Con el MaZzzzzo Dando

Being informative is soooo 1998
Being informative is soooo 1998

Lest you think that any notion of feigning “institutional restraint” through State media outlets was officially dead, in swoops Captain Diosdado Cabello to hammer that last nail firmly in the coffin. Last night, the stellar debut of  Cabello’s weekly Monday-night talk show  was simulcast over VTV and several other official broadcast channels.

In an unequivocal echo of the government’s recent calls for dialogue, Con el Mazo Dando, which roughly translates to “Hitting you with a Sledgehammer,” is intended as a prime-time “revolutionary battle trench” whose content Cabello himself describes as “strictly political.”

Now, its no secret that I have a shameless and morbid fascination with Diosdado, since he gets top honors in my evil-incarnate-lecherous-villain book of motherfuckers. So I was rather excited at the prospect of feeling like I’d be watching Darth Vader’s home movies, or peering into Hannibal Lecter’s more personal side, thanks to this show. Perhaps even, live human sacrifice on TV? No such luck. Despite all the hype, it was a veritable snoozefest.

Diosdado opened with a music video of Gota de Lluvia, a sappy sentimental song about Chavez in the rain, composed by the Venezuelan ambassador to Bolivia and performed by Cabello’s daughter, Daniela (Grammy voters, take note).

He then enlightened us with his deft analysis of the six-fold division within the opposition leadership, touching upon usual suspects like Leopoldo (violent and desperate), María Corina (crazy and desperate) and Capriles (fascist assassin). He ended with the clear and obvious conclusion that they are all pawns in the evil Empire’s agenda to dominate Venezuela.

Oh, I almost forgot: Nicolás Maduro dropped in on Cabello’s monologue 45 minutes in and rambled talked about Chávez some more. Through my selective listening I did catch a tidbit on how he will invoke his Enabling powers to permanently disqualify any opposition leader who calls for street protests from ever being a candidate. Ever again. For eternity.

And then Cabello and Maduro feigned indignation, exchanged pleasantries, and called for unity and peace. End of show.

To be fair, at least Diosdado did remain true to his word in that the show’s content was exclusively political…which is just like the other 99% of VTV’s programming. So really, Captain Cabello, you’re not blazing any broadcasting trails with this one.

Con el Mazo Dando was so drearily uneventful that I would feel guilty about wasting any more of your valuable time with this recap. So instead, I´ll just post some pictures of what was happing elsewhere around Venezuela during these 2 mind-numbing hours of nothing – events deemed too un-political to be covered by TV.

Students in Valencia, 9:20 p.m.
Streets of Trujillo, around 8:00 p.m.
Streets of Mérida, around 9:00 p.m.
Streets of Mérida, around 9:00 p.m.
Assembly in San Cristóbal, Táchira, 7:30 p.m.
Assembly in San Cristóbal, Táchira, 7:30 p.m.



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  1. Trujillo? Trujillo in Trujillo? Hm, that’s good.

    A short list of names for those communication tools Chavistas produce:

    * Hitting with the Sledgehammer
    * Bludgeon/beating
    * The Razor
    Do you see a pattern?
    A bunch of psychopaths, these Boligarchs.

        • Yeah, but Valencia is an absolute given, Barquisimeto for soe years as well. Barinas has come forward in the last few months. But now we are hearing about Trujillo, Trujillo, of all places. The caudillo got 64.1% in 2012 there.
          Maduro got 59.78%.It’s one of the regions of the Misty Mountains where the largest amounts of Orcs used to live and breed.
          I hope we will hear soon about Acarigua and the like.

          • I think it depends on where are these kids going to college. Students from traditional autonomous universities (UCV, UC, ULA, UDO, LUZ), almost-autonomous universities like USB and large private universities have been protesting the government for a long time, and their Student Unions have been against Chavismo pretty consistently.

            I hope we are making inroads into non-automous regional universities like UNERG, UNESR, UNELLEZ, UNET, UNEG, UNEFM, UNEXPO, UCLA. Some of them have been oppo-leaning, but some others have been Chavista strongholds. UNEFA and UBV are on another level, due to the heavy proselytizing of faculty and students; but any gain made there surely doesn’t hurt.

            I hope it isn’t just ULA-Trujillo, but Trujillo students in general.

  2. “Con el Mazo Dando was so drearily uneventful that I would feel guilty about wasting any more of your valuable time with this recap.”

    Go figure. I feel guilty that you had to waste away your time (and a little bit of sanity and well-being as well) watching it so that no other representative of mankind had to be exposed to the hasty paranoid ramblings of these two clowns. Ah if we only would awake the mind of Hugo Chavez y a futurama-like brain vase, drop in the water some drops of LSD and force him to watch this “Con el Mazo Dando” show hour after hour, day after day for a whole month, I would feel that we’re even, no harsh feelings for destroying a country and putting a few crazy monkey inbreeds into the driver cockpit. After such spiritually reward vengeance, we could free our minds from hate and have our eyes, Mankind’s eyes, to set on the near future, dreaming of reaching higher goals (no, I’m not talking about Mars colonization, I’m talking about higher goal counts on the FIFA world cup, duh!)

  3. Congratulations Emiliana, great post! I especially enjoyed the comparison of the mediocre tv show and its equally depressing message, with the photos of the people/students in the streets of various cities at the same time!! It seems they didin’t care much for godgiven’s show.

  4. It appears HCR has, reluctantly, decided to support recent protests.

    Initial call for protests (LL, MCM, AL):

    HCR taking distance:

    HCR supporting the student organized protests (no mention of LL, MCM or AL):

    HCR proposing to put more content into the assemblies and protests (definitely needed IMO):

    I hope those two factions approach their differences by finding ways to complement each other, rather than by engaging in cutthroat competition. The opposition can’t stay silent on account of the recently started police cooperation, but we can’t go into “Vete Ya” mode; we need to communicate current problems and possible solutions in an articulated fashion.

  5. I’m still weeping over Daniella Cabello’s interpretation of Gota de agua (gotas caen, o cómo se dice lluvia en alemán). Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Emi. (sniff)

  6. I loved your post and a great translation of con el marzo dando. Now tell us how you really feel about Diosdado:-) every time I read his name I think of the irony of the universe!

  7. Glad to see the continuation of Caracas Chronicles – it’s truly one of the few ‘must- see’ blogs for Venezuela watchers. But echoing an earlier request – any way to make the font bigger in the new site (btw, I’m 38 yo and trying to preserve my eye sight =)

    • Dear R, With you all the way – actually, more so inasfar as my mileage exceeds your’ne by quiet some – but meanwhile try using the expanded version of the browser page for greater eye comfort.

    • I’ve noticed the font size of the body text has increased, seemingly doubled after R’s reasonable request, while the heading “Caracas Chronicles” has been halved.

      As such, I have a design quibble.

      The eyes need background space — in this case — white, surrounding the text, for easier reading. Doubling up on the size of the text for the same amount of space severely cuts into that background space, and therefore, creates a jumble that more easily tires out the eyes.

      Quico had the proportions down pat. And I believe that the reason for that proportion was his use of a different font (Trebuchet MS?) vis-à-vis that used for the heading. (Different fonts in one size will rarely be the same absolute size.)

      So if WordPress software does not allow much control of the size of the font, consider using a different font altogether, in order to get the proportions right.

      Also, consider enlarging the font for the key identifier of the blog: Caracas Chronicles.

      Note, too that it also makes easier reading if your body text is one type of font and your headings are another. Check out, say the WSJ and the NYT, as an example. Just don’t use more than two fonts, otherwise your page will look too busy, again, tiring out the eyes.

      Don’t forget that you need contrast for easy reading. Don’t make your main body text grey against a white background. Make it black. Also, it’s easier to read black text on white than white text on black.

      I think that’s all for now.

  8. Dear Emiliana, Nicely done and all and I join those congratulating you on your overal rendering there and also on your psychological fortitude as demo’ed by your watching of the program at all at all. But I’ve got a ‘but’, on this occasion, with the “sledgehammer” version; when I first came across the phrase, it was part of “A Díos rogando y con el mazo dando” which would convey something along the lines of, “Whilst praying to God and working hard at the same time”. The mazo – classically, a mallet – would refer, one supposes, to the wooden implement used in the grinding step of traditional arepa preparation. Somewhere in there are elements of “God helps those who help themselves” and “Praise God and pass the ammunition”. But no sledgehammers. As for evil, when embodied in a person, they attract the qualifier, “evil incarnate”, dramatically transmitting the speaker’s opinion of the target individual.

    • Neddie,
      That mazo is never intended for arepas.

      And your interpretation of “A Dios rogando…” (it’s not Díos) is wrong.

      Yes, it has the double meaning of “also doing some effort” but originally it was a more “Spanish” attitude.
      Read here (Asociaciones Cervantes)

      You’ll have to imagine those times centuries ago…the original sense was about not waiting only for God to save you but be ready to defend yourself. With a mazo.

      • Dear Kepler, Many thanks for the amplification there and, indeed, the depth of terminological interest altogether; the multiplicity of options given – including the one I took – does rather cloud the issue beyond what I’d’ve sought, wherefore my appreciation. As for the history, it is interesting too though in limited measure. If we look at the whence of words and terms – “the anchor to windward” (current, and used by George Bush Sr, in a recent TV interview) or even “to broadcast” (in common use but stemming from a medieval planting method) then ongoingly close adhesion to such roots would defeat the overall purpose. We must do this more often!

  9. Wow, this post is more “violent” than the ones before. I like it. Mainly because I believe Diosdado to be the embodiment of evil, more so than Maduro.

  10. Me pregunto que quedaria del discurso oficial si la censura prohibiera .
    1. los denuestos , insultos y descalificaciones
    2.- las amenazas
    3- la lagrimosa jaladera de mecate del difunto
    4- la denuncia de siniestras y malevolas conspiraciones
    5- la auto celebracion de la propia exultante nobleza y pureza revolucionaria
    6- la promesa de idilicos paraisos para un vago e indefinido futuro .
    En una sola palabra si se prohibiera… la mentira .
    Sospecho que solo quedaria un silencio salpicado de apagados murmullos, de uno que otro graznido animal. !!

  11. Is this what it all means?

    Making it impossible for private enterprise to survive while calling for cooperation on one side with bluster and threats to demonstrators or individuals who call for them, and on the other side, the USA opens immigrant status to Venezuelans who are or about to become refugees.

    As the economic crisis deepens, the regime doubles down both in its ideological parallel reality and in its harsh hold on totalitarian brute force. These will only make the financial crisis worse and the economy unsustainable.

    It’s the now coming to a showdown between the basic principle of what makes a government “legitimate”… the consent of the people!!! One thing is a certainty, violence will not help the economy!

    • I think the regime at this time has only one choice, with a combination of a failed economy and totalitarian force, they must bring the people to their knees!

  12. “…top honors in my evil-incarnate-lecherous-villain book of motherfuckers.”

    Oh, come on, Emi… Don’t soft pedal it. Tell us what you really think… 🙂

  13. There is no doubt that Chavismo has turned up the rhetoric lately, and they are following up with low-level arrests. Still, the threats ring a little hollow to me. To me, it seems they are afraid to truly take off the gloves, lest we see their hands are soft and limp without any real force behind them.

    • I hope you’re right! However, at this time, the economic situation is getting out of control, while the public response is relatively tipid.

  14. Soy yo, pero la hija de Diosdado esta como chevere? Ok enough, serious message having Diosdado ramble on VTV monday nights… Will get interesting

    • I has to go somewhere in the lines of that. I don’t know if he would dare a coup, but I’m sure his preparing the net where he will capture de chavista voters should something happen to Maduro.

  15. All I see is a puppet show (on TV) and little comments go to the puppet master’s plans.

    Emi, I would appreciate a piece from you and your colleagues on the cuban ocupation ASAP.


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