Dark Days Ahead

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We are three weeks into the race for the parliamentary elections (scheduled for December 6th) and the Venezuelan government has already imposed three over-the-top hurdles for the opposition.

First, the Elections Council (CNE) issued a set of rules establishing a gender quota which they knew the opposition didn’t have. This was a genius move, because the discussion drifted away from the evil and ilegal action itself, and fell over the lap of the sad sausage fest in our ranks, reminiscent of the cast of The Full Monty. Sad, stupid,  illegal, and it sent the opposition back to the drawing board.

Then, they barred María Corina Machado from public office for a year. MCM was the congresswoman who stood before President Chavez and called him on the illegal expropriations on national television: “expropriation without payment is stealing.”

That offense to the revolutionary dogma turned her into one of the most abused public figures in Venezuelan politics. She’s had her nose broken, her phones tapped, and her private communications exposed by government officials. She’s been accused of terrorism and conspiracy, and was thrown out of office on a whim – to be replaced by that sad excuse of a spider-pig that is Ricardo Sánchez. She is the counterweight to the misogynist practices of the Venezuelan opposition, those which the CNE first targeted. You may not agree with some of her postures, but she’s come a long way.

Just a couple of days before MCM’s barring from public office, a post by Alejandro Tarre directed me to this interesting interview with political scientist Miguel Angel Martínez Meucci, author of Apaciguamiento (2012) [the book gives an account of Chavez’s consolidation of power during 2001/2004].

In his views of the challenges the Venezuelan opposition faces, he explains that politics have been left out of the game, and that, apart from participating in the elections, we have to deliver a message of rigidness against abuse. As Tarre concludes in his post, “the opposition must be prepared to provide testimonies and postures and clear messages of resistance, because it’s likely that the government will soon initiate the dirtiest and most treacherous electoral campaign of the last 16 years.”

And yes, they have.

A few days after this post, MCM and Enzo Scarano were barred from public office. A measure as clean and transparent as Iris Varela’s hair: the Comptroller General imposed both penalties based on their failure to include non-salary meal tickets in their sworn declarations of patrimony which, as nuts as it may sound, is not even relevant, and it makes sense that it was done this way because it was the fastest way to get it done.

But at the same time it’s absurd, because in these cases they would be barred from being appointed as Ministers or office boys at a Notary Public, but not of being elected by the people to represent them at the National Assembly. You see, the Comptroller doesn’t have the faculty to ban them from popular election posts, as José Ignacio Hernández explains. In theory, they could still run, but we’ll have to see what the CNE and the TSJ have to say about that.

This is yet another taste of what chavismo has done with Venezuelan institutions and division of powers. As Martínez Meucci says, this melding of public powers may be a guarantee that these abuses will not go unpunished in the future. MCM alone may have a human rights case, at least, against ten high-ranking government officials.

There is hardly one person in the whole country who doesn’t believe that the road to overcoming this hung-over version of populism comes by some sort of mixture between elections and strong postures by the opposition (be them protests or just stubbornly running when the government is illegally forbidding you from doing so).

The dilemma the opposition is facing, perhaps, has more to do with a shared opinion between two parties that understand they need each other, but believe the other one doesn’t understand it, and that none is willing to budge. Pretty much like kindergarten, and likely a situation that the opposition and chavismo will eventually have to face as well.

There is no use in losing it just yet, because we’ve got a long ways to go and there are no shortcuts ahead. The government is used to run with more advantages than what it has shown up until now. They will swing with everything they have. And they will make mistakes. There is a good opportunity, but this time around the opposition may need to assume a more aggressive stance (or at least keep its gloves up!).

As always, it’s all or nothing.

1 COMMENT

  1. The ridiculous Parliamentary elections will be nothing but a fraudulent, putrid fiasco.

    – Grotesque seat Gerrymandering: already in place.
    – Sold CNE, with TibiBitch’s last minute tricks with gender quotas and many more to come.
    – Chavez’s infernal Smartmatic Olivetti Fraud machines, envenenadas hasta la pepa.
    – Incarcerated leaders like Leoploldo, forced into exile, or Banned key opposition leaders.

    – Students and Universities shut down, silenced by the GNB and Sebin thugs.
    – Massive repression in the streets, to silence peaceful protests, campaign meetings..
    – Barbaric Media censorship, total Hegemony by the regime, Radio, TV, Papers, etc.
    – Lack of access to Internet and Social Media for Key Target voters: poor Chavista-light pueblo.

    – Hordes of Bribes, promises, gifts and cash prices offered by the Regime in exchange for votes.
    – Direct Threats, intimidation, use of “Tasco lists”, “Obama list”, “sabemos quienes votaron”..
    – 3 Million + government employees and leeches will be forced to vote at least Twice for PSUV.
    – The Dead Chinese, Cuban and Colombia voters usually resuscitate for every “election” , with brand new cedulas rebolusionarias.

    Finally, the usual late-evening CNE extension for a few final touches, couple re-adjustments of the Smartmatic corrupt data, a few laughs entre panas en la Carlota, Havana approves, y listo el pollo:

    “Gana la oposicion con el 52.4% de los votos!!”

    Cabello, Masburro and el Mago Smartmatic Rodriguez throw a Super Reggaeton Celebration Party en La Lagunita Country Club that lasts until 2016.

    “Triunfa una vez mas la Democracia en Cubazuela!!”

    And the Circus goes on.

  2. The strategy here, I speculate, is for the Chavistas to gradually increase their illegal actions to provoke the opposition to take to the streets thus giving the Chavistas an excuse to postpone the election. It’s a win-win situation, if there are no violent protests the Chavistas just tighten the election rules to guarantee a victory and if they are convinced they won’t win the election they postpone it due to violence. The Chavistss, like other extreme leftists are better at preserving their rule than governing. And so the madness continues…

      • If there are no violent protests, they will invent them.

        Actually chaburrismo doesn’t even need an excuse, as we’ve seen already in the recent pseudo-bar case, it’s most a matter of “You won’t go to that shit because I just don’t fucking want it, period.”

        Also, no one mentioned the genocidal threat barked by masburro some days ago, saying that the so-called carajazo would be tiny by comparison (I imagine that means that what they claim it was half a million kills would be tiny, could give a magnitude of the stupid stuff the moron said)

        ///////////////////////////////////////

        Si no hay protestas violentas, pues se las inventarán.

        En realidad el chaburrismo ni necesita la excusa, como ya hemos visto en el caso de las pseudoinhabilitaciones recientes, es cuestión de “Tú no vas a esa mierda porque no me da la puta gana y ya”

        Por cierto, no mencionaron la amenaza de un genocidio que rebuznó maburro hace unos días, diciendo que el fulano carajazo se iba a quedar chiquito (Imagino que lo que ellos dicen que fueron medio millón de muertos sería chiquito, les da una magnitud de la imbecilidad que dijo el orate)

    • My two cents on this view (don’t know if you live here but it’s a venezuelan’s opinion):

      Nothing’s gonna happen. Everybody’s so full of shit of the establishment, and so busy trying to make ends meet at any way possible, that there’s no way there’s gonna be quorum for any sort of street protest now. Like one Facebook friend said a couple days ago (for me it was an epiphany):

      First everybody wanted to be a tattoo artist, a musician, an artist…
      Then everybody wanted to #irisedemasiado
      Then after everybody who stayed here was a Guarimbero
      then after, everybody was let down.
      Now, everybody is a Bachaquero,
      and tomorrow EVERYBODY is gonna be a slave!…

  3. “the opposition may need to assume a more aggressive stance (or at least keep its gloves up!)”.

    Sigue soñando, sifrino capitalista Imperialista Yanki. La Ultra-Derecha radical y fascista del Eje Madrid-Bogota-Miami-DollarToday no puede con el pueblo!!

    Preguntale a la nariz de MCM lo que pasa con los que se alborotan. Preguntale a Leopoldo, Daniel, a Ledezma o a Enzo Scarano lo que pasa si patalean los burguesitos.

    Se quedan todos quietos, se van del pais, o van todos presos.

  4. This upcoming election is perhaps the single most important political event since Hugo Chavez achieved power. If the opposition doesn’t have a plan in place, and makes a hash out of this one, then Venezuela is truly doomed. They had better get their act together, and quick. Even with the obscene gerrymandering taking place, the opposition should prevail, and easily.

    • If we even get to the elections, the only Oppo candidates on the ballot will be those in districts in which Chavismo has a lock. All others will be disqualified. They will NOT be beaten with votes.

      The only way they will leave is when there is no more money left to steal. And, by my horseback estimate, the reserves will fall to zero in October or November. If I were to bet, I would put odds of us even having an election on 6 December at about 40%.

      • I also strongly doubt that we’ll have an election on Dec. 6.
        I think 40% is optimistic.

        Also as most of the International reserves are not liquid they are realistically at 0 already.

    • 15+ years of lost opportunities.

      Chavismo made headway when the old guard political establishment remained put and did not allow for their own natural renovation with the then-up-and-coming generation of Ledezma, El Tigre, Alvarez paz, MArquina, Velazquez, et alias.

      Opposition war lords, seem to be behaving the same way nowdays: blocking the development of newer polititians like LL, HC, MCM, and others.

      I feel sorry for a nation that still does not get it! a nation and a lpolitical establishement that is afraid of calling the dictatorship by its name, and facing the truth of non-competitive fraudulent electioninting.

      My forecast is another round of fraud, disappointing results, excuses to “wait until 2019″…and mas de lo mismo.

      Until the discourse changes and the opposition starts calling itself resistance, and acting accordingly, nothing will change. Unless the regime’s control on the people is lost by a back swan event, and the social explosion precipitates the political change.

  5. “My forecast is another round of fraud, disappointing results, excuses to “wait until 2019″…and mas de lo mismo.”

    Pretty much.

    And when the Chavista Dictatorship finally implodes because there’s nothing left to steal, or is overthrown after more stolen elections, then some MUDcrap will be charge of a completely destroyed, profoundly rotten country, at all levels, full of destroyed, orrupt institutions, spoiled, under-educated people, heavily in debt, with nothing but cheap, heavy oil, a putrid police, putrid military, and huge, monumental problems everywhere.

    The Fabulous Guisozuelan Kleptomania “quitate-tu-pa-poneme-yo-cuanto-hay-pa-eso” Festival will then resume, just a bit better, under the pretense of a MUD “democracy”. In a couple of decades, 2030’s, best case scenario, they might be back to a similar Mess they had with adecos/copeyanos in the 90’s.

    And that’s an optimistic, Muddy forecast.

    Cubazuela is entirely, profoundly screwed, for decades to come, most international observers and hundreds of thousands of educated Venezuelans who got the hell out of there know that. Way after many funky elections, way after Chavismo is Partially kicked out, and with any new “democratic” government.

    Unless some form of tough, yet benevolent and constructive authoritarian Regime like Singapore grabs the guns, hay Cubazuela ‘pa rato. Call Nicazuela, Nigeriazuela, if you prefer.

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