It doesn’t seem possible to say much about Donald Trump that hasn’t been said before, probably a zillion times, probably better than I can. But from a Venezuelan perspective, I can’t help but feel a certain – what’s the word? – a certain consolation, I guess.

For much of the last 17 years, my life has been one long, belaboured, tortured explanation. An exegesis to people straining to understand how it could have happened. How we could have failed to see it coming.

“How can millions of people vote for such an evident fraud again and again, willingly, for years?”

I’ve done my level best to explain it, sure, and people tell me I’m pretty good at it. But it’s a losing game. The whole thing seemed so unlikely, a dark suspicion hung over my explanations: “he can’t really have been that bad…these opposition guys must be exaggerating, millions of people voted for this!”

It was either that or a smug, subcutaneous, “of course that could never happen here” kind of feeling.

Not from the Italians I talked to, granted. Or from the Russians or the Iranians I met abroad. Those guys seemed to get Chávez right away. You didn’t have to waste too much breath to explain it. They know, in their bones, the appeal of antipolitics, the way the siren-song of populist authoritarianism can ensnare the masses and hold them in thrall for years.

But the gringos I met? The Brits and Germans and Canadians and Japanese and French? Once they grasped the full extent of chavismo’s lunacy, they were just baffled, and struggled to disguise a measure of contempt. Chavismo’s hold over Venezuela came to look like an indictment of the whole gentilicio.

It was painful.

So this, if nothing else, I take away from the Donald episode. Whatever may happen between now and November – and dear God please let it not come to the worst – I know there is a whole family of questions about Venezuela I’ll never need to answer again.

It’s a tiny shard of consolation to pull out of the smoking wreckage of this U.S. primary season. It’s definitely not worth the damage it’s done. Pero bueno, it’s something.

134 COMMENTS

  1. The Trumpistas will be coming out of the woodwork.

    As a Canadian who lives in Venezuela I just shake my head at the Republican candidates and one of the Democratic ones.

    I also find it difficult to explain to my foreign guests what is going on in Venezuela.
    I try & explain it by using an onion as an example.
    Every time you peel away a layer of explanation there are many more layers still to come.
    Unless you live here you could never really understand the depth of wrong that we have here.

  2. Indeed! even the mighty americans are falling for it.

    I think that the whole world is extremely tired of politicians. Hopefully Odebrecht’s mess takes down a whole bunch of them pretty soon.

  3. Como español, he notado igualmente en los venezolanos con lo que he podido hablar a través de internet el “this uncomfortable sense” que menciona y lo entiendo. A veces pienso que los venezolanos se lo tienen bien merecido, otras culpo al gobierno pero las dos partes comparten una misma responsabilidad sin que se puedan dividir matematicamente las culpas porque no hay una frontera clara que las separe. El bafflement por lo que ocurre es verdaderamente enorme y de ahí el atractivo de su país pero lamentablemente hay demasiadas tragedias detrás de toda esa lunacy y espero que todo termine lo antes posible. Venezuela ha redefinido el término Dutch disease y debería hablarse más bien de Venezuela disease.

    Una vez que el chavismo se derrumbe Venezuela seguirá siendo interesante de todos modos. Siento mucha curiosidad por saber qué ocurrirá con la política una vez que la situación se haya vuelto al menos un poco más sensata. ¿Cómo evolucionará la democracia en un país con el perfil sociológico que tiene ahora? Hay que tomar asiento entonces y seguir atentos a lo que ocurra.

    • y cual frontera es esa? cual es nuestro “perfil sociológico”? – que pedante

      bien merecido? – cómo explicas PODEMOS??

      • Una gran cantidad de gente en Venezuela se creyó la mentira de que se puede vivir como jeque árabe teniendo un trabajo de sueldo mínimo que no requiera preparación alguna y si no te resulta es porque el que sí tiene algo te lo robó.

        Esa es la falacia que construyó el perfil sociológico del adeco / copeyano de antaño y del ahora chavizta fanático, falacia que los comunistas le meten a los ignorantes.

        La misma mentira sobre la cual el partido de los comunistas en España se fundamenta ahora.

  4. Oh I see, so an entire population of 300 million people must languish under the demagoguery of Orange Crush just so us Venezuelans can collectively smirk “I told you so?”

    • In fairness, I don’t think the message was “I told you so” as much as it is “Now ya know!”

      And it hasn’t happened yet. And probably won’t. Because even though Trump can hijack the Republican Party, that party was like a house abandoned by vacationing owners who left the back door open and was taken over by squatters who already ruined the place by the time Trump showed up.

      In the general election, he’s still going to have to contend with his high negatives among hispanics and african-americans and women. You need to surpass 48% of Hispanic support to win any presidential election. Romney couldn’t do it, and neither will Trump.

      • Well let’s not underestimate the Trump phenomenon, he said he will win the vote of the latino community.

        Of course we are laughing at that now, but a lot of people were laughing at the prospect of him being the Republican nominee.

  5. The lefty journalists covering South America said that Macri was a fascist too, an autocrat, a conservative lunatic, the right-wing version of Chavez. Look at Argetina now, lol.

    Trump will be good for the US economy, given that he’s a successful businessman, not someone who has never created a single job in his life like most politicians are, investors worldwide trust him; Putin seems to have a good relationship with him too, what is good to world peace (let’s give peace a chance, right?); and finally he won’t defy the US institutions. Hell, if Chavez were like Trump, Venezuela would look like UAE today, not like a warzone.

    • Exactly. The moment Trump decides to do away with the Constitution, then we can talk comparisons. Otherwise, it’s just click-bait.

        • Justo ayer les decía eso a mis compañeros de oficina aquí en Los Ángeles… Si oyes a muchos de los que votan por Trump pareciera que piensan “no vale yo no creo” que el tipo sea tan loco para hacer lo que dice. En un twisted-logic a lo máximo la gente lo quiere porque creen que lo que está ofreciendo es pura pantalla y exageración para ganar votos pero que cuando llegue a presidente se va a comportar como todo un señor. Yo solo les digo “I’ve seem this movie before”…. Si Trump gana, Dios quiera que no, pero si lo hace háganme un anexo en la página y lo llamamos Los Angeles Chronicles y en ocho años vemos quién tenía razón.

      • He has an anti-system rhetoric. He has also weird views for a republican in terms of the economy (anti free trade for example).

        He is also narcissistic, megalomaniac and a grade A bullshitter. Most concerning of all is his tribalism. In all of these, but specially on this last one, Trump and Chavez have a lot in common.

        Give him enough time and he will erode the institutional framework. No system is immune.

        I recommend this reading.

        http://crookedtimber.org/2016/02/29/the-three-party-system/

        • The first one that went around messing with other powers was obama with the inmigration measure. His using of discretionary powers have given the excuse to trump to try to clash if a conflict of powers arises.

          • That’s at best, a disingenuous comment.

            Just about every single US president, except maybe Millard Fillmore, has made use of discretionary powers.

        • Rodrigo The recommended reading is excellent , its as good as the whole piece and well worth reading ,so is your comment about the similarities between Chavez and the Donald , not so much the reference to the fragility of the institutional safety net which is much much stronger in the US than it ever was in Venezuela.

          Donald and Bernie and Podemos and the 99% movement and Piketty are all signs of a looming crisis brought about by the changes resulting from globalization , the runaway growth of financial markets in the total economy and the failure of monetarism to deal with the 2007/2008 crisis and its extended aftermath, its made huge masses of people unhappy with the harsh implications of the new normal ( as opposed the old American dream of indefinite progress) and with the worn out political establishment which has husbanded all these changes around the world . Also forgotten is how resentment at societies failures to deliver on its sometimes exaggerated promises is such a fun passion , so charged with righteous moral indignation !!

          People love their anger , and those (like Trump) that not only advertise themselves as sharing that anger but that give it full bodied yugular expression !! If you come down to it , Trumps ideas are viscerally primitive and great at phocusing all that anger at easy highly visible targets: foreigners , corrupted complaisant establishment pols and big wall street firms. That’s what makes his oratory so intoxicating to the many people who have seen themselves marginalized economically by the brave new economy and also by the conspicuous defenestration of their old style traditional values such as once resisted gay marriage, abortion and the ‘collymodling’ of lazy lawless minorities…!!

          On the recommended reading I take fault only in its separating tribalism from leftism and the two versions of liberal democracy , political ideologies have become tribalized , people take arrogant pride in their ideological identities /conceits and in their hatred of ideological enemies much the same way tribesmen enjoyed the same passions vs the members of other tribes……..

          Few people have enough independent capacity for critical thinking as to eschew use of any ideological labels of identity …

        • There is another similarity, one that for me is very chilling: the burgeoning personality cult that has taken hold among Trump’s supporters – and is spreading.

          I was talking to my best friend (since 6th grade) the other day and asked him “How can you support this guy? Not a true conservative, narcissistic, arrogant, ignorant r.e. foreign policy & other countries generally…geez, the man HAS BILKED PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR MONEY (Trump U), brags -in print, no less- about sleeping with other guys’ wives, etc…”

          His response?

          “The media and the GOP establishment are SOOOOO committed to taking him down, now why do you think that might be, HMMMMMMM?”

          No, Venezuela is not the U.S., and yes, every case is unique, etc. But the total lack of rationality wedded to quasi-religious devotion to a manipulative and transparently ill-intentioned individual politician…it feels familiar, and not in a good way.

          “We’ve got trouble…right here in River City! That starts with T and rhymes with P which stands for ‘pool’!!!”

      • Trump believes in property as a right, huge difference. I mean he is a racist, misogynistic walking joke, but not a commy.

      • Chavez didn’t just decide to do “away” with the constitution. There was a legally process that he had to pursue and complete.

        Trump can’t decide to just do “away” with the constitution. There is a complex process to amend the constitution to ultimately abolish it.

        Your statement is one filled with fallacies.

    • Trump’s support comes from a reaction against encroaching left-wing policies. Some of his statements really surprise me because they are anti-business and anti-free markets, e.g. what he said about taxing Ford for operations in Mexico. He may understand dealing in real estate, but what he has said at times does not show an understanding that economic realities cannot be stopped. Personally, I think Kasich or Cruz would be better – of Bush, but he withdrew. Nevertheless, Trump support is from a productive population who are sick of seeing half of their tax dollars go into other people’s pockets, and are sick of the “fair and equal” rhetoric that only means giving money to the “unequal,” and tired of the inability or unwillingness to enforce immigration laws, and really, an inability or unwillingness to defend US borders. They are also sick of the miserable failure of “Obamacare” – that is simply an example of “socialist enforcement” and borderline communism, which has brought some of the same effects “Chavismo” foisted off on Venezuela. And they are sick of the Democrats in the Senate pulling their version of the TSJ, blocking the elected majority of Republicans as if the Democrats still “owned” the place and dictated their socialist agenda. And they’re sick of idiotic dictatorship-like laws which prevent private capital from leaving the country. We are to the point of building fences to keep people in. A surtax on capital gains and dividends because those are “unearned income?” How much more blatant anti-capital can it get? A penalty for not signing up for “Obamacare?” How much more socialist enforcement can it get?

      Sometimes it does take a “shock effect” to shake people out of their indifference – the kind of indifference or disbelief or complacent submission or unwilling acceptance that Francisco mentions in his article. I do not think Trump would do everything he talks about, not any more than any other politician. And for me the worst that could happen is for “Slick-Smilin’ Hillary from Hell” to get elected. The Democrats attract votes by dancing and hugging and kissing and acting happy, then institute more socialist programs which sink the country into more apathy.

      Also personally, I think if Steven King ran for President, I might vote for him. “Cambio!”

      • I don’t think it is only this “lefty” encroachment. There is also a cultural encroachment which has cause a great deal of discomfort to “traditional white americans”.

        Like you said, one can hardly say that Trump is left or right. Likely is is in some a different axis (communitarian IMO).

        I don’t think people favor Trump because of his policies. They support him because they can relate to him. There is an emotional connection.

        • Alexis de Tocqueville (French) wrote “Democracy in America.” Sometimes, the view from the outside of a country is better – at the least it is a different viewpoint.

        • “There is also a cultural encroachment which has caused a great deal of discomfort to “traditional white americans”.”

          You mean those same white american’s whose ancestors were the original cultural encroachers. And weren’t they the ones who brought the ‘cultural encroachment’ on themselves by enslaving, transporting, deceiving people of different cultures onto the shores of what is now the USA.

          I’m going to Antarctica to live and I won’t let any of you onto the island because it is my country and only my culture can exist. Sounds stupid doesn’t it… so why peddle this false argument as an excuse for people’s racism and intolerance.

          Until people are held accountable for their views they will never be challenged. And it the failing of us all to challenge them when the opportunity arises that allows fascism to grow.

          Stop giving people the easy excuse and instead challenge them!

          • The penguins are serious haters so be careful, remember do not appropriate the culture of of the Native Arctic, eschew furs and opt for LA fine cotton dress, Llamas instead of dawg’s, dugouts instead kayaks, stay out of the dry valleys less you contaminate their awesome nothingness with your COdeuce.

            Have fun and write when you get work.

      • You left out the cultural encroachment that many “God Fearing” people feel with the imposition of the LGBT agenda. The foisting of gay marriage was very traumatic for many, and the court cases protecting the rights to allow ‘men that feel like women’ use women’s bathroom.

        I am not making an argument of the righteousness of the LGBT agenda at this time, but, Trumpism is also a reaction to this.

  6. There is a thing about this brand of alarmism in America that seems senseless to me. In any scenario, if push comes to shove and Donald wins and does a bad job he’ll be out in 4 years, if he does right and the quality of life in America increases he will get 8, and then it will be over, also Donald isn’t precisely young, so yup, there won’t be some Reich in America, ’cause Donald isn’t hitler and America hasn’t weak institutions.

      • What if he changes that so he can be reelected for more than another term? Saying America isn’t Venezuela, is the same as we said: Venezuela isn’t Cuba…and they said Cuba isn’t the URSS… and yet, things happen and here we are.
        Beware of “No vale, yo no creo”

        • Dude, please read American History. President Roosevelt served for 3 terms. There is no legal restriction to any president of the USA to run for more than 2 terms. Presidents only run for 2 terms as a MORAL acknowledgement to George Washington that only wanted to be president twice.

          So YES, there is an alarmism specially amongst venezuelan expat that had to run from Venezuela. There could not be any comparison between what happened in Venezuela and a posible Trump presidency.

          • Halfempty, Roosevelt died before completing his forth term so that is why I said 3 terms. And thanks fo rthe link. In the link you will notice that ever since the amendment was passed its has been attempts to repeal it. So its NOT set in stone. In a posible scenario a Trump government could repeal it and giving him liberty to run more than two terms.

          • Moonwreck,

            Those attempts have failed miserably every time. The simple fact is the public does not want an president without limits. It is the same cast of characters that introduces the repeal to the amendment, rather than a mass hue and cry for change.

            Passing and/or repealing amendments to US constitution is pretty difficult. Supermajorities by both Senate and House and then being ratified by 3/4s of the states (often within 7 years) makes amendments fairly rare birds. That’s also why there’s only been 27 thus far; not a thing done lightly or without widespread support.

            I would also point out that the most ardent proponent of the repeal of the term-limit amendment is also a great Chavez admirer. Not exactly a good signal.

    • Thing is, I dont want to find out what he can do. I know it is going to be awful, I dont care if it is going to be “less awful” than Chávez in Venezuela, or that there are institutions to stop him (funny, we heard the same about Chávez), or the more ridiculous idea that he is not really like that, he is just playing a role for the public (funny, we also heard the same about Chávez).

      At the bare minimum, he is going to leave a toxic legacy for the future of the US and that is not even if he wins; is just by the campaign he is doing now.

  7. Let’s take another angle. Trump and Bernie are the examples of USA voters betterment. Yes. After yesterday you could see that voters are in dislike and anger towards the establishment, at least the republican voters. In past times the USA would have a Jeb or a Rubio president. Nowadays things have change for the better. Voters are finding more information and making their decision accordingly. In every country in the world you would find in the past, now and forever people who hate others. That wont change ever.

    Why would we ask ourselves now, what party (Democrats or GOP) is betraying their electorate most?

  8. Donald is an interesting case. He has performed far better than anyone expected when he entered the race. I don’t really think a comparison to ’98 Chávez is fair because at least Chávez wore the mask of a relatively moderate guy. However, when you compare it to the Chávez we all know and despite, their style does seem a bit similar, even if the circumstances aren’t similar at all. It’s a good thing that polls show him losing against Clinton in November.

    • Trump is relatively moderate compared to Cruz and a couple of the out nominees. He is basically a democrat who is against immigration and got on the Republican ticket because he had a higher chance of winning there.

      That being said, ’98 Chavez is an excellent comparison.

        • You are picking one specific point to invalidate the whole argument. With that logic, no two candidates are alike or share similarities.

          Trump already lead a birther movement based on xenophobia against President Obama.

          A coup isn’t possible with the current political atmosphere in the United States.

          • No, I am picking something that should have told us what Chavez was all about and how he thought. He would use any means to get power.
            What had Chavez accomplished prior to his coup or his election?

  9. Who would of ever thought a roiling brew of crass plutocracy, betrayed trust, overt racism, xenophobia, and anti-intellectualism would explode in the GOP’s face so spectacularly?

    They literally gorged themselves on the worst of human nature and now it’s eating them away from the inside.

    • That sums it up well.

      We have watched the institutions of a democratic state be dismantled in Venezuela and not only has it been horrible to watch, it has in the sense Francisco points out, been instructive. An object lesson for those of us mostly outside Venezuela.

      No people, anywhere, are naturally and inevitably democratic. That is the lesson of Chavismo. That is the lesson of Trump.

    • You forgot to mention Carl Rove, Faux Newz, Rush Limbo and Wingnutz. And ‘Lo, as in Lo, The Poor Indian, William Faulkner (Clinton gotta be a Snopes) and guns.

      Other than that this judge gives you an 7.8.

  10. There are some big changes brought about by things like globalization , the exponential growth of financial markets in the functioning of the economy , and by cultural changes in the way the interests of certain minorities are now recognized which a more traditional cultural either ignored or reviled , there are vices which have crept in the operation of political life thru the increased influence of corporate lobbyists in the circles of power . There are may people who have been favoured by these changes , but also (as is inevitable in all historical processes) lots of people whose lives and sensitivities have been hurt by them .Additionally we ve had things happening like the FINANCIAL crisis of 2007/2008 , the ravages it left behind and the failure of the prevalent monetarist models to prevent its occurrence or to deal satisfactorily with its aftermath . Ushering these changes and protecting their beneficiaries is a class of politicians which messages have jaded or are now seen as hypochritical and corrupt

    Among the people suffering from these changes are the largely white non college educated masses of people who used to work at good middle level factory jobs that have gone overseas and who feel their values and interests are trampled upon by pols and businesses and minority favouring interests and who are full of anger at the loss of their dreams of an assured prosperity for themselves and their children.

    This anger makes it possible for megalomaniacal or fanatical men who are rethorically capable of giving this anger yugular expression to attract the sympathies of these unsatisfied masses with primitive visceral messages and promises that thru some kind of harsh violent measures they will punish the scoundrels and set things automatically aright !!

    Donald is only one among several who have taken this role of being the voice of this mass anger , you have Bernie (alghough coming from a leftist perspective) and Pablo Iglesias and the 99% movement.

    Even if ( as is most likely) Donald doesn’t get elected or if elected is restrained by an institutional safety net which in the US is much stronger than ever was the case in Venezuela , the problem that he symptomizes is there and needs addressing …liberal democracy and the economic changes which are now creating a new normal in the world economy are creating a mass discontent which can ultimately lead to populist type movements coming to power all over the OECD world and that is very worrisome .

    Francisco piece is very insightful in drawing the comparisons between Chavez mesmerizing of Venezuelan masses and Donald Trumps mesmerizing of so many in the US but a deeper problem looms behind these aberrant political manifestations . One which is more important than what is now happening in the primary presidential races in the US…

  11. Of course compare a golpista to a guy like Trump. Friend I can’t think of a harder place for there to exist a dictatorial regime than in the United States. Theres just way to many mechanisms set in place for there to be an American Chavez there, Trump knows that once he’s in office he’ll have to play by the rules because its just how things are. Unlike Venezuela where we don’t believe in following the rules.

    Would you prefer a woman like Hilary? An incompetent sell out who should be in jail? Or that old geezer Berine sanders clinging to a failed ideology?

    To compare the Venezuelan political context to America’s is an exercise in futility and arrogance.
    Venezuela is a country with a long history of politically corrupt and morally bankrupt leaders. We’re just stupid like that 🙂

  12. Both Trump and Chavez were able to connect emotionally with a portion of their electorate in a bombastic way, but the differences between them are huge.

    Trump would never drive the economy over a cliff. Trump would never tolerate waste or corruption in spending national funds. Trump would never bankrupt the country in pursuit of a discredited ideology. Trump will never align with the rogue nations. Trump most likely delegate to capable pols to actually run the place.

    It’s all dollars and cents with Trump. He is a primarily a businessman and showman and if a strategy makes financial sense and is good for US interests, I’m sure he will support the measure.

    I’m more worried about his temperment than by what he says.

    • Both Chavez and Trumped produced a primitivization, a barbarization of both political discourse and the practices of political engagement which have became more vitriolic , virulent and savage than they had ever been in the past. Raw force (expressed as extreme verbal violence) is prized in a way that destroys any chance of civility and rationality in the handling of political conflicts and differences ….Divisiveness of the most manichean sort is seen as the supreme principle of politics, thus the destruction of dialogue as the primary means for politics to function in a democratic society. Thats why the Economist has declared Trump one of the ten top dangers now facing the world.!!

      • Bingo.

        POLARIZATION … involves creating division or causing a group or something to be divided up into two opposing groups. An example of polarization is when a controversial political figure causes the country to become sharply divided (yourdictionary.com).

        The practice, recognized by political officials, is rarely recognized by the unsuspecting masses, and I might add, most of the media. Hence, the devastating effects when polarization takes hold of a large segment of the population, already susceptible to dreams of stardust and unicorns, aided by a steady diet of dumbed-down frivolities, devoid of mental and physical challenges.

      • Speaking of (North American) media naïveté, it’s déjà vu all over again.

        Cf the video of the Brazilian protests, especially > 1:28 : http://goo.gl/ajJ1KF

        How unfortunate that there were so few in the media able to parse the manipulated Kool-Aid, fed by Chávez and his promoters, as does this article in Quartz, regarding Brazilian protesters http://goo.gl/Wga1ev

      • You need only to see Trump in any speech just going with whatever idea crossed his mind in that moment without any real thought into it, just because he is rich so sure as hell he is right and smart and everybody else isnt, to see the similarities with a Chávez that did the same; ranting about whatever the hell crossed his mind that moment and setting policy via TV talk show, empowered by his own self-righteousness and “balls” and, later, the oil money.

        Both were very good at selling the primitive kind of leadership a population fed up with betrayals and disappointments crave. Both have the same relationship to statemanship as an drunk elephant has to classical ballet: their idea of leadership is “I just got this idea right now and of course is wonderful because it is mine”.

  13. Ok let’s get this straight. In Venezuela people voted for Chavez for 2 main reasons: 1- People liked what he was promising and 2- They were tired of the same old 2 political parties with their dirty agendas.

    And to be honest, I was one of them who fall for it and 2 years later I was so sorry I had wasted my first vote ever to an UTOPIA.

    So the point is not that Trump and Chavez are the same from today’s point of view, of course 17 years later Venezuela does not look as it looked before.

    The point here is that Trump is exactly the same as Chavez 18 years ago when he was running for office.

    That’s what people don’t want to understand, just like many of us didn’t want to understand back then.

    It’s not a matter of picking Hillary or any other candidate,we are not saying that the other candidates are better. that’s not the point either. To tell you the truth I don’t even care about the other candidates,

    Anyway, time will tell.

    Good luck and GOD bless you all.

    • Seriously? Let’s see. Career military who attempted a coup to take over the government.
      Versus
      Career businessman who has never ran for office.
      Huh?
      When did Trump attempt a coup?

      • You can also comment about how one was a black haired mestizo and the other a blonde (wig?) orange-tinted man.

        The commonality is not in those details, but in “seller of hate and demagoguery with an inflated and unsupported opinion of himself”

  14. BTW, I guess Francisco read the latest National Review “critic” of Trump supporters? Because is another clear parallel with Venezuela and Chávez.

    The summary being that they have proceeded to decry all Trump supporters as basically parasitic rednecks and welfare addicts that in no way represent true “conservatives” and deserve everything bad they get because they dont have any moral backbone.

    Sounds familiar?

  15. “How can millions of people vote for such an evident fraud again and again, willingly, for years?”

    Yep, and to this this more than Half of our bright populace still loves Chavez and are still self-proclaimed Chavistas. They LOVE el Comandante Pajarito Eterno. Today. Millions and Millions.

    Well, could it be that “el pueblo” is not as wise, smart, educated and innocent as it is always portrayed?
    Could it be that many are complicit in 37 “ministerios” and rather corrupt or enchufados in various ways?

    Probably both, but no one has the guts to say it. You don’t mess with “el pueblo”.. They are so good, and wise, and educated, and smart..

  16. The level of BS on defense of Trump in the comments section makes me throw up a bit in my mouth. Really, after 17 years of our Venezuelan nightmare, there are Venezuelans who still fall for the BS of the tough guy who will get the country into the straight and narrow? Oh, please!

    The one thing that Trump does well is promote himself. Look carefully at his business record and you will see not a businessman, but a con man.

    it has taken over 200 years, but Trump is precisely the reason that the electoral college was conceived in the USA–to safeguard the nation from factions that fundamentally go against the democratic values of the republic. Were Trump to win the general election (and that is a long shot given his negative popularity in the general electorate), I hope the delegates from the 24 states that have no faith less laws will come to their senses and reject Trump’s misogynist platform (and his lack of platform on the economy, health, etc.).

    That the Republican party has been hijacked by this hack tells you more about the sad state of the GOP than about any real crisis in the USA as a whole.

  17. We had an interesting discussion with colleagues and students about Trump yesterday. A lot of interesting stuff was brought to the fore in 90 minutes of conversation, mostly expressing shock and fear about his campaign and discourse, and just astonishment at how he’s got so much support despite not giving any real detail about his policies. Many people pointed to how Trump’s appeal to the US’s ‘exceptional greatness’ is an easy shot at a national psyche that depends so much on this warped sense of national pride. Others just marveled at how it hadn’t happened before, considering the country’s well-known deficit of democratic representation, growing inequality, ongoing racial tensions and a political sphere marred by lying with impunity…. most people just can’t believe how anyone with dos dedos de frente can support Trump…

    Yet Quico, you’re right on the money. We know. We remember. We also saw how a populist leader was discarded by the elites, how he grew in popularity over time, how the stones thrown at him just made him stronger, how he exploited preexisting divisions and created new ones, how many jumped on his bandwagon, how he was eventually elected, and how he ruled… populist discourse is inherently anti-democratic, no matter what some blind leftist ideologues have written to defend it over and over.

    Yes, like most of you, I’m worried, and this freaking sense of deja vu provides no comfort whatsoever… it just troubles me more…

  18. BTW, ‘leftist ideologues’ defending the latest variety of Populism in our Latin American shores… if we dig a bit, we will also find intellectuals defending populism across the ideological spectrum…

  19. Well, deal is, the Republicans failed to stop Trump because they were inept and wanted to put the “smart people” behind the Bush administration in charge again. Hell, the favorite to win before Trump took over was Jeb Bush. The primary was ripe for the taking because the base wasn’t too hot on voting for the same team that caused a recession and one of the biggest foreign policy mistakes on US’s history, the Irak War.

    So, here we are. Is going to be a long primary, but Trump is by far the favorite to win it, the hope of everybody else is that he fails to get 51% of the delegates so the party leadership can decide the nominee after the primary is over, on their National Convention.

    If anybody is going to stop Trump, it has to be the Democrats. Both their base and their leadership have to bring their A-game in order to beat Trump, that will go to the general with the goal of sinking Clinton’s favorability ratings to the ground. If they fail, then it’s President Trump.

  20. I have to admit with Trump, like Chavez, the more I see unhinged mouth-foaming, brain-shut-down hate for him, the more I start wondering if there is more to it than that.

    And Quico is hardly unhinged. But…

    Hopefully, if Trump really is a Chavez in the launching, the gringos will have the toughness of spirit to really ask themselves the painful questions that could altogether avoid such radical outbursts of cultural indignity early on and spare themselves the “shitty 17”.

  21. What is funny is that the same people who have been fooled by people like Chavez and Lula/Dilma several times, now seem to be all wise about Trump’s real intentions. Sorry, but your track record is poor. If only you guys had 10% of this distrust toward Chavez, Venezuela wouldn’t be in such state now. But no, Chavez was left-wing, so you supported him.

    After Trump ends his term, revisit this post to see how you have repeated the same mistakes that allowed you to support Chavez in the first place. This left-wing ideology that makes clever people sound so stupid.

    • My track record is “Left Venezuela when the damned demagogue won”.

      Trump is the same shit adapted to the American market.

      You are deluded.

      • Jesus, my track record is “family escaped WWII, went to South America seeking a better life and teached their children to identify fascists years before they destroy everything.”

        Time will tell that you are all wrong about Trump.

        • It already did, the time he opened his mouth. If you want to be deaf to it, it is your problem. The rest of us can easily see that removing the trappings and the ideological slant, the appeal is the same: please elect me because I’m a loud mouthed bufoon that goes around like he is the chief of the Universe, so by proxy you will gain that power.

          • And yet Sanders’, Obama’s or Hillary’s speeches don’t scare you one bit? The fact that all of them used to praise Bolivarian dictators, while Trump has always been against Bolivarianism also doesn’t ring a bell, right? The fact that Trump has been investing in Latin America for decades, creating jobs obeying rule of the law and without any news of corruption doesn’t matter too, I assume.

            Way to go, Fandino. Thank God Americans know what to do.

    • Marc,
      What part of the message from Quico’s post that Chavez and Trump are essentially different faces of the same coin did you not understand? Do you also remember that Chavez was first elected with 33% of the vote? That was not a ringing endorsement from the Venezuelan electorate. Moreover, when Chavez campaigned, he was supremely more politic than Trump. The evidence is plenty out there of Chavez behaving democratically during his campaigns. Trump, on the other hand, is campaigning like a thug.

      • Quico is a clever guy, no doubt about it, but his track record on “identifying fascists” is bad because his ideology makes him prone to misjudgment. He used to support Chavez (there’s a post here somewhere), he used to praise Lula until recently too. hehe.

        Don’t take politicians for what they say, but for what they do. I mean, Chavez 1992 coup was far more relevant to know what he would do when in power than him saying that he would respect the institutions in 1998. Yet, people like Fandino above seem to not understand that. Trump has built a hotel in my country, for example, obeyed the laws just like everyone else, even in a corrupt society very prone to bribes like ours.

        https://www.trumphotelcollection.com/rio-de-janeiro/

        But, hell, listen to Quico and CNN if you want.

        Just don’t forget to revisit this post in the future.

  22. All talks about Trump, far from the best to say the least but what about the walking lie on the other side of the divide. She has already shown what she is capable of and that ain’t pretty. Lots of people think they are going to get what they want but on the next US presidential election they are going to get what they deserve whether they vote democrat or republican.

  23. Folks, a populist that stirred people’s egos and animalistic passions already had his terms on the white house and did some extensive damage: George W. Bush.

    The corpse destroyed Venezuela on purpose so he could reign unopposed and become filthy rich, he destroyed the productive engines and passed laws to establish monopolies on everything, to deny any funding to anyone who would dare as much as to disagree with him, while crushing all the speech freedom and all other liberties, which was basically going all fascist on the whole country.

    Bush flung USA into a war that costed billions of dollars and thousands of lives and yet americans voted him for another term, and maybe would have voted for him for a third term.

    In this moment of politic campaign, Trump is basically the OPPOSITE of what the corpse was in Venezuela, while Trump presents himself as the “boisterous foul mouthed bruiser rich bastard” that says whatever he wants and tells everybody to “deal with it”; the corpse was carefully tailored as a “moderate and respectful average pedro pérez from the barrio” who always said he would respect the rights of people, that everybody would be welcome in his government, and all that rubbish.

    In fact, watch the corpse’s campaign in those years and you’ll see that he was a more saccharine version of even the most “comeflor” MUD guys on this day.

    • “Bush flung USA into a war that costed billions of dollars and thousands of lives and yet americans voted him for another term, and maybe would have voted for him for a third term.”

      Don’t think so. By the end of his second term Bush popularity was rock bottom.

  24. Hold on a minute! after all the “Italians”, even showing their infinite civic irresponsibility at every turn of History, also were able to expel Berlusconi from power. Not so the “Russians” nor the “Iranians”. And that makes a big difference. NYTimes report by Cohen shows how it ended -Silvio now is known as a “puttaniere”.An apology to the Italians will be welcomed.

Leave a Reply