The “Como Sea,” explained

Having given up on governing altogether, Maduro focuses on holding on to power, through whatever means necessary. Come December, even these might not be enough to ensure a win.


Nicolás Maduro’s speech about winning legislative elections como sea – doing whatever it takes – isn’t so much a rallying cry to his dwindling base. It’s more like an all out admission of guilt, and perhaps a tacit admission of defeat. To compensate for an unprecedented low in the polls thanks to a collapsed economy, the Chavista machine will use every trick in the book in hopes of demobilizing opposition votes instead.

In this week’s print issue, The Economist sums up all of the government’s dirty tactics thus far. From gerrymandering, to declaring a state of emergency in opposition districts, to banning candidacies and confusing voters, to refusing international observers and generating fear through propaganda and intimidation, Chavismo is pulling out all stops ahead of 6D.

All of them except for one, it seems: winning back popular support.


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  1. If Wikipedia was a CC reader:

    “This article about the political situation in Venezuela is a stub. You can help Caracas Chronicles by expanding it.”

  2. “Lies and deceit do yield results, but legitimate authority is the ultimate form of control.”

    And that quote comes from a card game.

  3. Had Chavistas been a little more tactical, they would have given the helm of the Titanic to Capriles, then raise hell as the ship sank and take power after the wreck. That way they could have made hay with the line “Chavez bueno – derecha mala’. Now instead they are stuck with the mental contortion of “Chavez bueno – Maduro malo”

  4. Insanity has been described as doing the same thing and expecting different results. Venezuela, a failed state by any definition, is largely sick of the current state of affairs, and yet all Maduro says (if he says anything) is that he will continue down the same path – at any cost, no mater what. Pinochet and all the rest of the banana dictators were monstrous, but I wonder if any had Maduro’s level of insanity.

    • The dictator of my country, Pinochet, was monstrous but not this kind of insane. Also, he couldn’t because of two core reasons:

      1) Here in Chile we don’t have oil, so he faced budgetary restrictions in a very poor nation.
      2) Pinochet didn’t control the country directly but through the Junta, so even if he was the most powerful of the four in the table (Army, Navy, Air Force and Carabineros) he need the support of the rest of the armed forces to maintain the grip.

      That became clear when he lost the 1988 plebiscite: He didn’t want to recognized the results and he had a decree to declare an constitutional exception, but the rest of the Junta (with some support of foreign govs) said that was an outreach of the constitution and promises they made and they would not support that, starting with the Air Force. So he had no other option than to accept the results and move the country towards democracy.

      The issue with Venezuela is that they have oil and Chavez build the government in a way so he could control the entire nation from Miraflores. But also means the leader must be a very capable person, because all the mistakes he make will be amplified by the government.

      And that was easy with Chavez: He was capable to run a nation and maintain some leadership status, and he could cover his mistakes or buying people with oil revenue. But Maduro is far away of Chavez on leadership (in part with clashes with Diosdado Cabello), and because he doesn’t have enough oil revenue he should need to be better than Chavez to avoid problems.

      So Maduro is between a rock and a hard place: He probably knows that many things of Chavez’s legacy are need to be changed but doing so is short of a betray of the Comandante’s dreams, but to do it he needs leadership (or money to cover his deficiencies) and oil revenues he doesn’t have. But not doing it is also bad because it makes more damage to the country and it reduces his ability to do the changes that are required.

      And even worse, the only thing that could help him is also something he can’t control: oil prices.

      Any choice at this point is bad from him, so he is trying to maintain things together and wishing a change of luck. But if that doesn’t happen, the downfall will be worse.

      • Well, but you guys should be thankful for 17 years of Pinochet instead of 17 years of Chavismo. Hundred of thousands less people were killed, and look at where Chile is today compared to Venezuela. Best country in Latin America vs. the worst. Or we could talk about Argentina, or Nicaragua, or Nigeria.

      • Spot on. Someone had to explain con puntos y comas that thing of “Pinochet salió con votos”, a personal favorite of oppo people when citing examples of ” Dictators who defected on the ballot box”

        Thing which is not entirely true since Pinochet encountered resistance at his own pitch.

        Maduro has no internal resistance to be bothered at, the well oiled state machine supports him “como sea”

        Greetings from a Venezuelan here in Santiago

  5. “All of them except for one, it seems: winning back popular support.”

    Then Venezuelans should try to do what they did in Ukraine, 100 or 200 grouping together near Miraflores, from a safe distance, obviously, and keep calling more people every day (watch that documentary ‘Winter on Fire’ to have an idea). There’s people doing that in Brazil right now (see video below). It may work, it may not… Who knows. Better than to do nothing.

    One big advantage you guys have is the good geographical position of the capital. Brasilia was conveniently designed by a communist architect in the middle of nowhere. But Caracas is where everyone lives.

        • Not every biker is bad.

          The murderous colectivos will remain as despicable and hateful as they’ve ever been, because those are the pretorian guard of the narco-regime.

    • Ok lets’ see, let’s try Monday. Well, I don’t know, I still have a hangover from tremenda rumba I had on Saturday. What about Tuesday? Don’t think so, I have to show up for work because I called in on Monday because, you know, the hangover I got from tremenda rumba. Besides, I’m planning to be off Friday so I can go to la playita, so I really need to show up for work on Tuesday. What about Wednesday? Wednesday?! In the middle of the week?! Chamo ta’s loco. What about Thursday? Thursday is little Friday, forget it. What about… oh never mind you are going to la playita on Friday….

  6. It was Chavez greatest conceit that he commanded the passionate support of the great mayority of the People , Winning an election was for him a glorious confirmation of that fact and a source of orgasmic gratification for his bloated narcicism !! That wed him to the idea that elections where an indispensble part of his legitimacy as a ruler. He never thought he might lose an election !!

    Castro in a meeting in Mexico chided Chavez for his electoral obsession , he did not trust free elections and though that estrictly regimented elections were better for a communist regime , but Chavez did not hear him.

    Now Chavez succesors know that they have lost that popularity but keep up the fachade that its still as before because not to do so is to lose their revolutionary legitimacy before the world , that would be a shattering blow to their self confidence. Thats why they avoided having a Parlatina election which might show the world the fact that they no longer commanded a mayority support among people.

    Now they face an election they feel they cannot avoid and which they will try to game to make the official results as favourable as possible to their cause , they know they might not pull it off because the numbers of the dissatisfied are so great that maybe even fraudulent manouvers will not give them what they desire or ultimately prove unconcealable to the masses.

    The como sea is a lapsus linguae , something that expresses how desperate they are to retain power , but still in their mind is the idea that they have to have a mayority support or they lose the face they need to have to face themselves and the world.

  7. It’s quite simple. Everyone knows 85% of the voters are against PSUV or Maduro.

    But we will see a 45/55% result. Nothing much will change next year in Venezuela until people wake up. It will just get worse. The “Parliament” is beyond laughable, and it will continue to be a sad joke, along with the corrupt military and the TSJ. And the MUD is completely corruptible, for a cheap price. Starting with Ramos Allup, etc.


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