I Visualized May Wrong

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maginot-map2Back on February 22nd, I wrote “Visualize May”: an exasperated and – in retrospect – badly misguided post about the uselessness of the nascent protest movement. Well, it’s May now, so accountability demands we go through that post now and have a bit of a reckoning. (Spoiler alert: I Visualized May wrong.)

My main contention was simple: a radicalized protest movement would last a couple of weeks, a month max. Then it would fizzle out, leaving the opposition further demobilized and the government with a winning propaganda issue, and having newly normalized the means to repress further protests.

It’s true that the protests are not as active today as they were then, but I don’t think anybody would describe the situation in Venezuela right now as “some version of calm and normality.”

There are still peos in multiple cities basically every day, and ongoing large citizen mobilizations. The protest movement has proven way, way more resilient than I’d foreseen.

Of course, back in Chávez’s day that wouldn’t necessarily have been bad news for the government. Chávez had a knack for turning the table on protesters and convincing the broad middle of the Venezuelan electorate that their problems were the opposition’s fault.

But the polling data I’ve seen shows the opposite happening this time. In Datanalisis’s April Omnibus (field dates March 31st to April 20th), politically unafiliated voters side systematically with the opposition’s interpretation of recent events, leaving chavismo as a rump exposed. People back peaceful street protests by a huge 66% to 25% margin. That’s a 41 point spread. Crushing. Crucially, 64% of “Ni-Nis” back the protests, while just 26% oppose them.

On a typical “oppo dog whistle” question, like whether you want Cubans who meddle in Venezuelan state affairs to leave the country, 89% of the opposition supporters agree, but so do a staggering 70 (seven-TY) percent of NiNis. (And chavismo take note: 30% of chavistas also want the Cubans out!)

Meanwhile 64% of NiNis join 93% of the opposition (and 61% of the whole sample) in calling for the release of all political prisoners. And a Staggering 85% of NiNis join the 99% of the opposition that doesn’t believe the government will find solutions to the problems in the next 12 months.

On a few other questions, NiNis split more evenly between pro-government and pro-opposition positions. NiNis evaluate MUD and its most visible leaders (HCR and LL) in ways that mirror government supporters, not opponents.

But what the poll clearly doesn’t show is anything like the stampede of politically unaffiliated Chávez sympathizers back into the government fold we saw back in the era of hyper-polarization in 2002-2004. Quite the opposite.

The reason, I think, is simple enough: Maduro no es Chávez. Whatever X-Factor it was that Chávez had that allowed him to bring the broad center over to his side when he went into hyper-confrontational mode, Maduro does not have it.

So I had it wrong: I overlearned the lessons of the last war. The dynamics this time around are obviously different. The protest movement has gingerly by-passed the Maginot Line of 2002 old timers’ sensibilities – just gone around it – to reshape the political map faster than any of us thought possible.

The time to protest is when protesting rallies neutrals to our side and drives a wedge between them and the government. That seems to be the dynamic we’re seeing now.

Once you grasp that, the dynamics of the last three months start to look very different. Back in February, for instance, I used to be the Number 1 proponent of the idea that repression was designed to spur on more protests – a cynical gambit from a government that (I used to think) stands to gain from added conflict.

But is Monday’s HRW report really consistent with that? Is beating people up in a dark cel in police detention really about spurring on more protests? The incomunicado stuff? The ruleteo stuff? And what about the super-onerous regímenes de presentación, which always include the threat of heavy jail terms if you break your court order by protesting again?

Is that the policy mix of a security state that feels it gains from more and more protests in middle class areas?

I just don’t think the evidence points that way. The way they’re going about the repression, the very camera-shyness Juan discussed, points to guys repressing to get us off the streets. Which is what you do as a government once you’ve lost faith in the organizing idea that with each new protest more of the broad political center of the country moves closer to you as a hedge against chaos.

That isn’t happening. The government seems to grasp it isn’t happening. But has the MUD?!

The question is what it’ll take for MUD’s moderate wing to reach the same conclusion. They have the same data we do – hell, they paid for it, they presumably had it a good long time before we did.

The empirics of the protest movement are now relatively clear. And the dynamite-muthafuggin’-tnt nature of the rift they risk with their own base if they continue to be seen to appease a regime they should be confronting was laid bare by Jacobsongate yesterday. So what’s it going to take for these guys to revise their own assumptions about May was supposed to look like vs. what May actually looks like? I’d like to know.

80 COMMENTS

  1. Good post. And you are surely right that MUD needs results from negotiations. If not it should take a step back and watch the regime stumble.

    • The first step must be for the misgovernment to release all political prisoners, starting with Simonovis. This should be the result that the MUD must demand from Maduro & Co. if they want them to continue at the negotiating table.

      It seems like the minimum they can demand.

  2. You are experiencing the reason it is never good to use the past to determine the future.Dynamics are usually changing and with them, the possibilities.One sure thing about life is change and it is important to be aware in the present to see when it happens in order to seize an opportunity that will never knock twice in the exactly same way.There were much better times for these protests in the past, had people been more aware when the opportunities were present, but now is second best… which is better than nothing,

  3. My thesis is that the strategy of the government is to provoke very intense protests as a preemptive maneuver. Instead of waiting for the perfect storm of a protest composed by disgruntled Venezuelans of all classes and political leanings, they took the initiative to call out and defeat first those clearly in the opposition breaking their spirit and setting an example for others.

    Is an old military tactic, when two forces are closing in, hurry up and defeat one and then the other before they have time to join forces and present a united front. It is a risky gambit, with all the repression they are surely not going to become more popular, but since Chavez’s charisma is no more, they will settle for being feared instead.

    • A dictatorship does not need popularity.It needs to instill fear.It’s just a giant bully.

      They do not need protests to repress, but protests are an natural outcome of abuses especially when people are not so used to the abuses.

      Once in a while there is a protest in Belarus that goes nowhere of course.The protests are not provoked by the government and they manage to quell them pretty quickly with arrests.The same thing will happen in Venezuela should people decide that it is too much, and they just have to give up.

      Giving up is bad for the spirit which is bad for freedom.

      It is not a sign of health to adapt to a sick society.

  4. Am I the only one baffled by the continuous existence of the ni-ni sector? Who in their right mind hasn’t picked a side yet? These people are one third of the population and they’re uniformly distributed across all socio-economic strata. To me, this defies all logic.

      • Nope. Look at the statistics through the years. Even in 2006 we had an abstention of 25%. That might not seem like a lot considering abstention levels in the Switzerland, in the Netherlands, etc, but Venezuelans with 4 dedos de frente back then knew we were not in Switzerland or the Netherlands and nos la estábamos jugando.

        I think Chigüire Bipolar has carried out a serious, deep analysis of Nini mentality.
        http://www.elchiguirebipolar.net/12-02-2012/nini-se-pregunta-si-con-elecciones-primarias-tambien-es-obligatorio-ir-a-la-playa/

      • Probably a small group is made of ex-reds, yes. But I doubt it’s a sizable chunk. I think it’s mostly people who couldn’t care less either way, and never could. That’s what baffles me. How do they manage to remain indifferent?

        • Alejandro,

          My experience is showing me that many( I am sure it is not all) who appear indifferent are acually oppos that are’ enchufados’.They make money off the government but their friends are mostly oppos and they go to oppo marches.Some are even surprisingly unconscious of what they do.They give off an air of not wanting to confront the government that much( for now) .

          There were quite a few young people who were ni ni, because they bought the hype that the 4th Republic was just as bad as the regime is now, but I have seen many of them changing this past year and becoming more part of the opposition.Remember if a young person does not remember the 4th Republic that well, it is hard for him to judge properly.

          I also know quite a few Communists who were apologists for Chavez andwho took on ni -ni airs, but are now quite anti regime, and many are living here in the US.Some of these while not being nini are still more hesitant to criticize the regime publicly.

          Then there are those who see major flaws in the opposition but who are still definitely opposition( like myself)..

          Do not assume that it is either/ or. Many in the opposition are quite aware of its flaws, but still never touch the title of nini.

          Indifference has many faces.

        • Some are not chavistas, but buy into the Chavista portrayal of the opposition, and so are put off elections when faced with a choice between corrupt chavistas and corrupt puntofijistas.

          Some don’t see any point to it all. They don’t rely on any government handout and are too busy making ends meet to also worry about what the constitution says or Simonovis’ health condition.

          There’s also the remmanents of the anti-politics sentiment of the 90’s

        • Alejandro, I consider myself a ni-ni just because there is no way that I can identify with oppo leadership as per “the MUD”,(yes, I meant it). Their actions over the last three months run contrary to my set expectations of our supposed “leadership”. That is our greatest problem right now, sure I never been “chavista” but the MUD smells as well

          • Are you against the student movement too? Because, you know, they are also opposition…

    • Alone? Not at all! Plenty of people are too lazy to mmake there imaginative effort to understand a perfectly easy to grasp mix of justified dissatisfaction with the government and equally justified distrust foot the opposition…

      • Sure, don’t like the government and don’t trust the oppo either. That’s pretty much everyone, really. But it doesn’t follow from there that a person just doesn’t care about who runs things. I’ve never liked (nor particularly trusted) any opposition candidate, but I wouldn’t pretend for a second that both groups are the same. Apparently, a third of the people think that there’s no fundamental difference between the two sides. And that, sir, is insane.

      • Francisco,

        There is, of course, a deep dissatisfaction with the opposition but I believe
        most people who are fed up with the government will vote anyway, either for the government “por ahora” or go for the opposition. I believe – and this is hard to prove one way or the other – most or at least a considerable amount of those ninis are ninis for other reasons.

        Look at their numbers: they correspond more or less with the abstention levels in other countries. At the end of the day, when I have talked to Ninis in Venezuela I have seen – yes, this is anecdotal stuff- most of them wouldn’t care anyway no matter what you presented to them…it’s always the responsibility of others, it’s always others’ fault, they just want to be left alone with their beach and their beer.

        I still have to meet one who is seriously worried about the country, who feels he plays a role in defining the country and who still just prefers not to vote…not in Venezuela after 2006

      • That makes sense too. In the sense that they are, in mind “opposition”, but not support the current opposition figures.

    • A lot of people may feel safer answering they are “ni-nis” than identifying with one of the sides. Specially saying that you are opposed to officialism in certain circles…

    • Well, i don’t fell represented for Chavismo or MUD, why? Their political values (revolutionary lef, social democrat or center-left) are not even related with my less-state free market vision.

      • Cool, but does that make you a ni-ni? If a ni-ni is simply a person who doesn’t identify as either the government or the MUD, then sure. But isn’t a ni-ni a person who is neither pro-government nor with the opposition? It’s not the same. I wouldn’t call myself a MUD-person, though I vote for them. But I’m sure as hell no ni-ni.

        • Yes, I’m not a militant to a political party of one side of another and also i don’t identify myself with the political values of chavismo or the other. I prefer to choose the person who’s running for a public office (mayor of Libertador) by it political idead taking on account if there are close to mine.

          Independents in public opinion are not that weird in bipartisan or semi-bipartisan systems, in the US there are more people that consider themselves independents that people who call themselves Republican or democrats, and their opinions are not monolithic (can change if is an issue related with pro-life, gun ban, gay marriage…)

  5. Sure, don’t like the government and don’t trust the oppo either. That’s pretty much everyone, really. But it doesn’t follow from there that a person just doesn’t care about who runs things. I’ve never liked (nor particularly trusted) any opposition candidate, but I wouldn’t pretend for a second that both groups are the same. Apparently, a third of the people think that there’s no fundamental difference between the two sides. And that, sir, is insane.

    • Well I used to think the way you’re thinking now. But if you look closely there’s no fundamental difference between MUDa’s offer and the chabismo’s offer. They are pretty much the same, the same populism, a kind of pink chabismo so to speak.

      Read at the MUDa’s “barriologos” and you’ll get a flavor of it

      • Now that is a weak distinction.

        The MUD is a wide spectrum of political ideologies advocating for a DEMOCRACY. As the MUD goes they will never be able to position a strong government given their different political positions. However Chavismo is unified populist-commie menagerie with clear autocratic features.

        So I strongly disagree that they are the same.

    • No. You trust MUD enough to vote for them. Ni-Ni don’t trust either side enough to vote for them.

      What we know is that a candidate like Capriles is way better at attracting/converting Ni-nis than a candidate like Manuel Rosales.

      • It’s really indefensible. I can understand the point that laying off sanctions could help keep the parties on the table. But that is not a point that the MUD needs to be making. It is not their job to be lobbying for Gabriela del Mar’s right to go to Disney World. Shouldn’t that be the job of, I dunno, Venezuela’s diplomats? NMJ, como dice Quico.

        There is simply no way to spin this properly. Oh, and a day has passed and, still, no accountability on the part of the MUD.

        • The thing is that the conclusion that most people make is that they really are idiots to be asking for that or this is an evidence of the most paranoid and radical people that there are some people in the MUD who are actually double agents. So either way the come across to their base as hopelessly naive or crooks. And the appropriate position should be that they are neither asking for sanctions or the contrary. I think that the reaction is disingenuous, suddenly we have to believe that RJ has less credibility than la Bicha. It’s obvious that someone associated with the MUD or the opposition who has enough power and representation to meet with RJ asked her not to sanction these people and we need an answer why.

          • Or the conclusion that their priority is to keep their positions as governors and mayors and their dirty business with the goverment. Capriles on the former and Ramos Allup on the latter fits and explains the interest on the “dialogue” table.

        • I dont know. I dont see whats the big problem with this – I consider it even a good idea. “Please dont start screwing around or we get back to the “pawns of the Empire” bullshit”

          Now, the failure of the MUD in my view is that they dont really put ANYTHING as a condition or as an objective or anything. Something that they can either go home with or break negotiations. Whatever it is, something that says that there is something in play. Liberation of prisoners, for example. Just being willing to talk marks them as a bunch of habladores de paja.

          • You must be one of those that dream with the US NAVY approaching the caribbean shores to bring us freedom.

      • I’m surprised how much credit you all are giving to that declaration by Jacobson. To me it was just an excuse to justify themselves.

  6. Hmmmm. There’s a lot to admire about this post — including that it puts you pretty much in a party of one in terms of candor and willingness to revisit predictions which didn’t turn out so well.

    But I don’t agree completely with the line you’ve drawn between support for the protests and changes in the electorate. There is no evidence that the protest movement has rallied ni-ni’s to our side. It’s the shortages, and the failure of the government to resolve other very serious quality-of-life problems, that is motivating the changes among ni-ni’s. They support the protests, because the protests reflect their own frustrations — it’s not that the protests are changing their minds about the government. The protests are not a tool of persuasion — although they’re useful in letting Venezuelans know the extent to which their concerns are shared.

    It’s also important to distinguish between protests writ large and guarimbas, which remain very unpopular, and which — had they expanded and endured — could have plausibly been used by Maduro to explain the worsening economy…which brings us to…

    Maduro vs Chavez — yes, he lacks the Great Leader’s charisma and political instinct. But more importantly, he lacks the misiones. It’s always been Chavez’s ace in the hole — first, when he finally got them up and running, and was able to avoid being recalled, and then later – the fear that they could be taken away by the electorate was used repeatedly to bludgeon voters into line. But the misiones have lost their centrality — either because they’re no longer working well (not hard to imagine), or because the difficulty of navigating daily life in Venezuela has become so brutal that voters have more pressing concerns on their mind.

    • Right, but the hypothesis that the Protests would be jujitsued, via propaganda means, into a way of SHORING UP residual Ni-Ni allegiances to the chavista project turns out to be pretty clearly wrong.

      NiNis sympathize with the protest movement and discount the “Economic War” propaganda.

      This MUST have an impact for how you draw up strategy.

      • Not the protests, but the guarimbas — that was the concern, that blocking streets and burning stuff could be toxic. You made the distinction yourself, repeatedly.

        Also: #LaSalida. Not so successful on its own terms. People still support constitutional means of change, but not much else.

    • I would qualify this – if Chávez were alive and Misiones were sputtering just like they are now, would we see the numbers we are seeing? Part of me thinks not.

      • Chavez could sacrifice token fall guys every so often. This way he could claim that he tried, but his underling, well, messed up, but now as commandante eterno, he is on to it.

        I would suggest as first token fall guy Jesse Chacon, electricity is still a BIG MESS.

        Yet there is a loyalty running through Chavismo that is disquieting. Maybe their military upbringing?

        • Honorable loyalty? Naw… They are all criminals and they all have the goods on each other. Stay loyal, you are protected, no matter what. Stray across the line, and they will sell you out in a heart beat and throw you under the bus.

      • JC,

        That speculation matters nothing at this point, because so many other factors have changed as well. Speculation like that is like trying to calculate the damage microwaved water causes to Human beings by measuring the effects on a single plant specimen.Too many variables. Chavez times were different times in so many ways. Apply a more scientific method to your investigation.

        It would make more sense to look back and try to understand what happened then, and see if you can observe any common mistakes we might still be making.

      • He’d have had more leeway, sure. His numbers would have taken a hit, though.

        For perspective — Maduro’s numbers are bad, but they’re not in the basement. Plenty of world leaders straggling along with numbers like those.

        They should be a whole lot worse — and they would be — if Venezuela had a free media.

      • When you replace the argument “Maduro no es Chavez” with “Maduro no ha tenido los reales que tenia Chavez” it holds about the same, one wonders… The Chavez myth is one we need to unravel, not only from the chavista mindset, but sadly also from the oppo’s. Always ask yourselves, would have Chavez achieved those (periodical) surges in popularity were it not for his absolutely undemocratic public expenditure? Please stop it with the “Maduro no es Chavez” I beg you all.

        On the other hand, seeing Quico reflecting on his prediction, I can’t help but wonder what if… what if the MUD had agreed to change strategies for a while and back the protests, as most of the protestors backed the MUD through many (unsuccessful) elections… What would the dialogue look like these days?

        • “I can’t help but wonder what if… what if the MUD had agreed to change strategies for a while and back the protests”

          Hard to know, what is clear is that MUD didn’t enter this crisis united. When you say MUD, you refer to the more established parties AD, COPEI, PJ and UNT. The other side is mostly comprised of new challengers like VP, MCM and not-so-new-but-not-part-of-the-establishment ABP.

          Maybe #LaSalida would have begun from a stronger position if it hadn’t had to deal with all the criticism from AD, COPEI, PJ and UNT.

          Maybe AD, COPEI, PJ and UNT would have at least some autoritas to rein in on the guarimbas if they hadn’t been undermining even the peaceful protests from the beginning.

          Maybe AD, COPEI, PJ and UNT would have at least some legitimacy to speak with the government on behalf of the opposition as a whole if they hadn’t gone divisive over #LaSalida.

          That’s a lot of maybes, though.

  7. IMO the need is for framing the political spectrum in terms different to what the regime have been peddling for years. The “do not think of an elephant” metaphor…. Once you read the statement, there is little else you can do BUT to think of an elephant.

    We have been feed passively 5ta vs 4ta, escualidos, vs. patriotas, us vs. them kool aid for 15 yrs now and we have yet to realize this is a proactive campaign to divide and conquer.

    The solution to ths currentl crisis is to isolate the kleptocratic nomenclature, local, Caribbean, Persian, siamese, etc. from the Venezuelan best interest. To show, we have been ramshackle and all the monies are being siphoned out for foreign interests (private and national) and that the reality is that Venezuela is not longer a proper nation, but a looting venue.

    When we can isolate in the public discourse the saqueadores from the real patriotas, it will be the beginning of the end.

    the MUD in its present composition is only a remain of the same old populist school of goverment, people that are significaltly bnot iffernt to the new saqueadores, only in degree, and still trying to save the status quo and wait their turn to get back at the coroto. That is why it is structurally an ally of the regime and personalities aside, not in the best interest of the nation-that-once-could -have-been/ was- thought-to be-by many-of-us-here.

    The HR violations ,the imposed war economy levels, the complete and utter disrespect for the rule of law, are all symptoms of the institutional break down and disintegration of state power. Sadly, imo again, unless there is a swift consolidation of real power by the military, Venezuela will continue into a slide of balkanization, somalia-zation, nigeria-zation dynamics.

    My apologies for the stereotyping spree there. …

  8. Good to see Toro getting off his high horse and recognizing that he got the Venezuelan situation completely wrong. But boy, you were annoying to the CC readers back then.

    • Eh, I was a defeatist too until I saw that this protest movement was something more than just more habladera de paja. So, don’t blame him for it.

    • After all, he was much less wrong than he believes —

      From today’s Reuters:

      “Maduro’s still there, isn’t he? And so are all the problems. It didn’t go as we wanted,” lamented student Eduardo Ortega, painting “resistance” in black letters on a sheet.

      “People got tired, civil society didn’t support us, and the students are divided. But this isn’t over. We’re going to a second phase, you’ll see,” added Ortega, 26, his banner naming a litany of problems: shortages, crime, inflation.

      • “Maduro’s still there, isn’t he?”
        Which shows they had the expectation that intense protests would force Maduro out. They probably still do. That is a mistake because it is unrealistic. That makes them go for terminal solutions that are not viable. Rushing when the race is a marathon. Focusing only in the short game and forgetting the long game.

        “civil society didn’t support us”
        That is not true. They had, and still have, plenty of support, moral support that is. But in terms of active support that is not possible when there are guarimbas and violence in the streets. The violence shuts out many people that would participate otherwise.

        The students are well intentioned but they fell into the trap of the government and are being played by the G2. They have protested with great intensity, expecting a magical solution from it. The result is that everybody gets tired and disagreement, division and finger pointing are the consequences of the perceived failure. People blame the MUD, but the truth is the expectations were unrealistic. I say perceived failure because the protests have had positive results, specially in showing the ugly face of the government. Protests need to continue but in a sustainable (there goes that word again) way. And it can’t be just protests, other creative methods need to be used to prevent boredom. The struggle is going to be long.

        • Amieres

          It hasn’t worked yet because it takes a long time and it takes International pressure.All dictatorships in this day and age of modern communication have control of mass media and effective means of repression etc.It takes a lot of blood sweat and tears over years to get rid of a regime like this .Even more so with a government that is supported by the Castros with their phds in repression…so in reality the students have accepted a long term strategy and claim they will not stop.Considering the circumstances it is only because of them that there are negotiations with the Devil and nowadays a price has to be paid in offering people up to be tortured and killed before you are able to the attract attention of the outside world by exposing the government as a Human Rights violator.

          This has made the efforts in the US Senate and Congress possible.We have to remember that this has been dearly bought by the students which makes it even more disgusting that a bunch of politicians in the MUD wants to give that away to please the Chavistas.

          It smells like MONEY and betrayal

          • adding: It is true that like some MUD politicians fear, the government will cancel the negotiations and find other means of repressing the opposition but only by exasperating the confrontation can we ever hope to wear down the government and eventually bring it down .A cycle of repressions and resistance costing lives of innocents will have to be established …the alternative is fake negotiations that will get us nowhere and only serve to give the government a mask of respectability while they continue entrenching themselves as they have done for the past 15 years.

          • “It hasn’t worked yet because it takes a long time ”
            Agreed

            “in reality the students have accepted a long term strategy and claim they will not stop”

            That is a good thing and they shouldn’t stop. In fact no one should stop because it is only when more people, not just the students, join the struggle (a wider struggle, not just protests) when the results are going to be positive.
            My point is that the very intense protests marked with violence have been counterproductive because they prevented the participation of a large — and growing — sector of society that is dissatisfied with the government. Also by protesting too soon in an unsustainable way they defeated and tired themselves before that sector could join them.

            ” a government that is supported by the Castros with their phds in repression…”

            more like a PHD in mass psychology. Maduro is many times depicted as a marionette controlled by the Cubans but I think the G2s are expertly pulling the strings of all venezuelans, including and maybe specially, the students.

            “Considering the circumstances it is only because of them that there are negotiations with the Devil”

            I do not see that as an accomplishment but as part of the script from the government. Same as with the table of negotiations of 2002-3. Its purpose is to reduce the protests although this time around it doesn’t seem to be working in that sense. It is working though in discrediting the MUD and thus dividing and weakening the opposition. Your own contempt of the MUD is an example.

            “A cycle of repressions and resistance costing lives of innocents will have to be established”
            I completely disagree with this. Asking others, specially the young, to sacrifice themselves for the cause it is immoral in my view. More important it is counterproductive because it impedes the participation of the larger
            section of the population who may be willing to participate.
            Even though there will always be risks in any undertaking against the government, those need to be minimized and avoided as much as possible. When abuses occur they should be documented and denounced as loudly as possible. But what should not happen is to actively seek for blood to be spilled.

            “the alternative is fake negotiations.”

            Negotiations with the government are not the solution, neither is international pressure, nor a military coup. The solution is a continuous and sustainable struggle using diverse methods that promote and increase participation of people and institutions from all extractions of society. It involves most of all reaching the consciences of the population at large. That cannot be accomplished with violence.

  9. Only 36% of the ni-ni’s are in favour of political prisoners. Excellent! What about torturing political prisoners…I wonder what that number would be…

        • LuisF, I’m not sure if this is what you want: click on the notification icon at upper right. select “view archive”. click on “reader” at the top menu of wordpress. select “comments I made” at right.

          • I think yes this is what I want, a way to review comments that I may have made in the archives. Thanks.
            however, i cant find a notification icon, thus… still needing help.

          • When I’m logged into WordPress (I’m currently using Google Chrome), I see a toolbar at the top of the webpage, with a wordpress logo on the far left and a search magnifying glass icon on the far right. I don’t know how to get that toolbar to show for you if you’re not seeing it; it just showed up automatically for me.

  10. Ok, I started to read and everything was fine, until I got to the first word people should definitely forget about: “chavismo.” And “chavista.” When will people understand that there is no more “chavismo”? “El líder” is dead! Se murió! Fin! End! leave the guy alone, for Pete’s sake! There is no more “chavismo” but “madurismo” or “enchufadismo” or “hijodeputismo cínico”, or “however-you-want-to-call-it-ismo” crap! Anyways, I’ll continue reading, while twitching my eye at the sigh of such an… eyesore word, and wince in self-retrained anger. Be happy and in peace, people.

    Worstward Ho!

  11. Quico, I’d be careful with what you seem to be considering as a lesson learned. There were certain circumstances back then that led you to make a certain prediction for May. The result should not affect the correctness of your thinking. Your thinking could have been right even if the result was not the one you predicted. The inverse is also true: your thinking could have been wrong even if the result had been exactly the one you predicted. This is because outcomes have so many chaotic factors involved in these complex situations that the results are more probabilistic than deterministic. In other words, careful with sample sizes of one.

    The question then becomes, regardless of how things turned out in May, have you learned of factors that were available when you made the prediction that you *should* have taken into account, and that you will in future similar situations? Or of factors that you considered back then that perhaps you should *not* have taken into account, and that you won’t in future similar situations?

    Personally, back then I thought things could go either way, and still think that with the available information back then they could have gone either way. In future similar similar situations, I will again bet on the lack of predictability because no one has yet put forth a set of factors that convinces me that it is a determinant set of factors.

  12. Tengo años leyendo este blog porque siempre lo he considerado una de las pocas fuentes de opinión objetiva y racional sobre la realidad política del país. Por eso, Quico, me dolió tanto leer ese 22 de febrero el post en el que criticabas tan duramente una protesta de la cual formo parte incluso desde antes del 12 de febrero.

    Había dejado de leer el blog, creyendo que se había convertido en una voz del sector “moderado”, representado por los dos caudillitos de AD y PJ, quienes durante estos meses todo lo que han hecho es intentar apagar la llama de las protestas con la única intención de seguir resguardando sus parcelitas de poder. Algo que no es más de lo que han hecho durante estos últimos 15 años: no es casualidad que el secretario general y el coordinador general de ambos partidos tengan en sus puestos prácticamente la misma cantidad de años que los que lleva esta “Revolución Bonita”…

    Hoy entré a leer el blog, dejandon ese prejuicio a un lado, interesado en una visión más fría y racional que la que me rodea (demasiado empapada de las pasiones de la protesta). Me sorprende gratamente que el sector opositor que desconfiaba inicialmente de esta lucha y que compró la tesis del diálogo sin condiciones finalmente esté entendiendo que la salida de la Dictadura está en las calles y que con la cúpula criminal que hoy nos gobierna no se puede negociar mientras sus esbirros continúen reprimiendo las protestas, encarcelando opositores y asesinando estudiantes.

    Ahora corresponde a la opinión pública hacer entender a los líderes de esos partidos que tienen dos opciones: o se incoroporan a este gran movimiento popular que está demandando en las calles el fin de la Dictadura, o se apartan de la lucha. Lo que ya no podemos aceptar más es que continúen defendiendo sus intereses personales mientras que a los que luchamos por la Libertad y por la Democracia nos reprimen, nos encarcelan y nos matan…

  13. Adding to what Extorres wrote above, the collective mood of the country was, and is, anti-government. Like any supersaturated solution it is unstable and only requires a catalyst to precipitate changes. The protests acted as that catalyst, but the Opposition was unable to direct those changes to create a change in the power structure, but the net result has been to further alienate the government from the public. At this point, the mixture is highly unstable. What will be the next catalyst? Who knows? This is the part that is not deterministic. However, I do not think it will take much. The situation is highly volatile.

  14. The MUD The MUD the MUD…
    The only thing these protests,these young corpses,these so-called terrorists is showing the Venezuelan people that the MUD,the opposition is not really that. The opposition is a bunch of rich fuckers who are in bed with the government,and represent NO ONE,except for maybe a few horny women who scream for El Flaco as if he was a backstreet boy member.

    I hate each and every single politician in Venezuela,and I feel like an anarchist now because i know that no politician,no voting machine and no leader is gonna get us out of this mess. The only monster that can make the revolution die, along with all the corrupt members of PSUV,MUD,Primero Justicia and whatever,is HUNGER. The growling stomachs of the poor,and sadly those stomachs can live with whatever they’re getting by doing 4 daily hours of supermarket lines.

    In Venezuela the system won,Politicos are the saviors of the world and they love you,and everything they do is for your well-being.

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