Luis Vicente on the crackdown

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Luis-Vicente-Leon635I liked this article on Prodavinci by pollster / economist Luis Vicente León.

He says there are three main reasons for the government’s recent crackdown on the opposition: generating fear of protest in the face of a sharp deterioration in living conditions; changing the topic from an economic crisis to a political one; and increasing helplesness in opposition ranks, fueling the movement to abstain from participating in elections.

Explaining Venezuela’s complex events in simple terms is not easy to do, but he does it quite well here. León outlines his basic points in a clean, concise manner that may seem simplistic, but is actually sophisticated.

I don’t have much to quibble here, but there is a broader picture at play here. By putting most visible opposition political leaders in jail, you are doing a lot to ensure the end of organized opposition political parties and groups altogether.

I think León focuses on the immediate contingency and misses the long-term goal here. Still, it’s a good piece.

1 COMMENT

  1. Most venezuelans can’t see past their noses, they don’t want to see nor understand any mid or long term gains, they want everything right now.

    Yet there is this brutal paradox, where chaburrismo puts the always unreachable ultimate hapiness that awaits at the end of the long process of socialism, having the ultimate excuse of “you won’t see it now, we are building the socialism, come back later”. This shows some folks are willing to eat a lot of shit when it comes to satisfy their own complexes and hatred.

    • One thing they get right now is the satisfaction that Chavez (or whomever) is ‘making them crazy’. Just like in Russia during the Civil War, there was no food for the people but at least Lenin could tell them that the former rich and middle class were suffering as bad as they were.

  2. In other words the regime’s responses may be amoral but they are politically pragmatic . they know they cannot resolve the crisis by attacking its causes and rectifying their past policies , that would imply the recognition of their past mistakes and they cannot make mistakes , their narcicism and hiperstesia to public dissaproval vis a vis their followers makes that impossible , they are always right so the blame is always that of their enemies which then they are justified in repressing killing and persecuting .!!

    They know also that to improve conditions they have to take measures which will hurt their already battered image and which anyway they may not be able to pull through because their lack of organizational expertize and competence . What they are good at is at repressing and missinforming and decieving , so the rational thing is for them to use the tools they know how best to use and meantime let the country ground itself down to a state of utter ruin .

    The question is , is this strategy one that indefinitely maintain their hold on power no matter how badly things become . Time will tell !!

  3. Its the Cubans stupid.

    If Maduro would act rationally and honestly try to fix the economy, the crime, the corruption, etc. he could likely win elections. It is possible for him to give Venezuelans hope. Chavez supporters aren’t disappearing overnight; they are still a potent political force.

    Maduro is following the Cuban model of repression because he is not rational or honest. Maduro does not know better. He will pay for it.

    • I would argue that he is desperate and duplicitous as all hell, but he is rational. He is pursuing the strategy that worked for Fidel Castro. It is the only option he has. Politically, he cannot reverse course because his own people would kill him. He can’t even just resign, because the Cubans would kill him. They can’t have him running around loose with the possibility of spilling the beans about all their involvement.

      That’s the problem with the dictator business. It has a really lousy retirement plan.

    • “If Maduro would act rationally and honestly try to fix the economy, the crime, the corruption, etc. he could likely win elections.”

      And you think this is an easy task? What exactly could Maduro do to suddenly “fix” the economy? At the root of the problem are currency controls and a highly distorted exchange rate, but correcting this would mean forcing a massive devaluation upon the Venezuelan population, causing major consequences in terms of poverty, consumption, standard of living, etc. Removing currency controls could also lead to balance of payments problems and further drive inflation.

      I don’t think it is as is easy as you think for Maduro to “fix” the problems at hand, even if he weren’t such an idiot. But if you have solutions (real concrete solutions, not ambiguous hand-waving), I’d be interested to hear them.

      • “And you think this is an easy task? ”
        As easy as to is for a dictator to just fire and send to jail a couple of kleptocrats, but the problem is that the dictator DOES NOT WANT to fix the problem.

        ” What exactly could Maduro do to suddenly “fix” the economy?”
        Stop printing inorganic money and finishig the whole “6,3” lie would be a step.

        “…but correcting this would mean forcing a massive devaluation upon the Venezuelan population, causing major consequences in terms of poverty, consumption, standard of living, etc.”
        Ah, yeah, the old boogeyman of “there will be more inflation”, works everytime to defend the biggest extraction smuggling in history. It’s not exactly the fault of the population with no power that the government decided a decade ago that they wanted to stick everybody in critical poverty to control them.

        • That is too simplistic

          Acting like a thug is something they can implement in seconds.

          Fixing the economy is something neither them NOR any post-Chavista goverment will be able to do quickly. Not even by dismantling all the stupid bullshit and taking the correct measures. In fact, a lot of the correct measures will make things worse for many people in the short term.

          Or, well, to be metaphoric, you can beat somebody into a comma in a few minutes, you cant make them recover for it in the same timeframe.

          Of course that means you have to start treatment ASAP, but dont expect miracles.

          • Yes, exactly. The whole point is that it is too simplistic to simply think Maduro can easily “fix” the economy. It isn’t at all straightforward what must be done to correct the problems. Yes, there are some clear steps that should be taken, but those steps also generate their own problems, and it isn’t clear how to resolve those.

          • “Acting like a thug is something they can implement in seconds. ”

            Against unarmed people that can’t defend themselves, such as like 85% of the whole population, the other 15% would immediately go into full murder mode when somebody would even DARE to mention the mafias they have, that’s the first reason they won’t touch the currency exchange nor the gasoline subsidy, the second one is the neck-deep involvement every single boliplasta has in almost every corruption plot in this country, they threat each other with spilling the beans if they are touched.

            “…quickly. ”

            When did I say it was gonna be quickly? I just said those were the measures to be taken, not that they would fix this from today to tomorrow.

            “In fact, a lot of the correct measures will make things worse for many people in the short term.”

            Yeah, yeah, the whole “we have to avoid the immediate pain at any cost” bullshit again.

            “… to be metaphoric…”
            I take your metaphor, you can beat somebody in a comma in a few minutes (chaburrismo did this with Venezuela in 16 years), you can’t make them recover in the same timeframe, but you can’t just LEAVE THEM THERE AND NOT DO ANYTHING TO ACTUALLY CURE THEM (chaburrismo does this with the 6,3 bullshit and gasoline subsidy)

        • Uh, yeah, this comment made no sense whatsoever. But thanks for the contribution Ralph.

          I already said they need to fix the distorted exchange rate, however it would generate a number of its own problems. You simply call those a “boogeyman” and accuse this government of creating poverty??? Utter nonsense. Everyone knows that poverty declined under this government for the better part of a decade, in part because of policies like the distorted exchange rate which afford a level of consumption that would not be possible otherwise.

          • “…and accuse this government of creating poverty??? Utter nonsense.”

            Tongue is the body’s punishment (La lengua es el castigo del cuerpo):

            “We won’t get the poor out of poverty because they’ll turn into escuálidos, hahaha!”
            The guy who was ridiculed in national TV when wearing expensive brands like Nike and Adiddas, hallmarks of capitalism:

            “While there is more poverty there will be more loyalty to the revolution”
            Many feats and accomplishments on this one, like defending the rapist that was lynched after being caught red handed, being the drug lord owner of the infamous Air France “ton and half cocaine” planes, among other pearls:

            “Be rich is bad”
            This one needs no introduction:

            I rest my case, I would recommend ice for those bruises, beto/gart

          • Uh…. what??? So your proof that this government has not decreased poverty are some comments made by political leaders?? Are you a complete idiot?

            Did you ever think of….. oh, I dunno…… looking at actual poverty statistics? Just an idea.

      • Basics of life and politics. When you are in a hole, stop digging. Maduro could do this, but he continues on oblivious to any sort of real changes.

        So, judging by your comment, you feel that to continue on, as Maduro is doing, with a false currency valuation, will solve things? The longer they wait to correct the currency situation, the worse said correction will be “in terms of poverty, consumption, standard of living, etc.”

        It won’t fix itself and continuing on is not sustainable. They have to jump. The longer they wait, the higher the cliff gets.

        • This is exactly what I meant by ambiguous hand-waving. Of course they need to do SOMETHING… The question is exactly what policies need to be implemented? To say “they have to jump” and “when in a hole, stop digging” is just ambiguous nonsense. What exactly needs to be done is actually not at all clear.

          • There are many things that are clear, though. For example, the whole idiotic system of exchange controls is at the root of many of the problems, and needs to be taken down.

            Expecting it will be rainbows and puppies after doing so its where things get irrational. No adjustement is going to be instantaneous and pain free, no matter how obvious it is. To keep with the simple metaphor, Venezuela may stop digging, but at this point, it will take a bit of time and sweat to get out of the kilometer-deep hole it is in.

          • Not only will no adjustment be pain free, there is no guarantee that an adjustment will actually be a major solution to the larger underlying economic problems. It would probably fix the problems of shortages, but at the same time it would serve a major blow to overall living standards for the majority of the population.

          • You discuss the exchange rate. I think my comments are not ambiguous at all as I am specifically addressing the currency issue.

            Their path is unsustainable, yet they enact no real, substantial and concrete reforms. In other words, they keep digging.

            They need to jump. They need to devalue. They have no other choice. Witness today’s parallel rate. The 10% between SIMADI and the parallel rate is now 20%.

            Two consequences of their do-nothing attitude. They erode investor confidence and thereby undermine the ability to raise capital. They erode stakeholder confidence and thereby undermine the currency.

            Sorry if you were obtuse enough to not pick any of that up. I’ll reply more simplistically in the future.

          • Anyone with two brain cells knows that the currency issue must be addressed, that it is unsustainable, that a devaluation is necessary, etc. etc.

            But that says nothing about what must be done to “fix” the economy. All you have said are obvious criticisms without ANY concrete solutions. Devaluing the currency does not fix the economy. It (temporarily) fixes the distorted exchange rate, while at the same time generating a whole other set of problems that do not have clear solutions.

  4. “fueling the movement to abstain from participating in elections.”

    Anyone who wants a change in government and continues to or starts to abstain from the electoral process, no matter how flawed it is, deserves this regime. I don’t think this will work, but they are going to make it as hard as possible.

  5. I have been unable to find anything in English that discusses the issue of Cuban involvement in Venezuela other than stories about Cuban health care workers in Venezuela. Can anyone point me in the right direction or is this a third rail issue, i.e., too hot to handle. thanks

    • I read the whole thing in his high-pitch in my head: “Creo que hay tres razones fundamentales por las cuales el presidente Maduro ha decidido radicalizar su posición frente a sus adversarios y apresar y amenazar a algunos actores claves de la Oposición…”

      You’re welcome.

  6. this is the first time that I read him raising the possibility that the opposition might become a formal guerrilla, wich is troubling, given that I have always found his to be the political opinion closest to reality.

  7. I mentioned a few days back that some triggering, inciting incident was probably required to really mobilize change, and one wonders if the killing of the 14-year-old in Tachira is the one. It is not my experience that Venezuelan’s are apt to just stand by and have the authorities gun down their own kind, nor are there all that many police and military who will kill their own in anything but a fit of panic or anger. As an on-going strategy, killing citizens is not sustainable. If this continues, on the public stage, the government is likely to simply implode. Things are already getting squirrely on the streets, way so than just a month ago, and MAduro’s strategy to shift focus from an economic crisis to a political coup orchestrated by external “imperalist” powers is no longer getting much traction. But he amy well have started a political crisis by okaying a law that gave the police and military the right to gundown protesters. Mark my word, that happens much more and the Maduro squad will be on the outs.

    Juancho

  8. The regime has no solutions to its economic implosion. The regime only has tactics to cling to power and to resist the opposition. I would call this a type of trap between the regime and the opposition which in computer jargon is called a “deadly embrace.” In chess, it’s a stalemate of sorts. However, the economic implosion is not in a stalemate! The economic decline is going to continue without any resistance until it reaches some theoretical bottom point which may or may not be unbearable to the pueblo! If it becomes unbearable, the regime will be viewed as an obstacle. Good bye to regime!

    The regime will lose power, but the opposition may or may not be able to collect power. This is where the adults have to find each other from all the different socioeconomic classes. The hardcore Chavista cult who are prone to choose beliefs over reality! People will need to reach out across ideological and socioeconomic boundaries to find and agree on solutions. Is this starting to happen yet?

  9. As the govt steps up repressive measures towards the citizenry at home, it also seems to be stepping up its political propaganda abroad. Today I learned that the Venezuelan ambassador to Canada (Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernandez) will be giving the following talk at the University of Toronto, on Feb 27: “February 27th: Massacre of the People (1989) ‘Lest wet forget'”. Yes, the poster says “wet” instead of what I assume should read “we”.

    • Syncretism: using the motto of Canada’s Remembrance Day (Nov 11), during which a minute’s silence honours the thousands upon thousands of soldiers who gave their lives fighting for freedom, notably in WW1 and 2, though in recent years including more recent incursions.

      When you manipulate the beliefs of others to use them for your own, it signals dishonesty, a lack of true conscience. Mistakes happen. ‘Lest wet forget’, indeed.

    • The event will take place on Feb 26, 6pm (not the 27th) at Victoria College, and it seems to be linked to the Latin American Studies program at U of Toronto. Curiously, the talk is not advertised on the University’s web page and requires an rsvp to a Venezuelan Consulate email.

      • Curiously, the talk is not advertised on the University’s web page and requires an rsvp to a Venezuelan Consulate email.

        Interesting. The bolivarians in Toronto are getting paranoid. That’s a switch from the first decade of this century, when Maria Paez Victor (Marxist, Chavista, and leader of the Bolivarian Circle Louis Riel) welcomed all kinds of publicity, as she would twin her love for Chávez with the pinkoid segment among Muslims, and the likes of Tariq Ali et al. Evidently beefier immigration from Vz principally to the Toronto market, has had an impact on the rojo-rojitos over the years. The cushy Bolivarians in the Toronto region can no longer afford to be brash without inviting justifiable anger.

        Oh the stories I could tell you, in the past decade!

        • Cuenta, cuenta, chica.
          In the Netherlands and Belgium the boligarchs have tried to do stuff like calling the police to announce viejitas and carajitos venezolanos were trying to attack the embassies. The police got tired of those things.
          The main threats came from the children of Chilean commies and FARC Colombians who actually attacked on several occasions Venezuelan oppos who had taken part in marches for democracy. It went like this every time: they followed the Venezuelans when these were dispersing and they attacked a couple of them when they were alone.
          Now the police knows it is there to protect us opposition people.

          • ay, mijo, una epopeya. One a/c of mine with surreptitiously taken photos was published in A. Boyd’s earlier website, can’t remember the name (se me cayó la cédula), will have to look up. I attended 3 or 4 events at which this MPVictor was one of the speakers, if not the main attraction. They took place at 2 universities in Toronto.

            At a third university, a rep from the Vz consulate took Q&A’s from the audience after a showing of “The Revolution Will Not be Televised”. The event was advertised with posters inside and at street level. Perhaps anticipating a large audience, the Vz consulate rented a popcorn machine, placed just before the entrance to the movie hall. Attendance? About 50 — not many. That’s why a few years later, MPVictor teamed up with the liberal Muslim set to present her schtick, the liaison being Pakistani-born reactionaryTariq Ali who flew in from his UK home (Islamabad is for suckers) for the event and who once embraced and had *meaningful conversations* with Chávez. That combo event was held at the largest university in Toronto and was well attended, probably sending MPVictor into orgasm. Then, as in an earlier speech, she repeated her mantra to the audience: “there are no political prisoners in Chávez’s Venezuela.” Wonder what her spin is today. Oh wait, as per google, there are a few articles spewed forth since, justifying the actions of Maduro’s government. A regular spin doctor. And that includes puffing up her CV.

  10. “By putting most visible opposition political leaders in jail, you are doing a lot to ensure the end of organized opposition political parties and groups altogether.”. True, until the whole thing blows up in your face. Ever seen a dictatorship last 1000 years?

  11. Gordo makes a crucial point. The regime will lose power – it already is. But the opposition may or may not be able to collect power. I think most people feel that Leopoldo Lopez is the guy who could bridge the huge divisions in the country, and as the curtain falls on Maduro and co,. as if surely will – slow or fast – Lopez’s life will become more and more precarious.

  12. The Venezuelan opposition can and will win the next elections easily… The tragedy is that they seem to be too stupid to realize this, and they prefer to carry out violent confrontations with security forces which will inevitably lead to countless deaths, just like last year at this time.

    Unfortunately, the Venezuelan opposition has always refused to accept that when Chavismo wins an election, that means they get to fulfill their term in office. Maduro has a 6-year term in office. The opposition must get this through their heads, and stop trying to force him out of office before his term is up. Yes, it is unfortunate that Maduro will continue to do a terrible job for years to come, but that’s how the electoral process works. You don’t get to kick a president out just because you hate him.

    There is no way in hell Maduro will be elected president again. Opposition just needs to grow up and get prepared to win the presidency next time around (which they surely will).

    • “You don’t get to kick a president out just because you hate him.”
      You kick a president out because he’s siking th whole country in shit, destroying the population’s living conditions and slaughtering them.

      ” Opposition just needs to grow up…”
      Typical stupid excuse of “the oppos are just a bunch of spoiled brats who are throwing tantrums”, you should be thankful that the mud who claimed leadership of opposition is so stuck with the “let’s wait until 2019” crap.

      “The opposition must get this through their heads, and stop trying to force him out of office before his term is up.”
      Tell that to someone who’s got a family member killed by a fucktard choro, a piece of shit that’s killing everywhere because chaburro regime won’t do shit to stop them which is their obligation.

    • I will take the time to refute your points one by one:

      1) The preference for violence. Please tell me which prominent member of the Venezuelan opposition has specifically called for violent protests or a violent ousting of the current president.

      One piece of evidence: the dead come only from one side, the opposition; and the deaths are caused only by one side, the government (or pro-governmental paramilitary groups). Therefore, it is hard to argue the opposition is carrying out the violent bit of the play.

      2) The refusal to accept electoral results. Again, name one instance when the opposition has recalled an election. I can name one, the presidential election of 2013. The opposition asked for a detailed recount, the government denied the petition and the opposition explicitly accepted (a mistake, in my opinion).

      I remind you the Venezuelan constitution opens one possibility to end a presidential tenure before term: the revocatory referendum. This alternative is the one the opposition is proposing

      So you can legally “kick out a president because you hate him”. He certainly seems to be begging to be revoked, to be honest. I have never seen anyone so out of his depth.

      I can also remind you of CAP, who was separated from office legally (another mistake, as it turned out) so it wouldn’t be unprecedented in the country.

    • “The Venezuelan opposition can and will win the next elections easily… The tragedy is that they seem to be too stupid to realize this…”

      There is no way in hell the government is going to allow this to happen.

      I repeat

      There is no freaking way the government will allow that.

      But you are not alone. Most people seem to believe that the opposition would win the elections (if there are elections at all), including F. Toro. I think this is the first time that you and him agree on something, after all these years. Who would have tought?!

      Talk to you in early 2016, when one of two things will have happened:

      1.- There were no elections in 2015 (less likely scenario, in my opinion).

      2.- There were elections in 2015, and chavismo has a significant majority of seats (most likely scenario). This will be achieved by many means, of which fraud is not even the most important.

      People just don’t realize how easy is to steal these elections.

      • They can steal the elections just as easily as Russia just stole a big chunk of Ukraine. There will be some veneer of claimed legitimacy, but everyone will know it was stolen. They can do it because they have all the guns and institutions to enforce it. Suppose (not saying it would happen, but suppose) that the Opposition, the U.S., and some neighboring countries all declared the elections fraudulent and refused to recognize them? Would that change anything? Not really. No, the only way out is for Maduro to resign as a result of the nation becoming ungovernable, or a military coup (I am discounting outside force, which I see as only the remotest possibility). The former is better, in that it can be accomplished without breaking with the Constitution. This is why I lean towards the strategy of LL, Ledezma, and MCM. Copei has now signed on to this strategy. Where are the rest? I can understand what Capriles is thinking. He wants to prevent bloodshed. It is a noble sentiment. But, he is being naive. And, he is becoming increasing isolated in his position.

      • “There is no way in hell the government is going to allow this to happen.”

        Yes, so you are going to base your strategy on some hairbrained idea about what MIGHT happen in the future (which, by the way, has no precedent in the past).

        This is exactly the problem with the Venezuelan opposition. Instead of simply playing the election game and waiting until popular sentiment turns their way, they prefer to act out of turn and overthrow the government.

        You should realize that by doing this, you are only setting a precedent that will make it easier for Chavistas and others to justify overthrowing any opposition government that they do not like in the future.

        “2.- There were elections in 2015, and chavismo has a significant majority of seats (most likely scenario). This will be achieved by many means, of which fraud is not even the most important.”

        Well, fraud is impossible. Even Toro admits that, so let’s not even waste our time talking about impossibilities. So, please do tell. How exactly will they steal the election if they do not have the support?

        • The government has several options, all of them awful. Either they let the elections go ahead and lose a big chunk of seats (which seems likely given the economic situation) or they cancel them and the fallout will make the guarimbas of a year ago look like a childrens birthday party.

          I agree with you, Garth. I think at times we get carried away and think Chavismo is the all powerful, all seeing eye of Mordor rather than what it actually is, a bunch of kleptocrats who are presiding over a complete economic collapse that they cant halt or even control. I seriously doubt even Maduro knows what the game plan is at this point. Hes playing it by ear and hoping he can get out with his loot before it all collapses.

          • So, if you agree, then how about we try to save some innocent people’s lives and not support idiotic guarimbas and other violent street clashes? Most of the idiots on this blog seem to have no problem with the violent opposition tactics that only result in unnecessary deaths.

          • You imply that there is some sort of central command wrt guarimbas, and this is the point the government also makes. But they are random, and those who cheer them on are like spectators at a marathon who ocassionally hand out a water bottle (yet another opportunity for a haphazard metaphor).

          • It doesn’t matter if there is a central command or not (although the fact that they suddenly rose up all around the country would imply they are being centrally organized).

            If the opposition would denounce them and disassociate themselves with those violent tactics, they would not be effective. Instead they encourage them and pretend that it is the government that is responsible for the violence.

        • “Yes, so you are going to base your strategy on some hairbrained idea about what MIGHT happen in the future (which, by the way, has no precedent in the past).”

          Where in what I wrote did I talk about any strategy for the opposition? I only talked about what is going to happen. And believe me, it will happen. The government will win the elections. I’m not telling anyone what to do about it. Some people in the opposition, think “La Salida” is through elections, and some think it involves “Guarimbas”, neither of which will accomplish anything if you ask me (except with guarimbas you end you way worse than where you started).

          I think this can only be “solved” at the individual level. By this I mean, for example, “La Salida” many of my friends have found: Through Maiquetia. Others have simply chosen to adapt to the situation (and to whatever situation might come).

          “Well, fraud is impossible. Even Toro admits that, so let’s not even waste our time talking about impossibilities. So, please do tell. How exactly will they steal the election if they do not have the support?”

          As I said, “in your face” fraud might not even be necessary. I’ve discussed the kind of things the government can do in other posts, and I’m not repeating them here. There are just way too many things they can do to guarantee victory. There is a whole bag of dirty (and very effective) tricks they can do before election day. Some might call these tricks some kind of “soft fraud”, but whatever you call them, there is nothing the opposition can do to prevent them.

          In any case, in your original post you started by saying:

          “The Venezuelan opposition can and will win the next elections easily…”

          Well, if I’m wrong (and I hope I am), I will be the first one to admit it, but I suspect the next day after the elections you will come here and say that it was clear the government was going to win, and you knew it all along.

          • Whatever the govt may do or attempt to do to rig the results of elections , its not going to be easy if enough people vote with the opposition , they may technically achieve some succeses but in doing so they are going to have to let the cat out of the bag. that they are cheating . People are not fooled , they always know whats happening , gone are the days when the rgime still retained some shreds of credibility, now its gone to pieces both internally and internationally . A famous international journalist was inteviewed in this blog about his experiences on the last years of communist domination in Eastern Europe and he said it . Whatever the communist govts said and advertised , all knew what was the score. Ultimately you cant support yourself on a constantly repeated lie. Legitimacy erodes and sooner or later the whole edifice of lies and deceits crumbles .

            The outcome may not come from these elections or from other election it will come as the govt credibility and power base erodes and erodes until nothing is left . This means that an oppo partisan must ceasesly do whatever it takes to make the govt job more difficult , dont give an election away by not appearing, go and vote and force them to steal you vote , make them work at their frauds and deceits , that ultimately has consequences.

            You dont fight to win a battle , with an enemy like this you fight because you have to, just from self respect and in the knowledge that history tells us that even the most coercive of regimes at some point enters a vulnerable situtation and what has been done before makes it lose its battle for survival .!!

          • “Whatever the govt may do or attempt to do to rig the results of elections , its not going to be easy if enough people vote with the opposition…”

            There are several types of “dirty tricks” the government can do. One type of tricks is precisely designed to prevent “enough people vote with the opposition…” in order to minimize the need of fraud on election day.

            Another type o tricks is designed to divide the opposition. I have explained what some of those tricks are about in previous posts.

          • Bill Bass,

            In Belarus everybody knows elections are a lie and have known this for years….as the government goes on and on it makes no difference.

          • Whatever the regime does by way of manipulating the electoral process so that people dont vote , or have their votes discarded or dissapear or to prevent the discovery of fraudulent counting or accounting is going to leave a trail , moeover its not going to prevent people here and abroad knowing whats been done , that has an effect , an impact in peoples attitudes and convictions which grows as time passes even if the technical aspects of how its done arent easy to explain .

            My point is that the defeatist position of lets just abandon all effort and run for cover doenst cut the grade . Dirty games and manouvers have been played before by thugish dishonest regimes , they may appear to be succesful for a while , but in the end they create conditions that under the right conditions can lead to the regimes ouster .

            Your point that we should just give up because the regimes bag of tricks is inexhaustible can have the effect of making the regimes life easier and might as well be made by a troll working to create a state of learned helplessness in the opposition .

            I dont buy that , Ive read enough of history to learn that very often there is inside the most thuggish and presumably robust authoritarian regime a small wound that festers and grows and leads to its fall in ways which are not always easy to predict .

            Moreover that you dont fight because you want an inmmediate win but because your conscience and resolve doesnt allow you to give up , in time circumstance allow you an opportunity to bring down the giant that seemed unassaylable . When reading the history of venezuelan independence you note that the cause went down dozens of time in ways that seemed irretrievable, the divisions among the patriots were inumerable and constant but in the end some people stuck to it long enough so that they could win their war against a strong and entrenched enemy .

            As to the means , the institutional recourse how ever much rigged to fraudently favour the regimes win , is of course the first choice , however if the method cannot be pursued because the regimes sabotages makes it inviable then other means will have to be resorted to and used ruthlessly until the battle is done !!

            We might have to take a page from Chavez book on how to tumble a regime and use it to destroy the monster he left as his putrid legacy .

          • Bill Bass, I don’t have a defeatist attitude, I just disagree with the tactic of voting in a dictatorship.It’s kind of an oxymoron.

            I understand the frustration totally however I think the way out should be different.I intuit that if most everyone comes together and takes to the streets day in and day out for a long trime,though it be a humongous sacrifice, could have results.The fear factor seems to be preventing the opposition from acting….and I think it is way too dangerous for small groups to protest…it has to be en masse.Will there be deaths? Yes.But there will be deaths anyway.

            Fear perpetuates fear, and there comes a point where just the threat is enough to control the people.

            Have you never had the experience of confronting a bully?Some people are too fearful to do so and that just augments their feelings of helplessness.Feelings of helpfulness are then converted into inaction and acceptance.

            The outside world will take Venezuela more seriously if they see people rising up EN MASSE and visibly showing their lack of tolerance.Right now we have the outside influential world thinking that Venezuela is still somewhat reasonable.

            People also need to confront the fact and learn to recognize that the powerful Socialist foreign media is biased towards even the IMAGE of a Socialist Venezuela.

            Will the people act EN MASSE,Maybe not,It is hard to rally Venezuelans, much less en masse.The situation is indeed dire…too much time has been wasted, but the way of the vote in my opinion is just a repeat of the past…or worse.

            I think clearer communications to each other and the world will be more effective.Stop calling oppos radical for a start.There is a way to manipulate through words that the extremists have been using.Values have to be consequential.People cannot say on one hand that they live in Dictatorship and then rally to the vote expecting to win.

          • So in other words, I am saying that in the end this is basically a propaganda war.If people recognize that and fight the war of image, we might see more results.

          • “Where in what I wrote did I talk about any strategy for the opposition? ”

            Well, I hate to have to rehash the whole conversation, that can just be seen right up above here, but some people are a little slow to understand.

            You responded to a post of mine that criticized the opposition tactics of guarimbas and violence and that said they should simply wait for elections.

            You responded by saying the government will never allow them to win those elections. In other words, you are implying that simply waiting for the elections would NOT be a logical strategy. You didn’t openly endorse other more violent tactics, but you criticized my ideas about what the opposition strategy should not be, based on what you THINK might happen in the future.

            “I’ve discussed the kind of things the government can do in other posts, and I’m not repeating them here.”

            No one asked you to discuss them. But you can’t even mention them? You can’t give a one-word description of what they will do?

            As even your own oppo friends have acknowledged, if the majority of votes go to the opposition, there is little the government can do to stop this, or cover it up. And we have clear evidence of this from previous elections. Remember the 2007 constitutional reform? The opposition won, and the government was forced to accept it, even thought it was by a very small margin. The last parliamentary elections were a similar situation, even though the government ended up getting more seats.

            But the best evidence can be seen in the last presidential election in which Maduro barely won a majority of the votes. The outcome was very close, and there is absolutely no way the government could have tampered with or controlled that outcome. Next time Maduro will not get enough votes. What will the government do??? They will be forced to accept defeat.

          • “You responded by saying the government will never allow them to win those elections. In other words, you are implying that simply waiting for the elections would NOT be a logical strategy. You didn’t openly endorse other more violent tactics, but you criticized my ideas about what the opposition strategy should not be, based on what you THINK might happen in the future.”

            I didn’t criticize your ideas about what the opposition strategy should not be. I’m just claiming that one of the premises on which you base your ideas about what the opposition strategy should be, namely, that they can win these elections easily, is wrong.

            If you ask me, there is nothing the opposition can do. They are screwed, period. So, there is no strategy for them that can accomplish anything. Now, every person in this country has to make a decision, either pack and leave or suck it up. Those are the only possible “strategies” here.

            “No one asked you to discuss them. But you can’t even mention them? You can’t give a one-word description of what they will do?”

            I’ve discussed it at length in other posts, and I’m too lazy to retype it here, but since you request a “one-word description of what they will do”, how about this one?:

            Gerrymandering

            And that’s only a minuscule part of the kind of things they can do.

            By the way, can you tell me why they still haven’t announced the date of the election? The used to make such announcements a heck of a lot earlier…

            “But the best evidence can be seen in the last presidential election in which Maduro barely won a majority of the votes. The outcome was very close, and there is absolutely no way the government could have tampered with or controlled that outcome.”

            Oh, really? Let’s see:

            http://www.cne.gob.ve/resultado_presidencial_2012/pp/2/reg_210803003.html
            http://www.cne.gob.ve/resultado_presidencial_2013/pp/2/reg_210803003.html

            And this is not the only example. There is simply no way so many people who voted for Capriles when the choice was between Capriles and Chavez, would then vote for Maduro when the choice was between Capriles and Maduro. No freaking way.

            “Next time Maduro will not get enough votes. What will the government do??? They will be forced to accept defeat.”

            Yeah, I’m sure this is how the conversion goes when Maduro meets with his cabinet: “Ok, guys, we have screwed it up. We are going to lose these elections, and we are just going to have to accept it”.

            Riiiiiiiight.

          • “There is simply no way so many people who voted for Capriles when the choice was between Capriles and Chavez, would then vote for Maduro when the choice was between Capriles and Maduro. No freaking way.”

            So you are implying that the government somehow tampered with these votes? Please do explain how on Earth they would manage to do this without being detected. The opposition has copies of all the actas, and could simply point to where the official results don’t match up. But they didn’t do that, NOT EVEN IN ONE CASE!!! Why? Because there were no cases.

            Just because you think something doesn’t seem right doesn’t mean you have evidence of anything. IN fact, it means you don’t have evidence of anything, but rather an inkling….

            “Yeah, I’m sure this is how the conversion goes when Maduro meets with his cabinet: “Ok, guys, we have screwed it up. We are going to lose these elections, and we are just going to have to accept it”.”

            Actually, I can’t imagine how they could possibly do anything else. If they lose the vote, there would be virtually no way they could hold onto power, even if they tried, which I seriously doubt they would.

          • By the way, the example you point to accounts for 68 votes. In order for fraud to have happened in this way, and account for a couple hundred thousand votes, it would have had to have taken place on such a large scale (68 votes here, 100 votes there, 50 votes here, 200 votes there) that it would have been COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE FOR IT TO NOT BE DETECTED.

            Seriously, it is utter lunacy to even suggest such a possibility.

          • So, what are we now going from “there is absolutely no way the government could have tampered with or controlled that outcome” to “they could not have tampered it enough to change the final result”?

            Whatever man. Looking forward to what you are going to write here after the government wins the parliamentary elections.

            See you.

          • “So, what are we now going from “there is absolutely no way the government could have tampered with or controlled that outcome” to “they could not have tampered it enough to change the final result”?

            Yeah, well “outcome” and “final result” are the same thing. If they couldn’t change the final result, they couldn’t control the outcome. Is this too complex for you?

            But even in cases like the one you point to above, it is extremely unlikely that the government could have tampered with the results even in these cases. The way the electoral system is designed makes this practically impossible, which even this blog has recognized before.

            Though, it is interesting to see how you all selectively recognize this, but then change your story when it is convenient for the argument you are making at the moment.

          • “Yeah, well “outcome” and “final result” are the same thing. If they couldn’t change the final result, they couldn’t control the outcome. Is this too complex for you?”

            I thought it would be clear that by “final result” I meant Maduro winning the whole election, not just the final result of that particular (tampered) voting center.

            “But even in cases like the one you point to above, it is extremely unlikely that the government could have tampered with the results even in these cases. The way the electoral system is designed makes this practically impossible, which even this blog has recognized before.”

            Impossible is that so many people would switch their vote from Capriles to Maduro in a few months. If you can’t see that, fine, there is nothing else to discuss. Let’s discuss again when the government wins the next elections…

          • You know, “World According To Gar(p)th”, your examples of Machiques simply put the lie to your/Toro’s erroneous thesis that the elections “can’t be fixed”–do even you, an obviously-paid Govt. troll, believe that the Machiques voters voted 100% for Maduro, after previously only voting 89% (also a lie) for Chavez? And, the “actas in the hands of Capriles”, who was denied the actas he contested by the TSJ?? As I have explained in other posts on this Blog, machine voting in Venezuela is easy to fix in non-Oppo-witnessed voting centers, especially with a Registro Electoral of 99% of eligible voters, about 1/3 of which (6mm) never actually registered, but whose votes are easily assignable by machine to non-Oppo-witnessed voting centers.

          • So your theory is that the government fixed the vote in those voting booths in which there were no opposition witnesses??

            Zzzzzzzzzzz…. more impossible nonsense. Even if what you claim actually happened (which there is no evidence of) it could not have accounted for hundreds of thousands of votes. The opposition had witnesses present in something like 95 percent of the booths.

          • Oppo leader at the time, and Oppo witness coordinater LL, who had promised Oppo witnesses at a vast majority of voting centers, admitted post-Election (in a passing largely inadverted comment), that the Oppo had witnesses in only 40% of voting centers–I know, Garth, you, like I, also drank of the Oppo Kool-aid.

          • There is an El Universal interview done to Alfredo Weil of Esdata where he explains from forensic studies done in various elections and specially in the 2013 election the statistical and other anomalies that provide a smoking gun on the fraud committed in these elections to favour the regime candidates , and the way it was done ( including ballot stuffing in those small voting sites where no opposition witness were present) . The explanation is detailed , thorough and very convincing. To him Capriles won the elections by some 4% of the total vote.

            There is a separate study done before the 2013 election by statistical experts from the Universidad de Madrid which arrive at the same conclusion , i.e. that there are many indications of fraud being committed to favour Chavez candidacy , specially starting from 2007 . These later experts say that they cant say that the end results would have allowed a change in the outcome but that they are almost certain that the winning margins favouring Chavez would have been much smaller than officially reported but for the fraudulent manipulations of the electoral system .

          • Okay, so now we have a theory that the fraud took place where oppo witnesses were not present. But not only that, the opposition THEMSELVES have lied to us about them having witnesses present, when they actually only had them present in 40% of the centers!!!! And this is based on what Lopez SUPPOSEDLY said after the election. We don’t even have proof that he said it, let alone the veracity of the comment. And apparently none of the international observers noticed this. The Carter Center noted that opposition witnesses were present at 96 percent of voting booths, but I guess they just made that up too?

            Then Bill Bass refers to an interview of Alfredo Weil, which I have also read, which has no concrete information. He simply implies that certain things happened in voting centers in which there were not witnesses, but gives no concrete details or evidence of such things.

            I’m sorry, but what we have here are a bunch of extremely weak, unsubstantiated claims that lack even the slightest shred of evidence to support them. But what else is new around here right?

          • “The Carter Center noted that opposition witnesses were present at 96 percent of voting booths, but I guess they just made that up too?”

            Was the Carter Center at all voting booths? No, they certainly were not. Which means, most likely, they were relying on government data.

          • LL’s comment was from the local press at the time, inadverted, as I said, because it likely doesn’t jibe with official MUD mantra. The supposed 96% Carter Oppo voting center witnessing– only Carter/Center would even state such an unbelievable/ridiculous figure, which anyone who knows Venezuela (+the 5m or so “itinerant” voting machines mounted on jeeps with no physical fixed location) is literally impossible–of course, if the Govt. were to up their regular $ contribution to the Carter Center in Atlanta, I’m sure the Carter Center will be happy to up their Oppo witnessing figure to nearer 100%. Garth (former GAC, et. al., studious time-consuming Ven. Govt.-paid democracy-subverting Troll)–the Duracell Troll who never quits.

          • Yes…. I see…. so now the theory is that basically everyone, including the opposition themselves, is lying about how many witnesses there were.

            The evidence of this??? Well… basically there is none, but because NET says so we should just believe it.
            What a solid argument!

          • The truth and logic, which this Blog pursues, with notable exceptions such as you/your aliases, is only one, for all to see, and for each to judge for him/herself.

          • “hen Bill Bass refers to an interview of Alfredo Weil, which I have also read, which has no concrete information. He simply implies that certain things happened in voting centers in which there were not witnesses, but gives no concrete details or evidence of such things.”

            Yes, because a large amount of statistical improbabilities and anomalies, all favoring Chavismo, means nothing. I guess statistics is junk science, guys.

    • Perez Jimenez was also a hated president, but the coup against him was a necessity. And it was justified. He came to power through rigged elections and refused to give that power up.
      CAP was also doing a terrible job, yet that didn’t stop Chavez from going all coupster on his ass. But CAP wasn’t an iron fist dictator like PJ; CAP did not refuse to relinquish power when his time was up.
      Chavismo has played very dirty in elections since 2010 and it is not going to give up power willingly (do you see a pattern emerging there?). Their slogans “No volveran” and “Victoria de mierda” are indicative of such, as well as the actions they have taken against our elected mayors, governors and lawmakers. If you think Chavismo is going to let the opposition fairly win an uncontested majority in Parliament, I have a wonderful business proposition regarding a bridge in San Francisco I would like to discuss with you. But for now, please get back to us when the parliamentary elections are held (if at all) and Chavismo magically wins more than half of the seats in it.

      • “Chavismo has played very dirty in elections since 2010 and it is not going to give up power willingly”

        Yes, they’ve played dirty because they’ve won elections, right? Any time Chavismo wins an election it is because of some sort of fraud or manipulation right? (even thought this is virtually impossible with the current electoral system)

        It is funny how the opposition in Venezuela cannot fathom that perhaps a majority of the population actually supported Chavismo for a long time? Maybe that’s how they won all those elections? No way!

        • All right. I’m not about to repeat what has been told to you countless of times under the many pseudonyms you use to give the sad illusion that there are more pro-government people challenging the views on this blog than the usual 2 pelagatos.
          For future reference, do not use the usual catchphrases and predictable sarcasm that you use with Betty or GAC when trying to pass yourself off as a new commenter. It gives you away.
          Best of luck with your troll hobby, which must be life-fulfilling, I’m sure.

          • Actually, I am forced to change my pseudonym because the blog’s authors are constantly blocking me. Just another example of how your explanation for things completely falls apart when confronted with the facts.

          • They could just as easily delete your comments and they don’t do it. Whether you change your pseudonym or have multiple accounts, the fact is that Betty, Anon, GAC and whatever other name you use still surfaces from time to time. Go spin your bullshit on a chavista, they’re easier prey.

          • Yes, so now you backtrack and spout more bullshit. Did you actually want to…. you know… engage anything I’ve said, or just continue with this immature side show?

          • Look up the meaning of the word backtrack.
            You have said nothing that I can engage.
            A troll accusing me of being immature, how grand.

          • Backtrack – to reverse one’s previous action or opinion…

            First you accused me of constantly changing my pseudonym in order to pass myself off as a new commenter. Then, when confronted with the facts, you quickly reversed your claim and said “whether you change your pseudonym or have multiple accounts, the fact is that Betty, Anon, GAC and whatever other name you use still surfaces from time to time.”

            You backtracked my friend.

            As for saying nothing you can engage… that’s just a sign of your limited capacities.

          • …My claim of you commenting under different names still stands, you straw-grasping buffoon. Pointing out an additional methods in which you can do your trolling as an afterthought is not backtracking.
            And the reason I can’t engage you is because you can’t accept the basics of the problems with elections in Venezuela. It is akin to discussing advanced calculus with a person who doesn’t believe 2+2=4, and I simply can’t hold a debate with you any further than that.
            Good day.

          • another example of how your explanation for things completely falls apart when confronted with the facts.
            “Facts” which are not documented. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

        • ‘t is funny how the opposition in Venezuela cannot fathom that perhaps a majority of the population actually supported Chavismo for a long time?’

          Chavismo certainly won a majority of the votes in most of those elections, particularly during the initial years of the oil boom.

          Whether one thinks there was some sort of electoral fraud or not, there is no disputing that the elections are anything but fair. Not even close to being ‘free and fair’.

    • “You don’t get to kick a president out just because you hate him.”

      Surely Garth. We should love Maduro while he murders the shit out of us.

      • Oh yes, James, good argument. If the police kill someone then that automatically means that Maduro is “murdering the shit out of you”. Well, in the US the police kill several people every fucking day. Does that mean that Obama is “murdering the shit” out of Americans and must be overthrown?

        In Mexico, there were 43 students who were simply murdered a few months ago. Should the Mexican government simply be overthrown?

        Do you have a brain?

  13. Why do we waste time with Luis Indecente Leon?. I think it is clear how this guy is in government payroll. He and Shitschmel comprise the “statistical” arm of Hegemon Corp.

    His article centers on “voting and winning” elections conveniently forgetting about the dictatorial drive of this thugocracy. A deceitful vision on how Maduro is just in a popularity slump, assuming he is a regular politician and not a vicious murderer.

    Seven students shot in the head in 4 days by police and this f…er LVL argues that maduro is just low in popularity.

    He touches the economical problem partially right while losing the plot altogether on the political side. Why?, because LVL is a full blown chavista.

    La cabra siempre tira pa´l monte.

  14. OT: News from street from Margarita Island — This is the stuff that doesn’t get reported.

    1. The other day, in a small pueblo here, a two-year old girl was raped and killed. Rather than call the police, the people of the town cut off the genitals of the perpetrator and burned him alive.

    2. A gang of organ traffickers is operating here. Yesterday, a dump site was found with the bodies of children missing eyes, kidneys, and other organs.

    I have no links to give for this. All I can tell you is that everyone was talking about this today. The schools talked to parents about being extra careful to make sure their children are not left unattended in the street. Is it possible that these stories are just rumors that spread? I suppose it is possible. But, true or not, the mood on the street is grim and angry.

  15. Garth – easy on calling people ignorant. The word, FYI, in not “hairbrained,” as you wrote, but “harebrained,” as in rabbit (conejo).

    • That gart thing must be for sure the gonorrea troll sent here to claim his paycheck.
      Every comment he spews doesn’t go farther than just fanatically defending the regime, saying that all the deaths from 2014 were oppos smashing their own heads against the floor, and asking everybody if they are complete idiots.
      Poor dissociated thing gets reduced to a blabbering mess the second he gets confronted with cold, hard, undeniable facts and has to resort to the “are you stupid????” pseudo-strategy.
      The guy is more boring than psychopath hechtor “gulag and taliban alcabala” st clare, arturo “shiabbe is perfect and you are all shit” and dpsurv “I pretend I’m oppo but I’m a raging chaburro and you are all fascists”

  16. RE mr Weils statements , I have a copy of the 2013 interview and it was full of graphs and details which showed how exactly his conclusions were arrived at . It was all written downn in a report , the methodology used was described and it was pretty clear that the regime had manipulated the process to obtain a result which statistically could not be beleived . Not sure the 2013 elections had Carter observers , but if they did they certainly missed the statistical and forensic part of the process .

    I think I have a written copy of another similar interview , the basic data was based on the ENC reports , it was the forensic and statistical study that revealed how the regime had done it .

    I may be able to down load the Madrid report which was done by people unconnected to Mr Weils but which gave the same results . As they say no hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver !!

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