Nausea. That’s what’s left after you scan the political headlines of the last 24 hours. Dread at seeing the country now teetering on the very edge of a catastrophe orders of magnitude worse than the disaster we’ve already seen.

Maduro threatens the National Assembly, explicitly, with “disappearance”. Capriles tells the Armed Forces, plainly, that the time to choose between Maduro and the Constitution is at hand. Nationwide demonstrations are called in an atmosphere of heightening desperation as millions of Venezuelans face outright hunger and destitution. Maduro rules out a recall referendum this year shamelessly, and all but announces there will be no regional elections either. The opposition calls for the state of emergency to be ignored.

I don’t remember a political landscape this combustible in Venezuela, well…ever. I don’t remember our political conflict ever been this suffused with menace, this clearly poised for violence.

Maduro seems to think he can run the old Chávez playbook of continuously “fleeing forward” – of doubling down on every mistake and ceaselessly provoking, goading, prodding the opposition into over-reaching so he can beat them down harder.

The clique around him seems catatonic, utterly unable to grasp that the context around them has completely changed. That goading the opposition into playing posición adelantada with oil at $115/barrel and a chicken in every pot is a vastly different proposition than doing it with oil at $45 and millions of the people you claimed to champion going hungry. That threatening to shut down entire branches of government is one thing when you have the unconditional support of the most powerful players in the region and something else entirely when the OAS Secretary General and Argentina and Brazil and Mexico and the United States are all actively appalled by the prospect.

They don’t seem to grasp – or, worse, don’t seem to care – that their fanatical determination to shut down every institutional avenue for resolving the crisis puts unbearable strains not only on Venezuelan society as a whole but also on the cohesion of the governing coalition that sustains their power.

It frankly amazes me that, seventeen years on, these people still have the capacity to frankly amaze me.

But they do.

Maduro’s inner clique operates on a level of historic irresponsibility I’m not entirely equipped to grasp. It’s hard to accept as reasonable analysis that their intention is to just burn down the house they live in. But that seems very much to be the plan now, doesn’t it?

50 COMMENTS

  1. Picture Cuba. Picture Veneuelanos living live Cubans- 12 dollar salaries, no private property, on so forth. Picture Maduro’s worship of the Cuban system and Chavez allowing the Cuban infiltration. I’m not amazed at all. This has been coming for years.

    • Agreed, no surprise here either. Ratcheting up the conflict is the strategy to allow them to implement the Cuban model.

  2. All the avenues to manage the situation peacefully are not only being shut down; they are being used as opportunities to insult and denigrate the opposition. All the while the economic situation gets worse…

    This agony of slow death cant go for much longer… but I’m afraid it will be because some big explosion is going to release all the energy.

  3. Impredecible lo que pueda suceder hoy. Lo que si creo es que estamos en un punto de quiebre.
    Esperemos a ver como se desarrolla el dia.

  4. It frankly amazes ME that, seventeen years on, these people still have the capacity to frankly amaze YOU.

  5. Maduro was a Yes Man to Chavez.
    Chavez picked him as his successor because he probably thought of him as the closest to his ideas.
    But Yes Men, are weak in character and have no ideas on their own, they are extremely bad as leaders, let alone statesmen.
    Look how he has copied even Chavez body language and speech form. It is so ridiculous I can’t stand it.
    Combine that with a huge doses of DENIAL and now fighting for his own SURVIVAL and this is the current situation.
    It blows my mind that Tibisay Lucena has decided to stay put with the Chavismo sinking ship full of rats. A rational person would have straighten their act and played by the rules hoping for redemption and forgiveness.
    The only explanation I find is extreme Fear and Denial.
    There is no way Maduro, Tibisay, et al will escape justice after the collapse, so they wont just give up. They will fight til the end. It is like those kidnapping situations gone wrong. Would they give up and face justice or kill the hostage and themselves?
    Yes, Nausea is a good word that captures the feeling !!

    • Have you guys noticed that Maduro never calls Padrino López “Vladimir”, but “VlaDÍmir”, the Russian prononciation? Each time that idiot goes abroad, he comes with some of those speech mannerisms that fools think make them look smart.

      I agree with you: The reason Maduro was chosen was because Chávez believed he would come back okay to rule. Leaving office for a simpleton like Nico was much safer than leaving it with Godgiven.

      Some people belive that it’s all a plan, but I don’t see it that way. Who has the most to lose with this chaos? Why would you provoke such a situation? If you somehow push the oppo to go violent, wham, your bet paid, pat yourself in the back. If, however, that violence never comes and you keep antagonizing society, it’s your neck on the line and the whol house of cards will come down.
      If you read about these type of stuff in history, it’s chaos. I can’t wait to read the “Rebelión de los Náufragos” of chavismo. I truly believe they act like this because, after more than 10 years in uncontested power (and all of their lives on the side of “the oppresed”), their minds can’t accept that rules have changed and now those oppresed actively dislike you.

      I think these are truly convinced men. When Maduro says “Congress will fall and I think that’s what the whole of the country wants”, he says it from the heart. Maybe Tania Diaz, or Diosdado or maybe even Mario Silva, are a little scared of the clouds in the horizon, but guys like Nico, Jorge Rodríguez and Pedro Carreño, they believe heart and soul that they live in 2006. December happened and they still don’t get it.

      I’d love to be a fly on the wall during the private meetings.

      • Do you think Maduro has any clue just how bad life is for everyone in the country? I wouldn’t be surprised if he was totally delusional.

        • I am convinced he is delusional. And not only him, watch Delcy’s words from yesterday, or Jorge Rodríguez with his smile and the arrogance of someone who hasn’t realized that, last december, the people gave him maybe the biggest middle-finger of the whole election.

          Denial and fear, I fully agree.

      • I know for a fact that Adan Chavez was the chosen successor by Hugo but was vetoed by the Cubans because Adan is the cocaine boss. At the time Adan and Barinas already fingered by Makled to US authorities. However, Maduro is also involved in narcotics going back to at least 2009 when he was FM but his involvement then small compared to later.

  6. This has been coming for some time why are you so surprised? The destruction of Venezuela has been occurring for 17 years

    Of course you could never imagine acting like that, but these people running the country into the ground are not like us.

  7. Claramente hay un pacto de sangre entre ellos. Nos salvamos todos o nos jodimos todos. La pregunta es si alguno de ellos con el poder o la capacidad de cambiar el destino de Venezuela va a renunciar al pacto.

  8. I have this funny feeling today shit is going to hit the fan…pardon my French. This boiling tension has gotten unbearable an the mockery Maduro and his goons have made out of the viable peaceful solutions has only added insult to injury. I am afraid lots of blood will be spilled soon…

  9. Atlas Shrugged is a veritable blueprint for what’s seen in the headlines on Venezuela. Despite valid criticisms of the novel, Rand grew up observing authoritarian statists and their effects on her country. This was reflected in its ‘evil’ characters who all had some degree of blind fanaticism, unwillingness to acknowledge or understand reality, opportunism, and a penchant for wanton destruction. These combined characteristics provide the feedback loop to their ever increasing erratic and irrational behavior.

    • Don’t use this extremely combustible and for many people, very personal moment to shill childrens novels. Please.

    • Venezuela is the country were people see a bunch of plunderers ransacking a business, and call it ‘rebellion’. You’ll never see those plunderers doing the same to a comandancia, because those guys can defend themselves, unlike business owners

  10. Have you ever cornered a rat? I actually have. It happened because I was chasing it out of a house with a 2×4. With no place to run, it turned and charged me! I clubbed it.

    Just to make it clear, I do not advocate violence and least of all civilians against tanks.

    At this point we are dealing with dead-enders. A good number of them know they will end in jail either in El Junquito or worse, in the US. Then there are true believers whom have misplaced their religious needs in the revolution. Finally there must be a fair number of yes-men that have achieved material success as never seen or aspired in their life now that they are high level ‘funcionarios’ and deep down in their heart think that saying that they just followed orders will exempt them from all faults (good luck pendejo).

    I believe this government is in hospice care. There is nothing that can be done to save it given all the maladies it suffers. The question is which one will kill it and when.

    (Reality check, my optimism has predicted the fall of Chavismo since 2002, so, I am not sure I even believe it myself, sigh).

  11. ….”I don’t remember a political landscape this combustible in Venezuela, well…ever. I don’t remember our political conflict ever been this suffused with menace, this clearly poised for violence.”

    It sure does, unless someone blinks first…..

    and…..

    ….”Maduro’s inner clique operates on a level of historic irresponsibility I’m not entirely equipped to grasp. It’s hard to accept as reasonable analysis that their intention is to just burn down the house they live in. But that seems very much to be the plan now, doesn’t it?”

    Again, it looks like the plan…..it appears matters are about to reach their climax, how much longer can things go on like this?

  12. Maduro must want a violent confrontation sooner rather than later given his highly procative words and actions recently.i wonder if the smart play is to allow the regime rot to continue hoping that the military will see that their economic prospects under Chavismo are in jeopardy. Rot rather than riot brought the end to communisn in Russia and eastern Europe. I say this as an outsider who has not experienced the horror of Venezuela and feels that outsiders cannot in good conscience incite others to violence. But, I admit I lack the patience shown by Venezuelans thus far.

  13. Because Chavez was military man, his government was set up on a military model, NOT on democratic principals. A military outfit gives orders, it does not take them, especially from those who – while they might have risen from poverty – are no longer the “have nots.”

    The rest of this dynamic is self-explanitory and goes without saying, but I believe the linchpin in all of this is the military.

    No South American military fights actual wars (what are all those medals about?). They are always a domestic police force that tolerates the government so long as they are accorded a privileged position. That privilege is quickly eroding, with not enough food to even feed the troops (note the recent stories of foot soldiers stealing food and killing goats etc.). Granted many of the 4,000 Generals are probably still enjoying the little that is left, and gaming the system of whatever profits they can wrest out of a desperate clusterfuck, but the rank and file troops must be feeling the pinch in growing numbers and in bigger and bigger ways.

    The hour is fast approaching for the military to make the decision that Capriles just gave them, but in slightly different form; Capriles said to chose between the now totally insane Maduro regime and the constitution. But the real question is: What is in it for the rank and file soldier? How much longer can they stand living off pan and pasta – or nothing? How much longer till the majority simply look around at the chaos and ask: What the fuck are we doing? And why? To what end, if not total meld-down and anarchy?

    At some point, probably soon, the situation is going to get unmanagable and only total civic supression will keep Maduro in power. At that point the people will have so little left to lose that anything becomes possible, just to survive, or worse, to get even – if all is not already lost, which seems to be the case in many instances per the stories we are reading.

    Sadly, none of this is avoidable because of the military model the whole shebang was set up on – to give direct orders and for the population to follow them, or else. Maduro is now actively enforcing his will via the military and security forces. You just know there’s going to be some big incident, or a bunch of small ones that pushes this past the tipping point. International attention is growing like a wildfire.

    We on the outside – with family stranded there and living horribly – can only watch the train wreck and and wonder – WTF?! Somebody DO something.

    • Who has a good bearing on whats happening in the barracks? I see them giving out cars, TVs, washing machines to the troops. They are making nomina and conducting war games so there is still money for the military. They have to grease the military to stay in power. The military is in a bubble completely detached from reality.

  14. It looks like they are prepared to take the path of a pretty select group of assholes walking the planet today.

  15. The Opposition is going to have keep the pressure in the street. They should call for marches one after the other. Heck, the current short work weeks favors this.

    Maduro is really stuck right now. Aside from empty coffers.

    If he does nothing the hungry people will embolden and the protest size should increase. Something of Tahrir Square in Cairo.

    If he outright represses the people he would certainly get international rebuke and there may be some nasty measure taken against the government. With oil prices as they are right not, removing a couple of millions barrels a day from the market would be a dream for oil producing countries, such as the US and its frackers.

    Then even if chooses to repress, he may end with troops behaving like the East German border guards in 1989 by disregarding the order to shoot the wall trespassers. So even if he is hankering for a bloodbath it may not turn out as he wishes.

    If the oppositions just sits and does nothing Venezuela will enter a Cuban or Zimbabwean stasis and all is lost.

    • How’s Egyptian democracy doing, now?

      Opening the door to the army is a wild card. We might end up with another faction of Chavismo (or anyone else, really) in power for another 17 years and without even trying to come across as democrats.

        • The Army is a wild card that is in already in play.

          There is the well worn rumor that they forced Chavismo to accept the defeat in December’s election. They were behind the installment of the new assembly. They’ve stood by while Chavismo brutalized the system with its stacked TSJ.

          I agree with you, the military in politics sucks, but this egg was laid by El Galactico with his stupid coup and hatched for the past 17 years by Chavismo.

          Obviously Chavismo is of the nihilistic idea of -sin chavismo, nada-, and that opens the possibility of anything, good and bad.

  16. With a docile/menaced general population, the military will be the deciding factor, preferably behind-the-scenes, but, lately, playing with fire, almost over-waiting what looks like an inevitable soclal explosion, and the resultant need for the military to messily put down the same. The Oppo does not want military intervention, so as not to give Chavismo the excuse that “The Revolution was truncated by the Right in its efforts to deliver true social justice (bla, bla, bla…) to Venezuela’s poor”. Ergo, the Oppo well-founded attempt to have the Pueblo broadly revoke/repudiate by electoral means this miserably-failed Castro-Cuban Communist “Socialist” experiment. Venezuela’s disastrous socialist experiment does not need Allende/Peronist-type apologists saying in the future that all would have been different would only the Bolivarian Revolution have had the time to achieve their glorious humanist/social equality goals.

    • yes! it is an issue of creating unquestionable legitimacy! I think that the rejection of military solutions is in fact the way to go.
      but I really do disagree with your description of the general population as “docile,” it irks me…

  17. Chavismo expects to replicate the same results that Castro got in Cuba in their repression on the population: They will beat down and kill people until the point where people just shuts up or flees the country, exactly how it happened in Cuba, where its opposition was reduced to a handful of useless, unimportant people who can’t do zilch to change anything at all.

  18. I won’t be happy if these goons don’t go to jail forever after this is all over. They’re literally killing the country and they don’t care.

  19. Not surprised by the pathological left. They are sociopaths. People with serious personality disorders! Some of them are totally wacked out like Delcy and her brother. Maduro was chosen for the job because of this IMO

  20. Another wild card are U.S. narcotics indictments. The prospect of this motivates them to stay in power. It’s a powerful tool and their Achilles heel. At this point I do not see unsealing of indictments….however, if they start killing and maiming, the U.S. will be prompted. I do not see the current administration playing these cards. If Trump wins, the indictments will come into play IMO

  21. Yesterday the top Air Force commander said his jets had intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft. Really? Where are the pictures? They can make hay out of that all day. Truth is, they do not dare!

  22. Well, if you rely on the Cuban’s to teach you how to run your government, you are going to end up with a country like Cuba. Unlike what many in Venezuela thought, Cuba was never a wonderful place to live, it continues to be a horrible place with high poverty levels, food scarcity, etc. just like it is in Venezuela. There will be no progress or development as long as free-enterprise is converted into government run operations.

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