A few loose threads on #ADosAñosDeTuSiembra


Chávez day is gone, but there were three things I wanted to highlight before we move on.

Runrun.es has an in-depth interview with Nelson Bocaranda, the Venezuelan journalist who was one of the main sources of information on Chávez’s disease. In it, a visibly aged Bocaranda says a few things about the history of his scoop.

While he does not reveal the main source of his information, Bocaranda says Chávez thanked him (via an emissary) for treating his illness with respect. He also claims that everyone from chavistas to Latin American Presidents went to him directly to get information on Chávez’s health. Finally, he also goes on record saying that he does not believe Chávez died in December, but on March 5th, when it was announced. He does leave a few threads hanging, though:

“… [His death] happened in Caracas. President Chávez arrived in Venezuela in poor condition. He was alive thanks to the equipment he was plugged into, nothing more, and what I believe is that he died that day when he was disconnected from the machines. There was a final incident that day when they disconnected him and they do not know how long he would last.”

What kind of incident was that?

The same web page has a timeline with all the public statement by chavista officials denying Chávez was in his deathbed.

The timeline of lies is really outstanding, and the documentation of statements is accomapnied by corresponding videos. The list of false claims is a heavy indictment on current bigwigs in the government, although the one that takes the cake is the statement by Dubraska Mora, a nurse at the Military Hospital where Chávez died, claiming a few weeks before his death that Chávez had arrived walking and talking.

One only wishes her dignity and credibility were sold for a high price.

Finally, I chime in over at Foreign Policy’s Transitions blog, asking what Chávez would have done had he lived to see the price of oil tank and the current mess the country is in. AFter thinking about it, I had to conclude that Chávez would have been more pragmatic and pro-active in solving the scarcity issues. Heck, he probably would have even dismantled the price and exchange controls had he been convinced they were causing misery for his people.

The problem for Maduro is not that he doesn’t know what he needs to do, it’s that he can’t. He is a leader of chavismo in name only, a President with clay feet who dares not touch the very distortions that feed his coalition but are causing his poll numbers to be in places Chávez would have never allowed them to be. This is why he is also so heavy-handed with his opposition, much more so than Chávez used to be: he needs to prove he is tough to appease his base.

Because of the dubious nature of his elections and the many questions surrounding his abilities, Maduro, ends up becoming a less savvy, more radical version of Chávez. The value added:

“Chávez would have suffered from the dip in oil prices, but he would have also come up with policies to avert the pain currently being inflicted on Venezuela’s population. While Maduro has little choice but to maintain the policies that have ruined Venezuela, Chávez would have been free from the need to pander.”

Have a good Sunday, everyone.


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


        • I find it hard to conceive Chavez would have postponed amending the policies that were driving his numbers into the teens in order to appease the military.

          • Chavez without money would be very different from chavez with money. He died at the right time to become a legend. If CAP had not been president a second time, he would be a legend too.
            Any adjustment policies are painful and would be reflected in the numbers. At most you could say that chavez was politically better than maduro.

  1. I think the fact that Chavez was not honest or transparent about his critical health situation and instead sought a mandate from the people which he would have known or ought reasonably to have known he could not fulfill, indicates that he would not have been immune in this current period of crisis, of the need to pander. He was a panderer of historic proportions. Chavez spoke from time to time about the need to raise gas prices, enough that his decision not to clearly was a product of self-interest rather than a desire to do the right thing. Rather than make a hard decision and take steps to mitigate its effects, when the country could afford to do so, his attention was primarily focused on his own narrow political interests, and it is that same narrow focus that explains Maduro’s inability to pick some winners and some losers within the same narrow group of interests he is beholden to.

    Chavez would not have done any better, I don’t think, and arguably, having convinced all of those around him of his infallibility or at least- his unquestionability- the repression would have been worse at this point.

  2. AFter thinking about it, I had to conclude that Chávez would have been more pragmatic and pro-active in solving the scarcity issues. Heck, he probably would have even dismantled the price and exchange controls had he been convinced they were causing misery for his people.
    So you think chavez actually cared for his people? 🙂
    If his people were cubans, yes, venezuelans, not so much.
    You are falling for the crap that chavez is better than maduro. The only difference is that chavez had money and maduro does not.

    • Sorry, but JC Nagel is right on this one. Chavez was highly narcissistic, and cared a lot about his own image and popularity. Compare this to Maduro, who is aware of the fact that people view him as an idiot and a failure, and doesn’t even care. Hell, Chavez could have dollarized the economy, even telling his supporters that it was “revolutionary” and “Bolivarian” to do so. Maduro can not and would not do such a thing. No one is here to make Chavez look like a hero. It was precisely because he was an egotistical bastard that he would not want these things to happen.

  3. Comparing Bocaranda with the information that looks came from intelligence services (CIA, Mosad and from France) we can assumed that the latest was the source of Bocaranda. If I remember well at that time said Chavez died in December

  4. maburro & diablodado’s regime is such a turd, that it makes the wax doll look good, only in appearance.

    And the wax doll was such a turd of a regim, that it made the FOURTH look like a piece of Heaven in Earth.

    Part of the “good looks” of the wax doll’s regime was the fact that most of the economy was subsidized, even at the expense of undermining and eventually destroying Venezuela to the point is today.

    For the wax doll, something was clear, the next election was far more important than leaving a lasting legacy that could eventually help him to maintain power.

    Also, the hate speeches didn’t help him a bit, even when the chabobos de base were almost having orgasms hearing how their leader despised and thought that “those who are not chavistas are not venezuelans”

  5. Perhaps what happened was that the caudillo went into coma or the like at the end of December, shortly before “he” decided to free Arné Chacón and just at the same time as several of the Chavistas stopped tweeting for a while (see David Cabello’s tweet threads, for instance)

    • A young national guardsman stationed at maiquetia airport was wakened up at 2 am or so to form part of a detail needed to lower a ‘package’ from an airplane just arrived from Havana. The package was man sized , tubular in shape and tightly covered with some kind of tarpaulin . This happened before the announcement of Chavez return to Caracas was made . the young ng as he struggled to bring the package down asked the officer in charge ‘is he alive or is he dead?’ to which the officer retorted with a curse and the order to place himself on detention on completing his task. His mother (someone known to the close relative of a very trusted friend) was surprised at not hearing from her son as she regularly did , after two weeks , the ng called his mother telling her that he had been in detention and explaining the reason why. My speculation is that this was chavez in a state of coma and that he was for all practical purposes brain dead.

      I believe that he became brain dead ( a vegetable) in December in Habana and that he was kept artificially alive on life support system until his mother decided to allow him to be disconnected from the system in march . I understand that under Venezuelan law only his mother or wife could authorize him to be disconnected from the life support system , since he was divorced and his mother didnt want him disconnected his death announcement was delayed until march when she finally relented. I believe that Bocaranda intimated as much in one of his radio talks .

      • Agree with your last paragraph. Sometimes, and especially where life-support machinery is involved, there’s more than one stage to dying.

  6. The ‘who would have done it better’ part of this post assumes that Chávez was and Maduro is an independent agent. As though neither answered to the one calling all the shots, regardless of who in Miraflores.

  7. recently, I heard an interview of a Canadian journalist who says that the biggest divide in politics is between people who have a sense of humour and those who don’t. Chávez and Maduro are a very interesting example of that contrast. Chávez had the confidence and charisma to go on national TV and describe in detail his bowel movements, and to do all sort of acts and things, while Maduro is extremely self-conscious of any sort of criticism.

    • I swear, when Maduro opens his mouth to say anothe idiocy, you can see in his little eyes the “UPS!” already.

      Chávez could insult you for hours, either directly or by insulting your inteligence by saying stuff anybody could see was wrong, but he never betrayed any sign of not being in supreme control of everything.

      A rather monstruos self-regard, but useful when you pretend to be the alpha wolf.

  8. The real question is not whether the plug was pulled after a “vegetable” returned to Venezuela or not. It is when Chavez became incapable of governing, with no prospect for recovery. On that day, nothing done in Chavez’ name was valid, and Constitutional processes required that D. Cabello be interim President. Venezuela got a Dedazo, not a Constitutional transfer of power.

    • Jeffrey is correct . Thats the real question , because any appointments made on Chavez behalf after he became incapacitated are illegitimate and represent a fraud which in turn incapacitates the official which perpetrated it . There is evidence what Chavez became incapacitated in Havana sometime in december before returning to Caracas , and that his name and signature were used by Maduro to shore up his internal alliances in order to consolidate his precarious hold on power . Also to gain time before embarking on an election he could very well lose. !!

  9. I used to say to people that were praying to get rid of Chávez, that unless we won solid against him, we would get from guatemala to guatepeor. I hate to have been right.

    As for Bocaranda, he looks as well as usual, I did not see him visibly aged..

  10. Writing as a modesly informed gringo, I disagree that Chavez would have responded to the oil crash in any rational way. This was a man who could orate for hours about imaginary conspiracies and the perfidy of those he perceived as enemies of his movement, who was convinced of his own infallibility and was surrounded by worshipful yes-men, who decreed numerous disastrous policies and never once admitted error or failure.

    If he was still alive and ruling, he would blame all the problems on opposition “wreckers”, declare a state of emergency, suspend the constitution, and suppress all opposition by mass arrests. All private business not owned by loyal chavista cronies would be seized and looted. There might be an internal purge of the most blatantly corrupt chavista henchmen, but no fundamental changes.

    • He would have tried to “drag the wrinkle” (correr la arruga), appealing to his fabled emotional connection with the low-strata masses (perraje de base).

      The difference between the wax doll and the imbecile is that the wax doll was worshipped almost like a deity, so the thugs and criminals would’ve been more willing to bend their knees on his command,seeing him as some sort of demigod even when he was screwing everything, he had the charisma of being the owner of the so-called revolution, so everyone would try to please him regardless of how many actual measures he would actually take.

      maburro is not only a dumbass, he’s got the charisma of a boiled potato, he’s the sort of useless butt kisser that ends being hated by everybody but his family, and his coworkers have to stand being around him because the boss likes him even when he doesn’t know what the hell he’s got to do in the workplace, so now that the boss isn’t there to cover his ass, he’s got to try to show the look of being the thoughest and meanest, lest everybody sees his boss was dead wrong on choosing him as successor (And everybody knows that chavismo is a pile of cards that balances on the lone idea that the wax doll was omnipotent and onmiscient, one tiny mistake and it’s over and the whole political stuff gets killed in a second)

      So, while the wax doll just could quiet anyone on his group by talking them to tears of boredom because they wanted to stay in his best side; maburro, who can’t link two coherent ideas in the same sentence without trying to mock the venezuelans, seeks to compensate his idiocy becoming the “malandro mayor” that chavismo highly idolized that can force others to obey him at gunpoint (Or, like they enjoy so much, at shotgun point, cracking open skulls, one shoot at a time)

  11. It is very tempting to speculate W.W.Ch.D but it is pointless, useless and it only helps to further his legend. The only thing that needs to be said is that we know exactly what he did, he wrecked the country and he made sure it stayed that way by “atornillar” into power the most corrupt, vile and unscrupolus people he could find.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here