On Wednesday, Quico set out a dramatic vision for post-6D regime collapse. Bureaucrats bury their red shirts. The TSJ declares a new allegiance. A seven-star flag suddenly flies above Fuerte Tiuna. The opposition steps on to the hulking supertanker that is the Venezuelan ship of state and finds it deserted. Henry and Julio peek into the cockpit, and—Lo! The keys are dangling in the ignition.

This strikes me as unlikely. Yes, Maduro is unpopular. Very unpopular. But Chavismo is not. In a recent Datanálisis poll, 57% of Venezuelans expressed favorable views of Chávez. With time, when Chavistas are no longer reminded daily that the comandante left them with Maduro, that figure could rise further.

Unlike the political movements of the former dictators Quico cites, Chavismo remains a valuable political asset in Venezuela.

Diosdado understands this. Diosdado understands that there is a future for Chavismo, and he understands that there’s a way to fight for it. (Normally I say the same of Maduro, but, given his stubbornly self-defeating economic policy choices over the past year, I’m not sure what to expect.) If there’s any semblance of coordination among Chavista factions, they’ll have a lot to bargain with. And a lot to bargain for.

What comes after 6D, then, is precisely the difficult negotiation that Quico dismisses as beside the point, in particular if the opposition does get a ⅔ or even a ⅗ majority. If you’re the kind of person who needs smelling salts at the mere mention of negotiation with chavistas, you’ll dismiss this. But the incoming MUD leadership is made up of professional politicians: cutting deals is their job description.

So, what might that deal look like? What might the MUD be willing to offer Chavismo (presence in the judiciary, immunity from prosecution, space to function as an opposition party) in return for Maduro’s resignation, if it comes to that? What laws, what protections, what policies might the MUD push for in exchange for supporting a unity government, if Maduro were to propose one?

More than Romania in 1989 or Russia in 1917—Quico’s comparisons—Venezuela in 2016 brings to mind Mexico after 1988. In all likelihood Mexico’s ruling party, the PRI, lost the presidential election that year. But the PRI-controlled electoral council handed them the presidency anyway, and the PRI’s Carlos Salinas de Gortari took power.

Both the PRI and the opposition had bargaining power, and a long, delicate negotiation ensued. In return for recognizing the (fraudulent) PRI victory, the opposition PAN was able to keep the seats it won in the lower chamber of congress, eliminating the PRI supermajority. The PRI needed that supermajority in order to modify the constitution to allow President Salinas’s economic agenda; without the supermajority, it needed the PAN. The PAN agreed to support Salinas’s economic agenda in exchange for the establishment of a truly independent electoral council. The PAN made this deal with people who, they were persuaded, had just stolen an election. That handshake paved the way for the PAN finally taking the presidency in 2000.

True, the PSUV is no PRI, in ways too numerous to count. But like the PRI in 1988, Chavismo—despite losing a majority of the popular vote—still has bargaining power.

In any case, both Quico’s scenario and mine share an important feature. Whether the MUD just “finds power on the street and picks it up,” as Quico says, or negotiates with a still-relevant Chavismo, as I expect, the MUD needs a plan.

We’ve heard something about what the MUD would do with a simple majority. Despite polls pointing clearly in that direction, opposition leaders remain skeptical about the possibility of getting ⅔ or even ⅗. But if the probability of that event is even ten percent—and it’s certainly higher than that—it’s worth preparing for. We’re eight days from the election. So, what is the MUD’s plan for wielding those supermajority powers?

Anyone?

Anyone?!

69 COMMENTS

  1. I’m definitely on your side of the fence w.r.t. Quico. Chavez and Chavismo are still a force today, and must be bargained with in any sort of power rebalancing. What I don’t agree with is the assumption many people make that Chavismo will be a force in 2-3 years. As massive corruption and narcotics schemes are dug-up and exposed by independent media, Chavismo’s popularity will likely decline. It only takes one well-documented scandal to sway public opinion. We could even see it before year end with the Flores nephews. Anyways, great article!

  2. I think you are getting the Mexican history slightly wrong. Salinas lost to Ing. Cardenas, a leading figure of the Nationa Front, which broke away from pri itself and later becoming the PRD. They in fact negotiated the legalization of the party and facing no persecution. PAN was always a loyal opposition, although they indeed were granted their spots in congress.

  3. No bargaining, no compromise. I hope who ever takes up the mantle after this corrupt cess pool of a government persecutes ever last red devil out of Venezuela. Or or at least rounds them all up and throw them in la tumba to rot. You’re asking the MUD to bargain with a criminal cartel, not a political party.

  4. Good article. It doesn’t depend on the Mexican example, nor the Nicaraguan, or Argentine, Portuguese, or Spanish, though. In all these cases, quasi-fascist movements were eased out of power after elections, each with a slightly different distribution of power. The fundamental question to me is whether a future Chavismo could mount an electoral campaign without using state power and money to do so. To the extent that it cannot, it will collapse over the long term.

    Of course there will have to be a negotiation as they are pushed from their positions of authority; an opposition which governs well can minimize the long-term ability of Chavismo to deal itself in to governance.

  5. Yes. Francisco failed to see the whole context of what happened in Romania, the whole background of preparation for the October Revolution and he failed to see how we opposition people in Venezuela 1) do not yet have the regional background Romanians had nor 2) the preparatory work to get to power.

    About the cult to Chavez: for me it has been a drama none of our big leaders had the cojones or ovarios to attack directly the caudillo “in spite of the field studies saying don’t mess with him” and foresight to educate the population about the economic realities of Venezuela. I heard from as early as 2006: “oh, we will explain it after the next elections”. And now there is no time.

    And because of that we will be forced to negotiate more with Chavismo than we actually would have needed had we had some vision and had we not considered the Venezuelan people idiots.

    • “…none of our big leaders had the cojones or ovarios to attack directly the caudillo “in spite of the field studies saying don’t mess with him”…”

      When MCM spat to the dictator’s face that “confiscate is stealing” and Diego Arria claimed he would take shiabbe to the Hague, well, you know, they became reviled as “extreme rrrriight rrrrrradicals that were messing with the poor”

  6. Chavismo is existentially anti political , they dont do bargains , they are the pure and heroic masters of the universe and the only thing their enemies can be offered is assimilation or extermination ……., have seen little willingness among their leaders for any agreements or compromises with their opponents , its what makes them feel great about themselves, their ferocious no holds barred proudly thuggish sectarian posture. !!

    Still one would hope that there is enough of a democractic spirit among their leaders that something like a broad based co existence arrangement can be made, the reasoning behind the authors message is respectable , there is a hard core chavismo feeling which will persist for quite a while and a co living arrangement would make the transition to a rational governance less difficult to achieve for the good of the country.!!

    • in addition to your point the goverment have cornered itself by demonizing the opposition, if it ever dared to shake hands with “el pelucón” it would mean to lose the core chavistas that think that the problem is that they haven’t destroyed enough.

      I have no idea of what will happen after december 6, but I find hard to imagine Diosdado and Capriles shaking hands, or making a serious deal, a deal they will respect anyway.

  7. I don’t think Mexico is a good historic parallel for Venezuela. The PRI had a solid political machine, but they didn’t completely destroy the institutions of democracy. In Venezuela, the power of the TSJ and the CNE has been completely subordinated to the Executive branch. I don’t see them being able to negotiate independently. The people in these posts were chosen for lackeys, not leaders.

    • In addition, Ernesto Cedillo who became president was probably the most honest president the PRI has had. Cedillo was elected president because Donaldo Colossio was assassinated. Without Cedillo the INE (Instituto Nacional Electoral) would have never been reformed to be able to conduct fair elections. Opening the doors for the PAN to win (Vicente Fox).

  8. Would Diosdado and his generals even be interested in bargaining to stay in government if they don’t have absolute power in the tsj and an?

    Do they have interest and vocation to do actual government jobs besides wielding absolute power indefinitely to do whatever they want except actual government work?

    Chavez will embody for a long time in Venezuela the idea of a government that gives you everything you need for free because you deserve it, sure, and someone will pick up that flag. But the structure he made of psuv, who will alone have the chavista power for now, doesn’t have in my opinion the right people to do it. I think they will just crumble if they see even the remote possibility of accountability closing in on them.

    • To REALLY understand chavismo, you have to understand that their natural stance is as opposition. They feel more comfortable calling out the evil power, doing so even while in power! Now, imagine that but with money and some political security.

      If we offer Diosdado that, his drool will run through the streets (instead of our blood)!

  9. So we should bargain with criminals. Nice.

    The new chronicles like the old one, tirando la burra al monte de la izquierda, de vez en cuando.

  10. I tell you one thing, the Chavistas must be horrified, and I mean in real absolute shock and panic about what’s going in Argentina and Brazil right now, which are their two most important allies.

    Just this week in Argentina:

    “Macri aseguró que la Justicia tendrá “libertad para ir a fondo” en las causas por presuntos hechos de corrupción cometidos por funcionarios y afirmó que cualquiera que forme parte de sus equipos estará “a disposición de la Justicia”.”

    And in Brazil:

    “Brazilian police on Wednesday arrested the government’s leader in the Senate for allegedly obstructing the investigation into a corruption scandal at state-owned oil company Petrobras.”

    Conclusion:

    A Cristina without powers is an arrested Cristina; and Dilma, even as president, is not being able to save her own ilk. Maybe not even herself. The Chavistas must be looking at all this from afar, from over the wall and thinking: “We just can’t let the same thing happen here, we just can’t.”

    The recent developments in these two countries will make them even more stubborn than they usually are. Brace yourselves.

  11. Cool article, wholeheartedly agree. Chavismo is strong, Chavez could not have died at a better moment for his cause.

    Plus, tbh, if you really are democrats, shouldn’t it matter to you that most of your countrymen would call themselves chavista? Does this not give us, as democrats, the mandate to negotiate?

  12. “In a recent Datanálisis poll, 57% of Venezuelans expressed favorable views of Chávez.”

    It’s probably more than that. Now the question is, why?!? After almost 17 years of a clearly disastrous, failed regime, an economic nightmare, same poverty or worse, after 200,000 people killed. Why??

    Is the Chavista “pueblo” abysmally misinformed? Or are they just masochistic in nature..Do they have a very short term memory, or were they happily showered with Freebies, tigritos.. Are they so poorly educated that they can’t tell that Cuba is no Paradise? Are they so mentally unprepared to still believe Chavismo, Populismo, an authoritarian, anti-democratic Regime is nice or viable or a good idea? Some of them even believe in “guerras economicas” or “el imperio” or “la derecha radical fascista que ataca al pueblo”, or that Uribe, el Eje de Madrid or “el capitalismo salvaje” is out to get them..

    Is 60% of Venezuela’s adult population, over 10 million “alphabetized” adults, ignorant enough to believe in such a corrupt system, where Chavez’s own daughters have more billions than Lorenzo Mendoza or the Cisneros? Or they just don’t have Wi-Fi Internet to be minimally informed.. Can’t 60% or more of the adult population understand what Devaluacion, Inflacion or Massive Chinese deuda means for future generations? Or they just drink too much booze or smoke too much ganja on a daily basis..

    How dumb, with all due respect, must 60% or probably 80% of the population be, to still think that Chavez is Great, but “Maduro” is not. It’s all Maduro’s fault, or Cabello’s, but Chavez had nothing to do with it. Blame Maduro, love Chavez, after he was in absolute power for 14 years, and was the one who clearly destroyed Venezuela, even when oil prices were higher than Ever.

    But no, the vast majority of Venezuela’s “alphabetized” adult population fails to comprehend even such basic concepts and plain realities. I am not saying they are stupid. No “pueblo” is more stupid or less intelligent than any other “pueblo”. But some pueblos are much less educated, (and I mean Real Education not a sopa de letras and some Castrista BrainWash), than others. Some pueblos work harder than others. Some pueblos are much better Informed than others. Some pueblos understand that “communism” or “socialismo” or “rebolusion” are enormous Lies. Others don’t.

    Finally, of these 60% (18 Million) or more who still Love, Adore and praise Comandante Pajarito Eterno y Supremo, more than 20% are Maduristas, today. Bailame ese trompo en la uña y cantame un joropo! More than 6 MILLION will vote for PSUV and for Cabello. After the country was Devastated and Destroyed beyond recognition. After 200,000 were violently killed, and over 50 people get killed every weekend in Caracas, the second deadliest city on the Planet.

    Are they self-destructive, living on some parallel dimension, or just became Zombies waiting every day in the infamous Colas? Or are these 6 Million ciudadanos simply LEEECHES and ENCHUFADOS in the record-breaking 32 Ministerios? I suspect that they are all THIEVES. Ignorant, under-educated, Thieves. Or how else can you explain all this. Sorry to say, but sometimes people get what they deserve.

  13. There’s Chavismo and Chavismo. One is a collection of corrupt, criminal, gun happy narcotraficante leaning egocentrics intent on maintaining control for survival. The others are like the Cubaguans as in an article of a couple of days ago. Their expectations seemed rather honest to me.

    You bargain with the latter, the former you eliminate.

  14. Dorothy, a minor divergence from your Mexican comparison. Even though the PRI and the PAN distrusted each other, the PANs economic agenda was somewhat aligned with that of the PRIs Salinas Government. So for the PAN it was win-win. I don’t think that’s precisely the case for the opposition in Venezuela. Chavismo I think will struggle to survive with elements from the opposition who are cozy with the State coffers. Even if they oust Maduro, which even Chavismo could spare, the opposition must take advantage of the dire economic situation to unseat them from office. If not, Chavismo might have survived its worst crisis.

  15. “Whether the MUD just “finds power on the street and picks it up,” as Quico says, or negotiates with a still-relevant Chavismo, as I expect, the MUD needs a plan.”

    Here’s the Master Mud Plan: “Cuanto hay pa’ eso?” Quitate-tu-pa’ponemeyo” “Vaya Chamo, una segunda ahi” “Tremendo guiso, primo, metase ahi que la vaina ta’ guena”

    Or did we so soon forget what 4 decades of Ad/Copey MUD was like? Ask Ramos Allup. Ask the Nicmer Evans or Aporrea ratas salta-barco. Heck, ask Capriles or Jose Guerra. That’s the next Chavista-Light, deeply corrupt MUD they are going to get.

  16. 1. Chavismo is a failure. Five years ago Chaistas were telling me that the economy was disappointing but just needed more time! That honeymoon is finally over. However, what made Chavism so compelling to so many in the first place is not over. Pure capitalism is not a solution, even Cuba is facing this issue. Even in the United States, there is socialism in many forms that is successful, and history has shown repeatedly that if wealth is unchecked, it becomes predatory and feeds on the poor and vulnerable. The economic strategy of the future that is compelling to both the strengths of both capitalism and socialism must be ironed out through a balanced negotiation process that necessarily needs participation.of parties on both sides. The difficulty is the pervasive ignorance of many of Cavismo which I have no idea how to address. Hopefully, the profound failure of their policies should have made them aware that they have much to learn

    2. The ultimate goal of negotiations, I believe, is to swiftly build a large educated and informed middle class from all sections of the Venezuelan ethno-cultural landscape. Without this there cannot be a vibrant democracy that holds its elected officials accountable!

    3. The rebuilding of the Venezuelan economy is an exciting opportunity to quickly adopt the latest technologies best suited for the future and establish competitive advantages that don’t bare the hazards of a petroleum based economy.

    4. Venezuela would be best served by abandoning Cuban socialism and examining soccessful examples of socialism like for example in Sweden.

    There are lots of opportunities that can be served through negotiations.

    • Nobody is ignorant.

      Angry, feeling fucked over, feeling ignored or patronized, desperate, distrustful, weary yes, but not ignorant.

      If you mean they never heard of Keynes, you’re attacking the wrong kind of ignorance. Educated opposition would do well to remember that you don’t need to explain relativity theory to sell a nuclear reactor, and also that maybe many of their exquisetly well developped economic theories may have gaping holes which are IGNORED by over-confidence in formal education. Holes that can only be addressed by LISTENING to those who see and live them, an excercice for which not calling them ignorant may be a necessary starting point.

  17. Might I disagree here? The rise of Chavismo was ALWAYS based on money, complete access to all government resources. Their success is a simple formula: parasite –> host. Latch onto the government revenue stream. then hold-on for all its worth. Then take fistfuls of said money, get on the stage, stomp your feet and scream at your audience, “This is for you!” Without access to government money, PDVSA money, Chavismo is doomed. The blood-sucking will stop. The lesson? Never again should any political party be allowed to use government money for their own political purposes. It should be written in the NEW constitutional. Simple.

  18. This paragraph:
    “So, what might that deal look like? What might the MUD be willing to offer Chavismo (presence in the judiciary, immunity from prosecution, space to function as an opposition party) in return for Maduro’s resignation, if it comes to that? What laws, what protections, what policies might the MUD push for in exchange for supporting a unity government, if Maduro were to propose one?”

    sounds very insensitive. It implies that the Venezuelan opposition (not only MUD) would be prepared or, worse, should be prepared to offer the criminal Chavista gang immunity from prosecution, among other benefits. This would be immoral and will not be tolerated by honest Venezuelan democrats.
    Any solution that puts aside the ethical component is condemned to failure.
    It should not even be mentioned, even as part of a purely theoretical political science exercise.

    • Ho Chi Minh sat across the table negotiating with Westmoreland while they carpetbombed Hanoi and incinerated about a million Vietnamese civilians…

      • Anybody remembers the “diálogos burundangueros”?

        Of course, you can’t compare 45 kills to millions, but, that’s the style of dictators, while they “dialogate”, they keep the slaughter running.

      • You left out the saturation bombardment with nerve gas, the anthrax canisters, and the booby-trapped toys to blow off children’s hands. If you are going to repeat Communist libels, why be half-assed about it?

        U.S. bombing of North Vietnam was always directed at military and transportation targets. LBJ was so worried about the bad press from collateral damage that he insisted on vetting targets himself. Many U.S. airmen died because AA batteries were exempted from attack as too close to civilian structures, or from going in close for accurate drops.

        The 1972 bombing campaign which got North Vietnam to negotiate in earnest was conducted with the first generation of “smart bombs”. It was effective because individual smart bombs could hit high-value small targets like railroad and highway bridges.

        There was never any area bombing, carpet bombing, or fire bombing of cities or towns or villages in North Vietnam.

        Indiscriminate attacks on urban areas were a Communist tactic; the Communists fired mortars and rockets into South Vietnamese villages and planted time bombs in marketplaces.

        BTW, Westmoreland never negotiated with anybody; that was the job of the State Department, not the Army. And he left Vietnam in 1968. Ho died in 1969.

        I don’t like to threadjack, but I deeply resent casual repetition of Communist lies by those who should know better. These lies came from the same hive that praises and excuses Chavez, and Castro, and libels the Venezuelan oppo as fascist murderers. Maybe it’s an example of Gell-Mann Amnesia: you know about Venezuela, so you can see the lies and be outraged, but with any other country you just swallow them.

    • Of course the entire country will soon forgive and forget. Hey, 1000 Thieves sucked the blood right out of Venezuela during the past 16 years? No problem. 200,000 violent dead. No problem. Humongous Andorra accounts from PDVSA or Corpoelec, or Derwick Associates bolichicos. That’s cool too. Forgive and forget. 40 years of ad/copey Mega-Thieves? ay chamo, eso no importa. “Pensemos en el futuro de la patria”, “Forget about it” as the Italian mafia likes to say here.

      Well, with total impunity, without any justice, you can expect 56 more years of MUD-Chavista-light thuggery. No one goes to jail, all the military, the TSJ will retire with millions in Europe or the Caribbean, heck, even stay in comfortable Quintas in Caracas for the rest of their lives. Yatchs at Morrocoy, private planes, haciendas, 3 apartments worldwide.

      But that’s cool. Let’s just move on with the next “bolivarian” mud generation. There’s still a little bit of Oil left to steal for the next 30 years. Justice? What for. Que ej eso? Para que? Move on..

    • I agree with Gustavo. What sort of future could a new government have that is born of such an immoral compromise of its ethical values? What future would Venezuela have if the enduring lesson to be learned is that corruption and thuggery pays and will not be punished?

  19. The truth is the people might still love Chavez but, Chavez is dead. Who can claim himself a better sucessor to the throne that the one already in there? He was hand picked after all.
    During Chavez goverment, everyone was hated but Chavez,- he himself made sure of that.
    He himself irreplaceable and it seems he succeeded on that indeed.
    Chavismo has nothing ot bargain with.Except of course, the billons of dolars in drug traffic they still have with them.

  20. A beautifully written reality-bites account, Dorothy. But I would ask:
    What is the date of, and perhaps links to your “In a recent Datanálisis poll, 57% of Venezuelans expressed favorable views of Chávez”?
    Also, what proof do you have that the MUD does not have a plan in place, when you state “the MUD needs a plan”?

  21. I compare Venezuela more to Nicaragua, where sandinists allowed Chamorro to take the presidence in exchange of keeping all the power, the “right wingers” couldn’t do zilch having basically their hands tied, and then sandinists returned as triumphant heroes to rescue the motherland on the hand of pedo-rapist orteguita.

    The problem chavizmo faces with any sort of negotiation is precisely that their indestructibility image will be destroyed instantly, that’s why they go to extreme lengths to shove down everybody’s throats that shiabbe was a heroic saint completely devoid of any guilt, because any stain on the martyr’s image would result on it rotting and obliterating chavizmo as a political movement.

  22. I interpret the 57% approval of Chavez as the cultural telenovela-like aspiration of being cared by the petrostate. The show Chavez ran preyed quite effectively on this.

    Chavez had perfect timing by dying when he did, so Maduro is left with the political bill of el eterno’s irresponsibility.

    Now Maduro has shown self destructive inflexibility by which I don’t think he could adapt to a power sharing government. He will implode.

    However Chavismo 2.0 is already budding with the likes of Nicmer Evans. They will pose ferocious opposition denouncing all the required harsh measures, claiming that they, as Chavez would NEVER do this appealing to Chavez petro-boom memories.

    So I expect Chavismo to be booted out in the most Bulgarian way, but they will be back probably in one election cycle. Hopefully Venezuela will have rebuilt some institutions that will curve their worse populist instincts.

  23. Chavez was a chaperone. He arranged a date between two people who had never looked at eachother’s face before, and this is one date which we cannot afford to bungle.

  24. As Robbie said there are two chavismos.

    The chavismo that wants a place in government to govern in a more balanced environment has absolutely no power to bargain right now. Chavez made sure of it so none got any funny ideas of replacing him.

    They will have representative power when the psuv crumbles, but right now, only the psuv heads have any power to negotiate. These are the loyals, Chavez political bodyguards, the guys that cant even move to do something remotely rational about the economy that’s destroying them. So the question is will they negotiate a place in a more balanced democracy or immunity to leave with their corotos.

    That being said I actually fear a big display of their power before they sit on the table.

  25. Regarding “immunity”:

    Fujimori had immunity;
    Augusto Pinochet had immunity;
    Baby Doc Duvalier had immunity;
    Jorge Rafael Videla had immunity;
    Among many others.

    How that turned up for them? “Immunity” is a bet in the dark in Latin America. You either fight or flight… I believe the Chavistas are aware of that.

  26. In 1945 president Truman was given the choice between throwing two atomic bombs and killing 250.000 innocent Japanese civilians to terrorize the Japanese regime into surrendering or not throwing those bombs (having regard to the inmorality of killing 250.000 civilians) and suffering an estimated 1 million casualties in stopping the war by having an allied army invade the mainland Japanese islands . Inmoral man that he was he chose the former.

    Now the dilemma in Venezuela may be the same , if it becomes necessary to allow some criminals not to be prosecuted to achieve a regime change , should we in the name of morality forego that alternative or should we allow some compromises and pardons as a way of effecting that change (after the country has suffered much more ruin and devastation ) !!

    I know what Trumans decision would have been ……….what about yours??

    • Good question. Maybe only those who do not appear on the “Cadivi List” have the moral integrity to offer a valid response.

      And I say no deal.

    • Well, Truman was fond of definitive solutions, not of half measures. If you just “forgive” these bastards, then you can bet that they will be taking part in the next elections, and maybe even winning against you, and rest assured that if they win, they will destroy the country once again.

      So, would you rather deprive a dozen of Chavista bigwigs their political rights for a couple decades, or would you rather destroy the lives of 30 million people (again)? I know how Truman would solve this equation. How about you?

    • It was not just Truman’s decision. I was a USA decision, Congress included. One person does not make such decisions in the USA. And as an American, I would do it all over again. You forget Pearl Harbour, you forget World War 1, , you forget Iwo Jima or the cost of liberating France, and Europe on D-Day in Normandie.

      The Nazis and the Kamikazes were insane. You do not rationalize with such filth. You protect the American people and your soldiers, and you bom the crap out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Any day of the week, instead of losing another Million good american men in battle to save the Western World. If we don’t speak Japanese or German in Europe, you have to thank the Americans.

      • People who read history KNOW it was Trumans personal call , many people opposed the decision (among them Gnral Eisenhower who tought such barbarous deed would bring dishonour upon the US for all times and Oppenheimer who helped build the bombs) and yet in the end most people had little difficulty believing his decision was good in that it helped save a lot of lifes.

        Dont know what compromises would have to be made to achieve a regime change (if the opportunity opens itself) , but the important thing is that once you are in and they are out you are in a much better position to make the change sustainable and help restore the hope of a sane life for us suffering Venezuelans.

        In the life of countries no solution is ever perfectly just or gives us all thats desirable , so you choose a point where you can reach a reasonable improvement on your current situation and then try to improve on that result as conditions change and new opportunities offer themselves.

        Im always a bit suspect of perfectly just solutions because thats not the way human progress works , also because righteous indignation is too ego flattering to allow us a rational practical view of things. But of course exquisite moral rigour is a respectable posture (one which many of us enjoy a lot) ,

        After WWI lot of people in Britain and France thought that the best thing was to raze germany to the ground so that its people would never again attain a civilized manner of life and pose a threat to their victors. Fiat Justitia et pereat mundi was always a popular cry ……., it still runs strong in Venezuela .

        • I see your point, Bill Bass. But I have to say that we South Americans are not that rigid with our morals as you imply, as the colonizers have never been puritans like the English who colonized North America; even today we don’t even think that a rapist should get a life sentence. Maybe we are too complacent with sin for our own good… Maybe.

          About what to do with Maduro and company after they lose, I think that it will ultimately depend on how the population supports the opposition after the hypothetical victory. As Chavez showed us, with massive support you can do pretty much anything you want, whereas, with a narrow victory followed by little popular support goals get harder to be accomplished. Nevertheless, I believe that the MUD should obviously aim to deprivate them at least of their political rights. That should be the goal because it’s the bare minimum to give a varnish of justice and put Venezuela on a safe path again. Just to clarify: to aim doesn’t mean to hit…

          I saw a video today of Maduro walking through a bunch of people that is clearly reminiscent of that Ceausescu’s last speech so mentioned here in the last days (http://youtu.be/hEfaHyCvu9w), and if the Chavistas keep weakening like that in the coming months, MUD shouldn’t bend over so much. On the contrary, it should keep attacking!

          The opposition must take into consideration that if Chavez, Cabello and the other that tried a coup in 1992 had their political rights denied after being released, none of the current disaster would be happening right now. That’s an important lesson.

        • “People who read history KNOW it was Trumans personal call”

          Bill, get off your high horse. And respect other bloggers’ opinion. History, sir, is a matter of opinion more than “fact”

          COMMON SENSE, of which you do not seem to have much, dictates that a US President alone does not make such huge decisions by himself. He may have been the strong man with the ultimate yes or no decision, (it does come down to the commander in chief under US law) but he dis have dozens of advisers in the Government. Some of them said yes, a few said no. But he was not alone in the decision. Next time, use your own brain after you read books. And then, try common sense, for a change.

          http://csis.org/blog/understanding-decision-drop-bomb-hiroshima-and-nagasaki

  27. Can of worms coming. With a hypothetical marginal Legislative win by Chavismo, a few well-placed $millions can quickly restore Govt. Legislative hegemony, as they have in the past. Only a fairly big Oppo win would make their majority insurmountable, and then they still face entrenched major Govt. institutions, a wretched economic/oil outlook, and a Chavismo/ideological political belief longing for the good old Populist days similar to the Peronismo that has ruined Argentina for so long. As someone said, in the words of a great Hollywood producer, Chavez’s dying was “a great career move.”

  28. I lived for four years in Mexico (the Zedillo years) before moving to Venezuela, so I naturally spent a bit of time reflecting on the differences between the PRI and the PSUV. Rather than being political parties in the conventional sense – formed in opposition in order to bid for power – they were both formed by governments in order to keep themselves in power.

    The biggest difference (perhaps): chavismo was always a one-man show, whereas the PRI was collegiate. Its leaders single greatest stroke of genius was the invention of the sexenio, whereby each man (invariably a man of course) who reached the top of the greasy pole (along with several thousand of his closest friends) got to govern (and loot) for a fixed period of six years. After that you were out to pasture, to enjoy your ill-gotten gains. And you never overtly interfered again.

    What that meant was that the ambitious and skillful mini-caudillo lower down the ranks had every incentive to stick close to the clique currently in power and bide his time – a near-perfect (thank you, Mario Vargas Llosa) recipe for stability and peaceful handovers of power within the party. It also embedded the principle of deal-making within the “revolution” and even allowed for governments of totally different ideologies (think Lázaro Cárdenas and Salinas de Gortari) to lay claim to the same “revolutionary” heritage.

    Having enshrined indefinite re-election as the essence of the political system, Chávez left the country on auto-pilot, with a crew who had never imagined they would actually need to practice landing. The likeliest result is a crash, when the fuel finally runs out.

  29. I hope we can be practical. A festering history of conflict brought to the negotiating table isn’t going to work as well as 1. Finding common goals, 2 dealing with circumstances that limit options, and 3 dealing with suspicions and distrust and other baggage from a long sustained adversarial history. It’s more likely to something positive by thinking only of the future and how to build something no party will object to.

    • I fuckin hear that! And if there is one thing Venezuelans will appreciate after all these years, SPECIALL-y the younger ones, it’s jobs. Una chamba.

  30. My Mexican friends go crazy – CRAZY – with any suggestion that the Chavez/Maduro regime bears any resemblance to their perfect dictatorship. Its a funny kind of competitiveness, but I understand. I don’t know who is the worse man who has done worse things, Maduro or Salinas, but I know who is the more embarrassing man.

    I think there is a lot of sense to what this post is saying. Chavismo will not fail in the eyes of its supporters. Maduro will fail.

    • I don’t know who is the worse man who has done worse things, Maduro or Salinas
      Seems to me that is not a difficult decision to make. One difference being that Salinas did a reasonably good job of managing an oil bust- at least compared to Maduro. Or maybe I am conflating Salinas with Zedillo regarding the economy. Stolen elections- seems like a wash.

      The main differences between Chavismo and the PRI have to do with deaths and consensus. Chavez took power peacefully. By contrast, the PRI took power after years of bloodshed. Estimates of deaths during the Mexican Revolution range from 500,000 to 2 million- out of a population of 15 million.

      There was a strong consensus in Mexico to not repeat the bloodletting of the Revolution, which helped keep a PRI-commanded peace in place for 70 years. Even with blips such as the 1968 student massacre, there was not substantial opposition to the PRI until the 1980s, which arose from reaction to mismanagement of the rise and fall of an oil boom. [There is a similarity to Venezuela!] By contrast, within 3 years of Chavismo taking power, there was a strong and active opposition.

  31. […] Dorothy Kronick’s piece lucidly hints at a MUD-Chavismo negotiation that I wholeheartedly believe is in the works, and that I am deeply distrustful of. But unlike Dorothy, who gives the opposition bloc the upper hand at the negotiating table, I happen to think it’s certain factions of the MUD who crawled up to knock on Chavismo’s door back in 2014, in a move that is purely driven by self-interest, at best; survival instincts, at most. […]

  32. […] Dorothy Kronick’s piece lucidly hints at a MUD-Chavismo negotiation that I wholeheartedly believe is in the works, and that I am deeply distrustful of. But unlike Dorothy, who gives the opposition bloc the upper hand at the negotiating table, I happen to think it’s certain factions of the MUD who crawled up to knock on Chavismo’s door back in 2014, in a move that is purely driven by self-interest, at best; survival instincts, at most. […]

  33. […] ベネズエラはこれまでの約17年間、今回のような政府が国全体をコントロールできていない状況に直面したことがありません。ベネズエラが向かっているのは、いわばテラ・インコグニタ(未知の世界)なのです。騒動や暴力は十分にありえることです。ですが、政府と野党側のいちかばちかの本格的な政治交渉もまた現実的な可能性のひとつです。そして政権の完全崩壊の可能性もまた、完全に除外することはできないのです。これは面白くなりそうです。 […]

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