Election? What election?

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It’s now less than two months out from a Venezuelan election, even if it’s just a local one (for mayors and city councillors). Normally, at this point in the cycle, the air we collectively inhale is inescapably electoral. Even if the “official campaign period” (and who has ever really cared about that formality) starts November 8, we’d have expected by now to see the streets rife with posters, newspapers awash with paid ads, and, most importantly, candidates flooding the airwaves with back-and-forth mudslinging about each other’s failures.

This time, though, there’s little fanfare to the opposition pre-campaign, beyond the sporadic digital banner, mostly sponsored by candidates in disputed municipalities (i.e. El Hatillo, where there is no Unity candidate so its an opposition free-for all) and Libertador (where Antonio Ecarri is running as an oppo candidate outside the MUD).

There are a number of reasons for this. Money is scarce, donors are terrified to give lest they be labeled corrupt, so many parties are waiting to break their piggy banks closer to election time. As CaracasChron readers are hyper-aware, there are just no broadcast media out there willing to promote opposition voices, and the days of free publicity for candidates via interviews and talk shows are a receding memory.

Capriles has held a few big events showcasing his roster of Unity hopefuls, but unless you were physically there, there’s not much proof that they ever happened. And let’s get real: the opposition electorate is, to use local vernacular, frankly ladillados: voter fatigue is pretty intense and lots of people are just trying to deal with life in general far away from the election vortex. Understandable.

What doesn’t make sense is the near radio-silence coming from the other side, y’know, the one that has a monopoly on cash, media and forced mobilization.

Right about now, if this were.. oh, I don’t know…2008, Chavismo would be midway through its all-out pre-campaign orgy of petropopulism, brought to you in carefully choreographed rallies with a cast of thousands of public employees, broadcast through the ever so impartial state media system, pushing the message that if the opposition wins, [fill in with your apocalyptic horror of choice] is certain.

But this is not the case. Again, many reasons might explain this. The government is also strapped for cash, but then again, winning these next elections will assure them municipal coffers for 4 years to come.

The bigger problem is that Maduro, in case you didn’t already notice, is not Chávez, so grandstanding next to candidates has been pretty much written off as futile. And, let’s not forget that there’s much dissent in the ranks as to imposed candidacies in safe chavista states, to the point where it might be inconvenient to hold public rallies that might show these fissures off to the world.

Still, none of this is enough to explain the sudden pause in our 14 year-long tradition of electoral Bacchanalia. It’s not like Maduro’s shied away from the public spotlight. Yet, instead of holding rallies beside his trusty steeds, he’s busy riffing on Victor Hugo in front of the National Assembly, or hamming it up in front of the Military Academy, or publicizing his Christmas agenda in a national cadena.

Yes, he is in damage control mode over our imploding economy, and yes he has to keep his legitimacy as head of the armed forces afloat. But his lackadaisical approach to promoting PSUV candidacies signal one of three things:

  1. he’s carefree since, whatever happens, elections will be rigged,
  2. he’s too busy staving off a near collapse of the economy to care about elections (scratch that and add it to option 1.), or
  3. he’s not planning on even having elections in December.

The 18 elections of the last 15 years make up the backbone of bolivarianismo’s claim to the democratic mantle. Elections are what Chavez used to mobilize his people, glorify his cause, and vilify his enemies. To those who say Maduro can do what he wants, remember there’s a whole base of PSUV candidates waiting for their turn at bat.

In fact, I’m willing to go off on a limb here and say that the Chavista base is probably hungrier for elections than the opposition is. After all, the 8D has been marketed to the opposition by Capriles as a quasi-plebescite, whereby we will massively vote using a system we have called fraudulent, all in the hopes that the institutions we have called corrupt will somehow agree to cede power when faced with a well-meaning majority (I don’t get it either).

Maduro is not Chávez, but Chávez’s legacy of conniving, strategic perpetuation in power lives on, and I don’t quite get how it’s being executed through this electoral indifference, deliberate or not. It’s weird, and worrisome, and I kind of like it.

1 COMMENT

    • Probably cause it might be an even more obvious sign of suspicion, at least in my opinion. Chavez is dead, but no one is screaming long live Maduro. El Oficialismo’s support of him sounds more like an armpit fart compared to the love they gave to their queridisimo Comandante.
      Since the economy is in an all time low (with all evidence pointing at it getting worse), and PR becoming weak by their propagandastic standards, and less than a year into Maduro’s term no less; one could easily assume (all child like opposition hope being considered) that the Beast is wounded; el Rojosaurio, if you will, has started to stumble under it’s own weight. Dare we dream!

  1. I think I know what a strong victory would do for the opposition. Even if the election was then stolen, Chavizmo is paranoid to the extreme. It needs to be to survive. If they suddenly discover that half of the areas they though were safe are now leaning opposition, they’ll need to severely re-gerrymander the entire country and hope for the best. Communes become problematic as well, since they could realize they could be giving support to opposition areas (gasp!).

    In short, a defeat in these elections could spell disaster for Chavizmo because of their own inherent weaknesses. That the election will be stolen is immaterial if it provokes a multitude of paranoid moves from Chavizmo, at least some of whom will backfire.

    • Maybe in the future thanks to re-gerrymander after an strong victory of the opposition people in Sta Rosalia will be part of Chacao!…let’s keep dreaming…

  2. What no one seems to realize is that the gobierno en la calle is the campaign.

    Emiliana’s claim that Chávez used cadenas is completely wrong as cadenas cannot be used directly for party political propaganda. (NOTE: I emphasize directly).

    The reasons Emiliana gives for her perceived lack of campaigning by Maduro – elections will be rigged, staving off a near collapse of the economy, not planning on even having elections – are simply opposition propaganda points with zero evidence to back them up and are tantamount to ignorent rumor mongering.

    The Observ3rs will certify clean elections; the economy will not collapse and the elections will not be cancelled. Escríbelo Emiliana.

    The problema is that the opposition are on to a big hiding on 8 D and this will destroy Capriles, especially if Municipio Sucre falls to chavismo and Ocariz is defeated at the ballot box.

    In the meantime Maduro should have Enabling Powers before 8 D and will use them to slam the proponents of the economic war and exercise mano dura which will gain votes in all the muncipalities.

    As I have said before I go for at least 260+ wins for chavismo based on the presi election where chavismo won 229 but the opposition has lost ground since then and with more electoral machinery in hands of the PSUV and the Gran Polo Patriotico being recovered and reconfigured, there is little doubt that it will be a crushing victory.

    If any of you want to check who did not vote for Maduro on the oficialismo side have a luck at the April 14th results and you will see that most of the votes Maduro did not get were from the other parties that conform the GPP.

    If chavismo does do badly then we can expect one hell of a ride both socially, politically and economically and the whole population will suffer as it will signal a carte blanche for the opposition to try and destroy the country in order to oust Maduro.

    Finally, Emiliana, you are right on one issue – Maduro is not Chávez……………….es su hijo!!

    • Aha…and according to the cheating CNE, Maduro got 50.61% of the votes, down from 55.07% for the deceased coup monger.
      How much do you think Chavista mayor candidates will get as a total of Venezuela’s population? 45%?

      • As Emiliana has said, Kepler, Maduro is not Chávez.

        I am glad that you consider that the CNE is “cheating” since this proves beyond all reasonable doubt what a buffoon you are.

        The results of the 335 muncipalitirs up for grabs will be decided in each circumscipción Kepler, not by the total of votes – ir are you so ignorant that you did not know that?

        • Any organization that has no cheating to hide, and whose ultimate leader offered, in public, an audit, before he backtracked, is supremely suspicious — in the normal world.

        • Arturo-Cheater,

          We know municipalities are for each circuit to decide. That does not have to do with my question, you fool. I am asking you because if you do not get 50% of the total vote, you are lost…not for the position of mayors but for the whole thing.
          If you cannot understand this, you are more stupid than I thought.
          It will mean people will get rid of you much sooner than you expected.

    • “If chavismo does do badly then we can expect one hell of a ride both socially, politically and economically and the whole population will suffer as it will signal a carte blanche for the opposition to try and destroy the country in order to oust Maduro.”

      The fact that you even write this indicates you already consider failure and chaos a significant probability, you’re even mentally preparing yourself who to scapegoat when things get even worse.

    • Cadenas can’t be used for political propaganda?…That’s exactly what the cadenas were, amidst the utter n’importe quoi Chavez would spout and the occasional singing/dancing. With Maduro, cadenas are pretty much announcements reminding us that we’ve always been at war with Eurasia. The good thing is the guy can only do so much public broadcasting without making an idiot of himself, so they seem to have been toned down a bit of late. Thank God.
      Don’t kid yourself with that whole Maduro being Chavez Jr. tripe. Transitions of leadership within a political regime are never smooth, especially when trying to replace a man that held the personalism standards high. Hell, even Kim Jong Un who is an actual, biological son of another eternal leader (and not some pathetic figuration thereof) recognizes he will never amount to his father’s greatness. The truth is you only get one Chavez and he’s long gone. Deal with it.

    • I really love this little part: “Emiliana’s claim that Chávez used cadenas is completely wrong as cadenas cannot be used directly for party political propaganda. (NOTE: I emphasize directly).”

      yeah, cadenas are not used for propaganda, you completely convinced me, the cadenas are probable the most obvious example of how the chavism movement have corrupted the country. Cadenas are especifically for emergencies not for everyday paja, they need to speak on hours without end on tv to convince us that the country is fine since the reality have never help them.

      nobody doubts that the goverment will win a majority of the municipalities since most of them are in rural areas where the opposition have no presence, what is being contested are the cities where most of the electorate is and, the only way I see for the goverment to win the popular vote would be by massive and obvious cheating or throught massive opposition abstention, even those rare ocurrences where the psuv mayor is actually efficient and the people will massively vote for him would not be enough. Even chavez lost the popular vote in elections in more favourable situations than the current one (i.e. parlamentarias y reforma).

      to finish, ocariz will not loose in sucre

    • The economy will not collapse.

      Let’s see, inflation is 50% per year, 70% for food, deficit is 15%, black rate 8 times he official rate. Liquid international reserves 250 million.

      Define Collapse? 100% inflation, 30% deficit? 20 times the official rate and no reserves?

      Or is it more?

      It’s coming you fool, unless oil goes to $200 per barrel, your other fool Maduro will devalue to Bs. 30 and you will say things have not collapsed.

      You really seem proud of these “accomplishments”.

      • Don’t you realize that you escualidos always predict doom and gloom and nothing ever happens?

        Total expernal debt is only around 20% of GDP so how can we go broke? Hunger is almost zero or well on the way there according to FAO. Unemplyment is 7%. Anyone in their right mind woiuld be proud of such accomplishments over the last decade and more especially so when “devloped” countries such as Spain have 27% unemployment and 60& youth unemploym,ent.

        Fuck the parallel exchange rate – it represents less tan 5% of fx and has no bearing on government funding.

        International reserves are almost US$ 22 billion and the Caracas Stock index is at an all time high of 1,945,000 on Friday after being at just over 8,900 on December 31st 2002. It could hit 2 million on Monday. This is a certain sign of collapse for you!!

        There is no sign of any sort of collapse despite inflation being high except in the fevered wishful thinking of politially.obsessed analysts such as yourself.

        • bullshit…7 % unemployment!!!!! what a crock….unemployment has been in the clouds for years now…its only the fact that the gov skews its figures by claiming buhoneros as employed persons. all the rest of the crap u spew is just that….CRAP

          • To be fair, arbitraging and hoarding is a very profitable activity for buhoneros in Venezuela! The US equivalent (black market sellers on the streets of New York), is a less profitable and smaller market. Hoarding has provided employment for countless low income Venezuelans, and taught them the value of entrepreneurship. Also it has made the market for basic goods more efficient by allowing those with money but not time to trade their money for the time of buhoneros.

            Without buhoneros many Venezuelans with real full time jobs would be completely unable to purchase price controlled goods.

        • Any fool that thinks that the Caracas Stock Index is a positive is very ignorant. It trades less than one hundred thousand dollars a day and has become an inflation and exchange control refuge, as bank assets are perceived to be safe. The reserves are in gold at old prices and now the gold is here thanks to Chavez being so smart so they cant be sold. Ignore the black market, but it paces inflation. External debt is not even 20% at the official rate, let alone at a floating or realistic rate. Do you have a hunger index? It must be the same as your economic IQ.

    • Well I see that somebody else is dreaming…and Arturo wake up realizing Maduro is not Chavez….es su hijo….pero ese hijo de gato anda como perdido cazando ratones….

  3. I think Maduro is immobilized with fear or incompetence and doesn`t really know what to do. I mean, he missed the recent UN meeting, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leave his mark – piss on the tree bark-, that is, to do his own personal version of “…aquí huele a azufre”. Then he also missed the Cumbre Iberoamericana, a favorite Chávez playground. Additionally, Correa and Morales are strangely quiet, as are the Castros. I wonder what’s really going on.

    • and la piva enferma….something it is going at the international, nacional and local level…but as Emiliana’s post describes too many scenarios need to be considered.

  4. The campaign has already started , its different from past campaigns , its waged with different weapons , every time some one goes to the market or the drug store and cant find what he needs, every time there is a blackout, , every time a bridge falls , every time that you realize prices have suddenly gone up so high there are things you can no longer afford. Every time a car cant get repaired because there are no parts , every time a neighbor or a friend or a relative losses a loved one to crime , every time you hear again and again the same stupid denunciation of incredible plots and conspiracies by the regimes heavily larded bigwigs , every time you hear about some new case of corruption by former govt ‘darlings’ and ‘heroes’. The campaign never stops , it goes on relentlessly ,even where the oppo is not saying a word No one is fooled anymore by cheap propaganda and media misinformation . Its not only that Maduro is not Chavez but that the regime itself has spent itself flat in inflating rosy bubbles that are all now bursting. No one who was fomerly in the oppostion is going to turn and applaud this parade of miseries and many who were formerly chavista sympathysers will in increasing numberss become dissapointed . Institutionally they hold all the cards , but the campaign is not waged in institutional forums but in the hearts and conscience of million of Venezuelans who are up to their necks with the govts many failures and abuses . Sooner or later what they feel is going to show itself in ways that cant be silenced or suppressed . That will mark the end of the campaign. It might take time . But unless the regime is capable of reversing its last 15 years of blunders and crimes its going to end up in the dungheap of history. .

    • “heavily larded bigwigs”

      Nice turn of phrase, if all else fails, El Pueblo can always eat their Chavista generals and party leaders, thereby killing two birds with one stone.

    • Your description is correct but I think inertia is a potent force among the chavistas duros. Last week I talked in the phone with my chavista uncle. He told me that the black market of dollars will be gone soon because the Maduro’s plan will work! So if they convince enough people like my uncle that really Maduro is el hijo de Chavez, enough people form the opposition donot participate in the elections, specially because many will be suing their “raspadito” in Disney and the magic of the Tibi y su combo is used again….it will be later than sooner.

      • You are quite right that there will always be a core of die hard Chavistas whose threshold of credulity is such that they will believe anything told them by the regime , mainly because they WANT desperately not to own up to their past follies as a matter of personal pride . As you rightly imply there are two hurdles for oppos to go out and vote next december, one is induced helplessness or apathy , which the govt’s propaganda machine works hard at , making people feel that its useless to vote because the govt holds such control over institutions that they will never allow the govt to lose its power. The other is Venezuelans ‘laid back’ , comfort loving , lotus eater culture , that has us arrive late at appointments , not meet work deadlines , leave things till tomorrow , and hundreds of other large and small manifestations . The two together make a powerful combination . for example ‘why waste time going to vote instead of going to the beach today if my vote is going to get stolen anyway’. Prodding us to participate is the daily reminder of the many frustrations and angry moments as we try and lead a normal life or learn of the many abuses, blunders , wastages and injustices of the Chavista regime and its toll on the country’s economic health . .

      • I truly believe that the voting pillar in Venezuela’s democracy hasn’t fallen yet, it is bent by the Oficialiasmo’s more than obvious (to us people with cuatro dedos de frente) scams and cheats, but it hasn’t been demolished yet, this situation has only (to me) shifted it’s focus from an impartial and faceless measuring tool, to a sobering lense through which we can see an abridged version of our country in all it’s chaotic, uncivilized, polarized glory. In few words, the elections merely reflect the country.
        We have people of all clases, all races, all castes, and of course all political affiliations and opinions coming together to experience voting a la Venezuela; people voting with twenty cedulas, hampas running a circus in one of the centros de votacion, people standing in line for hours on end in the blistering sun just to be able to exercise their severely massacred right.
        Who knows how long normal, non-extremist chavistas will be able to stand behind this without Papa Hugo to bail the party out.
        One thing is certain, no matter how hard we may try to logically and impartially disgrace the revolution, show them for the way they truly are, there will always be diehard chavistas, people who continue to be infatuated with the whole idea of Chaves and his revolution to no end.
        The best analogy I can come up with for these people is as if they were in some sort of abusive relationship; one half always making promises, always saying things will get better, yet doing nothing but helping themselves and stepping over anyone in their way, never taking responsibility for their mistakes; the other half only sits around and waits for the other to come around, thinking one day, one day the day will come when all those false promises will come true, defending their “better” half to the very end, accepting no criticism, never daring to question what they believe in even if they’ve been let down again, and again, and again.
        Maybe some people don’t know any better. Maybe some people don’t want to know any better.

        • Good comment : half the job is getting the former Chavista hard line followers to feel a bit dissapointed , to start recognizing the face of failure in what the regime does . thats already happening but thats not enough , you also need for them to feel that there is clearly a better alternative , something DIFFERENT that attracts them AWAY from whatever hold Chavismo still has on their minds, that spells hope and a better life for the future. Thats a longer process . Capriles wasnt the natural fit , he is a bit boyish, from a ‘good family’, polite and well spoken . clean shaven with his own style of eloquence that can sometimes reach beyond his natural constituency.in the middle class . Ideally you would have wanted some one more rugged , earthy , deep voiced , darker skinned, uppity , forceful , someone ordinary Venezuelans can more easily identify with . Capriles has more than made up for his handicaps and created a persona that plain people can relate to. but there is always a lot of ground to cover , he is apparently good at rubbing the flesh in barrios and small towns , gives the impression of honesty , of open hearted dedication and that helps specially against a guy like Maduro who is so soapy and bumbling and obviously beyond his ken when trying to proyect the tough man image !!

  5. Emiliana, I think you forgot one bullet point:

    4) They don’t really care if they lose, they are ready to shove the Comunas right down everyone’s throat, whether they like it or not. Win, Lose or Draw, they will change the political landscape will to suit Cuba’s vision for Venezuela.

    This whole Enabling Law will in part be used to further cement the Communes.

    One hope, should the government get whupped on DEC-8, is that this will embolden the people to come out to the streets and fight to retain a democratic system. If somehow, by some miracle, we get a 75-25 spread in total votes they may blink and stay their hand.

    Artuerto:

    What “gobierno de calle”?

    There is no “gobierno”, in the streets or anywhere else.

    What we should do is throw those bums out on the street.

    What there is, is rampant kleptocracy, encouraged by people like you who, and I’ll be generous here, at the very least are turning a blind eye to it, as long as their ideological favorites are at the helm. Whether this is good or bad for Venezuela doesn’t count for you. What is good for Fidel and Cuba does.

    For all we know you are just another cog in the gravy train, or a Cuban propagandist, or worse.
    El propio ENCHUFADO, pues.
    What you are, really, is a traitor (if you are Venezuelan, that is)

    • Arturo is just a troll that likes to drop in on occasion and stir the pot in hopes of getting some attention. Don’t mind him. He’s harmless.

    • Arturo is not Venezuelan, nor does he live in Venezuela. He is an armchair Revolutionary, commenting from somewhere comfortably distant from the disastrous real-life consequences of government he extols.

  6. I would say the answer is “all of the above.” The enabling law presumably gives him breathing room to do whatever it takes for chavistas to remain in power.

  7. Might I suggest that the regular readers of CC ponder a very important question, …now, today. It’s been, what, 6 months since that election in April? Can we all now appreciate the predicament that Henrique Capriles would have been in had he somehow ‘won’ that election? (which he probably did anyway). Just imagine what would have faced him. With the choices he would have had to have made, and the now-out-of-power Chavistas hurling stones from behind the barricades, his hold on political power, just 6 months from the election, would have been tenuous. I say, …let the fools and the imbeciles who created this economic catastrophe try and solve it. Go for it! After all, they own it. 15 years now? What possible excuses could there still be? Grab the fuzzy slippers from the closet, kick the dog/cat out of the recliner, put on a pot of tea, and get some popcorn going in the microwave. This is gonna get good,…..real soon!

    • Well said.

      … oh yeah, remember to stock up on food Harina PAN, cooking oil, rum and powdered milk. Drinking water as well, if Aturo’s scenario becomes reality (“one hell of a ride”) you won’t want to leave your home.

      • My doon scenario is unlikely but if you guys want a Syria in Venezuela, continue to support the people who are fomenting the economic war wuth funds froim the US. Bascially, MCM, Marico Capriles and Psycho Leopoldo.. Your families could also be among the victims of any chaos or terrorist infiltration.

        Do you thnk that there will be any difference between Venezuelans who live in Urbanización Miranda or La Castellana, or in Ruiz Pineda and El Manicomio?

        • So you are threatening a violent uprising if Chavismo doesn’t win in December 8th?

          Sure, you’re saying someone else is going to do it, but only a fool could miss the implicit threat you keep making: Either vote the way I want, or the country burns like Syria (You are the one bringing up Syria and war, everyone else is realistically predicting a worsening of shortages and inflation).

        • Congratulations, you embody one of the many things that is wrong with Venezuelan society by being a homophobe.
          Also, give us some credit: You say our “doom scenarios” are always off-base, but weren’t you saying the same thing when this blog was stating the simple and obvious truth that your commander was dead? How well did that work out for you?

        • It’s telling to see the homophobic rhetoric of Arturo in full swing (“Marico Capriles”). Written without a scrap of self-awareness, it speaks volumes of his “democratic” credentials.

  8. Will CaracasChronicles do endorsements in the case there are more than one non-chavista candidate? I sometimes read about endorsements from newspapers here: LAtimes for example. Or just an exposé of interesting candidates.

  9. OT – Cavidismo

    Good program on VTV last night on the raspacupos – especially in Lima. Apparently all flights are “full” to Lima until March 2014 as the pasajes are being acaparados by travel agencies and that is why air fares have increased 4 fold since last year to Lima.

    My sources tell me that strong action will be taken against people who handed their credit cards to other travelers for a raspacupo and did not travel.

    I understand that Cadivi will offer an amnesty with a time limit to people who come forward and admit what they did. In this way they will avoid justice for defrauding the state. The punishment will probably be a few years of being banned from Cadivi and dollar auctions – maybe up to five years.

    The fraudsters who do not come forward will be traced since they did not travel and will face jail terms – up to five years which will be confirmed in the Habilitante.

    Remember what happened with RECADI and people who overspent on their credit cards at the end of the 1980’s. They were caught some 11-12 years later. There will be no escape for the raspacupos either.

    Entonces pónganse las alpargatas porque lo que viene es joropo.

    Tell your smart-ass friends about this who will have been demasiado vivos for their own good this time.

    • Arturo,

      The government of morons Venezuela has should have read these blogs years ago in order to understand what is happening with CADIVI. It didn’t do it and it’s only now that people like Arreaza and Giordani are starting to say they “discovered” something we were discussing here for years: the shameless ways in which the Boligarchs and others were using for enriching themselves.
      And now you pretend to discover it?

  10. You have to be a fool to expect sane people to blame the current shortages , breakdown in govt services and infrastructure , high profile govt corruption cases, exponential growth in violent crime and runaway inflation on what an economically cornered and heavily controlled private sector is doing or on the malevolent sabotage of clandestine oppo commandos. The other possibility of course is that Maduro and his advisors take ordinary people ( or at least their die hard followers) for fools , that they will believe in an ‘Economic Warfare’ waged by the regimes opponents even if the blame for the consequences of that imaginary ‘war’ clearly lie in the govts gross mismanagement of the economy , in its blunders , in its corruption , Coronil wrote of Venezuelans as living the dream of a Magical all powerful State .Chavez became the embodiment of that State using the smoke and mirrors of his histrionical skills and the money from rising oil prices to harness a large popular following . Now he is gone and the money is gone and yet Maduro and the rest of his pampered children still expect to recreate the magic of those Chavez years using the most ludicrous propaganda and baldface lies to convince people that they are the happles victims of a War , of a conspiracy !! Dont kow that the current situation will necessarily result in a change in govt of the kind the opposition dreams about , but it does seem pretty likely that we are on our way to an economic cataclysm probably followed by some kind of social explosion and eventually some kind of govt change.

    • bill – what do you mean “by heavily controlled private sector?” You probably do not know this but there are 21 products that a regulated. That’s all – but these are the products that are sometimes difficult to find. These are few compared to a super,arket such as Excélsior Gama where there are up tp 4000 products on the shelves. So how is this “heavily controlled?” I fail to understand your logic or reasoning.

      These are not oppo comandos o clandestine sabotaje either. This is all out speculation and hoarding exactly as happened during the 2002 – 2003 oil industry sabotaje and bosses lock out. I suppose that did not happen eitehr and it was all “Chavez’s fault”?

      Currently there have been – since April 14th – 38 arrests for the political homiciced fomented by Marico Capriles; 120 arrests for electricity sabotaje: 3 arrests for unscrewing the valves at Amuay to cause the deadly gas leak and at lest 200 epole arrested for hoarding – from sugar to toilet rolls.

      Is all this fantasy in your eyes and these people have all been falsely arrested and charged?

      A similar situation is underway at the moment. Now, whether or not many people believe that the shortages are engineered by the opposition, Fedecameras and Consecomercio will be proven by the electoral results on December 8th.

      Chavismo will win 260 plus muncipalitires of just under 80%. Now if you then write that people blame the government for the shortages and rising pricesd then you really need a shrink or you are just a pathetic opposition moron..

      • “Marico Capriles”
        Hey, Toro, Nagel, Gustavo, Emiliana: why don’t you spam out this cesspool? It wouldn’t be an act of censorship, it’s a matter of wholesomeness. Una medida de salubridad pública. Because every time this ‘thing’ opens its mouth, the acrid smell of rotting matter, of decomposing stuff permeates the whole blog.

          • Arturo also reflects, not only desperation on the part of the government, but its schizophrenia.

            Maduro: ooooh, we just lo-o-o-ve the LGBT community.
            Arturo: marico Capriles (bis)

        • It is not necessary to ban Arturo. I say let´s not read anything that he posts, but he won´t know about that, so let´s just not reply to anything that he posts: Should be enough to tire him out..

      • Arturo,
        Even if that were the case, that does not mean Chavismo has 80% of the votes.
        Chavismo has actually now much less than 50% of the votes, tendency decreasing.
        Carlos Andrés Pérez had a much happier ending during his second term than what Maduro will have.

      • Arturo,

        Not only are you homophobic and advocating violence, but you offer no proof for your claims about arrests. Your tone and language reek of desperation.

    • I for one will no longer contribute to posts where Arturo is allowed to post.

      He is completely without credibility.

      It’s just annoying & a molestia when he spews his nonsensical verbal diarrhea.

  11. Well ignorance evidently knows no bounds , specially feigned ignorance , Some people feign that they dont know the laws that have been ennacted to give govt ‘inquistors’ absolute and minute control over all aspects of privately produced production , prices , distribution , transportation , storage inventories and moreover the many economic areas where the govt exercises monopoly power to get whatever needs to get imported on whatever terms the regime or its goons decide. One example, certain large company cant produce what the venezuelan consumer demands because : 1. local raw materials cannot be found , 2 imported raw materials cannot be imported for lack of forex , 3. crisis in the production of cardboard boxes and plastic containers , 4. frozen prices that hardly allow for recovery of all costs . 4. customers asking not to be delivered full shipments because if they have large inventories then their goods will be impounded as the govt inquisitors accuses them of acaparamiento 5. 40% absentiism which cant be handled because the govt doenst allow employers to demand that workers show up 6. if one worker responsible for a key process activity doenst show up then all others sit idle because there is nothing to do . This I got from the horses mouth and is only a partial list of obstacles the regime puts on private producers . Govt controls directly and inderectly everything . The oil strike was over 11 years ago and were still desperate enough to blame it for current problems ( BTW if the strikers would have really wanted to sabotage operations the govt would not have been able to raise even half of the pre strike production in 5 years) . I really have no clue how elections will turn out , Im not in the vote forecasting business , I know who Im voting for , but one thing that catches my attention is the emphasis now given to the number of municipalities where the govt hopes to retain its seats ( including many sparsely populated rural municipalities) and very little said about the absolute number of country wide votes the oppo will get vs the regime , maybe this skewed appreciation of the municipal results is a sign that the regime spects dissapointing results in this area and they dont want to call attention to it. Im really not interested at all in Capriles in a sexual sense , some trolls are really fascinated by his sexuality , wonder why?? There is an Arturo Rosales who wrote an article for a regime maintained rag and who at least made a highly imaginative (albeit failed ) effort to give support for his opinions . I congratulate him on his effort despite having to work with so little in terms of govt achievements !! . . .

  12. One of the things I surely don’t miss from Venezuela are chavistas! On the other hand, I guess they don’t miss me either. The less literate folks remain in the country, so much the better for them. In the long run only brainless clones of Arturo will remain. For them, 50% inflation, shortages, rampant corruption and horrendous crime will mean nothing but the inevitable and comprehensible consequences of their worshipped socialist revolution.

  13. Call me an optimist but when this lot fail and Venezuela can go down no further there will be money to be made in Venezuela.
    That’s the upside of those attempting to practice socialist utopia crap, a patient capitalists wet dream.

  14. Forced myself to sit through the schlock offered by a group of Brits http://www.revolutionarycommunist.org/index.php/viva-venezuela-2012. In the Q and A session a well meaning sort asked: “If everything is so great, why did Maduro win by such a small margin?” Another asked: “And what will happen if he doesn’t win next time?” The answers were atrocious. To the former it was: “Capriles is from a rich family. His family owns the Venezuelan media. He is charismatic and well spoken and pretended to offer social democratic solutions to people’s problems and the nation’s difficulties so people were fooled.” To the latter: “The Bolivarian paramilitaries are well armed and report directly to the president so if the fascists conjure an electoral victory, the communes and the Bolivarian Circles will not allow there to be any stop to the ‘advancing’ of Chavezism.”

    • One can understand Brits, or any other nationality, being fooled by schlock, during their years in post-secondary education, or on the factory floor. But many of these Brits are a lot longer in their tea-stained tooth, and they should be a lot wiser, rather than be caught — as they are — in a pond of far-away fantasies and delusions.

    • Because, because, because it’s it’s, it’s the most modern electoral system on Earth, the best, as Carter said, and and…ay, chico, tú sí preguntas.

      It’s a very simple but good questions Venezuelans don’t seem to be able to ask.

      It’s just a farce. Venezuelans may import virtually everything but they do not seem to ponder why abroad people don’t need that.

    • Each election is different. When you elect a President (or simulate electing one) you are basically choosing one option out of, say, 20 (2 main candidates, a few Maria Bolivar types and then the chiripero favoring one or the other main one)

      When you elect Governors you are also electing reps to the Asamblea, so you have diferent choices.

      These coming elections you have anywhere from 2 to 13 or so separate votes, dependin on where you live.

      Running a simulation allows the Electoral Board to work out any kinks beforehand.

      All the above, of course, in a country where there would be a high confidence that the Board is transparently non partisan.

      In Venezuela, it also serves for the CNE to say that they have checked it out and all is well and we shold have full faith in the purity of the system…….yada…yada…lying……lying……yada, plus they get to justify whatever viaticos and expenses they can get away with

  15. Re: trolls. Sorry, I didn’t read the comments during the weekend, and I guess the harm is done. At any rate, we’ll try to keep the Comments section wholesome and clean this week.

  16. If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

    • Lovely phrasing and deep ideas , kudos Francisco , didnt know you went for that sort of thing , So far youre all journalistic sparkle and brilliant insights , but didnt know you might also have a taste ( and talent) for the literary articulation of ideas.

    • Why is “your” quote, Quico, not attributed to the appropriate source?
      Mal hecho.
      It’s from political philosophe John Stuart Mill who wrote that in his “On Liberty”.

      • In my comment to Francisco’s posting I was going to mention that his writing reminded me a LOT of Stuart Mill , but then I figured Francico’ s journalistic ethos would never allow him to make a quote while failing to source its authorship so I let it go. Maybe it was a piece of boyish mischief , taunting us to ‘find him out’ . what a naughty boy!!

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