Live-blogging the peace talks

5:00: scheduled time to start

6:10 Not yet started…

8:11 Starting. Maduro introduces those present starting with MUD folks.

8:14 setting is a big table with Maduro at the end. We saw no hand shaking at the start.

8:15 Jorge Rodriguez seems so evil. Didalco Bolivar is part of the meeting?

8:21 Letter from the pope… Letter from Vatican Secretary of State…

8:24 Ricardo Patiño up to the plate. “It is not important to determine who is guilty, that will come later.”

8:27 Maduro “In our country we allow that all school of thoughts to express freely” … ya right

8:28 First Chavez remembrance moment by Maduro.

8:29 Whips out the little blue book

8:30 “We started a project to expand democracy… we then shifted to defend from the evil empire… and we found 21st century socialism”. Wait, are these excluding projects?

8:33 Chavez comes up again. Number 2. “The greatness, political, moral, swimming against the current, the comandante”

8:36 “every time there is an act against the revolution, there is suffering”. “We had guarimbas in the past, but they weren’t as violent” Dude, they weren’t repressed as today have been.

8:38 Chavez again with head shot and everything.

8:40 “I have 20 videos [about guarimbas], I am not going to show them”

8:43 “Why the opposition had to be violent, I know why, those who oppose us thought that with the demise of Chavez (again) they could take an advantage”

8:45 “No negotiation, no pact, a peaceful coexistence model is what we are after”

8:47 “we were drag to violence by a current that wanted the immediate exit of Maduro”

8:49 Let’s remember the burning of a university, of a kindergarten, of buses

8:50 12 burned CDI? Really? “people were chained inside, but they escaped”

8:51 “join the truth commission from AN” presided by none other than Cabello.

8:52 “I never wanted to be president to start with”

8:54 so far it has been the peace talk monologues

8:55 Nothing like a threat to start a peace talk “bloodshed, destruction”

8:58 Really, Roque Valero? Winston?

9:02 Let’s remember Chavez once more

9:03 Pot banging begins

9:04 I just noticed that the actual title for this thing is “Dialogues for Peace with Justice” who comes up with that stuff?

9:05 22 speakers, 11 and 11, MUD and GPP.

9:07 10 minutes per speaker. Maduro spoke 40. RGA begins.

9:09 “Dialogue should be normal in a Democracy” “The fact that this encounter made news is a bad sign”

9:10 “we wanted a first public encounter to gain the people’s trust”

9:12 Aveledo asks Maduro to speak less in Cadena and let others do the talking.

9:14 “justice can’t be vengeance” “we can’t ignore the colectivos as paramilitary groups”

9:16 RGA speaks of parliament and the intent of the 2/3 consensus for government roles. Oh Yeah

9:18 Stressed the need for the government to meet with students

9:22 “Peaceful process is not violent, we condemn violence”

9:24 Great spanish civil war quote from Marias. The worst may be yet to happen.

9:25 Jaua speaks, this guys is such a boring speaker.

9:26 Caracazo history lesson. You were responsible for this. Let’s remember Chavez again. It all started with the Caracazo.

9:28 “we never hated you”

9:31 The root cause of all this is the lack of recognition according to Jaua

9:33 “We win elections so put up with” democracy according to Jaua.

9:35 Thanks to us the people have food, now we need to produce the food in Venezuela.

9:36 Amnesty Law was tried by Chavez in 2007 and failed, why should we try it again

9:39 Andres Velasquez goes at it.

9:41 “constitutional rights are not negotiable” “the cost of living is killing us, going to the groceries is humiliating, people get numbered” in response to Jaua @9:35

9:47 Velasquez quickly gets all the injustices across from union leaders to political prisoners.

9:48 Delivers Amnesty Projects, condemns the CNE by calling for elections yesterday. Makes emphasis on his skepticism on these talks.

9:50 Aristobulo, congratulates everyone and himself…

9:51 Aristobulo agrees with Jaua that recognition is the root cause

9:52 Goes at it giving all the examples of the actual violent acts committed.

9:54 Mocks the claims,  victimizes government.

9:55 “There are 2000 units trained in Fascism”.

9:57 “We recognized Ledezma” but we stripped him of powers. “We recognized the referendum defeat” but approved everything anyway.

10:00 Someone in the MUD has to say out loud that no one defends anyone that burns anything.

10:04 Roberto Enriquez from Copei. Says out loud that chavismo is the ruling class for the last 15 years. We have no social pact.

10:05 “The socialist model that you are applying failed” Reminds the utter failure of the economic policies.

10:06 Calls Jaua’s BS on food consumption.

10:12 Ramirez begins. The most powerful man in Venezuela some say.

10:13 It all boils down to a conflict between to blocks. We now have the potential to be sovereign. The transnationals would keep the oil rents. We fought that.

10:17 Ramirez farts lots of bogus accomplishments.

10:18 Calls fascist those in the MUD

10:19 We are victims of an international campaign against our country

10:20 “who influences our currency?” Errrr, the Central Bank?…no no I know! PDVSA! Wait, aren’t you in charge of that? SO IT IS YOU!

10:22 He brought a red folder with all the stats! I bet my left thumb that it only includes figures til 2012.

10:24 Ramos Allup refuses to call others BS.

10:25 We should focus on the causes not the consequences. The root cause is that the government has drifted away from the constitutional framework.

10:28 In the constitution there isn’t any: Revolution, Socialism, Hegemony and Military. Military intervention in civil life has caused all kinds of tragedies in Latin America

10:30 Toma y dame con Cabello about the 2002 coup recount of events.

10:31 This guy is brilliant. I hate him. I love him.

10:32 Call all the coup BS. If there is someone ask the government to cal them by name. There aren’t coupsters in the MUD.

10:33 Asks to be allow to speak as much as he pleases. Haha!

10:40 All coups are bad. Chavez was a coup.

10:41 Criticism is not treason. Regardless of where it happens. Asking to resign is not unconstitutional.

10:42 Asked to finish and he insists in continuing. Arreaza is visibly pissed.

10:43 It is not up to us, it is up to you, Mr. President. Brilliant intervention.

10:46 Cabello begins

10:49 Juan Cristóbal taking over now. Cabello repeating the same stuff as usual – basically, that the opposition is the same that overthrew Chávez in 2002. He says the government has never ordered anyone killed. Umm…


10:53 Cabello says opposition legislators asked him for bribe money. At least they know who to ask.

10:54 Cabello says the opposition does not love Bolívar. Was it really necessary to go through all of this to realize the two sides simply do not agree on anything? The more they talk, the more Maria Corina Machado looks the wisest.

10:55 “No lo han dejado gobernar ni un solo día.” You know what I want to do after this? GUARIMBEAR! Cabello says there are people in the opposition talking to the military about launching a coup.

11:02 Cabello says the only paramilitaries are in the opposition. The “colectivos” are all in the opposition. He basically calls the colectivos little angels.

11:04 This meeting is the most awkward thing I’ve ever seen. If this is what dialogue looks like, then I hate dialogue. There is simply no point to any of this. And now … Omar Barboza!

11:05 So far the government is showing much more message discipline. They have mentioned time and again the supposed acts of violence the opposition has incurred in. Time and again. Now Barboza is “defending” himself from the charges. Don’t think of an elephant Omar.

11:09 Next to Omar Barboza, Maduro is Winston Churchill. We should have a new rule in politics: no talking about international inflationary figures in a cadena after 11 pm. #SnoozeFest

11:13 Somebody please tell Omar Barboza the 99.9% of Venezuelans don’t know what a percentage is, and that 99% of the ones that do have no idea what the word “para-fiscal” means. Thankfully, he’s done.

11:15 Jose Pinto, a member of the government’s Tupamaro paramilitaries, is seated at the table. He is basically telling the opposition “I know where you live.” He asks Maduro to get the Nobel Peace Prize. People in Oslo must be shitting their pants. He knows where they live, too.

11:22 LEOPORDO López. Shot of tequila!

11:25 It is unbelievable that in a country with sky-high scarcity and the second highest murder rate in the world … is talking about repression in the AD and Copei years.

11:27 Julio Borges now. Talks about the people still living in temporary shelters. Addresses the people who did not want dialogue.

11:31 #PollosDeJamaica … sounds tasty!

11:33 Borges listing all the things that are wrong with Venezuela’s economy. It’s too bad his speech has been focused-group to within an inch of its life.

11:35 Borges pressing the government to free political prisoners. That’s really the only thing that matters in this whole “habladera de paja.” Now lamenting how divided the country is, how fearful everyone is. Understandable – if I had been beat up at my job three times like him, I’d be scared too.

11:38 Blanca Eckhout calls the opposition terrorists. Because this is a conference for peace. Now talking about the Revolución de Octubre and Medina Angarita … ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

11:42 As Ms Eckhout spews venom and talks about imaginary universities being burned down with imaginary fire, I can’t stop looking at her necklace: it’s Hugo Chávez’s signature! #FashionStatementOfTheNight

11:45 Finca Daktari. SHOT! Eckhout is mercifully done. Now we can go back to forgetting she is an actual public figure.

11:48 #GooglingSimonCalzadilla

11:54 Another oppo politicna talking about drafted laws that are shelved. Do they really think the problem in Venezuela … is a lack of laws?

11:55 The only point of agreement seems to be that the students are sometimes violent. What a shame.

11:56 Juan José Molina speaking now, sporting a rockin’ tie.

11:58 Molina reminding everyone the empty promises and failures of the oppo-gov talks 11 years ago. YES! Brings out pictures of colectivo violence. He’s doing very well.

12:00 At midnight, Molina cites UN report we tweeted about this afternoon, and wonders what kind of peace chavismo wants. Does Molina read Caracas Chronicles?

12:07 Liborio Guarulla speaking now, mentioned rape of political prisoners. Is that an Amazonas accent?

12:13 Politicians speaking about love. SHOT!

12:15 Henry Falcón reminding chavistas that he used to be one of them. Also, trashing the guarimbas.

12:16Presuntamente vinculados al PSUV”…?!!??!

12:20 That emptiness you feel? It’s the sadness when you realize that a simple conversation between Venezuelans requires the presence of three foreign ministers.

12:25 Falcón dando un maravilloso discurso que sería perfecto en otro país.

12:26 Lara governor Henri Falcón, in a great speech, reminds people that all sensible people left chavismo years ago. Nice touch to quote Pope Francis.

12:28 Didalco? Really?

12:33 Didalco is asking the opposition to join in some other commissions so that they can be ignored and insulted there as well.

12:38 Capriles now?

12:39 And… Capriles’ aversion to wearing a tie lives. Calls Maduro “Nicolás”

12:40 Capriles talking about the April election.

12:41 Capriles talking tough to Unasur. This is all their fault – for not following up with the audit of the April election.

12:43 Nicolás Nicolás Nicolás … ribs Jaua the “Protector of Miranda.” Capriles has a spring in his step.

12:46 Capriles putting the focus on the institutional crisis. I don’t know if it’s smart or not, but it’s true.

12:47 Capriles asks Ramírez to go for a stroll without bodyguards. #DeathWishModeOn

12:50 There’s a sense of urgency in Capriles’ speech that had been missing lately.

12:53 “Nicolás, ¿cómo vas a pedir respeto si a la mitad del país la irrespetas?”

12:54 Capriles affirms the right of anyone to ask the President to resign. Reminds people that folks ask him all the time, says people call him Nazi when his ancestors died in a concentration camp.

12:55 Capriles ends by condemning violence.

12:57 Jorge Rodríguez is speaking, but I don’t have the stomach for this. The quick verdict: Capriles’ upbeat speech regained for him many of the points he lost with his followers in the opposition, and dare I say, with wavering chavistas. Falcón was a surprise, a smooth talker who looked, gulp, Presidential. Ramos Allup was Ramos Allup. Chavismo … is a complete wasteland.

The loser of the evening? Venezuela. There is no way this circus can defuse the deep political and economic crisis we have in our hands.

1:01 Rodrigo back in the driver’s seat.

1:03 Rodriguez likes to reduce to the absurd.

1:05 Jorgito is repeating the same thing he was told to say. He continues to ask the opposition to condemn violence when they have done so several times already.

1:10 Trying to push the idea that counting paper ballots is a full audit.

1:13 First honest thing. We have had to put up with many lies tonight.

1:14 Of course. Maduro is going to speak.

1:15 Maduro is simply blabbing. Showing some charts. Our issue is obesity.

1:25 Everyone seems to be playing candy crush

1:38 Conspiracy theory! Shot!

1:43 Forget about amnesty. “This is time for justice, not amnesty”

1:53 it is over…

The whole thing lasted 340 minutes, of which Maduro spoke 90. Maduro’s share was 27%.

Chavismo tried to push that the colectivos are good, that the opposition in an accomplice of the violence, that they are the victims and that this is an attempted coup and that the crisis is due to the lack of recognition.

MUD tried to push the idea the crisis is due to the economic situation and institutional breakdown. Tried to warn about the dangers of civil war.

Chavismo got its picture. MUD got some air time. No real progress was made out of this to solve the crisis.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.