Full Video: Pastrana! Quiroga! Naím! Schamis!

AS-COA does it again. A panel discussion on the outcome of the December legislative elections in Venezuela, their implications, and future scenarios. Starts at 9:30 EST, 10:00 a.m. Hugoslavia Standard Time.


Live Blog

11:41: Tuto Quiroga rolls Donald Trump, Lilian Tintori, a marathon and the friggin’ Bible into his closer. Legend!

11:39: Quiroga closes with a Leopoldo López love in. Lilian too.

11:38: Quiroga with a big-think/conspiracy-theory riff on a Grand Bargain between Obama and the Pope selling Venezuela down the river as the price of reengaging Cuba and pacifying Colombia. Totally crazy? Or just crazy enough to be right?

11:35: Quiroga leans on Padrino’s order on December 6th. Then steals Chuo’s joke about an Asamblea like his head: “sin cabello.”

11:34: Quiroga: “Imagine Chapo Guzman in his heyday running congress, the armed forces and an oil company. These are drug lords, running a state.”

11:33: Quiroga: The absence of alternatives clears up the mind.

11:32: Naím: In the 17 years the muscles that every society has to exercise compromises, to agree with people you dislike, have atrophied. That made for very flacid muscles of democracy, that’s what needs to be rebuilt urgently.

11:29: Pastrana: In 15 years Colombia went from a failed state to a reinvigorated democracy.

11:24: Pastrana keeps hitting on the theme of FARC-Venezuelan Military ties.

11:22: Pastrana compares Venezuela and Colombia side-by-side. Does this count as rubbing it in?

11:18: Schamis: “Let’s see if we can get back to where we started in the 1980s, when we all had our democratic transitions. A time when in fact Venezuela was the only democracy in the region.”

11:15: Schamis: “This is the time to keep going to Venezuela.” Nails down the need for hemispheric accompaniment.

11:12: Schamis describes election night at Cambiemos HQ in Argentina.

11:10: Schamis: “This is plain, simple authoritarianism. That people vote is not an impediment for authoritarianism to ensue. Let’s drop the oxymoronic notion of ‘illiberal democracy’ – what is the meaning of a democracy where you don’t have the freedom to say what you think? Nowhere has the experiment been more extreme and more complete than in Venezuela.”

11:08: Schamis: “The Venezuelan case is so central. It is the black eye on our democracy in the region.”

11:06: Naím: “We now need not former presidents but current presidents to raise their voice and show some leadership. This is the time for the Cartel of the Decent to raise its voice.”

11:05: Naím: “The International Community has been strident in its silence.” Calls for “a coalition of the decent.”

11:04: Naím doubts if the Chinese are going to keep sending money to Venezuela. (We have some bond-nerds here who beg to differ.)

11:03: Naím: 2016 is going to be a nightmare.

11:02: Naím: Diosdado Cabello has already said that he sees ahead a clash of powers. So that’s what we need to expect, that’s what’s coming. But the political context should not take our eyes away and our attention away from the economy.

11:00: Naím: This is the DNA of a regime that just lost by a landslide. Their structural intolerance for checks and balances has not gone away. They cannot live with any institutional settings that limit their total and absolute power.

10:59: Naím having a great old time showing chavismo’s craziest moments of the last week in D.C. ¡Como se goza!

10:58: Naím goes to video of Diosdi again denying any possibility of an Amnesty Law.

10:57: Naím goes to video. Shows Maduro vowing to ignore any Amnesty Law. “You can send me 1000 laws, but the assassins of a people must be judged.”

10:55: Naím goes to video. Shows Maduro threatening not to build homes in retaliation for not receiving support.

10:53: Naím explains the government’s nullification strategy. Will have to pay Raúl S. some royalties.

10:52: Naím rememorates the “Victoria de Mierda” – is far too polished to use the actual word.

10:51Naím: Control of the judiciary, the control of money, the control of money. All of that creates the 21st Century Stealthy Autocracy. Venezuela has a long history of doing this. To put the recent election in context, it’s important to understand that whenever President Chávez ran up against a limit on his power, he would crush it.

10:50: Naím: Stealthy autocracies use the people, armed gangs. They buy the media, through cronies.

10:48: Naím: They know how to undermine checks and balances, they hate checks and balances, but they know how to undermine them while hiding it. Venezuela is not the only one: Bolivia, Argentina, Nicaragua, etc.

10:47: Naím: Venezuela is a limit case of a new animal in the global zoo of regimes: a stealthy autocracy of the 21st century. These are regimes that are very good at looking like democracies but acting like autocracies.

10:43: Quiroga: Closes with a nice shout out to Simón Bolívar. That’s class!

10:42: Quiroga: From now on, more than ever, you need to stick together.

10:41: Quiroga: When it was clear that the opposition had 112, it went beyond Maduro. There is a group of judges there whose jobs are on the line.

10:39: Quiroga: Tells the story of how they pressured Tibisay to close the voting centers at 6 p.m. At 7:00 p.m. Padrino, for one minute, he was a good guy. Institutionally, it’s not good that it takes the minister of defense to say the voting is over.

10:38: Quiroga: Come 6:00 the sun goes down, the motorcycles come out, and they take over the voting centers. Well, they always leave all the precincts open. The vampires come out between 6 and midnight and they overturn the results. And they were about to do it again this time.

10:36: Quiroga: Maria Corina was disallowed from running because she forgot to declare the sandwiches she would supposedly get at the National Assembly. Would you take a sandwich from Diosdado Cabello? I know I wouldn’t.

10:35: Quiroga: Clearly the regime had every intention in the world to postpone or cancel the election. Step two is “let’s rig it”. Read the Almagro letter, nothing else needs to be said. It shows all the frauds they did. You name it they did it.

10:34: Quiroga: “It’s a catastrophe, there is no easy way out.”

10:33: Quiroga: Half a penny to fill up a gas tank. “That’s why the country’s broke.”

10:33: Quiroga: The little money that is left, instead of importing food and drugs, they’re simply stealing it.

10:32: Quiroga: The Diosdado Cabello Hedgefund, otherwise known as the Central Bank of Venezuela. Quip machine…

10:31: Quiroga astounded by just how completely Venezuela has been devastated.

10:30: Quiroga rolling in the quips.

10:29: Quiroga: Hugo Chávez was a convination of CNN, MTV, History Channel, Comedy Central.

10:27: Quiroga: The 21st century has been dominated by the Venezuelan regime – money, outreach, message. “The Chicha Decade.”

10:26: Pastrana: Asks for FARC to be formally expelled from Venezuela.

10:25: Pastrana openly speculating about a plea-bargain by the Florecitas.

10:24: Pastrana: We know Venezuela has a narco-regime. Así, lisito. 

10:23: Pastrana: It’s very important that the MUD elect as soon as possible the new president of the assembly to show that the opposition is united. The problem in Venezuela is not going to be elections, the problem in January will be a humanitarian crisis, and we don’t know how they’re going to solve it.

10:21: Pastrana: Maduro said “Prefiero una Venezuela en paz que un triunfo electoral”.

10:20: Pastrana: We told Maduro that we were worried about his language. “You are inciting people to go out into the street, violence.” But Padrino López said no. We also asked him about OAS’s worries about 6D. No answer. Third, we said we want this government to open a channel with the opposition: about reform of the electoral system and reform of campaign financing.

10:19: Pastrana: President Maduro left us, six former heads of states, waiting for an hour and a half for a meeting.

10:18 Pastrana: Delcy nos habló golpeao. “We will respond to the OAS letter after the election.”

10:17: Pastrana: Our mission was invited by the MUD, but it was the one that balanced what happened on 6D. We asked for meetings with Tibisay Lucena and also with President Maduro. When we arrived to Caracas, the president of CNE said to us she did not have time to meet with us.

10:15: Pastrana: The leader of the UNASUR mission, Lionel Fernández, is not a member of UNASUR. Also, he’s bought and paid for. (Paraphrasing.)

10:13: Pastrana: “We don’t believe in UNASUR, we believe that UNASUR has not the moral authority to be there.” Unasur taking care of elections is like Dracula taking care of the blood bank. Tu. Qui. Ti.

10:12: Pastrana. Nothing I love more than a cachaco accent in English.

10:11: Introductions.


AS-COA does it again.

A panel discussion on the outcome of the December legislative elections in Venezuela, their implications, and future scenarios.

Starts at 9:30 EST, 10:00 a.m. Hugoslavia Standard Time.


  • Andrés Pastrana, Former President of Colombia @AndresPastrana_
  • Jorge Quiroga, Former President of Bolivia @tutoquiroga
  • Moisés Naím, Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Chief International Columnist for El Pais and La Repubblica @MoisesNaim
  • Hector Schamis, Adjunct Professor, Center for Latin American Studies, Georgetown University; Columnist for El Pais @HectorSchamis
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas (moderator) @ericfarns