

    How bout spending their time find the best ways to tell the masses over and over the the simple cause of the shortages, that crime is not like this in other countries, documenting blatant lies that no one can deny (Maduro saying there would be no devaluation) etc etc etc.

  21. The problem with the birther movement is that is petty, it is a distraction and makes Maduro into a victim. Because it is petty it makes those that pursue it look bad. It distracts from the terrible performance of Maduro and the situation of the country. By making him a victim it galvanizes his supporters by dividing the population between “us” and “them” where “them” are those that want to deny someone his right to be president just because he comes from humble origins.

    JJ Rendon and others believe they may have stumbled onto something because Maduro has not taken care of the issue outright and moved on. Maybe Maduro does not want to move on because this actually benefits him.

    • I don’t think this birther movement makes Maduro look like a victim, but rather as a usurper, which he is in reality, insofar as backtracking on his promise to revise the votes after the last election.

      • Depends on who you are. If you have mixed nationality and/or in your family there are immigrants then you would sympathize with Maduro’s position.

          • True, but you already had contempt for Maduro. I was referring more about the indifferent or the sympathizers. The birtherism campaign helps push them more towards Maduro not the other way.

  22. The issue of Maduro’s supposed dual nationality and its potential for scandal, in a country where scandals are common currency, plays to Quico’s latest need: COLOR.

    For it is infinitely easier for José Jiménez and Rosa García, both non-hard-core chavistas, from towns in ‘el interior’, to understand this issue, against a backdrop of lying about the final days of el Imaculado.

    But make no mistake. Quico’s all-of-a-sudden-need for COLOR, in order to suit his latest story line (“A Hat tip and an ear-tug”), does not apply here. Instead, I see a rerun of a rivalry that has no place here, where both writers have their unique, respectable style.

    So Quico’s rants come off as a snippety, “damn, Juan, your fuchsia cotton scarf is so passé, so chimbo, my turquoise silk foulard is so much better.”

    Knock it off, Quico.

  23. I think there’s some relevance here, on both sides of the fence:

    Laureano Marquez ‏@laureanomar
    Encontraron una luna perdida de Neptuno… gracias a Dios…

  24. Not sure when you say Obama had a birth certificate in hand. True but do you know when? The issue started because there was no birth certificate available whether copy or original. It was lost , his family moved around. They finally found it, Obama wanted to march into the WH Press Room certificate in hand but his aids stopped him. I find the Maduro case to be very similar and I do think he was born in Colombia. Why does nobody mention Maduro’s hair lip?

    • Hare lip — glad I wasn’t the only one to notice that, under the cover-up moustache. Not that it matters one iota. Unless, of course, it’s at the heart of a psychological complex.

  25. Quico, I have to disagree with you when you say the US birther movement made fools of themselves. Donald Trump did a fine job putting Obama against the wall. There was no copy of the certificate ever made available to the public thus sparking the concern. Of course he was born in the US but there WAS NO FUCKING CERTIFICATE TO BACK IT UP. They gave Obama a hard time and it was completely justified. What don’t you understand? Move to the US brother and quit preaching.

  26. you know why they won’t release his Hawaii school records? Because it says ‘muslim’ under Religion. Understand this about Obama, it’s the worse administration in your lifetime.

  27. la oposicion de obama lo jodio bien jodido con el birth certificate. Algo que obama busco al mantener el silencio. Igual que el peo del Airbus… provocan el peo con el silencio. Como q no tienes idea de lo sucio q es esta Casa Blanca

  28. I can tell you don’t listen to the Right in America. The Republicans are dysfunctional and I don’t agree with shutting down the government. Let Obamacare run and fix it later. However, you are an analyst. IF you are going to talk about America, it’s more complicated than the headlines.

  29. Two final observations (famous last words):

    1. Those who think the Maduro birther movement is xenophobic may not have studied in Venezuela, where in pre-Chavista 5th grade, if not before, you had to know that the president of the country had to be born in Venezuela. Period. Fast forward to the Bolivarian era, only to find that the re-vamped constitution became even more restrictive on presidential eligibility. Over a decade later, a mustachioed worm, finger-appointed as president during a period of heightened confusion and uncertainty, finds that a large percentage of the population doubts his integrity and credibility. Worse, that population finds out that the worm may not even be Venezuelan. (gasp!) It doesn’t matter where the worm is from originally; that is not the issue. The issue is the trampled tenet of the constitution. It is one that most people will readily understand, unlike so many other issues mired in complexity.

    2. JJ Rendón’s heightened visibility troubles me a little, especially in the birther issue. For I wonder if there isn’t a conflict of interest, where the Colombian government is involved. After all, Rendón was responsible for ensuring Santos’s win. And it would appear that Santos is not making things easy, where investigations from non-governmental Venezuela or beyond are concerned.

    • Syd, i agree with your argument about the birther movement not being a xenophobic one (althoug it IS a nationalist, and the line between nationalism and xenophoby is a thin one). The problem I see with your argument is that the “large percentage of the population” you’re talking about is mainly opposition supporters, who actually care about the “trampled tenet of the constitution”. But is not something most people will “readily understand”. The people in that large percentage that you refer will, no doubt about it, understand it. The other half won’t understand it or, if they do (it’s not really hard to understand the concepts of a law and following it/not following it) they really won’t care. We’ve seen time and time again that they don’t care that much about the constitution or its trampling as long as said trampling suits their ends.

  30. It is a delicate matter, indeed. The opposition is mostly waiting for it to be played out (Capriles’ endorsement should have ruffled a few feathers, I’m sure), and, of course, having another issue with which to harangue Maduro. But Machiavelli recommended that a Prince should use his minions to do his “dirty work”, while remaining spotless.

    I believe Maduro had more reasons to ignore the issue before. Right now, it could simply put an end to it with a simple document, which hasn’t reliably appeared.

    Alas, would a document be necessary? I’m unsure it would be, since given that Maduro’s father was Venezuelan, and that has not been denied, it might be a flimsy case, after all.]

    I’m on the fence, leaning out.

        • Let me be clearer. Used to be, a child born outside Vzla, was automatically Vzlan, due to the father’s nationality, the father then having pater potestad. (I don’t know if that is still the case — is it?)

          In contrast, a child born outside the US is automatically American (read: US citizen) through the American nationality of the mother.

          Likewise, Colombia follows a matrilinear designation. A child born outside that country is automatically a Colombian citizen due to the mother’s Colombian nationality.

          • The foreign-born child of an Americian parent (father or mother) may inherit citizenship, provided the parent meets certain statutory requirements. The basic requirement is that the citizen parent must have lived in the U.S. for a major part of his or her life.

            At the time of Obama’s birth, the requirement was five years in the U.S. at the age of 14 or more. It’s been changed. For one thing, that rule would have failed for Obama, if he had been foreign-born, because his mother was only 18 years old, and thus could not have lived in the U.S. for five years after her 14th birthday.

            But AFAIK there never was a gender differentiation.

          • A slight clarification regarding the US.

            Either parent makes the child automatically eligible for US citizenship. There are simply different requirements regarding the parents’ marital status, nationality, and residence.

  31. Fact is: Maduro did declare for official purposes in 1994 that his mother was born in Rubio.
    What if his mother wasn’t born there?
    And I don’t mean that he might be Colombian. If she was not, whether Maduro was or not Colombian, he lied for an official matter.

    • For what oficial purpose did he declare that his other was born in Rubio? If you think that something what Maduro said 19 years ago wull have him removed or judged, Kepler, you are frankly more stupid tan I ever thought you were and politically completely illiterate.

      • Arturo, me imagino que tu familia debe de estar robando un montón, mucho más de lo que robaron mil adecos, para que estés escribiendo aquí con tus idioteces.

  32. I think this is a very important issue, one about which to get up in arms. That a person handling the most delicate national matters is found not to comply with the very constitutional requirements of the presidency that are in place precisely to ensure that those very delicate matters are handled patriotically should be most certainly of the highest concern to every citizen.

    From reading the Colombian constitution and given the Colombian nationality of the mother together with his residency in Colombia, it can be concluded that maduro is of Colombian nationality, whether he chose it or not, unless he officially renounced to it, produces a detailed defence explaining why he considers that he is not Colombian, or have Colombia corroborate his lack of that nationality.

    Given the Venezuelan’s constitution’s requirement that he not be of any other nationality, we must demand that he produce the formal documentation.

    If he does not, force is justified.

    • I agree, ET. And I can’t believe how many are willing to just treat this as a non-issue, including Quico’s guru, Teodoro Petkoff, who considers the matter ‘intranscendente’.

      I wonder, if Maduro were Cuban born and couldn’t / wouldn’t produce his birth certificate, if the casual reactions would be the same.

      • I can’t imagine the emotional turmoil it must cause family members and friends of armed forces personnel dying on duty defending the nation under the command of possibly foreign allegiance. That’s like dying defending a foreign nation’s interest, possibly against one’s own nation’s interest. I think even the doubt is unacceptable at so many levels.

  33. The Maduro Birther-movement is just another demonstration of how defeated the opposition’s political strategy is. In fact most of their strategies are now in a state of political doldrums.
    They are getting nowhere close to proving Maduro’s “colombianism” They will not find any proof.
    More importantly however, after Dec 8th: No one will care.
    Given how enticing conspiracies to the media and the public eye, it is a little surprising how the opposition failed to market (dissipate) this “conspiracy theory.” Especially after today with Maduro’s Enabling Powers set to go into law soon.
    Alas, a true mistake would be to concentrate efforts on bickering on this subject.
    To what end?
    Has this question not dawned on anyone?

  34. My main concern about the validity of the claim lies in the fact that whether or not Maduro was born in Colombia, is that this doesn’t matter unless he signed up to be a Colombian citizen. He seems to have had a Venezuelan ID since at least the early 70s, and under the former Colombian constitution, this would have automatically barred him from claiming any link with that country. Unless there is something more I do not know or fail to understand, I cannot see where it would lead us.

    Should it be reported upon? Yes, with certain ambivalence, veering on scepticism. If so many sensible people are bringing it up, could there be something more? I would be too arrogant to dismiss that (although some endorsements are gut wrenching, to say the least).

    I do believe, in any case, that the thousands of dual-citizens in Venezuela (who, incidentally have developed a growing distaste for the PSUV, given the late Hugo Chavez’ threats to the hugely popular Alvaro Uribe), would be worred about the anti-colombian sentiments from our elites. Even if you say “Maduro could have been born in the North Pole, for all I care; he still should feel the heat”, by adding Colombia into the mix you’re ensuring it is a charged situation.

    • I’m pretty much on the same boat. Even if he was born in Cúcuta and fed bandeja paisa on his first birthday, he did not claim Colombian citizenship when he turned 18.

      “PARAGRAFO (Article 98, Col Const). Mientras la ley no decida otra edad, la ciudadanía se ejercerá a partir de los dieciocho años.”

      Should we demand transparency from him? Yes, absolutely. Should he present documentation? agreed! The thing is that even if it’s true he was born in Colombia, he can argue legally that he never exercized his citizenship, that he is not a Colombian citizen and is thus in agreement with the constitution. So, so so many things about Maduro are sketchy and downright illegal. On this issue he could get away even doing things in a surprisingly kosher way

      • Artículo 96 supposedly trumps 98:

        “Son nacionales colombianos:
        1. Por nacimiento:

        b) Los hijos de padre o madre colombianos que hubieren nacido en tierra extranjera y luego se domiciliaren en la República.”

        • Torres, you really don’t know, unless you get into the intricacies of the Colombian law. I’ll give you an example with Venezuela’s law. In Venezuela, the 1958 and the 1961 Constitutions had two different statements concerning nationality, so someone born in 1959 and someone born in 1962, in the same conditions, could have different types of venezuelan nationalities because there were different laws at the time of their birth.

          Moreover, Maduro’s mom could have acquired the venezuelan nationality and lost the Colombian before the son was born (again, depending on Colombian law at that time).

          So my points are that:

          1.- Unless a thorough investigation is done, none can prove anything just by reading the current Constitution of both countries
          2.- That investigation should be done for every candidate, not just for those born outside the country.

          • I agree that we must look into it. Where we seem to disagree is who gets the benefit of the doubt. In my book, until maduro produces formal documentation that he is not Colombian, either by producing a document where he had renounced the citizenship, or a document by the Colombian gov determining that he never was or that he ceased to be, or a document explaining how it is that he is not Colombian given the doubts at hand, he is not in compliance with the Venezuelan constitution that stipulates with no leeway that he cannot possess a foreign nationality while being president. Any doubt whatsoever rules him out. The CNE should have taken care of all doubt, but they didn’t. It’s now up to us, the citizens to demand clarification of all doubt. I think we need to give him a deadline to put up or get out.

          • good points, Bruni. Some folks are using the current Colombian constitution to interpret Maduro’s nationality case, when the Constitution at various junctions (Maduro’s birth, Maduro’s move to Vzlan, etc.) should be read and applied accordingly. And that’s where things get awfully hazy, on purpose. Which is where I turn to ET’s rationale in demanding clarification. Not that the clarification will ever be produced…

          • I think there’s no need to overthink this. It’s not a chicken and egg thing.
            The Colombian State requires official identification papers in order to renounce Colombian citizenship. Therefore no official papers, no citizenship to renounce.
            Since there’s no proof of foreign citizenship, I think it’s a bit xenophobic to condition the political rights of Venezuelans by birth who happen to have foreign parents, to the administrative whims of nations foreign to them.

          • J. Navarro, I think you’re overthinking this. If Nicaragua has a rule that states anyone of Nicaraguan parents is Nicaraguan, then any child born in foreign lands is considered Nicaraguan if he meets the criteria, regardless of the paperwork. The paperwork does not make a person Nicaraguan; the paperwork merely reflects it.

            If maduro meets the Colombian criteria for citizenship, Colombia has no right to deny him the paperwork if he makes his claim for them. He does not *apply* for citizenship as you seem to imply. He merely requests the paperwork that reflects his status.

            That they require that a citizen present said paperwork in order to officially renounce the citizenship in no way proves that one is not a citizen without it.

            Note that they will not allow a person to renounce the Colombian citizenship without showing paperwork of a foreign nationality. Contrary to what you wish for this to imply, it exemplifies the premise that all people must have at least one nationality, and therefore cannot be considered, as you mentioned earlier, stateless.

            If he meets the criteria, maduro can claim his Colombian citizenship. Someone needs to request from Colombia –and it should be him– a formal letter determining if he has any claim to citizenship. If he does, he should have had to renounce that claim before becoming a presidential candidate.

  35. Fact 1: Maduro is Venezuelan by birth through his father, regardless of where he was born.
    Fact 2: Regardless of where he was born, he is entitled to the Colombian citizenship through his mother.
    First Conclussion: Maduro’s place of birth is irrelevant.
    Fact 3: No authentic Colombian birth certificate, id card or passport that identifies Maduro has been made public. The burden of proof is on the accusers.
    There’s people in Venezuela who don’t have any official ID papers. They don’t have a birth certificate (partida), id card (cédula) o passport. They are effectivily stateless. It would be ridiculous if any of them filed papers to renounce their “Venezuelan citizenship”. What would the Venezuelan State have to do? What are these people supposed to lose? They can’t exercise any citizen right without official papers. Ergo, no citizenship until you have the papers. People can only renounce what they already have.
    By the same token, UNLESS authentic Colombian documents can be produced, he doesn’t HOLD the Colombian citizenship, and doesn’t need to prove anything.

    • Not according to the Colombian constitution. The citizenship of someone born outside of Colombia can be automatically determined by having a Colombian mother and then having lived in Colombia. Not having applied for a document does not make the person any less Colombian.

      The same applies for Venezuela’s constitution. If born in Venezuela, one has the citizenship. Obtaining the documentation is merely for practical purposes, but the lack of documentation does not translate to a lack of citizenship.

      • IF he has never filed the papers required to get official recognition as a citizen before the Colombian State. How is that different from having renounced said citizenship?

        I don’t think it is reasonable to require a Venezuelan by birth, to file citizenship papers before a foreign state in order to renounce said foreign citizenship, and only then be able to run for the presidency.

          • I don’t think this pursuit helps the opposition except for the wrong reasons. I don’t want polarization to trap me between the populists and the xenophobes.

            It’s not right to ask others to prove a negative. Nobody can prove they weren’t secretly born a Colombian citizen and then had all witnesses silenced and all the Colombian evidence destroyed and fake Venezuelan papers planted. You would be asking them to prove there ISN’T a conspiracy.

            If there’s merit in this case the opposition should have quietly contacted someone who happened to work in what was once DAS, gather all evidence con pelos y señales and then presented the official Colombian birth certificate, or any other paperwork where his Colombian ID number or passport number was clearly indetifiable. It’s not like Colombians love Chavismo or that Uribismo would shy away from the opportunity.

            For fuck’s sake, the guy was Chancellor for 6 years and heir apparent for like three. The opposition should have people with the connections and skills to dig up the evidence.

        • J. Navarro,

          If he has never filed for recognition as citizen, then he is no less of a citizen. It is different than having renounced his citizenship in that, without renouncing, he can still start claiming any of the rights of a citizen whenever he chooses to begin doing so.

          He doesn’t have to file Venezuelan citizenship papers to renounce being Colombian. He has to file Venezuelan citizenship papers, and must present them in Venezuela, to run for presidency. He also has to renounce being Colombian, if he is one, to run for the presidency.

          Consider that as president, he is head of the armed forces and all members of the armed forces owe a life and death level obedience to his command. The requirements are to ensure that no Venezuelan lives are in hands of a person with any formal form of foreign allegiance. If I were a member of the armed forces I would be demanding he show the proper Venezuelan documentation, and, since there is doubt, that he request from Colombia paperwork determining if he is has any rights to claim Colombian citizenship.

          • For one thing, without filing for citizenship in Colombia, he can’t renounce it since Colombia requires official Colombian identity documents to do so.

            Of course he has a right to claim it though his mother. There’s no proof of him having claimed it. Had he claimed it, then he would have to had renounce it to run.

            He already did his Venezuelan paperwork, he has his ID number, passport and somewhere there’s a very useful hidden birth certificate distracting the opposition from a more persuasive agenda.

            Having a Venezuelan father, a Colombian mother nationalized Venezuelan, being Venezuelan by birth, not being any proof of him exercising any other nationality, being raised and schooled in Venezuela, being a union member in Metro de Caracas and joining a Venezuelan Political Party DOESN’T put him into a “formal form of foreign allegiance” to Colombia. The formal part would the citizenship papers.

            I think all this is yet another wish for a shortcut out of Chavismo, instead of engaging in the grassroots efforts required. I don’t recall all the people worried about his Colombian heritage demanding Petkoff show the same kind of papers from Poland, Bulgaria and Israel. I also don’t see much concern for Capriles’ possible claims to citizenship from Russia, Poland or Israel (Mother’s side being Jewish).

          • J. Navarro. You’re not replying to my argument. Let me put it this way: Article 96 of the Colombian constitution does not state that to be Colombian you need to have a passport or an ID. If you meet the criteria that it does state, you’re Colombian; the rest is paperwork merely for expediency whenever you need to demonstrate that the criteria have been met. If ever doubt is cast on the paperwork, an investigation would always go back to determining if the original criteria were met. It’s all about the criteria, and it seems maduro meets them.

          • Ok. It is clear you think being eligible for Colombian official citizenship papers is enough to consider that person Colombian. I think that for all effects and purposes there’s no “citizenship” without papers proving so. I don’t think we’ll agree on this point.

            However, if you applied your reasoning uniformly, you would also be concerned about the Israeli Law of Return, which entitles anyone with one Jewish grandparent (like Capriles’ concentration camp survivor grandmother) to Israeli citizenship. But I have yet to see you make any demand for him to renounce his “claim” on Israeli citizenship. So I say you’re only enforcing your standard selectively.

            Even if you applied your standard uniformly I would still object your standard as unjust because it’s an uneven burden. Some countries have ius solis (citizenship only by birthplace), some have ius sanguinis (citizenship only by parentage), some have different mixes of both, some have weird Laws of return (Spain for Sephardic Jews, political exiles), some have exotic clauses (Liberian citizenship was open only for “negroes and people Negro descent”), some coutries just toss an unrenounceable here and there. People would have to keep track of parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on and they might still have an unknown and unexercised claim. The Venezuelan governement would also have to keep track of every nationality law on the planet and every citizen’s ancestry to be fully certain.

            On the other hand, a a clear cut standard would require the candidate-to-be to either (1) never have EXERCISED any foreign citizenship or (2) renounce all foreign citizenships ever exercised.

          • J. Navarro, I’m glad that we’re moving forward now. As to your still thinking there is no citizenship without papers, consider someone who lost a passport. Are they no longer with nationality? No. The paperwork merely reflects a reality, not the other way around.

            As to the Israeli law, I do not know it, so I’m not sure if its criteria is as explicit as the Colombian criteria. If it is, then I would agree that Capriles would have to renounce that nationality, officially. My reasoning is uniform. The importance that there be no doubt as to the current or potential allegiance of the head of the armed forces is too great. Fujimori’s case is what got me thinking on it the first time. A president should not have a fallback nationality. Punto.

            But you state that even if applied uniformly you disagree with the requirement. I won’t try to convince you of the contrary here, but even if you disagree with the constitutional theory, you should still defend that the article of the constitution be followed, let alone trying to get those who are defending the article in the constitution to go against it.

            I point now to your reasoning. If you were being uniform in your reasoning, what do you say to maduro not being able to produce a partida de nacimiento, and the book in which he was supposedly registered not being available, and the backup copy of that book not being anywhere to be found, so a new partida de nacimiento not being produced. The law explicitly states that he needed to provide a partida de nacimiento to be a candidate, but all he provided was a CI. Or are you suggesting that someone with a fake or a creatively obtained cédula or passport becomes of the that citizenship for real?

            I would be accepting of a single official swearing renouncing all other nationalities. The key here is that we have someone who not only never renounced a foreign nationality, but has not produced paperwork for the required one, and is head of the armed forces. If I were a soldier, I would be doubting whether to put my life, or someone else’s at my gunpoint, on the line for a commander who is not willing to clarify this matter ASAP.

          • I’ll give you this: It is sufficient for me that presidential canditates provide an affidavit (declaración jurada) of not having held any other citizenship OR of having renounced them. If after the affidavit is taken, it is proved there’s at least one foreign citizenship they have exercised and failed to renounce, then the candidate should step out of office if they are incumbent, they should lose any immunity from prosecution, and be tried for perjury and fraud and any other charge appropiate.

            Your example about a lost passport doesn’t address my argument. Someone who has held a passport exercised his/her citizenship at least once (when applying for a passport). They had a claim to citizenship, it was exercised, the issuer State verified it, and then issued the ID papers while keeping records.

            As for the Venezuelan military I don’t think this is a winning strategy either. They clearly don’t have an issue with interference from foreigners be they Cuban or Colombian. The ministry of defense if full of Cubans, “advising” military policy and in the Venezuelan border towns the Monopoly of Force is held by FARC not FANB.

            The “papers” I mention can be any proof of VERIFIED citizenship including those kept by the State and those kept by the citizen. I would accept any document such as a partida de nacimiento, cédula, passport, or the corresponding State records at the equivalent of prefectura, local civil registry, local ID bureau, national ID bureau, a receipt of a passport delivered, etc.

            No such document has been put forward. It’s kind of dissapointing, really: what kind of Intelligence Ops can we expect from a MUD government? How are they supposed to deal with the tupamaros and other colectivos, the Bolibourgeoise and their chanchullos, the Cuban operatives, the FARC operatives, the Esequibo question, the drug cartels, etc. if they can’t even find a fucking piece of paper in the public record (in neither Venezuela nor Colombia).

            My message to the MUD on this issue is Put up or Shut up.

            Lastly is a matter of Opportunity Costs: Oppo access to media is damn scarce. Every minute and every line invested in birtherism is a minute and line taken from the issues: crime, floods, blackouts, brownouts, a minimum wage of less than $100, education, infrastructure, etc.

          • J. Navarro,

            1) the law states that maduro had to present his partida de nacimiento to be a candidate. He never did. You must agree that he should have. Since he didn’t, and there are doubts as to his nationality/ies, do you agree that he should, now, especially since it is of constitutional importance that he be Venezuelan and not of any other nationality? If so, no discussion. If not, how do you justify trying to get me to accept that I lessen the importance of this constitutional requirement, especially given the doubts presented together with the sidestepped procedures within a context of institutional demise? The only argument I’ve seen you use is that it is not strategic at the moment. But if a winning and focused strategy is the name of the game, then I must ask a uniform reasoning acid test: do you support that the main platform of the MUD should be UCT?

          • I do like the concept of Unconditional Cash Transfers/guranteed income/citizen dividend.

            On the other points you are VERY wrong. Vicente Díaz himself stated the CNE does’t ask for partidas de nacimiento. If you don’t believe him, the offcial CNE manual for presidential candidates only aks for “Identificación del Candidato o la Candidata” (page 16). And a cédula is a much better way to identify someone than a partida IMO.

            As I’ve said, the constitution demands a presidential candidate must not HOLD any foreign citizenship it doesn’t say he musn’t be ELIGIBLE for another citizenship. I don’t agree with you that even claims should be renounced, I think only EXCERCISED foreign citizenships can and should be renounced. For all the things Maduro has done against the nation and the constitution, I would’t fault him with this… UNLESS credible evidence is presented that his claim to Colombian citizenship has been presented and verified, and that at some point he was issued official id papers from Colombia.

          • J. Navarro, If a Venezuelan couple travels to USA with two Venezuelan passports, and the child that accompanies them has an American passport, the immigration office will kick into high gear. Not because its illegal. Not because that is proof of wrongdoing. Simply because some explanation and further proof is required that everything is OK. The will want to know how it is that the child has a USA nationality if there is no USA visa in the Venezuelan passports. The couple might say, that the visa was in an older passport, but immigration will require dates, and evidence or they will continue to assume that the couple was, perhaps, illegally in USA when the child was born.

            In this case, we have a candidate that may have presented sufficient ID, a cédula, but suddenly there has been doubt cast which should have every Venezuelan citizen acting like an immigration officer and asking for further explanation/proof. One of the main doubts is that he cannot produce the one document required to obtain the cédula. Worse, the books required for producing the supporting document to obtain the cédula cannot be obtained either. Worse, there is reason not to believe him since there is already evidence that he lied about his mother’s birthplace in an official process. Worse, there exists the possibility that he IS of Colombian nationality, which, if the cédula is baseless, would make it his ONLY nationality. Worse, as head of state, his lack of cooperation in respecting the importance of this constitutional requirement which is in doubt, together with the irony that patriotism is his political flagship, makes it less forgivable that the paperwork not be produced.

            It is not I who has to prove that he is not Venezuelan, it is he who has to prove that he is, as with the Venezuelan couple travelling with the USA kid. maduro’s is an immigration issue, and we need to act like the strictest immigration officers, because he is in charge of the most delicate national matters and our armed forces. Or are you suggesting that we be more lenient with the presidency than with common travellers?

          • No Maduro isn’t the parents in your example. He’s the kid! And in the USA it’s not OK to harass the US citizens whose parents are undocumented immigrants. The officer can’t take a kid with a valid US passport and deport him from his country. That’s has been the gist of all challenges brought against the Arizona law and all other southern laws clamping down on undocumented inmigrants. So your example doesn’t apply to Maduro.

            Another point where I don’t think we’ll agree is burden of proof. I firmly believe that people are innocent until proven guilty. So I believe Maduro is innocent of having EXCERCISED a foreign citizenship until proof is presented that he did.

            Is the situation suspicious? Sure. Would the subject be put to rest if the birth certificate showed up? Maybe. Would it help if a Colombian authority certified that they don’t have records on the guy as a Colombian citizen? I don’t see why not.

            In the meantime, Venezuela is falling to pieces while the government speaks of Imperialism and the MUD about a birth certificate. Keeping the controversy open is damn convenient for the government at this juncture.

          • J. Navarro you sidestepped the whole argument. maduro is neither the kid nor the parents. We are the immigration officers. If the person presenting the papers show anything that is dubious in any way, we must demand explanation and evidence to get rid of all doubt. In the couple example, a real one, by the way, the child was to be kept in USA and it is the parents that were going to be held until an immigration judge decided if they would be deported or allowed in. The parents were fortunately able to prove that they had had a work visa for USA when the child was born.

            There is no analogy with maduro, only with how the information is processed. When it comes to immigration, one is innocent until there is any discrepancy with any paper, then the burden of explanation is on the applicant, not the officer. In maduro’s case, there are too many discrepancies and the position is of too great an importance to simply let it slide. At least in my book.

            But you’ve made your position clear. You don’t care to clarify the doubts. Slippery slope that allows chavez to be sworn in by attacking the constitution now brings us a person who can occupy the presidency without being able to show a birth certificate, then gives away territory rights and future resources…

            That’s not how we get accountability from those who think they can slide by without having to explain any discrepancies to their constituents

          • It’s a dame shame that you decided to summarize my position in our discussion with: “But you’ve made your position clear. You don’t care to clarify the doubts.”

            (1) As to Maduro’s Colombian citizenship. We disagree on when someone holds a foreign citizenship. Your standard comes from own moral/legal point view, as far as I’m concerned and I already explained why it’s a louzy standard.

            But I’m going to back up my test for wheather someone holds a foreing citizenship by Venezuelan standards, with the help of SAIME. In order to renounce the Venzuelan citizenship, a person needs to hold another citizenship, so they don’t become stateless. What does SAIME asks of Venezuelans by birth or by choice as proof of foreign citizenship? A letter renouncing venezuelan citizenship authenticated by the CNE (the venezuelan organization in charge of the civil registry), an original venezuelan cédula, a venezuelan passport and a PHOTOCOPY OF THE FOREIGN PASSPORT. So there. No copy of foreign constitution and laws and customs and birth certificate and all of its theoretical benefits, but a copy of the actual tangible foreign passport.

            (2) As to Maduro’s Venzuelan by birth citizenship. His father is Venezuelan, that’s a valid claim and it was excercised a long time ago since his id number is 5.xxx.xxx according to Vicente Díaz. It doesn’t matter where he was born, his Venezuelan by birth citizenship stands.

            (3) On the burden of proof. You think he’s Colombian until he can prove otherwise. I say proving negatives is nonsense (you can’t demand he proves there isn’t a conspiracy in Colombia and Venezuela to hide his Colombian citizenship). And no, It’s not a matter of inmigration because he is Venezuelan by birth. I hold that Venezuelans should be presumed innocent of having another citizenship until proven otherwise. You want to accuse him of having another nationality? Fine, back up your accusation with real evidence and only then does he have to provide his defense.

            (4) As to the timing of the controversy. He’s been a public employee/union member at Metro, a constituent assembly member, a congressman, president of the National Assembly, Chancellor, heir apparent when Chavez first got ill, then demoted to apparent cantidate to the Carabobo governorship, then promoted to Vice president, then to heir apparent again, then promoted to acting president, then became candidate to the presidential seat, then won that seat in a at-least-dubios-at-most-stolen elections, then sworn in as president. After all that, the Opposition decided that maybe the guy is Colombian. Is it that MUD has no contacts in SAIME, the Colombian government, the Caracas Registry? Is it that they don’t have the foresight to do a background check even on the rival presidential candidate? This situation tells me MUD is incompetent on neglicence levels.

            (4) As to the strategic worth of the controversy. The military is full of cubans and have yielded our land to FARC so I foresee no coup over this. Venezuelan society is a melting pot and is also not xenophobic enough for this to make a dent, since “tough on inmigration” has never been a platform so far as I’m concerned.
            Let’s do a case by case scenario:
            (4.1) Maduro has his birth certificate. If push comes to shove he makes it public and MUD looks like a bunch of idiots. A precedent is set.
            (4.2) Maduro doesn’t have his birth certifcate or showing it would incriminate him. MUD press him hard on the issue and he orders SAIME to produce an official yet illegitimate document, the Justice system validates it, the CNE is forced (but also four fifths pleased) to acknowledge the document. MUD looks like a bunch of idiots. A precedent is set.
            Then next time there’s a presidential election, chavistas challenge MUD’s candidate because his partida can no longer be found, citing the precedent set. SAIME produces an official document stating there’s something fishy there. Either the candidate is disqualified outright or the candidacy is put “on hold” and the controversy only settled, if ever, after the election. Congratulations, MUD just created a new ground for inhabilitación.
            This together with (4) tells me MUD doesn’t seem to have a grand strategy. Como-vaya-viniendo-vamos-viendo politics…

          • J. Navarro, so, you’re saying that MUD should force clarification of doubts, or not? What about the military? And how exactly does one obtain a cédula without a partida de nacimiento (even a foreign partida showing that the kid was presented by the Venezuelan father)?

            What’s a shame is that your position continues to seem clearly, skip the doubts cuz there are more important things to worry about.

          • I’m not saying MUD should just forget the Colombian mother/missing partida issue. All I ask is that they have the pelos en la mano, when claiming the donkey is black. I don’t wan’t a bunch of headlines of them saying they suspect he’s Colombian, I don’t wan’t unnecessary xenophobic ranting. All I ask is that MUD conduct a proper background check on Maduro, and only when they find the smonking gun proceed to denounce the guy at the Prosecutor General’s Office with the mother of shows mediáticos around it.

            You think that we should be going nuclear on this based only on the guy having a Colombian mother and MUD’s inability to find a partida de nacimiento. I think that’s the recipe for disaster. I already gave my reasons: xenophobia is not morally OK, talking bullshit (in case they’re wrong) will further hurt MUD’s credibility, and a lack of a smoking gun leaves MUD open to being outmanouvered by the government.

            Nicolás maduro was born in 1962. His cédula is 5.xxx.xxx. It’s not like he is a product of Misión Identidad, he probably got his cédula during the first CAP administration. He’s been getting his replacement cédulas ever since. I don’t think a conspiracy could be put in place so far back. And you know what? Partidas DO get lost in Venezuela, because registries are a mess.

            My position in not that they should forget about it, not that I don’t care, not that truth isn’t important. My message to MUD is put up or shut up.

          • That was bound to happen. Question is… will birtherism die out, will MUD get its shit together a do a proper low profile investigation, or will birtherism jump the shark?

          • 1. Tibi mostró con rapidéz, frente a la cámara de television unos cuantos papeles — incluso copia del REGISTRO, escrito a mano, para mostrar que NM nació en La Candelaria. En ningún momento presentó el acta de nacimiento de NM. Y durante las pocas veces que se vió algo, las luces brillaban tan fuertemente (como la estrella de Belén) sobre la dizque documentación, que opacaron lo que decía.

            2. Así es que Lucena asegura que Maduro nació en La Candelaria http://t.co/VcXsNT6eS1.

            3. “YO NACÍ EN LOS CHAGUARAMOS, VALLE ABAJO, me bautizaron en la iglesia San Pedro” dijo Maduro. Un video capta este dicho.

            4. Hace unos meses, Vielma Mora dijo que NM nació en Táchira. Mientras que Jaua dijo que NM nació en el Valle.

            5. En resumidas cuentas (mentiras) … Por vídeo Maduro dice: Yo nací en Los Chaguaramos, pero Lucena muestra documentos “traducidos” que nació en La Candelaria (Fotos + Video)

            Y la gente se lo traga, porque no importa, tenemos patria.

          • The article says “[..], Lucena mostró una copia de la certificación del libro del registro del barrio caraqueño de la Candelaria en el que consta que Maduro nació en una clínica de Caracas.”

            I think the Herald phrased that sentenced confusingly. The Caracas registry is in La Candelaria, I think they meant there’s a certificationor a certified copy from the registry book there, where it says Maduro was born in a private Hospital in Caracas.

            That doesn’t contradict Maduro IMO, but it does contradict Vielma Mora. We need more than inconsistencies, we need Evidence.

          • J. Navarro: “By the same token, UNLESS authentic Colombian documents can be produced, he doesn’t HOLD the Colombian citizenship, and doesn’t need to prove anything.”

            I’m glad maduro did not agree with you and did prove he had a partida de nacimiento. I’m glad he was pressed for this, and I hope he realizes how despicable it was his not jumping to provide this sooner. I hope he now understands the seriousness this matter is to at least some citizens and that he will help remove all other doubts more quickly so that they can go more quietly.

  36. I think all this discussion is very interesting, but it does not advance the cause of the opposition.
    From the formal point of view, despite what Torres and Miguel say, there is really no formal entity that checks nationality for candidates in Venezuela. The Constitution was changed to include this new rule but nothing, to my knowledge, was put in place to verify that the nationality clause is valid. So, all the “mechanics” of what should have been done is totally fuzzy. So we do not win pursuing the formal part of the nationality issue.

    From the popular point of view, it is a worse situation. How many venezuelans have colombian parents? How many have italian, spanish, portuguese, ..parents? Pursuing Maduro because he happened to have a colombian mother and got an automatic nationality, like millions of venezuelan do, will not be very popular.

    So I wish the opposition concentrated on preparing for winning the 2015 National Assembly elections instead.

  37. I agree with J Navarro, for the most part.

    As a tool to distract him and Chavistas I think it’s fair. As long as it is used correctly, this could serve to sow doubt amongst those who may be on the fence or are looking for a reason to vote th other way.

    As a strategy to get him to resign, not a chance in hell.

    As many have pointed out earlier, there are way too many cards stacked against the opposition even if they tried to make this a major plank.

    Let’s face it, thousands of our fellow citizens we consider Venezuelan were born in Cucuta and beyond, came across and paid to get a cedula that shows they are Venezuelan.

    Some paid more and actually got registered as having been born in say, Rubio, and as far as anyone can tell there is no way to prove they were born anywhere else.

    So as a taunt, as a “put the guy in the spotlight and try to make him look foolish”, this is fine.

    Any other reason to take this any further is just going to boomerang and make the others look silly

    • It would be interesting if we had a digital system whereby one could check how many people are born in Rubio every year. Perhaps that city has one of the highest birth rates in Venezuela. 🙂

  38. Maduro was born in a private clinic – for the better off.
    I was born in a public hospital, the only bloody general public hospitals we Valencianos have until now.
    Stupid bastard who tries to tell me I am a sifrino.

    • Y te consta? (that he was born in a private clinic)
      Nonetheless, if that’s the framing, the spin that the government is giving the story — and what a story! — you have every right to bring up that point. Let all the hypocrisies come to the fore for these pseudos: the private clinic births, the super-doper fancy watches, even Jaua whining that he didn’t get his McDonald’s toy. Never have there been such an agglomeration of pitiful guys pretending to be something that they aren’t.

  39. This is a discussion of MUD priorities and on how they should deal with Maduro’s missing partida/Colombian mother issue.

    I get that some people, feel this issue is of utmost importance. And that THIS is the question to settle before jumping on anything else. I’ll refer to this group as birthers.

    What birthers don’t seem to grasp is that challenging a candidacy months after the guy was sworn in office is extemporaneous. If they want to effect change, they have to understand that right now their case is not a slam dunk, is merely suspicions and conjectures. This lack of evidence leaves MUD (not just birthers) open to being outmaneuvered, and also dimishes MUD’s credibility among many constituents. Without evidence, nothing will come of this.

    Meanwhile, non-birthers are worried about Venezuelans suffering the highest crime rate in the region, the highest inflation rate in the world, the minimum monthly income (salary + food bonus) in Venezuela is VEF 4113 or around USD 92 (that’s 3 USD a day), access to proper healthcare is minimal even in private institutions, access to a proper education is minimal even in private institutions, infrastructure is falling to pieces (every rain takes down a bridge, avenue, street or barrio), jobs in the formal economy are not enough for the working class, etc.

    If MUD continues pushing this issue (without first getting the evidence), to the detriment of the other issues, they would be pandering to fringe elements instead of the vast majority of the country. Doing this (without the evidence) hurts the chances of a new majority forming.

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