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Read this not that.
Read this not that.

Is it just me, or are Alberto Barrera Tyszka’s columns in El Nacional quickly establishing themselves as the most lucid take on the through-the-looking-glass world of post-chavismo?

Personally, I’m deeply skeptical about the voting simulacrum scheduled for December 8th, but Barrera Tyszka makes the case that 8D matters as powerfully as it is possible to.

Pero ahora es distinto. Abril le dejó una enseñanza dura al poder. Billete no mata a galán. Ni siquiera la publicidad más millonaria ni todos los favores complacientes de las instituciones pudieron evitar la catástrofe. Con todas las dudas del caso, Maduro es un triunfo empujado. Maduro es un de vainita. Para el chavismo sin Chávez, las elecciones son cada vez más un evento traumático, una suerte de striptease forzado, que deja al aire su crisis de carisma y su tentación autoritaria. Aparte de la amenaza, no tiene otro mensaje. Su única oferta electoral es encarcelar al adversario. El chavismo sin Chávez es un vacío de contenido. Han pasado de la utopía de salvar el planeta al desespero de salvarse a sí mismos.

Cuando Nicolás Maduro invoca la trilogía del mal, imita más a George W. Bush que a Hugo Chávez. A su manera, ya ha repetido varias veces que la oposición tiene secretas armas de destrucción masiva. Si fuera por él, estaría a un tris de promover una invasión. De hecho, todo el trabajo oficial en contra de Henrique Capriles y de Henri Falcón es una agresión sostenida, una guerra verdadera, administrada con dinero público, para destruir la disidencia. Que Jaua y Reyes Reyes dirijan fundaciones en las dependencias federales donde fueron derrotados es una evidencia vulgar de la corrupción política y ética del país. El gobierno ha convertido el Estado en un arma contra de la democracia.

The guy’s good.

1 COMMENT

  1. A very good comment as to why vote, even though Chavizmo will steal the election. The fact they have to resort to such tactics only weakens them in the long run. Abstaining would only strengthen them.

    • True enough but the 64,000-dollar question, especially for those of us who are already treading the verges of the higher-mileage bracket, is how long can it be supposed that that long run will be?

      • Chavizmo has no legitimacy and it has no legality, abstention would give them both on a silver platter. The higher the abstention, the longer the run. Sorry to be so frank, but that’s how it is.

        • But without thinking more than three steps ahead we are less than bacteria, we are Giordani.
          Again: abstention is to commit the error Russians have been committing.
          Let’s talk about the shameless cheating and let’s say that in spite of that we will participate. Let’s make it clear we make it because it will become more and more difficult for them to cheat.

          • Oh, I agree completely. Abstention is an error.

            I was agreeing with Neddie, though. The time frame has to give people some hope for an end to this madness in our lifetimes. There are scenarios in which the Chavistas end up in power for decades more, like the Castros.

          • I agree. And I think one of the things Venezuelans should be doing right now is to subvert the Cubans in Venezuela. I don’t talk about helping them to migrate to Miami. I am talking about promoting a multiparty system in Cuba, about telling them how things can change…let’s talk about how the Castro system is ripping off Cubans while pretending it’s all the embargo’s fault. That would, of course, be only one of the things we can still do.

            The other thing is to counter attack brain washing. But we can only do that if we are honest with how the economy works.

            We need to do that as ground work.

          • I was in Cuba in 1998 and the whispers on the street there were, “Hasta cuando?” Well, although they have implemented some limited economic reforms, the political system is still hanging on, 55 years after Fidel took power in 1958. The “long term” worked out pretty well for him, in spite of everyone saying that all they had to do was wait for his system to collapse.

          • but I wonder how strong were those whispers back then. With Raúl at the helm, there is more vocal opposition (think reggaeton, think blogueros) though I suspect that it’s going to take many years more, before the Cuban regime ever gives up its grasp — if ever.

          • My impression at the time, was that everyone was waiting for Fidel to die, and that this would (somehow) result in an immediate popular uprising. At that time, it could have been true, as they were suffering through their “Special Period”, after Russia pulled the plug on the Oil for Sugar deal (though I doubted it then and now). My impression of the Cubans was that of a population that was very passive. They don’t like their lot in life, but they accept it. There is no “revolutionary fervor”. Only the sheep are left in Cuba. The wolves either left, got jailed, or are in the government.

      • That’s correct Neddie, and in the meanwhile, the long run just gives more time for the powers to consolidate even more.Things will not stay static static while waiting for some long run to manifest itself.

  2. High level of abstention are for such countries as Russia now. We do NOT want to follow their example on this. The opposition there is actually starting to talk about us.

    • Venezuela could never follow any example of Russia, and vice versa .Each country is different,and every situation is a chance for change.

      I personally don’t think it matters that much what route is taken as long as it is well done. Well done meaning relentless, and consistent , evocative, and well communicated / documented.It’s not so much what we do that matters but HOW we do something.So far I am not impressed with the how.Abstention by itself could never work and that should be obvious.

      But I ask this?

      With so many in the ” opposition” connecting themselves with unethical money making and cozy jobs, what can we really expect?

      Most my friends and family tell me over and over again thatt the money is flowing extremely well right now in quite a few circles, Chavistas, or no.

      Of course the poor, and honest are not seeing any of it.

      • To blame other’s sins as the cause of our own is a trick we all use. Not to vote in the present circumstances is almost sinful!
        For the Christians readers, both, laziness, not to vote because of the lines and the inconvenience, and despair, not to vote because it is futile, are sins.
        For the unbelievers, not to fight a lion that is about to eat you, even with a toothpick if that is all you have, is to surrender!
        All of this forum’s readers could help!!!!!

      • Talk about the looking glass….Good gawd. Let me see if I get this straight.

        Earlier firepigettan comparisons of electoral processes (Vzla and Belarus — all hazy, no details, of course) have changed, after a pounding, to “advice” that Vzla could never follow any example of Russia and vice versa (all hazy, no details, of course).

        Por fin cayó la locha?

        Repeated belittling of Venezuelans as being naïve for voting were also met with a pounding. But no matter, the belittling persisted, as did repeated calls for voter abstention (no details). A recent twist exhorted honesty, this from someone who has difficulties with the truth.

        Now we’re being preached at on the How of electoral processes, using the first person plural. We? From a US citizen, ensconced in North Carolina, who doesn’t even vote in Vzlan elections?

        Serán delirios?

        We’re told that she’s not impressed with the How (al hazy, no details, of course). So she calls us to action (Thank you, we don’t need it), adding the cherry on sundae: “Abstention by itself could never work and that should be obvious.”

        Por fin cayó la locha?

        The sermon doesn’t end there. Next, the opposition, no sorry, the “opposition” — all of it, of course, no details) is excoriated. Most of her friends and family tell her that the money is flowing extremely well right now. I wonder. Is this the same family that consist of 1,0000 members mostly living in the barrios, as we were once informed? Or is that the distant cousins in Belarus? I’m confused.

        Alice: will you please take this poor woman and heal her?

        • Well Syd, If you look at the mess Venezuela is in, it is not surprising that you are confused.If we don’t blame ourselves for the mess we are in, then there is no hope of repair, and that certainly does cause confusion.

          • Does that confusion also extend to your radically changeable statements, firepigette, according to your mood swings? Or are you in the habit of blaming everyone else when your blood sugars are out of whack, and your high horse routines are not accepted by readers of this and related blogs?

            Unlike yourself, the state of Venezuela does not confuse me in the least, firepigette. I’m well enough plugged into information that does not include comments from your facebook friends, or your reported 1,000 family members living mostly in barrios (ahem). Nor do I need your sermon that we can’t expect anything because of so many in the “opposition” who are involved in unethical deals. (Sigh…) Any details, beyond your divining rods and Book of I Ching?

    • It’s not true that abstention is always an error. Because of abstention in the Fujimori – Toledo runoff, the military forced el chino to resign. I think abstention works but only when a) there’s a widespread belief the system is rigged b) it’s a very large abstention c) the government is very unpopular. I don’t think any of these applies to Venezuela, at least not now

  3. No veo diferencia, otra elección que Venezuela se va a tomar como una batalla decisiva, un evento de ahora o nunca, vida o muerte, por más de diez años cada vez que hay una elección todo mundo encuentra una razón para decir que “ésta sí es crucial”. Soy a favor del voto, pero eso de creer que una elección va a cambiar nuestro destino es lo que nos puso en este lugar. Nuestros problemas trascienden a Maduro o la ineficacia del gobierno, y mientras creamos que sólo los dirigentes pueden hacer un país mejor, seguiremos mal

    • I believe you are mistaken. Before Chavez Venezuela had many problems. It still does but with a very important difference: chavismo.
      Without Maduro there is hope, with Maduro there is no hope at all.
      This election is crucial because Maduro is worse than Chavez and he will, if he wins the popular vote, make it impossible for anybody to oppose him. The alternatives will be: submit or exile/prison. You have to look at Cuba: that is where Venezuela is heading!

      • “submit or exile/prison”

        Venezuela has already lost a large percentage of its thinkers and doers to immigration/exile, just as happened in Cuba. As long as they get rid of those critical few who are capable of independent thought and action, the Chavistas can rule Venezuela for a long time to come. If Chavismo can successfully get away with eliminating the “Trilogia del Mal”, that will be the signal will start the remaining exodus of decent and moral people from Venezuela. After that, the country is theirs. As long as they control the population the same way Cuba does, they can stay in power as long as they can maintain internal order within Chavismo.

        At the moment, they cannot make their move against HCR, LL, MCM because that would galvanize the Opposition to an open revolt, that would likely succeed. A general abstention of the election would erase the political power base of the MUD and the Chavistas would then be free to make their move to consolidate final power. After that, external intervention would be the only path open toward change.

        So, yes. This election is crucial. It probably will not result in the change we want to see. But failure will result in a closing of the door to change from within Venezuela, at least for the foreseeable future.

      • De acuerdo en que necesitamos otra gerencia, pero mi punto es que Maduro no llegó ahí sólo, y sí, empujado por Chávez y el chavismo, que tampoco llegaron allí a la fuerza. De alguna forma es el reflejo del país que somos, y si no es sólo cuestión de ir a una fila de un Mercal donde muchos te van a decir que es normal esperar 5 horas para comprar comida. Mi punto es que un país que trabaja y no espera a cambiar todo en elecciones no se lanza a un funeral presidencial de la forma en que lo hicieron con Chávez. Cuántas horas y energía perdidas en marchas sólo para mostrar que un lado es más fuerte que el otro. Para mi elección no es crucial porque podremos cambiar de presidente, pero de mentalidad? no

        • En parte tienes razon Andrea. La verdad no te conozco, pero la primera parte del pais que hay que cambiar es esa que vemos en el espejo.

          Creo que venezuela (y el resto del mundo) atraviesa una crisis que tiene que ver con la transicion de la modernidad, la cual en Venezuela fue muy breve, a otra cosa. Eso que llamas tu “mentalidad” es una serie de principios los cuales estan todos muy confundidos.

          A la final no es un problema externo. Es la sociedad de la cuales somos miembros, y uno tiene entonces el deber de preguntarse cual es su rol. Si uno es simplemente testigo, on una influencia positiva o negativa. La frase hoy en blog es muy apropiada.

    • Estoy de acuerdo contigo, Andrea. Siempre salen los dirigentes de ambos bandos para convencer al pueblo de que esta batalla, esta misma, es decisiva. Obviamente, lo hacen para sostenerse en el poder o en la mirada pública.

      Tenemos dos opciones. La primera: no hacerles caso, marco dentro del cual, ganarían los rojos por el voto forzado y/o el cambio de identidad. La segunda: ir a las urnas con la esperanza de que los dirigentes de la oposición, todavía un tanto inmaduros, hayan mejor organizado a los vigilantes en cada centro electoral, y puedan por fin exigir un conteo, si dado caso los resultados fueran dudosos.

      La democracia nunca es perfecta. Y siempre habrán guisos — aquí, allá y acullá. Pero es un mejor mejor sistema — si bien manejado — que el caimán que está por detrás del modelo de gobierno, que hoy manda sobre base débil, en Vzla.

      En lo positivo, veo desde lejos a un pueblo más interesado en su gobierno, que lo que antes exhibía durante algunas presidencias de la cuarta, Lo que hace falta es un dirigente de gobierno que exija paz, tranquilidad, y seguridad, antes de empezar a invertir en la infrastructura, hoy día dentro de un abismo.

      Estoy a favor de ir a votar, en términos generales, la abstención siendo la más grande estupidéz, por razones ya ampliamente comprabadas. Aunque en el exterior, no puedo votar en las elecciones municipales, si tuviera que hacerlo, en Venezuela, votaría, pero con reservas. (Espero que votes, mi agradecimiento por tal.)

      • Estoy de acuerdo Syd,
        Simplemente hay que ir a votar, no porque sea la mejor opción ni vaya a hacer una gran diferencia a estas alturas, pero no hacerlo es simplemente una estupidez no votar, aún considerando el muy mal manejo del tema de las elecciones de abril y la ceguera e inactividad crónica de la oposición, lamentablemente creo que la abstención será grande.

    • cada eleccion ha sido crucial y mas crucial que la anterior, y cada una ha sido una oportunidad importante pa asestarle una cachetada al gobierno, lo que yo creo que te molesta y nos molesta a todos tambien es que se genera mucha expectativa de que vamos a ganar por paliza y a la final siempre los chavistas terminan alcanzando el 50% o mas del resultado, los lideres de la oposición nos dicen eso pa q nos motivemos xq sino la abstencion seria brutal y ese tipo de manipulacion es parte de la politica tradicional, nadie puede ir a una batalla ya derrotado.

      El problema es que como la mayoria de nosotros vivimos en parroquias muuuy opositoras no tenemos contacto con suficientes chavistas para ser objetivos, y a la final terminamos decepcionados, burlados y tristes, pero esto es una guerra de desgaste sucia de carrera laaaarga, lo importante parece ser mantenerse en la pelea.

      • EXACTO! Coño, yo sé que los del Suramérica somos muy emocionales, pero eso de poner todo el corazón, la atención y las esperanzas en una sola acción es absolutamente contraproducente.

        Vi el vídeo de Capriles por verlo.
        La mayoría de las personas que vieron eso son personas que viven en zonas muy opositoras, estoy seguro de ello. Capriles debió haber mencionado que aquellos que ya están en esas regiones deberían tener el guáramo y sentido social para ayudar a las votaciones en su estado pero en zonas donde aun NO tenemos los testigos.
        Lo sé porque tengo amigos y familiares que se la pasan desesperados buscando gente que quiera servir de testigos o de choferes o lo que sea para ayudar en los centros del sur de Valencia, de los pueblitos al norte del Lago, en Puerto Cabello.
        No está bien que tengamos un millón de testigos y ayudantes de testigos y ayudantes de ayudantes de testigos en las zonas de clase A y B y C++ de siempre.
        Hemos progresado mucho, pero aun no es suficiente y Capriles debe decir esto: si vives en Baruta, Chacao, Hatillo, Norte de Valencia: carajo, ve a ver cómo ayudas en municipios más difíciles.

  4. I think that many people in the opposition is overestimating the importance of the December elections. I think that in the best case scenario for then, the opposition wins the popular point by a small margin and chavismo wins most of the municipalities. SIBCI can just pretty much ignore this and people won’t know/forget/care and the country will remain the same.
    That is not even counting the MUD giving statements like these one http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/131021/comision-tecnica-de-la-mud-satisfecha-con-el-simulacro-electoral which were rightfully parodied http://www.elchiguirebipolar.net/21-10-2013/mud-satisfecha-con-todas-las-arbitrariedades-que-hara-el-cne-el-8d/ that might demotivate their base of the opposition from voting after they told them in April that this same CNE stole the elections.

    • I think that is true and the oppo must come with the truth: this is about making a signal.
      We are likely to get most votes in most urban centres – easily – and yet lose 200 out of 300+ municipalities. But we need to show we will get many more votes than they – than anyone expected-.

      I think we should have tried some sort of project to win municipalities that are not yet under our control but are next to those we control. We could also have gone for getting some key areas of large surfaces – one or two – it’s a matter of showing progress in the map. Imagine we could get from Bejuma through Valencia to Maracay. That would be something (but we won’t: even Guacara is not sure). Imagine we could build a larger corridor somewhere. Imagine Anzoátegui could get another municipio connecting the Southeastern part ruled by the opposition with the coast: that would send a good signal.

      But yeah: December is just one little battle in a whole war.

        • I watched it. It didn’t give me anything that I didn’t know. I have analysed the results a zillion times, checked that against the ID records of voters, etc.

          Still the fact is that we need to see the elections as one tiny – albeit necessary – battle in a long war. Getting all excited by one single event is silly.

          • Well, I can’t vote this time because I live abroad, I’ll support elections by certain concrete actions from here.

            All in all, we don’t need “to get excited” to vote.
            Motivation is all we need. It’s better to keep oneself cold blooded and just do what we can do, without becoming hysterical and by all means without thinking “THIS IS IT”.

            I went to vote for Capriles in 2012 without expecting him to win. I was sad when I got the results but I was not down like most of my relatives, same thing as in April.

            It was motivation all I need when I flew from Europe to Venezuela in 2003 to defend our signatures in Tocuyito during the Firmazo against the thugs there who wanted to take our signatures away.

            It is motivation what has made me travel for hours here in Europe to get to the embassy to vote.

            I think that stable motivation is better than anything else.

          • I agree with Kepler that this election is very important but not decisive. This is a marathon, not a sprint. When expectations are set too high it only results in disappointment, exhaustion and frustration when the expectations fail to be met. Disappointed people stop participating. It happened last December and in 2004 after the RR with terrible consequences both times.
            This is a long and difficult struggle that requires patience, consistency and determination.

      • Well, apparently HCR has been visiting many municipalities, let’s just see how this play out in December.
        Overall, I think that the opposition is in a chronically lethargic state. I understand the lack of access to mainstream media, but even on the internet where they do have a presence, they sem to have no idea what’s going to happen in the country or what to do.

  5. Ive said it before and will repeat it now , you dont vote to win , you vote to affirm your dignity as a human being , if ‘the powers that be’ steal my vote , so be it…. but Im not giving it away. Im not making a present of it for them. My vote may not have an immediate result , but its a grain more of sand in the building of a mountain which sooner or later- when least expected- will reach a tipping point and combined with other factors (we may not even imagine now) will bring the whole mosntrous edifice down . Read history, it happens again and again . The regime is rotten to the core by its own contradictions and blunders , they re facing crisis like theyve never had to face before , the mask , that theyve so tenderly cared for is falling from their face . They are their own worst enemies !! Patience and steadfastness is needed . Even after they lose their hold on power , another huge challenge awaits us , the country will have to be rebuilt , put back in working order , that requires a lot of wizdom and skill and resources and a great deal of sacrifices and bad times , the children among our people will reject that , they have no memory , no understanding of how you get where you want to go. they want magic tricks , instant solutions , loud lofty speeches , they have to learn , they have to be taught , thats the greatest hurdle!!

    • I was waiting for the end of the comments to say just that, though your words are certainly much better than mine would have been.
      I vote because that is the ethical way to go, because not trying is giving up, accepting that bullies will run my life forever (can´t shoot them, can I?). I banned two friends from my house because they wouldn´t vote. In one case it worked for the following election.
      I still have a spark of hope, that there may be a few good men looking at the results, and deciding that they are enough to take a stand and respect them.

  6. OT: Worried that real investigations into the 1.3 Ton haul of cocaine aboard an Air France jet might lead to people that Chavismo needs to protect, they have now cast doubt on the entire investigation, claiming that “it is possible” that the U.S. and France planted the drugs and made up the whole thing to embarrass Venezuela.

    Problem solved… “Fue un conspiracion del Imperio.”

  7. Nichts für ungut, but Barrera Tyszka is THE definitive chronicler of the “Revolution”. His musings on this madness might very well be the only good thing to come out of these revolting years.

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