It Sounds So Simple When Bello Says It

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The Economist’s Bello column (on Latin America) this week pivots from hair-raising oumaigá to disarming simplicity in a few paragraphs, ending with this:

Most in the opposition and some chavistas believe a negotiated transition is the only way to prevent a descent into bloodshed. The outlines of such a deal are clear. The regime would concede an amnesty for political prisoners and agree to restore the independence of the judiciary, the electoral authority and other powers. In return the opposition would support essential, but doubtless unpopular, measures to stabilise the economy.

Easy peasy, right?

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40 COMMENTS

  1. My favourite Economist columnist is Bottomwood , now I must pay more attention to Bello , the most recent columnist to be added to the roster of very talented Economist feature writers……..dam good colum , lucid , elegant , accurate , easy to read . The description is both poignant and incisive , the last message however …..one which any venezuelan living the tragedy can hardly believe in …….its like imagining a jewish settler embracing a palestinian and telling him we can share this land !! First we would need an overhaul of the Chavista leadership , Except maybe for Mr Aristobulo (who may be play acting a more moderate tone) they have made the unrelentless hatred of their political opponents their brand, the trademark of their political identity …., still conditions are so dire and daunting that perhaps we can hope for somekind of miracle where some sort of discreeet modus vivendi can be agreed to that helps the country walk out of this disaster without blodshed …..regretably the odds now dont look too promising !!

  2. We are starting from the wrong assumption: The government wants to somehow solve everyday problems and survive at the same time … It’s February 6, has lost too much time to take fiscal measures, the most basic, increase fuel. Nicolás seems to be playing a completely different game: Finish in the history books as if he were a sort of Caribbean Allende; he may not do it consciously, but basically seems to have a suicide plan in his crippling indecision. I hope I’m wrong, but I think there have been too many signs that reveal otherwise; If so, Maduro will leave only after the total collapse … Apocalypse Now

    • Just for the record, if you interview 100 random people anywhere in the world, you will always get at least four or five that are appallingly, but entertainingly, ignorant. Water’s did not include the interviewees who were knowledgeable and articulate in his montage because they didn’t support his theme.

      Which is not to say that Bernie Sander’s supporters are not misguided or deluded, because they are. All am saying is that interview montages such as this one do not have any “journalistic” value.

  3. The key statement by Bello:
    “Most in the opposition and some chavistas believe a negotiated transition is the only way to prevent a descent into bloodshed. The outlines of such a deal are clear. The regime would concede an amnesty for political prisoners and agree to restore the independence of the judiciary, the electoral authority and other powers. In return the opposition would support essential, but doubtless unpopular, measures to stabilise the economy”
    is hard to understand. It says that the opposition would support essential but unpopular measures to stabilize the economy. But it should read the government would support measures…. etc. The government has not advanced any real measures to correct the economic situation. The opposition is the one advancing these measures. I don’t understand the punch line by Bello.

    • The measures that need to be taken , cant be taken from the Asamblea , they have to be taken by govt bodies which the regime controls , for example forex controls are dependent on the BCV and the Ministry of Finance , however the biggest barrier to the regime taking these measures is its fear that being unpopular the political fallout will hurt them and benefit the oppo , so if the oppo supports those measures from the Asamblea they might feel that the adverse political effects will be shared !!

      • Perhaps, but the following scenario might also be feasible: The AN proposes a necessary change in policy, such as a rise in the price of gasoline. The Chavernment agrees. After the policy change is enacted, Chavismo will then say, “The sifrino AN made us do it.”

        • I think there’s limits to how far they can take the “blame AN” strategy. I mean… I don’t think radical chavistas will be easily supported of a “revolutionary government” that says: “they made me do it”. It’s not an easy sell, at all. Less so after years of doing whatever they want.

    • “The measures that need to be taken” , first of all, will not be taken.

      Too much social explosiveness, too much political cost. It would have to start by containing Galactic corruption in 37 -world record- “ministries”, with 5 million Enchufados, at least, and then fixing PDVSA, Corpoelec, cleaning that up a bit. Plus you have to pardon the corrupt military and top thieves running the Regime.

      That’s what Ramos Allup talks about with Aristobulo on the phone all the time. Not about amnesty for Leopoldo and the other 75 tortured political prisoners, nope, amnesty for the Chavista Criminals and Thieves. “Reconciliacion”, if you prefer.. So they get the hell out and hide their millions without risking Jail time.

      “The measures that need to be taken” are too tough, too explosive. Only the IMF and a free Leopoldo could begin to enforce a FEW of them. While the country is on fire, and it’s only the beginning of the fire.
      It’s gonna get 20 times worse, in 24 months. Inevitably. Regardless of what they try to do.

      Let Maduro and Cabello fall on their knees and ask the cash from the IMF. Or they will blame it all on global warming, the MUD, and the price of tea in China. And “el pueblo” will believe it.

    • “Most in the opposition and some chavistas believe a negotiated transition is the only way to prevent a descent into bloodshed. The outlines of such a deal are clear.”

      Indeed they are. And you have 2 veteran politicians in charge of the “negotiated transition”. Allow me to make it a bit clearer for the naive and over-intellectual observers:

      Aristobulo: “Que paso, Henry, pa’ que me llamas otra vez a estas horas?” Deja el ron añejo, y hablame claro: Que nos vas a ofrecer?”

      Henry Derwick Ramos : ” Tranquilo pana, que la vaina va pa’lante” Ya hablamos el otro dia, y te confirmo que aqui nadie va preso”. “Sean discretos, escondan sus reales, vayanse poco a poco, y aqui todo se olvida”.

      Aristobulo: ” Y pa donde, guevon? Pa donde vamos a agarrar, Alaska or Moscu? La Habana? Ni por el carajo!!” Argentina? Chile? Sera pa’ Australia, por ni las islas del Caribe sirven pa esconder los reales, pendejo.”

      Henry: ” Mira negrito, ya esta bueno de llamarme pendejo, que tu no habias nacido en en ese caserio de Barlovento, cuando yo ya era jefe de Accion Democratica. Respeta, coño. ”

      Aristobulo: “Ah vaina, chamo, cualquiera cae que yo tambien naci ayer”. “Y de paso, Sr. presidente de la asamblea, Mr. Bolsa, ponte las pilas, o hablamos con los panas, altos Militares y arreglamos este peo”. Tu sabes que los tenemos en el bolsillo con su trafico de drogas..”

      Henry: “Quedate quieto, moreno. No se baila pegao hasta que la negra este bien borracha” Tranquilo que yo cuadro la vaina. Arreglamos ese peo con el Tribunal, y ni siquiera Disdado va preso. Amnistia pa’todos, pero vayan desapareciendo..”

      Aristobulo: “Gueno Henry termina de cuadrar tu vaina. Nosotros necesitamos unos mesesitos mas pa lavar los dolares, comprar los apartmanentos, y mi yate en St. Vincent. Que no se te olvide esa vaina, hablate con tu familia los D’agostino. 70 pies, minimo, y con radar GPS. Una de mis gevas quiere su apartamentico en Europa, osea que muevete y resuelve, chamo, necesito titulos de propiedad, y lo demas es paja.”

      Henry: “No te enrolles, gran carajo. Eso es lo de menos. Pero empiecen a soltar el coroto, que la vaina va a reventar, marico. No se han dado cuenta que la gente esta super arrecha?” Hambre, guevon, Hambre”.

      Aristobulo: “Haz tu vaina, que nosotros ya veremos”. Deposita, entrega papeles, y despues hablamos”

      Henry: “Ta bien. Y dile a los capos de PDVSA que se queden tranquilos tambien. Aqui nadie va preso. Pero que suelten ese coroto, y se busquen su pasaporte”.

      Aristobulo: “Fino, Henry, anda a dormir que se te van a alborotar las canas”. Mañana hablo con Diosdado y con Cilia, y resolvemos este peo”.

      Henry” “Dale pendejo”.

      • Aristobulo: “Y me quedo con la mansion en Curacao, y los caballos en el Hipodromo?” Henry: “Claro, mi Negro, invita al Pollo si quieres, que le gusta por alli; tampoco le vamos a tocar los caballos de Huguito. Pero, eso si, desocupame La Casona, porque, uno nunca sabe, y, como dijo “OK”, mi mujer “nacio pa’ noble”, y quiere seguir siendo “La Suegra de Todos los Venezolanos”. Ademas, mi cunado quiere regresar a RCTV, para seguir haciendo del perraje “Millonarios”.

  4. Antonio Abad Gonzalez has the right idea for a useful meme: the Caribbean Allende. But Maduro shouldn’t go out as a hero for anyone. It actually seems that the reality will be more like suicide by Caracazo.

    I propose the chant: “Ceaucescu, Maduro! Vayan al infierno!” This makes the correct historical connections while denying him martyrdom. Because the myth will be important for many decades afterwards, and that’s what he wants.

  5. I agree, given the way he has always acted i’d be more inclined to suspect an autogolpe, it would be negotiated, theatrical and kinda peaceful for him.

    I bet if he had sold the cancer inoculation story there would be a sudden epidemic…

  6. Hmmm. That TE paragraph seems to imply that Maduro is desperate and willing to apply the unpopular measures? And the AN would support him but only after some concessions? Hmmm. Weird
    The reality is more like Maduro brought himself to this corner and the only option now it to pick his poison.
    I guess he would need some one to push him over the edge or just surrender.
    His strategy so far seems to buy time by burning through the money reserves waiting for the Oil price to go up.
    At this pace he would completely bankrupt Venezuela before he steps down.

  7. “In return the opposition would support essential, but doubtless unpopular, measures to stabilize the economy.”

    And that’s the tricky part. “El Pueblo” has a very short memory, and is less educated, not as smart as many of us like to admit. Undoubtedly very ill-informed. (70% are still Chavistas, idolize El Pajarito, and forgot all about the 12 years he was in absolute power, when everything went to hell) (30-40% are enchufados and still support even Madurismo) (That’s how bright our “pueblo” is.)

    Time flies, and “el pueblo” will soon start to believe that the Burgueses Pelucones from the MUD are also to blame for the price of the arepa, expensive chickens and the lack of tuna fish cans. They will soon start buying into the Chavista Media (still controlled by the Criminal Regime) and start blaming Ramos Allup or Julio Borges for the worsening disaster, even for the the lack of Reserves and the inevitable Default. “Culpa de los Sifrinos Derechistas Imperialistas que gobiernan en el parlamento”..

    As soon as the new austerity measures begin to be implemented (Gas price raise, taxes, transportation costs, Real Food prices, no control de cambio… As soon as inflation hits 700% ; As soon as the Dollar gets to $1200; And, especially, when the 5 Million Enchufados, plus more Millions with some Freebies get their Freebies cut off.. That’s when the shyt will hit the fan.

    And they will remember the “good days” with Chavez. And they will start blaming the MUD Capitalistas for everything. Because, sorry to say, that’s exactly how “wise” our “pueblo” is.

    That’s why they should leave Maduro and Cabello in power even a couple more years, but reduce their powers and regain the TSJ, somehow keep the corrupt Military quiet. Let the Chavistas take the blame for the Full Disaster, when it arrives. Because it’s still nice and dandy in Vzla, compared to what’s coming.

    Let Maduro and Cabello and Aristobulo be the ones Begging the IMF and the ONU for financial relief and humanitarian help. Or they will blame the MUD for selling the “patria” the the IMF “imperialists”, and “el pueblo” will believe it.. Because they are oh, so wise, educated, smart, well-informed, and incorruptible. Aren’t they.

    Chavismo, like most cancers, will be alive and semi-dormant, then re-emerge, disguised under whatever other political “socialist”, corrupt movements.When the Economy gets 10 Times worse. When the Freebies and Guisos run out. That’s what Aporrea and other Scoundrels and Thieves are waiting for. The resurgence of Chavismo, so they can get their piece of the pie. Nicmer Evans and others can’t wait..

    • “That’s why they should leave Maduro and Cabello in power even a couple more years…” Chamo tu no quieres pero ni un poquitico a Venezuela. Increíble leer lo que propones… La peor crisis economica de nuestra historia democratica y tu deseas que esto se alarge mas… Ya va que tengo que ir a vomitar…

      • De acuerdo. Si así estamos ahora, ¿te lo imaginas en dos años?
        Betting on “Let’s give them two more years” is assuming there are two more years before the big comedown. A pretty big bet.

  8. There is an alarming lack of consensus on both sides that raises the question: who would negotiate such a deal? Who has the popular support and the trust to execute it?

  9. The Govt. will not give up its power willingly, and the Oppo should not promote necessary hardship economic measures without the Govt. taking full/sole responsiblity for the same. The Venezuelan poor Pueblo must decide for themselves if they want to continue in Chavismo/Castro-Cuban misery, or throw off their Communist yoke and try to improve their lot via rational systemic economic reform.

  10. I don’t think the opposition has any negotiating leverage. They won the AN, sure, but the regime is intent on gutting them through extralegal measures. They will never be able to reform the TSJ, they will never be able to start the clock on a recall. The moment they try is the moment more magical bullshit will tumble up from on high to neutralize the threat of lawful processes. And the repercussions of that? Got me. I don’t think the army nor Maduro are terribly concerned with political repercussions versus what happens the moment they are out of power.

    I’m afraid we’re stuck. Quite possibly as stuck as we were in 2014 without the benefit of clarity this time. 🙁

  11. Notice how the writing style of one newcomer is reminiscent of that old troll ‘lee kuan yew’, one telling note being the subtle peddling of despair ….. ‘abandon hope all you who enter here..’ ……, nothing will ever get changed and if a change is made it wont really make a difference……..they are all crooks !! .

    I am confident that changes are coming , perhaps in a way no one expects, maybe from the inside , in one two three separate steps , from two or three fronts , already there are noticiable changes both from within and from without , maybe not in one fell swoop, but by the slow erosion of power where it used to be strong .!! look at the way news are getting covered , at how ministers speak their messages , at the open defiant way people denounce the regime in the streets and other places ……meantime every thing continues going to the dogs , the tightest of hegemon machineries cant top the message from flooding all social spaces …..this regime is a total failure !! The situation is unbearable !! Get the bastards out !!

    • I believe you are right. G.N. is the latest reincarnation of LKY, who was reincarnated from… I forget. He uses all the same themes: “All is lost. Venezuela is not worth saving. Save yourself if you can.”

    • By Troll I am presuming to mean somebody who types something to stir the pot and not contribute meaningfully. I am not that person. I’m also not LKY. No clue who that is. But you will agree with me everything I wrote in my post above is pretty much true. What you and I don’t know is what is still possible. And I didn’t speculate out of sheer humility. Not because I am trying to be pessimistic. It’s because I really don’t know and have no answers. Full disclosure: I am a trained political scientist, but I have a grim view about that and what I do professionally today couldn’t be further apart from that.

      I will say — and again, because I left Venezuela years ago I admit my analysis goes only so far — I am slowly becoming of the option that the one person who seemed to have a partial understanding of what it takes to effect meaningful political change is currently locked up in Ramo Verde prison. Lopez’s vision seems far less radical and reactionary today than it did two years ago for sure.

      I also don’t post many moribund things. In fact, this moniker of mine was born last Saturday, largely after blowing my stack reading Toro giving Chuo a hearty thumbs up, etc. That was a contentious piece which I recall you weren’t very restrained yourself. No worries, it’s in the past. I also contribute to CC. And I make no attempts to conceal my IP so any moderator here can figure out who I am including my real identity in about two seconds. Not hard at all to do.

      I’ve also posted under various other monikers before, but mostly because I haven’t settled on one, and I don’t like the ego that comes with a name. Perhaps I’ll settle down and pick one. But I am also evaluating my participation here. To be quite honest, if my perspective isn’t helpful, then there’s no point in my attempting to share it. I left Venezuela as a child during much better times. I care deeply about what is going on. I’m hoping to one day come back. But I am also slowly realizing that this is not my fight.

      • Don’t worry, be happy, write more about others. I always advised anybody who listened to sell everything and park it outside Venezuela, mostly because I felt Chavez was glued to the hip to Fidel, and I knew the opposition lacked the means to defeat those two.

        But Fidel went senile, Chavez died, Raul is trying to turn towards capitalist fascism to back a hereditary dictatorship, Obama is brain dead, the Pope is communist, and Maduro inherited power with Cabello dragging him around….I didn’t anticipate things would turn out this way. So maybe there’s hope if the Unity stays United and stops Ramos’ wife from being Her Sifrina Majesty….

    • Bill,
      I wonder the same. Here is a comment from the article noted in The Economist. I was gob smacked by the reply (guest nimjwll) noted below:

      I live in Venezuela. The only way out of the crisis, is to start in Venezuela to facilitate investment by the private sector. Lost production is the most important and provide all security measures for investors. They do not suffer for concern if there is some kind of expropriation.

      Also free exchange currency control, as it has generated a second parallel market.

      Sadly, when there was a great calm or oil revenues not reinvest in production and industrialization. I was used to royalties to other countries, excessive public spending and mismanagement of resources (corruption).

      And finally have a good monetary policy measures, because adjustments are made without the variables that affect the change.

      Regards.

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      guest-nlmwojoin reply to guest-nlmwjllFeb 6th, 02:22
      of course! ask for help from the same actors that make up the class that openly act on undermining the revolutionary process through the destabilization of the economy. the private sector is not going to wake up one day and agree to work with the revolutionary state for the betterment of the country. that is a fairy tale.

      the private business sector will always work to undermine the state’s regulations and the state itself to keep their profits up. many argue this is the reason why regulations hurt the economy. the real argument should be around the fact that the private sector itself lacks self discipline and restraint from violating national law and hurting the economy for their private individual interests. look at the oil lockout of 2002.. who did that? private sector. who did the coup plotters of the 2002 coup pick as their leader? the former head of fedecamaras. i do not even need to name that puppet.

      what we see in Venezuela is a true class struggle and giving space to these saboteurs is bending the knee to those that actively work to overthrow the state. these actors have no interest in producing or working to improve the economy just like how the opposition in the general assembly will never work to help improve the economy.

      this is nothing new. this happened in chile to allende leading to military rule and it happened to chavez in the 2002 coup. chavez proved that in a revolution that there can only be radicalization rather than compromise. look what happened after the 2003 oil lock. the path of radicalism only solidified 12 years of rule and 10,000 years more. these whining elites from venezuela are going to end up becoming just like these miserable and senile 90 year old cubans in miami that still grumble about their country and fantasize about being right.

  12. Also:

    “All is lost. Venezuela is not worth saving. Save yourself if you can.”

    When the hell have I ever written that? That’s not even a view I share.

  13. Trolls have funny math , the regime is supported by 70% of dumb asses and 40% by enchufados = 110% and additionally the opposition being corrupt to a man is in secret cahoots with the regime , which brings the regimes support to 200%. aint that something ……..the bofoonish exagerated prattle reminds me of an old troll always bent on discrediting the oppo while simulating being an oppo stalawart ……

    What is the real picture ……..more and more people each day hate Maduros guts because of the hard times they are having, like theyve never known before ….HRA knows this so he does things that expresses that rage to gain even more political momentum for the Oppo ………The worse things get the greater the number of people who want the regime out ……The oppo cant be seen as doing anything that betrays that rage ………so conciliation is going to be very hard to do ……the rage is too great.

    • I don’t know who the hell who you are talking to, but knock yourself out.

      In case I haven’t made it clear enough, i’m on your side. And attacking me for being somebody else (which by the way, I am not) is just an ad hominem attack. Perhaps what I said above is so objectionable you simply can’t address it on its merits.

      All I said is that I don’t see a way the regime is going to let the AN checkmate them. This has zero to do with popularity. And I reiterate that I don’t know the answer, but I am hopeful as you are that there will be a resolution to this that minimizes this crisis. I also think that perhaps Lopez was right. Street protests and popular resistance might be the only way left out of this once we reach that point where the AN clearly gets boxed in. That or a palace coup, which I worry will put us in an even worse place.

      Again, if you can propose some way this might not happen, please do. Otherwise I ask you kindly direct your “j’accuse! troll!” energy somewhere else.

  14. Gustavo Coronel just made public the contents of a confidential 2015 inhouse report commissioned by then Vicepresident Arreaza on the state of Pdvsa’s faja activities , the report paints a picture of corruption , waste , mismanagement, ruin and massive fraud which is dantesquein deoth and scale exposing in great detail how Pdvsa activities in Eastern Venezuela have been run to the ground ……This used to be the gem in the crown and now its no more ……, upkeep maintenance has been totally neglected , as a result operations have suffered and are only minimally functional if at all . The whole machinery of Pdvsa’ administrative and operational infrastructure has to be destroyed root and branch to be rebuilt whole at a cost which will be hard to fund . the well productions used to calculate Venezuelas oil reserves are one fifth of those reported which means that the size of the recoverable reserves may be much smaller than touted by the regime !! the report goes on and on and ends up with the recommendation that Pdvsa be given anothere 5 years to advance the execution of all those key projects hich have been stopped because of lack of funds and gross mismanagement. The revelations are beyond imagining .

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