Like everyone else, I was electrified by Henry Ramos Allup’s point by point rebuttal of President Maduro’s Memoria y Cuenta speech last night. The kind of frank, unembarrassed give-and-take that might be thought of as routine in a normal country has been absent from our public sphere for so long, it was barely believable that it could happen to us.

But I still think Henry – and the opposition as a whole – struggles to rebut Maduro’s “Economic War” rhetoric in terms that are clear, concise and compelling.

So here’s the little riff I wish Henry had used last night when the debate turned to DolarToday.

Sr. presidente, Ud. ha dicho que el país enfrenta una guerra económica a mano de una página web en Miami que supuestamente manipula el precio del dólar en el mercado paralelo. Vamos a examinar eso un poco más de cerca.

¿A quién le interesa verdaderamente que el precio del dólar paralelo suba? Digo, ¿quien tiene un interés económico en que eso pase?

Pues es muy sencillo, a los que tienen acceso a dólares baratos.

Viéndolo bien, es como bastante obvio, ¿no?

Si yo tengo quien me venda una papa a Bs.6,30 y quien me la compre a Bs.800 estoy feliz. Pero si yo no tengo quien me venda una papa a Bs.6,30, ¿qué interés puedo tener yo en que después alguien me la quiera comprar más cara? Ninguno.

Los únicos que se benefician aquí cuando sube el precio del dólar en el mercado paralelo son la pila de corruptos que pululan al rededor de CADIVI, o CENCOEX o como quieran Uds. decirle a ese antro de corrupción que han creado ahí y que se dedican a sobrefacturar para comprar dolares a seis y venderlos a 800 y después con los 800 volver a comprar más dolares a seis y volverlos a vender a 800.

Esos son los únicos que se benefician del aumento del dólar paralelo.

Y los único que deciden quiénes van a recibir dólares baratos son Uds.

Más nadie.

Entonces, ¿guerra económica? Sí la hay. Claro.

¿A quien beneficia? A los enchufados.

¿Quien la estimula? Los enchufados.

¿Quien se mueve para que se mantenga, a pesar de la miseria en la que hunde a los venezolanos?  Los enchufados.

Presidente, si Ud. se quiere enterar de quien es el que está estimulando la guerra económica en este país la tiene muy fácil.

Le basta preguntarse, “cuando discutimos esto, ¿quién está en contra de la unificación cambiaria? ¿Quién es el que no quiere que se cierre la brecha entre el dólar oficial y el dólar paralelo? ¿Quiénes son los que se mueven, los que hacen gestiones para que se nombren ministros como Luis Salas que están comprometidos con mantener los controles de cambio?”

¡Identifíquelos! Es importante que los identifique porque esos son los que se están llenando los bolsillos a costa de todos los venezolanos.

Esos son a los que Ud. tiene que investigar.

Y si no los quiere investigar no se preocupe que de eso nos ocupamos nosotros aquí desde la Asamblea.

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  1. In fairness, HRA had no time to prepare that speech because he didn’t know what Maduro would say. No doubt, he spent all last night berating himself for not explaining things better than he did.

    But, I do like you theme of turning the focus onto the government “enchufados”.

    • Not surprising though. Ramos Allup is no neo-liberal but a bona fide socialist, in fact a vice-president of the Socialist International. So don’t expect any capitalist roading from him.

  2. Excelent Francisco, however I do believe that he knows very well how those people are, and he look one in the mirror every morning.

  3. I think HRA was very careful not to hurt any sensibilities specially Maduro’s.
    I believe he wants Maduro to see him as a best friend.
    He wants to win him over.

    • That is exactly what I thought. I went out of his way at least thrice to unload responsability from Maduro, putting it on the country he inherited instead. We all know that Maduro has a lot of responsibility in what’s been happening, but he decided to attack Chávez instead… In the Hemiciclo… in Cadena Nacional. Amazing. D.R.

    • I agree. He rebutted Maduro’s nonsense very well, but I think the overall message was “vamos a dejarnos de huevonadas: O colaboramos, o va a quedar pais para nadie.”

      Will Maduro and his entourage be smart enough to realize that he needs to play well with others now?

    • And I think Maduro recognized HRA is a more intelligent man. That must be a bit difficult for Maduro to acknowledge. A moment that got my attention as a sign of hope for dialogue, was when Maduro reached out and touched HRA’s arm.

  4. That would have been immensely satisfying, a fucking awesome cherry on top of HRA’s great pie of a speech. But it probably hits too close to home, as some have already said here. Literally everybody has a rabo de paja on this issue, MUD is no exception.

  5. Pareciera que HRA quiere construir puentes de entendimiento/salvación hacia Maduro.
    Coincido con Quico en que sacar a flote el tema de los enchufados, le hubiera dado condimento al discurso, pero si la estrategia es “diálogo” para buscar “estabilidad en Vzla”, HRA llegó hasta dónde podía llegar sin herir suceptibilidades.

  6. I wrote this partly in the most zanahoria way possible: I think it would’ve been cool for Henry to say this because I actually don’t think this is a train of thought that has ever crossed Nicolás Maduro’s head.

    I don’t think NM is stealing. I think he’s really dumb, and easy to manipulate by people who are stealing.

    • When Maduro sat on the throne, old Rafael Poleo wrote an article about him saying he was the “pagapeo” for Chavez policies. He is starting to pay the price and if the NA does not send him to pasture, the pitchforks will. Yet you don’t stay as long as he did in politics by being really dumb. It is either his style, playing dumb or he is smoking too much dope, but I don’t think he is really dumb. Right now he is cornering Cabello pretty badly and that is a lot of fun to watch.

      • there’s also the blackmail factor. They are very good at it. Whether secretly film someone with underage girls or filming a man with other men (it has happened), or blackmail stemming from narcotics or corruption.

    • His drug dealing step son had a diplimatic passport. No, Maduro ain’t clean. A mistake people like to make is to think that because he isn’t clean, he is also not sincere in his convictions. Having both is weakness of character or hard machiavelism, I know which one I would peg Maduro for.

    • he’s been on nominas going back to AN days. As FM, he started moving coke using diplomatic means. He was moving cocaine to New York in 2009 because of laundering trail recently made public. He was mentioned as untrustworthy by FARC in the Raul Reyes notebooks becaue he was running coke. The Flores family busy setting up companies in Panama. not sure what you mean by not stealing

      • You convinced me! Because, personally, I never believe anything until I’ve had it confirmed by an anonymous blog commenter.

        • So you then dont believe they run coke? What is your burden of proof? Maduro never took a kickback or bribe? His right hand man is not laundering from NY through Suntrust and Banesco? The RR report is bogus? I made it easy for you with published reports from reputabe sources but you Sir require proof….ok. You cannot be everywhere at once FT…..acknowledge you are clueless about narcotics.

        • Pronto va a salir un reportaje en eeuu con graficos proveniente del dod con informacion detallada de los narco aviones. I hope that meets your standards.

  7. Im not sure the argument holds true for those billlions of dollars which are used directly by government agencies to purchase things to redistribute to people or for direct govt use (unles your think of the opportunity for kickbacks to those who authorize the purchases) . there is also the fear that if you lift the controls the prices of imported stuff will rise exponentially and cause people to blame the govt for it and the paralell fear that people with money will purchase those dollars massively to keep in their accounts abroad and not to buy any absolutely neccessary imports . Not to be forgotten is that as never before the dwidling forex is used by govt agencies to import things directly or to pay govt creditors abroad making the chance of gaming the differential very unlikely.

    Another counter argument would be to remind them that there is a governamental system in place which minutely controls the transport distribution and pricing of every single item that ever gets bought with forex in the country , so that the regime has the means to prevent any private producer from acting to sabotage the economy against the interests of Venezuelan consumers. If such sabotage does exist its because the government is not doing its job…….

    • As many have said here, HRA went as far as he could without overly-hurting Govt./PSUV sensibilities. Dumb, or not so dumb, NM surely knows about the corruption in the forex system/his Govt., but with powerful ideological/military figures involved, he feels relatively powerless to do much about it. Also, any major change in the 6.30 exchange rate, or rate unification, will slam hard his diminishing popular support, and any alleviation by the IMF is anathema to his Commie/fellow travelers way of thinking. Finally, since Venezuela now has barely enough forex to cover basic foodstuffs/medicines, much of the corruption, as BB says, will by necessity be vastly lessened.

  8. HRA speech and manner is folksy , plain , humorous , unflappable , direct , self confident , mischeveous and incisive , just what Venezuelans like it to be , one flaw of many of our oppo leaders is that they sound earnest and solem and righteous in a way that may appeal to peoples civic spirits but not to their more visceral selves . He is the perfect foil to Maduros mode of expression which mixes an arrogant , bombastic, pretentious style with a clearly phony and forced ‘ah chucks’ familiarity that no one can believe in.

    Chavez had the folksy direct charm but then added to that a full dollop of corny sentimentality and a boisterous exhuberant display of buffoonish grandiostiy that many educated people found indigestible !!

    The ‘tengo mucho kilometraje’ (mileage’) retort to the shouting and hissing from the psuv deputies was priceless……..!!

  9. Maduro showed the graph of the decline in oil prices from 2014 through 2015. I would have loved to have seen Ramos Allup produce the same graph from 1999 through 2015, showing the extraordinary increase in oil prices over that period and ask Maduro, “What do you have to show for this monumental windfall of income? What happened to all that money?”

  10. OT:

    The good side of lower oil price:

    “Back in July 2013, a barrel of oil was selling for around $98 in the U.S. when the Qatar-backed Al Jazeera announced with huge ambitions the launch of a cable channel in America that would rival CNN and Fox News. Less than three years later, with oil selling for $30 a barrel on U.S. markets, the owners pulled the plug on Al Jazeera America, citing a business model that was “simply not sustainable.” One knowledgeable observer estimated the total loss at nearly $2 billion.”

    Obvious question: When will Telesur rest in peace too?


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