A clarification on the @CaracasChron account

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Fair and balanced
Fair and balanced
Fair and balanced

Some of you may know that, aside from editing the blog, I also handle the CC Twitter account, @CaracasChron. Aside from that, I have my own personal account, @juannagel.

Now, ever since Quico handed @CaracasChron privileges over to me, I have been struggling with how best to separate what I should tweet from one, and what should go out the other.

Should one be for English and one for Spanish? No, I thought, because there are followers from both languages on both accounts. Should I limit @CaracasChron tweets to the posts and nothing more? Well, that seemed like an inefficient use of the resource, given how the CC account has four times the followers that my personal one has. Should I use my account for Chile and university stuff, and leave the blog’s account for Venezuela stuff? No, that didn’t seem right either.

After two months, I still didn’t have a clear answer, so I just winged it – impulsively writing from either one or the other, but trying to keep the CC account a bit more institutional.

Tonight, I read that Henrique Capriles had characterized the TSJ decision barring unauthorized protests as typical of the “extreme right wing.” I was pretty upset about that – still am.

What is “right wing” in Venezuela really? After years of being labelled an extremist by communists, after years of trying to educate people about the benefits of the market system, after years of seeing the term “la derecha” being unfairly maligned as if it were some sort of tragic illness … do we really need to take this abuse from our own side?

Some of you may disagree, and that’s OK, but personally, I don’t consider myself as “extreme right wing.” Nevertheless, I am probably to the right of most people, something I am totally cool about, so I took this sleight pretty personally. I find Capriles’ position extremely insulting – divisive, uninformed, even Orwellian in nature.

Capriles’ tenure as “leader of the opposition” is tenous at best. Someone in his position can hardly afford to demonize the portion of his supporters that view the world from the right. I’ve seen Capriles alienate right-leaning people on his trips abroad, and it’s an incredibly clumsy thing to be doing. He loves to label himself as a “progressive,” and that’s his privilege, but he seems to want to prove his leftie chops … by bashing the right. Capriles comes from a political party that is hardly left wing – and I should know, given how I helped write the platform! The whole thing is amateurish.

In light of this, I took to Twitter to criticize Capriles using the CC account, and that did not sit well with some of my friends. My tweets caused quite a stir among my fellow co-bloggers. Some members of the team are very much pro-Capriles. Others, not so much. Me? I considered myself a recovering cheerleader, a hesitant Capriles supporter until tonight. As you can see, we have variety, and that is a good thing. Now, a portion of my co-bloggers are incensed, and they are correct.

So, in the spirit of maintaing peaceful coexistence, I will say that I regret what I tweeted because it offended people I admire and respect – my colleagues, not Capriles, who had it coming. From now on, I will limit the @CaracasChron tweets to publicizing our posts or publicizing other peoples’. All personal opinions will come from my personal account.

You can go back to your weekends now. Stay safe.

1 COMMENT

  1. This seems like a good policy. The CC account should, indeed, be an “institutional” account. I will continue to subscribe to your personal account, as well, as I greatly enjoy your “unfiltered” take on things.

  2. I think that you take your writting seriously and you should take more seriously what has been accomplished for caracas chronicles as a new media outlet. In the “who we are” section in CC says: “In 2014, Caracas Chronicles became a true group blog…” . At the times in which the blog was just JN and Quico, whatever was said in the cc tw could be attributed to one of them (or borth). But now, if CC is truly a group blog, I think that your tw account cannot express unidentified opinion of just one of the contributors, even if it is the editor. If your want to use the cc tw account as a way to amplify your individual opinion then you can easily write a post, quote yourself or retweet yourself. Cheers!

  3. Juan,

    1.labeling in Venezuela is ridiculous because people only accept the center-left which means they they tend towards authoritarian thinking, as any divergence from this ( even center right) is considered extreme right wing.

    2. Capriles pretends to show the Chavistas that he is closer to them than to the “extreme right wing”.

    • It has been pretty much his strategy for quite some time. I agree that he has to appeal chavista voters, but this way is simply wrong.

  4. Capriles’s rhetoric is indeed clumsy to us – but it is calculated. Capriles doesn’t have to care about our opinions. His electoral base (that’s us) is very much consolidated, we’ll vote for him regardless when the time comes; so he needs to cater someone else. So, in a country where the left dominates everything, especially the ruling party, he wants to appeal that base. And how? Bashing the much maligned, often imaginary right wing ideology works better than bashing the “good socialism”.

    But moving on to the Twitter account. You don’t have to only tweet about your posts, use it well. Maybe not to bash openly the biggest opposition leader right now, but sometimes you could also tweet about useful stuff and news, like you did when the “dialogue” happened. Still, if this blog is based on opinions (and you are bashing Capriles here too, something I totally understand), why can’t the Twitter account do that? At least to a degree.

    • I disagree, it is a HUGE mistake that Capriles, or any other person in the opposition, assumes that his electoral base is “consolidated and will vote for him no matter what”. That assumption is what caused the protests to begin with. The opposition is not chavismo, we are not monolithic, we are not “disciplined”, we don’t have a “leader”, that is precisely what separates us from the chavismo, that’s what makes us an alternative. We believe that the Venezuelan people deserve better, we believe that the Venezuelan people deserve reason and truth, not a mere populist speech.

      Capriles in no Chavez, he will never have his “labia”, he seems fake every time he tries to copy Chavez’ style. He seems fake to us and even more to the people with less education. If he continues to alienate his base he will probably never be President. A lot of people are disappointed and have stated that they will never vote for him again.

  5. I typically talk about Chavismo as a movement of the extreme right; populist authoritarianism plus enrichment of a primarily-military caste. Venezuela is not the only example of this; Peron and Vargas also come to mind. None of these have any similarity to what you say are your values, so I think Capriles wasn’t talking about you at all. There is no need to feel insulted.

  6. I’ve been called, by the former editor of this blog, de reaccionario pa’ bajo for pointing out the obvious: There are no good socialists and there is no good socialism. It’s a freaking oxymoron. Despite many tries along history, the damn thing has not shown one single success case. “Look at Brazil. PT is on the left, they are good socialist, and Brazil is booming.” Ha! I was mocked more than once when I said Lula and Dilma are bosses in a mafia family called PT, and that their policies in Brazil would crash and burn. I was right. I moved out of there just in time.

    In Venezuela, many still think there is a way they can make socialism work. I spotted Capriles’ socialist tendencies during his very populist campaign. But he was “better” than Chavez, so of course we had to vote for him. I’d probably have voted for a lab monkey in that scenario. His comment on the gov’t limiting protests because it’s “right wing” is stupid. Leopoldo López, unjustly imprisoned, is no better in terms of ideology. His own Voluntad Popular is proud to be on the Socialist International. The only one closer to a center-right position is MCM, but let’s face it, machista Venezuela is not voting for a woman anytime soon. The others are, well, the others.

    They all have in common the fact that their proposals are just a bunch of generic, rosy, feel-good phrases. None of them is willing to stick his/her neck out with actual policies that are supposed to take Venezuela out of the socialist mess it has experienced for the last 40 years.

    As of now, I believe Venezuelans still don’t know shit about the current situation. They blame the consequences, not the causes. Few people have read enough to figure out what it takes to get out of the hole. Alas, the majority is illiterate about the policies that MUST be carried out in the country. This majority, regardless of social class, chavista or anti-chavista, is not ready for a complete stop in government handouts and subsidies. They are not ready to produce and earn their money through hard work, innovation and entrepreneurship. This, my friends, is why Venezuela is royally fucked at least for two more generations.

    P.S.: Sorry about the rant.

    • Well-said. Capriles isn’t the brightest, but it’s what there is, for now. As for Blog vs. Tweets, Juan, it seems reasonable that the Blog more reflect a group-think, especially with its invaluable commenters’ contributions, and the Twitter account perhaps the same, since it carries the CC moniker.

    • I also enjoyed Ricardo’s rant. Good stuff. But, might I point out what everybody’s missing? Chavismo’s central core is all about money, not political philosophy, not political labeling ‘right wing’ or ‘left wing,’ not grand economic schemes for the political future,….money. That’s it. They grabbed the golden goose, held it aloft in front of roaring crowds, and promised the droppings of said goose, the golden eggs, to all who would support the cause. “We will give you something for your vote,…money!” That money comes in a variety of forms, Haier refrigerators/microwaves/dishwashers/etc., promises of new homes ( Mision Vivendi), discounted food (Mercal), and waiting lists for new cars. This all falls under the general theme that Venezuela is rich! Just look at that freaking goose! The only problem being is that the money has run out, and no longer meets the demands. There are fewer golden eggs to spread out amongst ever increasing outstretched hands. The country is now officially broke. Real pain is coming. If Capriles thinks that by identifying himself as being ‘middle-of-the-road’ he will garner more support, he’s just being silly….It’s always been about the money!

        • By the way, speaking of “looking less than bright” it is fascinating to observe Nicolas Maduro’s pitiful expressions in a 5 year old video taken when he was just a mere underling attending one of Chavez’s ‘Alo Presidente!’ Look at THAT face in the video and realize that this completely confused buffoon is now in charge of the government of Venezuela. Hard to believe. wow.

          http://video.pbs.org/video/1082085620/

    • Ricardo: Capriles and Lopez use a socialist disguise for their political strategy. At the end of the day these folks are aware of the problems and their causes. I’m sure they would implement important economic changes, reestablish respect for property and would revert all the extreme-left laws such as the Fair Prices decree.
      But from there to converting Venezuela into a fully capitalist model, forget about it. Not even Maria Corina would dare this. The country would go up in flames, besides the fact that a candidate proposing this would never be elected.

      So the question is: what do you prefer? The destructive Communism of chavismo or the social democracy proposed by these fellows. that likely would bring the country together again?

      • I prefer neither. The so-called social democracy, that big-state mindset that the majority of Venezuelans have, that gives them the right to a bunch of free stuff, is what wrecked the economy in the 80s and 90s, and bred chavismo in the first place. If we settle for that kind of system, another form of chavismo is somewhere in the future, as sure as the sun comes up tomorrow.

        Having said that, and realizing things will not change much in my lifetime (or my son’s), I’m getting the hell out. The U.S. is in big-state status, but I believe there is a big chance it will turn around soon.

    • Amen to that. Los venezolanos lo que necesitan es dejar de vivir del estado, trabajando directa o indirectamente para “empresas del estado” Todos estan en eso… cuando se limite el saqueo absurdo de la renta petrolera y la gente entienda que hay que producir para vivir mejor, en ese momento, Venezuela saldra de esta edad media politico/economica que por desgracia nos toco vivir.

      PS: A mi me han llamado de todo en este blog, los socialdemocratas/centro-izquierdistas/progresistas/liberales sociales abundan en todos los ambitos en Venezuela. A pesar de esto, CC es de los pocos sitios donde se encuentran analisis interesantes de la situacion venezolana.

  7. Seeing as CC has become a group blog with more varied voices (which is great!) I agree with your conclusion on separating your personal views and the blog account. But I don’t think that means it should become just updates on new posts, you can put extracts or ideas from the posts. Also, personally, I use that account as a “curated” source for good Venezuela analysis and news from elsewhere, so I think a bit of that would also be nice.

    On the Capriles issue: he really should know that “extreme-right” has by no means whatsoever a monopoly on authoritarianism. I want to think he meant to say: “Maduro ahora se parece a los regímenes de extrema derecha que tanto critica” but even then missing that difference is worrying in a political leader like him.

  8. I don’t blame Capriles or VP for wanting to look lefty, is the easiest way to look good on international politics AND, more importantly, plays against the frame set by the chavista propaganda machine and the academia cheerleaders of dictators.

    I also understand what you are saying about the official handle of this blog, it simply cannot be about the personal opinions of the editor. Mistakes happen though.

    That said, Capriles going to the chavista level of making up bullshit is unnaceptable. His statements pretty much make evident that he has no opinions of his own other than what his marketing team says. Extreme left goverments are, in practice, as authoritarian as the extreme right ones. Up and including fawning over military thugs that want to rule countries like barracks.

    Add the old arguments of why the protesters are angry at him and the rest of the MUD and I believe that he should step aside. Aveledo is actually making more sense than him these days.

    BTW, Ramos Allup recently said that without an Amnesty Law, the dialogue “gets stuck”. Now that’s some backpedalling.

  9. JCN, I don’t see what the issue is:

    “…Left-wing politics and right-wing politics are often presented as opposed, although a particular individual or group may take a left-wing stance on one matter and a right-wing stance on another…

    “There is general consensus that the Left includes progressives, communists, social-liberals, greens, social-democrats, socialists, democratic-socialists, left-libertarians, secularists, feminists, autonomists, anti-imperialists, anti-capitalists, and anarchists,[5][6][7][8] and that the Right includes conservatives, reactionaries, neoconservatives, traditionalists, capitalists, neoliberals, right-libertarians, social-authoritarians, monarchists, theocrats, nationalists and fascists.[9]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-right_politics

    People from the right call my proposal extreme left, while people from the left consider my proposal extreme right. Rather than concern myself with the label, I concern myself with the proposal, itself. I suggest you let Capriles call the anti-protests measures anything he wants. Te debería resbalar el name-calling.

  10. I saddens me that we on the right of the political spectrum seem to always be on the defensive, as a result of the radical left demonizing us, with the help of the MSM.
    There is no need for you, Juan, to apologize for anything and for being honest about who you are.
    Seems to me that Capriles is subliminally showing his true colors by assimilating with Chavismo, which disqualifies him as opposition leader.
    I sure hope he is not becoming a Chavez like commie in disguise. Chavismo knows who the real “dangerous” opposition leader is: Leopoldo Lopez. That’s why he is in jail.

  11. “Extreme right” means Neo-Nazis and the like.
    Capriles should have simply said “is typical of an autocracy, of people who despise democracy, such elementary concepts as the division of powers and pluralism”.
    He could, at most, say it was a decision that can only be taken by the extremes.

    All extremes stink just the same and eventually meet.

    Now I am puzzled you, Juan, think you are from the “Extreme Right” Neither Cameron nor Angela Merkel would consider themselves extreme right and they would be extremely offended to be told they are from
    the Extreme Right..

  12. The extreme right and the extreme left meet in pretty much the same place as far as I’m concerned. There are a lot of things about Maduro I would characterize as extreme right, including the restrictions on protest, but no doubt they have their communist and socialist equivalents.

    I don’t really care where you opine- though I don’t always agree, I always find it interesting and enlightening, which is why we all come back. Thank you for continuing this blog- I think it is outstanding.

  13. There are also other differences.

    What is “right”? A lot of people confuse different parameters. The right-left thingie should be left for economic matters.

    There are people who are extremely conservative in religion, even fundamentalist, but they are not necessarily more right than others – in the economic sense. Of course, in the US and other countries people who tend to accept a literal interpretation of some religions tend to vote for parties that support less social programmes and taxation than others, but that is a oversimplification.
    Funnily, they end up voting for parties that don’t mind spending a huge amount of tax money in defence, in wars and the like…but not all of them, of course.
    Among the religious hyper-conservatives there are even some common things with some on the extreme left when it comes to the way they view sex. Funnily, some conservative religious people have views on
    sexuality that starkly reminds me of the way in which the Soviets treated it.

    What I find funny in Venezuela is how Madurismo talks all the time about the “extreme right”. I would like someone from them to explain to me whether they think there is a “moderate right” and, as they are from the left, what they consider “extreme left” and what “moderate left” and why.

    All stupid labels…few people think it’s necessary to think through the consequences of a whole terminology…if one uses all these labels, one should be able to form a taxonomy of the whole political-religious fauna and explain clearly what the differences and commonalities are.

    As Milan Kundera said, it is now mostly about the imagologies, not ideologies.

    • you are right of course: the left right axis needs at least another; Political Compass tries this with its up/down libertarian/authoritarian axis but even this isn’t precise enough.

      • Indeed, this x/y representation is rather passé. We should have at least something like a 10-sized vector to represent the main criteria for the different groups.

        All in all I think Venezuelans tend to be dominated, in the end, by a conservative lot in the sense that they get in the government people who see their believes as unmovable, unquestionable, undebatable dogmas and who have one way or the other, some cult that trumps every logical reasoning, be that cult a cult of military figures, a set of economic credos (and let’s remember economics is nothing but a wobbly fuzzy “science”) or pretty old-fashioned religious thoughts that make them, for instance, torpedo urgently needed programmes for birth control in Venezuela.

      • I wonder if it is the conservative who interprets literally or the lefty who goes for ” I am looking for that specific scripture that will back of some of my preconceived notions …hehe

        Of course for an atheist( who could of course never be conservative( LOL), even a belief in God looks like literal interpretation – so it all depends on one’s one prejudice in labeling as such divisions, being convenient for put downs only but not for understanding.

  14. Regarding CC’s twitter: keep it as varied as the institutional line… Promote and quote posts (perhaps a blog regarding the nuanced diffrences -or not- between “liberalism/right/extreme right”. You don’t have to offer a counterpost (but a co-blogger might do that).

    Do not keep your criticism to your personal account (but you can retweet form there): CC is an opnion blog, and as such it should be critical and, well, opinionated.

    And polemic content brings readers and clicks. Since this is a legitimate polemic, it is not click-baiting.

  15. Regardng the “extreme right” issue: as a conservative, I used to take as much issue with the term “right”as you. But the term itself is a meaningless category: in the mind of the public it means reactionary and authoritarian. Especially if it is “extreme right”.

    Might this be that Capriles is taking a jab against both the PSUV-State (as hypocritically denouncing protests) and some elements within the non-party opposition -groups like Miami twitters, JAVU, and the rest- which he thinks are extreme (and are well beyond his base/reach)? He might be even more sophisticated than we give him credit for.

    Alas, he wasn’t -this time- attacking neither the market or some semblance of economic sense (there’s a huge rhetorical entrampment now in that matter: you have to criticise the fundamentals of the government’s economic policies, with some care: some of these measures -admittedly and probably within a clearer pro-market turn- would have to occur in an HCR government.

    Moreover, given that som of the Venuezuelan politcal spectrum -critcal of Capriles- leans to the “extreme right”, it makes sense to bundle them together with Chavismo as authoritarians. To illustrate: this week I’ve read criticising Cedice AND Vargas Llosa -sound, mainstream liberals- from both pro-Pinochet self-regarding liberals (MDL) and groups lke Javu and ORDEN (self-proclamed as natonalist and anti-Marxist).

  16. To sum up:

    – CC is not a chrleadng nor an oppositon blog. and can criticise whomever it want.
    – “Extreme right” might not mean pro-market liberalism, to some.
    – There might be something of a Venezuelan extreme right. Should liberals be bundled with them?

  17. The use of the ‘right wing’ label as a kind of epithet is in the history of Venezuelan politics common place , for years and years being labelled right wing in our culture is a customary way of designating the extremists and radicals that in the past were traditional supporters of authoritarian regimes of the strong man type and thus of the use of strong arm tactics in the repression of any other political position . These traditional supporters of authoritarian regimes were not necessarily very sophisticated in paying attention to the kind of issues or subject that nowadays occupy our minds , such as the importance of free markets vs state controlled economies and the like .

    Sometimes people speak not a language of conceptual precision but the vernacular of our traditional historical culture were being labelled right wing had a connotation which the former language doesnt carry .

    I myself are very reluctant to fall into the use of the right o left wing labels.. I believe that Capriles spoke of the TSJ being right wing in the vernacular sense , not in the more precise conceptual sense so he wasnt suggesting any criticism of market economies or the virtues many of us associate with the free market model .

    Politically he was pointing out the dishonesty of the regime applying restrictions to the exercise of the freedom to associate and protests which are typical of the traditional right wing vernacular position despite flaunting their left wing revolutionary ideals . He was not speaking conceptually or with any attempt at theoretical sophistication . In short I suspect Juan, that in this case you may have over reacted..Capriles was scoring a political point not stating a theoretical opinion.

    In politics its usually wise not to be too dogmatic about theoretical points , to play with the cards your are dealt with by the social reality that surrounds you , and to be pragmatic rather than pure . Cant forget how the social security scheme was the creation of Bismark a traditional reactionary man if there ever was one, who saw the need to counter act the rising popularity of social democrats by adopting what one might consider a progressive measure !!

    Regarding the nuances and subtleties of handling the twitter and CC accounts separately or jointly GTA Aveledos comments seem the most balanced to me .. .

      • It’s typical of dictatorships, left or right. But Capriles would rather eat nails than call Maduro a dictator.

        • Well, don’t be so harsh.

          I quote him:

          “Esto cada día se parece más a una dictadura. A una neodictadura. No a los conceptos clásicos, sino que es un modelo muy autoritario que a veces parece querer respetar las reglas de la democracia y otras veces toma decisiones fascistas como cuando destituyó y envió a la cárcel al alcalde Enzo Scarano. Parece que Nicolás se montó en la autopista hacia una dictadura.”

          He almost said it in March.

      • How you can mention Salazar and Mussolini as if they were they were even remotely similar is interesting but also highlights the silly left/right thing as mentioned by others.

  18. Juan,

    There are few definitive political definitions or labels, because they usually appear in reference to oneself and to one’s own particular status quo.

    A label speaks more about the person labeling than the one labeled.

    Often labels are used to manipulate others, or to insult rather than to understand.The fact that Capriles used the extreme right label in this particular instance, shows me that he is one big manipulator. Some would say his manipulations are necessary and that is their valid opinion, but it is not mine.

  19. Actually, just reading what Capriles said: “Un gobierno de izquierda no limita las protestas”, has he no idea AT ALL about the history of the world in the last 100 years?

  20. Juan,

    The link you provided about what Capriles said is titled “Capriles irónico”.

    What part of “irónico” didn’t you understand?.

    You can also look for “ironic” in your Webster’s dictionary or in Wikipedia, if you prefer.

    • Irónico is the interpretation that the journalist gave. You think Capriles didn’t mean it? If so, he should clarify. But he hasn’t.

    • Hey Alex one of them, please read “The path to Serfdom” of Freidrich Von Hayek or some of the early discourses of Adolph Hitler to convince yourself that fascism is not a right wing ideology but a left wing one. Why were the Nazis and the commies at each others throat? Because they were just competing for the same crowd, no more, no less. Once fascism lost in Europe, the commies made sure they would distant themselves from their cousins and were rather successful in rewriting fascism history as a right wing movement and these days everybody or almost falls into the trap.

    • She was referring to the impossible moral dilemmas of the judenrat in each place where the nazis created councils of local jewish leaders to deal with the administration of the local jewish population ,

      They were forced to cooperate under threat to their own lives and that of their familites with nazi extermination programs .

      They were in a fix because the did not have the means of resisting nazi brutality but were naturally reluctant to colllaborate with the nazis .

      Still Arendt felt that their forced cooperation sometimes went too far , that they could have dragged their feet or found ways of quietly sabotaging the nazis , she points to the example of the Netherland Judenrats that were so cooperative that propportionely the number of dutch jewish holocaust victims were greater than those in other countries where the judenrat were more active in trying to quietly savotage the nazis efforts.

      These judenrat members felt that by cooperating with the nazis they were able to gain some concessions from the nazis which helped benefit the jewish population as a whole , others just wanted to stay alive with their familites or gain some benefits as reward for their cooperation !! motives were mixed ..

      • Bil Blass,Thanks for refreshing this ladies’s memory.Don’t know why but for some reason, that sentence kept popping into my head last night.

  21. Juan, while you worry about what to do with your twitter a/c, I worry that you’re doing a subliminal religious thing with your readers, as in changing the masthead photo, most recently to one on Iglesia Sta Capilla. (Gotta watcha like a hawk 😉

  22. Where labels are used as epithets they stop serving any conceptually precise descriptive function , rather they show the political mindset or not so innocent intent of whoever uses them pejoratively for political effect..

    In Venezuela for decades now the term extreme right wing is a conventional term meaning some one of strong traditional authoritarian sympathies , as opposed to people who dont favour those sympathies . It would not be applied to left wing doctrinaire authoritarian devotees who normally would simply be called Communists . Communist is in traditional venezuelan political parlance an epithet . Problem is that Regime followers like to think of themselves as communists because they want to see themselves as shocking in their adoption of unconventional labels for themselves .

    Capriles is using the conventional term to show that the govts use of the term extreme right wing also applies to them insofar as it shows a liking for authoritarian methods of represion which are favoured by the extreme right in Venezuela , meaning they are not so different from those they condem .

    Left wing in Venezuelan vernacular is usually associated with social democratic positions which alike differ from communist authoritarism and from traditional extreme right wing authoritarism . The term Left wing in Venezuela has a more benign connotation that it does in the US .

    Of course many participants in this blog because they have lived abroad such a long time have come to understand the meaning given these labels in their countries of adoption rather than the more traditional vernacular meaning given them in Venezuela !! thats only natural! but it does tend to confuse things a bit . !! .

  23. Dont see what is the big issue. First, yes, it is something that far right regimes do: Also far left regimes do – it is about totalitarism. But as the “war cry” is that the opposition is fascist, then saying that what the revolution does IS more similar to fascism that anything the opposition represent is a valid way to present the point, I think.

    And of course once you get the “extremes” out, the issue becomes always relative. I lean social-democrat. That puts me way to the right of the chavistas, just a bit to the left in any European political map, and way to the left of anything in the US political map.

    In the end, there is the pressure to conflate 2 things that should be separate. One is being a supporter of real democracy and the other is what kind of economical policies do you want the country to have. The revolution continually mixes both – the opposition shouldnt. Both things are urgent, but one is fundamental stuff and the other, while urgent and necessary, is something that belongs to the common political struggle ONCE you have fair and stable democratic institutions.

  24. Juan, I think you are taking the comment a bit too much to heart. I think Capriles was referring to the authoritarian right, and I am pretty sure though you consider yourself right wing, as do I, that you don’t consider yourself a fascist.
    I do believe you are dismissing Capriles too fast. He has been consequently on the left side of Primero Justicia for a while, and you know as well as I that there is no serious right wing party in Venezuela, maybe Maria Corina and Diego Arria.
    In any case, it is also important that you keep in mind, that sometimes politicians are speaking out to an audience. I am not trying to convince you of how coherent, pragmatic and ultimately sane Capriles’ actions have been, especially given how insane the whole radical movement, from both sides of the aisle is, but I do beg of you to give him the benefit of the doubt, because things are way complicated, and there is no easy way out of this mess. I respect you and I do hope you are not one to think #LaSalida is the way, or any of those “immediatist” actions. Change is going to take time, I for one am happy and proud of Capriles and the leaders who walk with him, in that they understand this and are willing to put time and effort on actions that are not easy, because they are not popular with radicals who think they own the truth and that Venezuela is Chacao.
    I have always loved this blog, and it has been my go-to place for intelligent, insightful analysis on what is going on in Venezuela, even if written by some people who are not living here, I think that has never hindered your ability. I do believe it is normal for your contributors to have differing opinions, there is no doubt Venezuela’s opposition is divided right now. Things are hard, and I understand that you might have less than rational and less than pragmatic outbursts, I have them too, but you are an economist and I know you will come to see pros and cons of our options, costs and benefits, and I think in the end it all comes down to who is protesting and how, and there you can understand why the more moderate side of the opposition stands where it stands.
    I do think that judging a politician by one remark and además, taking it personally, is beneath you.
    Cheers,

  25. I have to confess that one of the main things that attracted me to this blog was the “critic eye” to the members of the opposition, I’m tired of writers praising Capriles and the rest of the Opo for every move they make, while criticizing Chavistas for being useless seals applauding every decision the Government makes without realizing they fall under the same category of idiots.
    I think you need to have balls to open up to the Opo and shout “You guys are doing a terrible job, and yes, I’m not chavista and I still think you are wrong”. Some of the new writers seem to me follow a little bit under the earlier Caprilibers fans and honestly I’ve had a hard time adapting to the changes in the blog, however it continues to be one of the most honest and coherent blogs about Venezuelan politics and I will keep following it. Anyway Juan, I think you’re doing a great job and please keep at it!

  26. 99% of the time I agree with you Juan but not this time. He said extreme right not right. You should only be offended if you consider yourself a member of the extreme right. I consider myself center-left but I do agree that since Venezuela had always leaned to the left being “de derecha” has developed an unfair reputation in our country. I think he said it because historically extreme right dictatorships have caused more damage in Venezuela and latin america then left wing ones therefore theyre more despised. Yes I know Fidel Castro destroyed Cuba but for every communist dictator in LA there have been 20 right wing ones so its an example that is understood widely

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