The quotable revolution

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insanity(A guest post by friend-of-the-blog Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez)

It’s amazing how little of the truly delicious ridiculousness spouted by the regime’s members gets noticed abroad, isn’t it?  Since the death of Chávez, whose personal musings regarding, say, Martian economics or eau de azufre, would sporadically find their way into international news, today equally delectable morsels cooked up by his heirs are too often overlooked.

Perhaps this is unavoidable. Given the gravity of the situation in Venezuela, it may be that sprinkling lunatic quotes on avian lactation seems inappropriate in tragic reports of bloodshed and mayhem. I suppose the need to maintain a neutral tone and to provide sufficient contextualizing information within a limited space, likely also plays a role.

That said, as the international community seems to be finally coming to appreciate the calamitous situation unfolding in Venezuela, there at last seems to be some international discussion about the competence, if not the legitimacy, of the Bolivarian Revolution. And in this respect, furtive, contradictory or deranged statements from the leadership – particularly ones implying violence – are part of the conversation.

With this in mind, here are a few of my very favorite quotes from the regime and its allies during this recent crisis. Many of these will already be common knowledge to Venezuelans, yet it would be wonderful to see them become more commonly discussed abroad. I’ve only listed my top eight, to start, but I’d love to see some new nominations from readers in the comments section…

  1. President Nicolás Maduro to Henrique Capriles and his supporters. February 16th, 2014: “[you have been]breastfeeding crows that will now peck out your eyes for your cowardice.” 
  2. President Nicolás Maduro speaking about Leopoldo Lopez’ arrest during a speech on February 19th, 2014: “And I said, ‘Send him to jail,’ and that’s what happened and that’s what will happen with all of the fascists.”
  3. Eliás Jaua, Venezuelan Chancellor for the Exterior, discussing firearm deaths during protests at an interview with CNN Español on February 14th, 2014: “In fact, the Venezuelan police did not even carry weapons, the Bolivarian National Police and the Public Order Brigades are completely unarmed.”
  4. Hector Rodríguez, Minister of Education, quoted on February 25th“The goal here is not to take people out of poverty, and into the middle class, so that they will then aspire to be ‘escualidos.’” — Escualidos being a derogatory term for “opposition member”, denoting skinny-armed bourgeoisie.
  5. Jose Luis García Carneiro, oficialista Governor of Vargas, quoted in a statement on the protests, February 24th:“Only five municipalities (out of 335) are responsible for this country’s violence.”
  6. Diosdado Cabello, head of the Venezuelan National Assembly, February 20th, 2014, over Twitter: “It’s amazing the amount of money that the United States is spending to topple the Bolivarian Revolution with artists, media, henchmen, paramilitaries, assassins, etc.”
  7. José Vielma Mora, oficialista Governor of Táchira, discussing the current government crackdown in his own State, particularly San Cristobal, its capital. On the radio station ONDA, February 24th, 2014. “It truly upsets me, the low flybys by military aircraft, that was an unacceptable excess… I am not part of any ‘regime’ I was elected by the people of Táchira.” – In the same discussion he likewise seemed to voice disagreement with people being held for “political issues” including Iván Simonovis and Leopoldo López.
  8. José Vielma Mora, still Governor of Táchira, clarifying his positions later the same day, ostensibly after having a chat with some of the folks above his paygrade: “There are terrorists in Táchira from abroad, hired and paid for. This isn’t normal, the people of Táchira don’t light fires… Civil order remains intact under the democratic rule of Nicolás Maduro and myself… [The opposition] want to provoke repression but that is not going to happen… I am a true Chavista, to the very bottom of my heart – it offends me that anyone would doubt it.”
  9. BONUS: The entire music video for  “Gotas de Lluvia” as interpreted by National Assembly chief Diosdado Cabello’s daughter, Daniella Cabello, and dedicated to Hugo Chávez. (OK, not super germane to the topic at hand but really amazing, in an anthropological sense.) Representative quote: “It makes me sad sometimes, not to see you anymore. Then I think of all I’ve learned. How I follow you in your giant footsteps. And I look on ahead, my Comandante.” Such filial piety, that one, she’ll make a great “first daughter” someday soon.

65 COMMENTS

  1. The best of the post was the youtube link to Diosdado’s daughter singing an ode to the intergalactic fiambre… Truly amazing (and sickening). There are two Venezuelas out there… I’m truly shocked to learn how little we have in common.

  2. Chavez was probably smart enough not to let Venezuela slide into the current mess somehow. The idiots he left behind to run things are truly comical and clueless.

    • Yes, I mean Chávez has whatsoever no responsibility in squandering the biggest oil wealth in our history, setting crazy economic policies aimed to destroy the private sector, destroying the infrastructure of the country and its institutions and concentrating all power, arming the colectivos, politicizing the army and poisoning political discourse to the extreme.

    • It’s sad that it seems Chavez died just at the right time so he would not face the consecuences of his policies, and now he will be a sort of idol/god forever, It’s even sadder that many experts believed that the “new” administration would try to bring some sanity into the goverment instead of doubling down with the crazy failed policies.

  3. I see the tribute to Comrade Mao–oh, sorry, to Hugo Chavez–seemed to have appeared first on VTV. Surely this talented singer must have been given an honorarium from A Thankful People for her efforts. How much, I wonder?

  4. Maduro is by far the president most prone to fumbling words or expressions that Venezuela has ever had . All others -going back decades- were on the whole fluent and loquatious or even eloquent speakers , (except for president Leoni from the late 60’s who was known to stammer) .

    Dont know if this fumbling is the result of Maduro being afflicted with some kind of speech impediment or of his poor education and lack of reading habits. He often does appear a bit flustered when giving speeches.and is definitely no born orator.

    Thats a big handicap in a country where eloquence and ease of expression are so much admired . Diosdado is no improvement on Maduro , on the contrary he often comes off as overbearing gruff and uncouth .

    This is a contrast to Chavez speech which could be glib ,clear and charmingly folksy when not attempting to soar into some kind of grandiose kitshy threatrical rethoric or shouting hoary insults and threats against his much hated rivals. He was also a master at giving people catchy nicknames or derisive mots that stuck in peoples memory .

    This might help explain why Maduro and his closest cohorts are so reluctant to engage in any kind of public exchanges with journalists or media interviewers unless they are very friendly and can be trusted to hand them easy questions .
    .

  5. Good one! Jaua’s quote about the unarmed police is #MegaEpic. Later on he said all the polices forces around the world are armed…

  6. just saw Daniela’s video. Wow. Had no idea the kids where involved and at this level. It’s good for what it is and I’m a musician and producer. Obviously her looks factor. What an inisght into Diosdado and not a good one. This further drives the point home that they are playing for keeps.

  7. Regarding Daniela’s musical aspirations, whe won’t make it in Latin America because of her name. Even is she changed her name she wont make it because she’s no Shakira

    • was that Maduro’s quote when trying to link up with Obama? If so, I remind you that Jerk Venezolano is inaccurate. Maduro is no Venezolano. Otherwise, the link points to a all-out nail-it article by Jon Lee Anderson.

  8. 3 suggestions:
    1. “[you have been] breastfeeding ON crows …”
    2. Is there any way to count the number of times “fascist” has been used by this regime to apply to those not in the regime? That is, as a way to create a cloud, a stink and a cover-up of the actions of those for whom the term “fascist” accurately applies?
    3. eau de azufre. Sorry, Daniel, but gilding the lilly with salon flourishes detracts, in my eyes, from the message.

    • There was a website that used to count the number of times Maduro named Chavez since his death to presidential elections in April, 2013. It could be one counting how many times the word “fascist” is used. It’ll be a long list… It can be an app.

  9. ‘It’s amazing how little of the truly delicious ridiculousness spouted by the regime’s members goes unnoticed abroad, isn’t it? ‘
    So almost all goes noticed? Two Venezuelas indeed.

  10. The stuff, somehow, loses a lot in translation. I suppose there is no way to inject the translation with the full sense of the idiocy with which it was bestowed by the utterer.

  11. I’m pretty sure friends of mine in the US don’t know whether to believe me or not when I regularly tell them of the zany stuff that this regime says. It’s on a whole another level.

  12. I tried to immortalize some of Maduro’s winged words in the English Wikipedia, but Chavistas kept deleting any such quotations saying they are irrelevant. They didn’t do that with Chávez. They are aware Maduro’s words are his worst enemy.

    But I have spent a delightful time translating into German some of the most “remarkable” things not only Maduro but many other Chavistas have said and the quotes are respected.
    My favourite for translating is Iris Varela. She is really challenging. “Les vamos a meter un palo y no es de agua”.

    All those insults about exterminating the opposition, the traitors of the fatherland, the weaklings really bring some memories to any German speaker.

    If anyone here speaks French, I would invite her or him to try to add some of those memorable words to the French articles. Some journalist might find them useful. There is nothing like getting a little bit of la couleur locale.

  13. Daniel, let’s not forget Gov. Ameliach recent tweet to add to your list:
    Francisco Ameliach @AmeliachPSUV
    Seguir
    UBCH a prepararse para el contra ataque fulminante. Diosdado dará la orden #GringosYFascistasRespeten

    Here’s my source: http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/140217/ameliach-llamo-a-prepararse-para-el-contraataque-fulminante

    In all fairness, wasn’t his account “hacked” 🙂 or was it that he didn’t get the memo from Maduro for dialog for peace? But then again, who cares about Maduro, we all know that Godgiven gives out the orders. I wonder who he gets his orders from hmmmm?

    Keep up the good work!

  14. At least in Colombia, Maduro’s gaffes always make front page. We had a good two weeks of jokes with la multiplicación de los penes. They are replacing the hole left by Bushisms in political speech jokes.

    (Though of course it’s also due to nobody making jokes about Santos. In Colombia the president used to be THE butt of all jokes, but Uribismo ended that tradition)

  15. “Diosdado Cabello, head of the Venezuelan National Assembly, February 20th, 2014, over Twitter: “It’s amazing the amount of money that the United States is spending to topple the Bolivarian Revolution with artists, media, henchmen, paramilitaries, assassins, etc.”

    He was probably thinking of this scene:

    http://youtu.be/fLpmswBKVN4

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