Outfoxing the Ingrates

These grapes tasted like gasoline anyways...
These grapes tasted like gasoline anyways…

So by now you’ve heard that our Foxxy Sports Minister, Alejandra Benítez, along with (not so foxy) Bolívar Governor Francisco Rangel, reeeeeally wanted Ciudad Bolívar to become the next big Green City-cum-Mecca of South American Athleticism-cum-Tourist Destination, to the point where they offered to spend some 1.54-billion-dollars-that-we-don’t-have to build a glorious Panamerican City as an ode to our currency.

This is, yes, the same Ciudad Bolívar which suffers regular blackouts and on-and-off access to safe drinking water, the very same whose roads to which are littered with human remains from crime, located in the state that recently celebrated a return of feminine hygiene products and soap to grocery store aisles like it was the second coming, and which also happens to have a near monopoly on malaria in our country. That Ciudad Bolívar.

Astoundingly, Ciudad Bolívar lost its bid to Lima yesterday, and the Venezuelan government immediately detected foul-play.  The President of the Venezuelan Olympic Committee accused those smarmy, pisco-drunk Peruvians of buying votes and being dishonest. But not before dispatching three different PR delegations to travel through Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Aruba and various Caribbean islands to remind them about all the free oil we sent them schmooze them, as well as offering breakfast in a “majestic Gran Sabana-themed suite” to the 41 voting delegations at the Panamerican Sports Organization (ODEPA), up in evil, capitalist Toronto.

The cherry on top – or, I guess, the horribly sour grape on top – is this lovely press release, where Foxy Minister Alejandra calls out our Caribbean island neighbours, who all voted Lima, for their ingratitude, given “Venezuela’s unconditional support to them in various topics.” Which is as close to just outright telling them, “sheesh, you sure turned out to be not worth buying off, didn’t you?” About as thankless and irrational as it gets, isn’t it?

Nothing irrational about this: Alejandra, way to stick it to the man. Those ridiculous voting islands need to learn to take their free oil, shut the fuck up, and do as they’re told. And shame on Lima for buying votes. Lima: shame on you.

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  1. I learned things from this post. But you don’t need to resort to sexism to make your point. In a country where women are pressured all their lives to be hypersexual, to focus on surface rather than substance, this woman has instead focused on what is under the skin. That in turn has made her beautiful, and she had an opportunity to show that off. I don’t think it’s fair to go after her for having posed for pretty pictures. This isn’t Diosa Canales. I haven’t seen any evidence that she got her job for being pretty. Her annoying hypocrisy stands on its own, you don’t need to sexualize it.

      • The post is not signed. 3 out of 4 writers of this blog are male, so I think guessing it was a male writing is the rational thing. I won’t presume of being a good judge on what is sexist or otherwise, but surely a woman can be sexist against women. I do feel the whole “foxxy” thing to be un-caracaschronicly. It reminds me of the article of Milagros Socorro criticising Maria Corina for meeting Bush, focusing once and again in her knees (!).

        • Nevermind the not-signed thing. I always read the signature on top of the stand-alone view, I double checked and in this post it appears on the bottom.

          • After not posting after a while, it’s not surprising that it should not have been immediately obvious that it was Emiliana. The sarcasm could easily have been FTs or even JCs, up to the final foxy line, you just can’t imitate a truly foxy woman.

        • Hey dude, ain’t nothing wrong with being foxy! For the record, I happen to think María Corina is quite foxy as well. You guys should all embrace foxyness a little more. (oh, plus, I dont think Alejandra got her job by being a shining beacon of public policy efficiency either, foxyness nonwithstanding).

          • Emiliana,

            Thanks for saying what I couldn’t for fear of being labeled “sexist”.

            (Not that that would have really stopped me, but since you already got there, you saved me the trouble.)

      • I didn’t know who wrote the post, but I thought the focus on the minister’s sexuality was unbecoming of the blog. Women impose demands on other women’s sexualities all the time — I can see the glares my girlfriend gets from women when she wears a tight shirt. The way I see it, let’s just let people express their sensuality and don’t make a big deal out of it. We’ll all be happier that way.

        Anyway the fox and sour grapes, yeah, clever.

      • Read Maureen Dowd, women in politics tend to get dismissive and snarky comments mostly from other women. Assertive, attractive and intelligent women like MCM tend to rub insecure women in the wrong way. We think that only frumpy women like Bachelet and Merkel can be truly capable.

        • BTW I don’t think that is Emiliana’s case she was just being humorous, but I do think that women can say sexist things about other women.

          • In appearance only. In the sense that people don’t usually question their ability or talk much about their appearance or the fact they are women because they are frumpy. Merkel is years ahead of Bachelet (Loved when she made the feo Raúl Castro) Ironically, Bachelet lived for many years in the “Democratic” Republic of Germany, and Merkel is from there. Sadly, she was not paying much attention and did not learn her lessons about totalitarian communist governments. (I´ve always found ironic that Bachelet exiled from Pinochet … in East Germany)

          • (I´ve always found ironic that Bachelet exiled from Pinochet … in East Germany)
            Roberto Ampuero, a member of Juventud Comunista during the Allende era, fled to East Germany after the Pinochet coup. While in East Germany, he fell in love with the daughter of a member of the Cuban nomenlkatura, and moved to Cuba with his wife. Nuestros Años Verde Olivo is his autobiographical novel about his years in East Germany and Cuba. A great read.

          • Merkel’s party gets money from BMW after lobbying work succeeds.
            Bachelet gets votes from Chavistas.
            Merkel remains quite when the NSA spies on its EU allies. Bachelet probably does the same with G2.
            Most of the economic policies in place in Germany now precede Merkel, even though they were part product of the CDU and part SPD.
            Merkel does complain about Russia’s human rights’ record but is rather silent with Saudi Arabia and similar countries.
            So: there are some differences.

  2. Someone who after paying a bribe didnt get what he paid for, famously complained: “the problem with some people is that once you buy them , they dont stay bought”, The regime is starting to learn that “there is no honour among thieves” , that corrupt govts arround the world “dont stay bought” but will turn coats once they stop recieving their customary bribes or where their other interests pull them towards a less amicable posture. Thats why Maduro went all soft in his visit to Guiana on the disputed border question , he needs the support of the english caribbean block on different international forums , specially if he is planning some mischief on the internal front , the Guiana govt has responded to this appeasing gesture by sending exploratory vessels on to disputed sea territory. Understand that oil sales to Petrocaribe have fallen these last six months ( as per BCV figures) , the result of the financial doldrumb the regime is facing and that the terms of sale have been stiffened somewhat ( Guatemala complained that with the new terms it might decide to drop out of petrocaribe) .
    I suspect that the chavez regime has developed among many ordinary folk in latin america an unsavory authoritatian image, that hurts the reputation not only of Venezuela but of anyone too enthusiastic at endorsing its virtues. See how Humala had to turn away from his original chavista sympathies to win the Perucian presidency , How the Lppez Obrador candidacy has suffered from its connection with chavismo. Venezuelan chavismo’s authoritarism and ineptness stinks , and this might have influenced the decision of the panamerican game organizers.!! .

    • Totally disagree. There is no reason a woman cannot be beautiful, sexy and competent all at the same time. In this case, I think that Alejandra Benitez has cast her lot with the wrong crowd, but those photos do not make me think any less of her intellectual potential.

  3. The really galling thing here is not whether or not Peru paid a bribe. Rather it’s that they had the nerve to pay MORE than the Venezuelans. The nerve of those uppity Peruvians. What is the benefit of all those petrodollars if someone outbids you for a vanity project when the rest of the country is going to hell in a handbasket? Bolivares! Bolivares!

  4. Can you imagine the foreign backlash Ciudad Bolivar and Venezuela in general would have received if the games had been hosted there? It almost would have been worth spending those millones y millonas of dollars that we don’t have. The Paraguay soccer team alone made some public complaints about the whole lack of everything during their stay in Tachira last week…Just think of the attention the athletes from every visiting countries would have brought to our problems.

  5. Good post that should have a well-deserved byline under its title. I have nothing against foxxyness, as long as it isn’t a replacement for competence to which such fox is assigned. If both can co-exist then all to the good — until age takes its toll on foxxy attributes — and it will. In all fairness, the phoxxy photo was taken in another time, previous to Benítez’s political turn.

    The idea of promoting a Sochi-like destination for the Juegos Panamericanos was brilliant. Unfortunately, it was completely out of touch with reality in the already-mentioned areas. After all, using the fantasy of an eternal commander as a planning guide is bound to blind the seekers of glory to the impracticalities of daily living, lack of infrastructure, and impoverished finances.

  6. “Chapter 8. Ingratitude in Politics

    THERE’s no crime so mean as ingratitude in politics, but every great statesman from the beginnin’ of the world has been up against it. Caesar had his Brutus; that king of Shakespeare’s—Leary, I think you call him—had his own daughters go back on him; Platt had his Odell, and I’ve got my “The” McManus. It’s a real proof that a man is great when he meets with political ingratitude. Great men have a tender, trustin’ nature. So have I, outside of the contractin’ and real estate business. In politics I have trusted men who have told me they were my friends, and if traitors have turned up in my camp well, I only had the same experience as Caesar, Leary, and the others. About my Brutus. McManus, you know, has seven brothers and they call him “The” because he is the boss of the lot, and to distinguish him from all other McManuses. For several years he was a political bushwhacker. In campaigns he was sometimes on the fence, sometimes on both sides of the fence, and sometimes under the fence. Nobody knew where to find him at any particular time, and nobody trusted him—that is, nobody but me. I thought there was some good in him after all and that, if I took him in hand, I could make a man of him yet.
    I did take him in hand, a few years ago. My friends told me it would be the Brutus Leary business all over again, but I didn’t believe them. I put my trust in “The.” I nominated him for the Assembly, and he was elected. A year afterwards, when I was runnin’ for re-election as Senator, I nominated him for the Assembly again on the ticket with me. What do you think happened? We both carried the Fifteenth Assembly District, but he ran away ahead of me. Just think! Ahead of me in my own district! I was just dazed. When I began to recover, my election district captains came to me and said that McManus had sold me out with the idea of knockin’ me out of the Senatorship, and then tryin’ to capture the leadership of the district. I couldn’t believe it. My trustin’ nature couldn’t imagine such treachery.
    I sent for McManus and said, with my voice tremblin’ with emotions: “They say you have done me dirt, ‘The.’ It can’t be true. Tell me it ain’t true.”
    “The” almost wept as he said he was innocent.
    “Never have I done you dirt, George,” he declared. “Wicked traitors have tried to do you. I don’t know just who they are yet, but I’m on their trail, and I’ll find them or abjure the name of ‘The’ McManus. I’m goin’ out right now to find them.”
    Well, “The” kept his word as far as goin’ out and findin’ the traitors was concerned. He found them all right—and put himself at their head. Oh, no! He didn’t have to go far to look for them. He’s got them gathered in his clubrooms now, and he’s doin’ his best to take the leadership from the man that made him. So you see that Caesar and Leary and me’s in the same boat, only I’ll come out on top while Caesar and Leary went under.
    Now let me tell you that the ingrate in politics never flourishes long. I can give you lots of examples. Look at the men who done up Roscoe Conkling when he resigned from the United States Senate and went to Albany to ask for re-election! What’s become of them? Passed from view like a movin’ picture. Who took Conkling’s place in the Senate? Twenty dollars even that you can’t remember his name without looking in the almanac. And poor old Plattt He’s down and out now and Odell is in the saddle, but that don’t mean that he’ll always be in the saddle. His enemies are workin’ hard all the time to do him, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he went out before the next State campaign.
    The politicians who make a lastin’ success in politics are the men who are always loyal to their friends, even up to the gate of State prison, if necessary; men who keep their promises and never lie. Richard Croker used to say that tellin’ the truth and stickin’ to his friends was the political leader’s stock in trade. Nobody ever said anything truer, and nobody lived up to it better than Croker. That is why he remained leader of Tammany Hall as long as he wanted to. Every man in the organization trusted him. Sometimes he made mistakes that hurt in campaigns, but they were always on the side of servin’ his friends.
    It’s the same with Charles F. Murphy. He has always stood by his friends even when it looked like he would be downed for doin’ so. Remember how he stuck to McClellan in 1903 when all the Brooklyn leaders were against him, and it seemed as if Tammany was in for a grand smash-up! It’s men like Croker and Murphy that stay leaders as long as they live; not men like Brutus and McManus.
    Now I want to tell you why political traitors, in New York City especially, are punished quick. It’s because the Irish are in a majority. The Irish, above all people in the world, hates a traitor. You can’t hold them back when a traitor of any kind is in sight and, rememberin’ old Ireland, they take particular delight in doin’ up a political traitor. Most of the voters in my district are Irish or of Irish descent; they’ve spotted “The” McManus, and when they get a chance at him at the polls next time, they won’t do a thing to him.
    The question has been asked: Is a politician ever justified in going’ back on his district leader? I answer: “No; as long as the leader hustles around and gets all the jobs possible for his constituents.” When the voters elect a man leader, they make a sort of a contract with him. They say, although it ain’t written out: “We’ve put you here to look out for our Interests. You want to see that this district gets all the jobs that’s comm’ to it. Be faithful to us, and we’ll be faithful to you.”
    The district leader promises and that makes a solemn contract. If he lives up to it, spends most of his time chasm’ after places in the departments, picks up jobs from railroads and contractors for his followers, and shows himself in all ways a true statesman, then his followers are bound in honor to uphold him, just as they’re bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States. But if he only looks after his own interests or shows no talent for scenting out jobs or ain’t got the nerve to demand and get his share of the good things that are going’, his followers may be absolved from their allegiance and they may up and swat him without bein’ put down as political ingrates.”

    From the book “PLUNKITT OF TAMMANY HALL: A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics, Delivered by Ex-senator George Washington Plunkitt, the Tammany Philosopher, from His Rostrum—the New York County Court House Bootblack Stand”, by George Washington Plunkitt

    • Thanks for adding that. That book was my favorite reading from when i studied public administration, even though I’m sure the professor added it as a joke.

  7. Totally OT:

    You guys (including Daniel and Miguel) have all been awfully silent about the Venezuelan Navy detaining the U.S. operated oil exploration ship. It has now been released along with its crew, thanks to some very quiet diplomacy by the U.S. and Guyana. I kind of understand that Venezuelans are raised to believe in Venezuela’s territorial claim to the “Zona en Reclamacion”, but doesn’t this strike any of you as having some similarity to when Argentina made their move on the Falklands/Malvinas including the underlying motivations behind the timing?

    • The whole Esequibo fracas is something I generally stay away from. My take on it: yes, it might be ours, but no, we’re not getting it back, so why keep up appearances? I have zero patience for those that think we’re “entregando la soberanía” … soberanía que no existe. I say, let’s acknowledge Guyana as it currently is and get on with the show.

      Putting that aside, I think it’s not clear where the boat was exactly when it was taken away. Guyana says it was in their waters, we say it was on our waters, the whole thing is murky.

      • Juan,

        Thanks for offering your take on this. I sometimes get the feeling that people view the possibility of negotiating an end to this dispute as a taboo subject. I agree that it does not appear that Venezuela can prevail on this issue. Guyana has its de facto occupation of the region pretty well established. However, Venezuela still has some cards to play, since as long as the territory is disputed, they will not be able to obtain much in the way of foreign investment for development of the region. Venezuela should use this leverage to negotiate a very favorable treaty including sharing in the development of the region and favorable maritime rights.

        That assumes, of course, a rational Venezuelan government. ‘Nuff said.

    • I say the same as Juan. Besides: it is obvious the US Americans on that boat knew they were in border areas. I doubt very much they were doing anything else than what US American pilots have been doing while flying over Venezuelan territory from the ABC islands and always saying it was “an error” or they really didn’t do it.
      On both sides there are groups “looking for it”.
      It is not the only place on Earth where that happens.

      • Kepler,

        It is true that navies and air forces play cat and mouse games all the time. It serves to find out how potential opponents will and can react in various scenarios. Some of it is also posturing and letting your opponents know that you are the baddest ass players on the sea or in the air and that they really should think long and hard before messing with you.

        However, these games are not played by civilian ships.

        • Back in the early 80’s was working in seismic vessels doing lines in the Western Canadian Arctic from Tuktoyuktuk. One summer we were surveying an area just on the Canadian side of the USSR/Canada border. We were running over 4000 meters of line and the client wanted us to survey right to the border, so to make our turns with 4000 meters of cable out we had to cross the border and play cat and mouse with a couple of USSR patrol vessels that would come flying up over the horizon. Lots of fun and a good bit of stress as a couple of times they fired shots across our bow. At least we knew we were dealing with professionals. Wouldn’t even think of doing that with the clowns here.

        • Roy, maybe you are right.

          You are absolutely sure these guys were not spies?
          I mean: sometimes any clock is right, particularly in similar circumstances as this.

          • Am I sure? No, not really. But:

            1. The U.S. has no reason to provoke Venezuela in this manner, since they have been bending over backwards to avoid giving Maduro any excuse to cry foul.

            2. There is need to use such a ruse to collect all the data they need on Venezuela. Spy sats and subs serve this purpose well nowadays. The days of deploying “fishing boats” with too many antennas passed a long time ago.

            I am inclined to accept this incident at face value.

  8. @ Roy:

    First that exploration ship gets towed to Margarita, then 2 F-16’s shoot down 2 planes and now the Navy has towed a Trinadad/Tobago fishing boat to Carupano for fishing in our “Exclusive Economic Zone” (stating that “sovreignty” must be respected).

    I’m thinking this is a message to the military and the public over Maduro’s perceived “softness” towards Guayana a few weeks ago over oil exploration in the disputed zone.

    His Cuban puppetmasters probably felt that this did not go down well with the public or the military, so they have stepped up “defense” of the Fatherland to try to show he means business.

    More theater, me thinks, than anything else…..

  9. Iguana Maestro,

    Even Trinidad and Guayana have to be aware that Maduro would be starting something he couldn’t finish. That is where I drew the parallel between Argentina’s attempt to take the Malvinas/Falklands. Domestic theater is one thing, but it is still a dangerous ploy, especially if the population doesn’t realize it is theater.

    • Maduro went to Guayana 3 weeks before the ship was seized and said, paraphrasing, “Hey we’re cool! We love you guys. We’ll work something out, yada, yada, yada…..”

      Then, lo and behold, he has a meeting after that with the High Command who tweak his ears and question his commitment to maintaining Venezuela’s historic opposition to the Essequibo belonging to Guyana. They also questioned why he let slide that Guayana had given concessions in the Roraima bloc with no opposition from his government, prompting comments that Cuba pulled the strings in that episode too.

      It should be noted that press reports had come out bemoaning the fact that the Navy had not been patrolling that stretch of water for quite some time, almost a year by some accounts.

      All this amidst the birthers questioning his legitimacy, the economy in the toilet (and no paper) and opinion polls going the wrong way for this clown.

      It may have some similarity to the Falklands/Malvinas situation, but I doubt very much Venezuela and Guayana will get into a shooting match over this, nor will Venezuela invade the Essequibo region either.

      This would not be “going up an Imperial Agressor” by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, it would be looked at as bullying by the International Community.

      Despite the temptation the Maduro regime might feel about using a war to distract the population, this would be one that has LOSE/LOSE all over it for him.

      And Trini/Tobago, that happens all the time, they fish, usually pay a bribe when caught and nothing gets in the papers. This time, they figured a bit of propaganda would be just the ticket.

  10. Two things make the dispute with Guiana something important for Venezuela , one often forgot is that there are offshore natural gas formations in the area which borders Trinidad from the sea area disputed with Guiana , the fact that these areas are recognized as Venezuelans by Venezuela’s border setting treaty with Trinidad implies that Venezuela has a strong claim to sureinty over these maritime areas ( whatever the case for the land dispute) , The second thing is that the regime gives hight priority to having good relations with the Caribbean Block of Former Brittish Colonie because of the number of votes it can get from them in any international forum , for example if there is a ruckus on the regimes treatment of the opposition at the OAS . Venezuela by seizing the exploration vessel and crew and the Guianese fishing vessel is asserting its rights to this area and in any event stalling any international company from entering into these areas under a Guiana govt license which after all is a negotiating card for the future.


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