¿Te acuerdas, Quico?


El 10 de enero del año pasado, en Venezuela ocurrió una infamia. Un Presidente electo gravemente enfermo no pudo asistir a su toma de posesión, y contra toda lógica, en un atentado más contra la Constitución y el Estado de Derecho, se permitió una “toma de posesión” simbólica que permitió que Nicolás Maduro gobernase sin haber sido electo y sin haber sido nombrado. ¿Y quién estuvo ahí, luego de viajar miles de kilómetros, al lado de Evo, de Daniel Ortega y su mujer, de Maduro … para refrendar esa vagabundería?

Pues nada menos que el supuesto “referente ético” de América, don Pepe Mujica.

Yo no sé qué es peor, aquellos que se benefician de la corrupción desmedida del gobierno de Maduro, o aquellos que se sorprenden cuando éstos últimos no son solidarios.

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      • Y son varias.
        Económicas, políticas, sociales, ambientales.
        La inflación, educación, salud. Problemas con liceos, clínicas, con Argentina, la ley de marihuana, y se puede seguir.
        Las elecciones. Hace un año era imposible pensar que Frente Amplio podría no ganar la Presidencia y la Intendencia de Montevideo. O ganar con ventaja mínima. Ahora no es así.

        Para mi, a Pepe lo respetan y quieren mucho más afuera que en Uruguay.

  1. Mujica sure looked like he knew Chavez wasn’t going to make it by that point….
    Nagel hits right on target with this post: Uruguay is benefiting like crazy from crony capitalist practices with Venezuela, and it can be expected to be a conduit for Maduro’s agenda, for as long as the cash keeps coming.

    • Sadly, Uruguay does not benefit “like crazy”.
      This issue is rather political (“solidaridad izquierdista”) than anything else.

      • Although I read a couple of times that when Venezuela devalued last year Mujica went explicitly to talk about that issue because suddenly Uruguay became much less competitive in its export of milk or meat, forgot which, to Venezuela. Several Uruguayan “businessmen” also declared the same.
        So: even if the Bolivar was devalued much less than necessary, it was a full blow for Uruguay.
        Venezuela is the easy prey and Uruguayan businessmen don’t want Mujita to say anything bad.
        Just look at what happened to Panama as soon as it voiced some concern about HHRRs in Venezuela: relationships were broken.

        • First of all, you can’t seriously compare Panama and Uruguay on this basis.

          Uruguay is the major exporter of milk in South America and has been working on expanding its meat export overseas, fairly successfully.
          Venezuelan market may be important but it is by no means crucial, as is for example Argentinean or Brazilian.

          Secondly of all (?), there is crazy difference between benefiting and “benefiting like crazy”

          • On january of this year mention mas made in an article of El nacional about certain changes in the Uruguay Venezuela trade relationship; the quote:is from Minister Ramirez “En el marco de esos acuerdos, estamos entregando 20.000 barriles diarios de petróleo, equivalentes a seis millones de barriles al año, para abastecer a la refinería La Teja”, ubicada en Montevideo, ……”

            “Ramírez detalló que la negociación “se traduce en 160 millones de dólares anuales”, y que “con la mitad de esa factura, que anteriormente iba a ser financiada a largo plazo“, Venezuela va a tener “la posibilidad de traer en corto plazo alimentos y otros productos directamente de la hermana República del Uruguay”.

            “Hace dos años la petrolera estatal uruguaya Ancap canceló de golpe sus deudas con Venezuela por un convenio anterior, de 860 millones de dólares.”

            “Uruguay, que tiene en Venezuela uno de sus principales proveedores de petróleo, se ha convertido en los últimos años en un importante proveedor de alimentos, sobre todo lácteos y pollo, de una Venezuela sedienta de importaciones para combatir los crónicos focos de desabastecimiento que enfrenta su economía.”

          • The quote goes on to state . “En 2013, Venezuela fue el quinto destino de exportación para Uruguay con ventas por 450 millones de dólares, un incremento del 11,1% respecto a 2012.”

            The figures tell a story , 2 million bls of oil per year , amount to US$ 600 million , of which half are financed and put into a pot half of which can be used to sell goods to Venezuela ( i.e. US$ 150 million) . This jibes with Ramirez statement that the new deal is worth US$ 160 million to Venezuela as compared to the one it replaces. However the value of Uruguay exports to Venezuela is put at US$ 450 million per yer in 2013 , which is US$ 300 million above the part of the pot which Venezuela can use to recieve payment for its oil deliveries . So there its likely that Venezuela is buying Uruguatan goods ourside the framework for oil deliveries .

          • Long story short, Venezuela can’t pay with cash for milk and chicken, resulting in these recent changes.
            Uruguay is trying to get paid with oil via Ancap.

            Also I’ve read that export of chicken meat to Venezuela is decreasing (due to no pay).

            How is this “benefiting”?

            I believe the Uruguayan exporters would prefer to deal with a stable and reliable Venezuela.

            As regards Mujica, I don’t think he’s being hypocritical. He believes in what he says.
            And surely he would not call himself a referente ético o moral.
            “Qué le hace una mancha más al tigre?” – Mujica dixit,

          • Correction : above where it reads 2 million bls per year the actual figure given by Ramirez is 6 million bls per year ( see begining of quoted El Nacional article ) . That amounts to some 50 to 60% of Uruguay oil imports .

          • I am aware Venezuela is not the most important client but it is definitely not a meaningful amount what Uruguay exports to Venezuela:


            If Mujida publicly expressed the slightest concern for how the GOVERNMENT of Venezuela is dealing with us (not just the wobbly bullshit of now), Maduro would cut relationships with Uruguay right away.

            European leaders have been more vocal about human rights in Russia for ages (before Ukraine)…of course, Putin didn’t show such a tantrum as Chávez did and Maduro does.

          • I don’t think he would. Why?
            Mercosur. They shamefully voted Paraguay out (and it’s been doing great since) but it would be not the case.

  2. I’m glad i can comment on this one to say: Quico,i thought you knew better.But you’re still naive.

    What’s next, calling on Luisa Ortega to get her senses back and forgive Leopoldo?
    Asking Tibisay to come clean?
    Sendind a letter to the Hague?

  3. Neither of you understand the fact that “Venezuela nos es peo de ellos”, we should not be expecting that a foreign government or organization do something for us. Venezuela made him president and Venezuela is the only responsible to take him off. We need to grow up and stop looking for others to clean our mess.
    If they take advantage of us is because we allow it, nothing else.

  4. JCN: “Yo no sé qué es peor, aquellos que se benefician de la corrupción desmedida del gobierno de Maduro, o aquellos que se sorprenden cuando éstos últimos no son solidarios.”

    Really?! You don’t know which is worse?

    One thing is for sure, a post which is an open letter to a corrupt leader is more deserving of a top spot than a post about how pointless it is to write an open letter to a corrupt leader. Is this an ego thing?

      • syd, my questions were both “asked in order to produce an effect or to make a statement rather than to elicit information”. Why did you ask yours? (N.B., again, not trying to elicit information)

        • Rx: get help for that hyper defensiveness of yours. (N.B. not suggested “in order to produce an effect or to … elicit information”.

          • syd, lol, a suggestion to lower my defensiveness made by the person who most attacks me on this blog! My, my.

          • my point exactly (on your hyper defensiveness) if you see my reply to your attempts at irony as attacks. Poechiita.

          • syd, my point exactly, you call “hyper” a defensiveness that has sound basis, which proves you are still on the attack, as per your usual. Even to the end with your “Poechiita”, you support my point.

            Too bad that my valid point to JCN is lost in this quibble with you.

  5. Its always a dilemma for a ruler where its countrys best interests are served by quietly betraying certain cherished personal principles . If Castro had been anything like Mujica years ago he would have done his peace with the US and allowed Cubas economy to flourish and its people to prosper, while abandoning his fealty to die hard orthodox communist ideals . A couple of years back the US govt was pressured to practically declare an economic war of China because of its civil rights violations , would that have helped the US people lead better lives ?? Likely not .

    Moral ambivalence is the name of practical politics , pols are always making choices between what they feel is right and what they feel advances the interests of their country or their cause . This sounds corrupt , and there are limits to how much a pol can betray certain principles for ;legitimate reasons of rational expediency.

    This is not to defend Mujicas silence , he is guilty of being luke warn in the face of human right violations in Venezuela, at the same time he does have a duty to seek to improve the lot of the people of Uruguay maybe even if that entails doing business with a regime he inwardly abhorrs .!! He has walked a moral tight rope and as was almost inevitable, has fallen from it.!!

    • The guy was a guerrillero. He took part in violent acts in Uruguay.
      He could not care less about human rights violations in Venezuela.

    • If Castro had been anything like Mujica years ago he would have done his peace with the US and allowed Cubas economy to flourish and its people to prosper, while abandoning his fealty to die hard orthodox communist ideals .

      One problem with this statement is that Mujica was a Fidel wannabe from way back

      With financing from the party, Mujica—who went by the nickname Pepe—traveled the communist world, visiting, among other places, Moscow, Beijing, and Havana, where he met Che Guevara and Fidel Castro in 1959, just months after they took Havana.

      When Pepe returned to Montevideo, he abandoned Erro’s party and became a guerrilla. Very little is known about how exactly Pepe went from a young democratic socialist to full-on gun-toting guerrilla fighter. But according to Mujica: El Florista Presidente, a biography by Uruguayan journalist Sergio Israel, the Cuban Revolution pushed Mujica to imagine a similar South American upheaval.

      It was in this context of revolutionary longing that Pepe joined the Tupamaros.

      There have apparently been some changes from Mujica 1970 to Mujica 2014, but no doubt about it: Mujica 1970 was a wannabe totalitarian. Mujica 2014, while he may not be a totalitarian in his governance in Uruguay, appears to still harbor a soft spot for totalitarians- and for despots who haven’t yet reached the totalitarian stage. Recall my previous comment where I quoted the old saw, “There are no enemies on the left.

      As a result, I find it difficult to parse Mujica 1970 versus Mujica 2014 with regard to what Fidel should or should not have done.

      • Thank you for illustrating me on Mujicas dark past , he appears to have come a long way from that past , I have no doubt that Castro is a dogmatic self centered ruthless man and incapable of any change in his totalitarian stances , there are however some left wing guerrillas who with experience and age develop a more enlightened view of things , becoming more pragmatic , our own Teodoro Petkoff is a case in point . Im not overly impressed with Mujicas much applauded initiatives to make himself into the darling of politically correct causes or his gestures of franciscan humility . Perhaps I was imagining a Mujica that doesnt exist , that deep down inside is still a man of totalitarian bent in which case the example I gave isnt at all applicable to him !! i was using the image people have of him to make a more general point . That sometimes pols have to face dilemmas where achieving what they want to achieve involves some sacrifice of purity of principles . There is a scene in the film Lincoln where he makes the point that he made the decision to free the slaves as war contraband using arguments he knew didnt hold water legally but which he though he had to make to achieve a politically legitimate goal . .

        • I found the article by searching for the Pepe Mujica photo that CC posted. Before reading CC in recent days, I had no idea that “Pepe” was Mujica. When I initially read the Pepe article in CC, I said to myself, WHO the heck is this Pepe character? I wonder how President Mujica has responded to questions about his previous advocacy of totalitarianism- and any supporter of Fidel was a supporter of totalitarianism, no matter how you parse it.
          There is at least a bit of irony about a Uruguayan having been a supporter of Fidelismo/totalitarianism. A common reason given for supporting Fidelismo/totalitarianism is that Fidelismo/totalitarianism would be the quickest way to improve abysmal performances in such indicators as literacy, life expectancy, infant mortality etc. The irony in the case of Uruguay is that throughout the 20th century – which also has carried over into the 21st century- is that Uruguay has been among the leaders in such indicators in Latin America and in the Third World. Uruguay has been known as the “Switzerland of South America” for its generous social welfare programs. Those generous social welfare programs had been in place for decades before the Tupamaros arrived on the scene.

  6. Mujica es uno de los políticos más orwellianos del continente. Casi todo lo que hace y dice da la apariencia de ser calculado para alimentar esa imagen de hombre sencillo, recto, simpático y bonachón, de bien-pensant y portador de una sabiduría única que deriva de haber estado en grandes luchas sociales y haber sufrido en ellas, bla bla bla.

    No seré tan viejo pero al menos no como cuento al ver a alguien seguir el guión leninista del “kto-kovo” y a la vez tirarse senda careta de “referente ético”. Cuéntame una de vaqueros, Pepe.

  7. In calling attention to Mujica’s hypocrisy and lack of moral compass on Leopoldo Lopez, I did not take Francisco also to have been endorsing Mujica’s moral standing at any earlier date. I frankly thought the post was laden heavy with irony. It is not my mother tongue but that is how I read it.

  8. Before he died, US constitutional scholar Ronald Dworkin spent a fair bit of energy lobbying various “left” figures to approach the Venezuelan regime on behalf of Justice Afiuni. His efforts bore fruit when Noam Chomsky wrote a public letter to Chavez, asking for her release. The letter brought her case to the attention of many people who had not heard of it, and brought with it many a second thought. Without prodding, the Chomsky letter would never have been written.

    Quico’s article asks Mugica to do something. If he does, his reputation is enhanced at the expense of Maduro’s. If he doesn’t, his moral authority decreases. If no one writes the letter, he can feign ignorance. I think it would be great if Quico’s article appeared in Uruguay’s biggest newspaper.

    It is entirely beside the point to wonder which result Quico expects will occur. His article creates the dilemma; it is up to Mujica to decide how to respond.

  9. How important a trade partner is Venezuela to Uruguay? Ten years ago, the answer would have been “not very important.” Today, the answer is: “fairly important.”

    Venezuela ranks fourth in exports from Uruguay, accounting for 5.09% of Uruguayan exports. Brazil, Russia and Spain rank higher than Uruguay.Of Uruguay’s top ten trade partners in 2013, only Russia has a higher % growth in exports in the last 5 years than Venezuela. From 2008 to 2013, Uruguayan exports to Venezuela increased 584.23% to $221.09 million, while exports to the US decreased 68.86% to $186.803 million. Those relative increases and decreases sound like a political decision to me.

    Venezuela ranks fourth in imports to Uruguay, accounting for 12.88% of Uruguayan imports.Brazil,Russia and China rank higher than Venezuela. Of the top 20 countries for Uruguayan imports in 2013, the largest percentage increase in the last 5 years by far came from Venezuela. That implies that relative to 2008, Uruguay is importing much more oil from Venezuela. The June 2013 figure is that Venezuela is exporting $643.25 million to Uruguay.

    With such a big trade deficit with Venezuela- $221 million in exports to Venezuela versus $643 million in imports from Venezuela- it would appear that Venezuela is offering Uruguay some pretty good deals on oil. Else why should Uruguay import so much oil from Venezuela?

    These figures were last updated June 2013. They appear to be figures for the first 6 months of 2013.


    • Thanks for the very precise information on Uruguay /Venezuela trade . The oil deal is even better than it looks for Uruguay because even though the imports are set at $643 million, if you take account that a large part of the bill is payable on a long term basis at a nominal interest rate , the oil is actually being sold at a cheaper price than is being reported for that year .

      By way of example Uruguay last year paid Venezuela $850 million in unpaid oil bills by actually paying only 500 odd million USD which I imagine to be the net present value of the unpaid oil bills.

      The supply agreement also allows for Uruguay to buy supplementary volumes which might explain the volume disparity which you mention .!!


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