Algo tiene que pasar.

We hear it every day.

Tiene que haber un desenlace.

The words come to mind in the morning and in the evening and then they follow me through my nightmares.

Esto no puede seguir así.

And I don’t even live there; I’m just another of those Venezuelans abroad who starts and ends his day looking through this blog, or Twitter, or the news, for any tiny sign that all this suffering might come to an end.

Other than the pescadores perpetually looking to make a killing in the río revuelto, everybody needs a change. We know that.

We know that we’re past the time when the need was economic and political. The need is now physical: more and more people are hungry or dying from diseases that should be treatable.

The need is also psychological: they -we- beg that tonight, or tomorrow morning, or at the teargassed close of the next rally, a turning point comes. An Event that is not exactly the Recall Referendum, so distant and uncertain, but something unplanned and unexpected, something sudden. Crack!  — and the Han Solo-style carbonite cast that is asphyxiating our country begins to fall apart.

I can’t escape the feeling that something like this could happen at any moment. That time has run out, that soon—before the elusive Recall, before the constituyente, before any of our imagined transitions—our lives will be turned upside down again by this thing all of us sense and none of us can name.

The demon with blurred features

It goes by many names.

The vernacular sounds like this: Yo creo que aquí se va a formar un verguero / mariquerón / zaperoco / plomamentazón / matazón / coñaza / peo gigantesco.

Details? We don’t get any details. It’s vaguer than that – a sense that somehow we’re nearing generalized chaos and violence, looting, repression, vengeance. And at the climax of this week of rumors, of fear and hate, Maduro flees to exile. The classic 20th century Latin American or African putsch, with the added virulence of hunger and criminality that we’ve come to expect in Venezuela.

In a more polite register, when you talk to your mother, it’s algo, no sé, algo, un madrugonazo (a military coup, announced by Whatsapp bells ringing on bedsides), un sacudón (another Caracazo) … ¡algo, chico!

The political wording is less vague but the meaning is the same. Un golpe de Estado (que nadie quiere). Un estallido social. Una explosión social. Even the ghostly phrase guerra civil has become a bit more corporeal. But that’s another subject; the consensus forecast is the coñazo: bang!, and the country changes — well, “changes” — overnight.

If we only had a Tahrir Square…

In its most vanilla incarnation, the longing for the zaperoco expresses itself through CNN Syndrome: the belief in peaceful manifestantes as a critical force in history. Since 1989, CNN has shown us tyrant after tyrant quitting in the wake of demonstrations at a massive square in front of a government palace. We saw men and women cutting the Berlin Wall into pieces and dictators ousted in Prague, Tblisi, Baghdad. We were told that student and civic movements defeated Pinochet, Fujimori, Milosevic. It’s seductive.

But those few days and nights of CNN coverage don’t tell the whole story: the preceding decades of torture, death and exile, the following period of uncertainty and impunity. CNN doesn’t recount the negotiations with ugly characters, the handshakes behind closed doors that are the real pivotal moments. You have to read, a lot, to grasp the nature of political change. On TV, you miss the fact that many rebellions fail, or deliver power to a new team of thugs, or ignite a horrific war, as in Syria.

That’s the AD version of the 23 de Enero: civilians in Plaza O’Leary, militares institucionalistas pushing the dictator to La Carlota. It’s beautiful, but it isn’t exactly true. Finally, wounded by years of useless demonstrations, Venezuela’s CNN Syndrome may be fading, allowing The Event to recover its original character of spontaneous disaster.

Many generations of nail-biting

The CNN syndrome has deeper roots than we imagine. Those indefinite nouns—zaperoco, estallido—are fed on memories. El coñazo siempre ha estado entre nosotros.

Images, metaphors, mixed with fear, anger, and hope. But certainly not mere invention. You can’t blame the old timers for being so jumpy. Venezuelan history is as long on dramatic turning points as it is short on slow, methodical power shifts based on negotiation or mediation.

The overwhelming violence and the omnipresent military left a string of trancazos throughout the 19th century, until a warlord in command of Venezuela’s first professional army— Gómez—managed to pacify the country in 1903 (six years before giving his own personal carajazo to his compadre, Cipriano Castro). When El Benemérito died in 1935, looting and vengeance prevailed, and after that not even the economic miracle of oil could quash the sense that another vainón was lurking just around the corner.

It happened again and again. There were zaperocos in 1945 (the so-called Revolución de Octubre, the coup against Medina Angarita), 1948 (the coup against Gallegos), 1958 (the “23 de Enero”), 1960 (the assassination attempt against Betancourt), 1962 (“El Porteñazo” and “El Carupanazo”) … and then that period of relative peace during which my generation was born, to grow up under the illusion that we inhabited Chéverelandia.

Until the volcano erupted again. 1989, a golden year for the profetas del desastre, marked a spectacular comeback for the spectre of The Event. I remember reading Golpe ya! in public toilet stalls in Caracas that year. And in 1992, they arrived: those who professed to tame that old monster, to control it.

The lords of apocalypse

Chávez’s cult of violence went beyond the fascist “glorious death” of the War of Independence and the sugar-coating of 4-F to present the Caracazo not only as the moral justification for his insurgency, but also as a threat: an example of what chavistas could do to their enemies. Chávez turned 27-F, that trauma of the past, into a menace for the future. A weapon that he and his people would wield.  

By embodying in a single self the two actors of the sacudón, both the hooded looter and the soldier who shot at him, chavismo has leveraged our fear of the zaperoco, at times threatening the opposition with looting, at times making it a reality (as on April 13, 2002), riling its radicals with the prospect of sacking “oligarch” territory. Bolívar & Boves, Jekyll & Hyde. Hardcore chavistas don’t speak about the fear of explosion: they crave it, they believe that they are the explosive device. “Somos los de la Independencia”, said Chávez that rain-soaked afternoon in 2012, during his last campaign rally. “Somos los del Caracazo. Somos los del 4 de febrero”. We are the zaperoco. Le zaperoque c’est moi.

Today, the chance of a new peazo has become an imminent threat to what’s left of their power. Still, incredibly, Maduro and company shake the red idol of collective violence to scare us back into line. Maduro insists that he rules the demon. But other chavistas see more clearly: they recognize a new 27-F as both imminent and threatening. Just read Aporrea.org, or listen to dissidents like Nicmer Evans. They no longer believe the myth of chavismo as master of the zaperoco—one more sign of the weakening of the pillars of bolivarian propaganda.

The next day, the next hour

As I write this, the folks I left behind in Valencia tell me that there has been looting in the towns of Tocuyito and Flor Amarillo. They tell me that there have been fatalities. I don’t know if that’s true. But rumors of fatalities can spread panic, and people are already scared. The other day, there was gunfire in Carapita.

Is it already happening? Is this The Event?

If not, when will it happen, and how?

Will it happen at all? Or will its energy dissipate into the all-consuming every day struggle for survival?

The present is already so much worse than we ever imagined it could be. My only hope now is that, once that atavistic creature, the carajazo, strikes again, we don’t find ourselves saying that once more.

 

51 COMMENTS

  1. That some kind of Event is coming is evident.

    That nobody seems to know what, when, and what would it mean is another thing.

    People may be longing for a decisive Event just as a release for the slow anguish of this non-Event that is going on for years and years and every day just turns uglier. But… it may just be that.

    An explosion, a release of pressure, and then… nothing. Or something worse.

    • I can’t agree with you more, it totally sums up all the feelings I have had since I was ‘home’ in Lecheria more than 2 years ago. The best thing I have read in this blog ever.

  2. El Caracazo was spontaneous. Really? And yet today no Caracazo despite conditions that are at least as bad if not worse.

      • Maybe the Caracazo was something waiting to happen but I had a work colleague at the time who lived in San Martin and who told us that the way it started where he lived was that a group of people drove up in several cars, pistol at hand and started to shout to people in the buildings to come down and begin gathering while shooting their guns in the air ……not spontaneous at all …. !!

        In any event the mood of people has been affected by the presence of armed gangs of regime supported thugs (colectivos) who will shoot at any protesters indiscriminately …which of course is a strong disincentive to people coming out to engage in any kind of protests ………!! nonetheless I think the regime is waiting for it to happen , with well trained and equipped riot squads ready to move any time an incident happens to quell it before it spreads to other places ………..the number and violence of the protests and incidents however is increasing as the situation worsens and worsens, so that one cant be certain that it wont happen and become uncontrollable ….

        If it does and the special riot squads dont contain it , no one is sure the army will intervene to squash them and not turn coats against the regime which might lead to army groups fighting army groups which can really be the fuse that fires a internal strife situation …..!! these are worrisome times ……..because what we see is that things are really worsening and there seems to be no end to it…….!!

        • Un analista político español dijo en una tertulia radiofónica, también española, que Maduro caerá cuando ordene disparar contra la multitud y los militares no obedezcan para no correr con las consecuencias. Me pareció plausible.

          • Eso fué lo que pasó en abril de 2002, luego que el fiambre decidió masacrar a los manifestantes salió corriendo como el cobarde miserable que era.

            Sólo regresó porque los milicos ladrones no querían que se les acabara la manguangua de ser enchufados.

        • It wasn’t spontaneous.

          The proof is in these days lootings and riots.

          The 27F was carefully orchestrated by cuban agents seeded by the Castros since the 60s in Venezuela.

          • And, in Guarenas, by AD street organizers who were agitating against CAP’s Paquetazo (told by one of them who was there), fanned in Caracas by Castro agents, including snipers, some of them brought with Castro for CAP’s Second Inauguration.

      • I find the whole discussion ridiculous. Of course it was spontaneous, of course if wasnt. Some of the sparks may have been “planned” by some groups. But if you believe the whole descent into chaos of the city was “planned”, you are entering Illuminati-style conspiracy territory.

        • Correct. It may have been planned in some areas, but the particular way in which the fire rose was because some bus drivers in Guarenas wanted to up their fee and people strongly disagreed. You will always have folks taking advantage of such a situation, of course.

          To think it was much better planned than that is a great excuse to put on your tinfoil hat.

    • During the last years, I grew more and more suspicious about how spontaneous El Caracazo really was. I guess we won’t know for sure, ever, if it was provoked or no by part of what became Chavismo just a few years later. We can only speculate, as with many other things. But, yeah, I kind of think it wasn’t an event that happened just like that, out of the blue.

      • Seria bueno ubicar y preguntarle a la gente que trabajó en la Sala Situacional de Miraflores cuando CAP II. Según una de esas teorías conspirativas, CAP buscaba negociar la deuda con el FMI pero necesitaba algo que lo justificara. Planifican protestas en ciertos lugares de la ciudad y ponen en huelga a la policía.
        Lo que sucedió es que la protesta controlada se le salio de las manos, por una parte por la TV y por otra por la rivalidad a muerte entre Lusinchi/Ibanez CAP/Matos.
        Al final se logró el propósito y las negociaciones con el FMI llegaron a bien término.

    • The same that happened with the lootings in the 27F, if there’s no clear and visible leadership that tries to pour some sanity through the media, the regime will remain the same.

      Because that’s what happened with CAP’s government, even when the whole thing was an attempt to oust him, it was cut short because somebody forgot to distribute even more weapons to the malandros ransacking Caracas.

      Even when several days after the happenings, the sight of malandros gunning down people waiting in lines in front of food markets was common.

  3. Venezuelan society is muddling through, waiting for someone from Mars or Jupiter to come and solve the problem. Every day it grows hungrier, sicker, more humiliated but it waits for some divine intervention. The zaperoco is what everyone is waiting for, but without moving a finger to start it.
    Every one says: Who. Me? Are you crazy? And yet, Venezuelans are the only ones who can start the zaperoco. Every outsider is calling for a dialogue with the gangsters. Today even Chuo Torrealba says: Either we negotiate or we kill each other.
    Bullshit. A simple rationalization for not taking action and grabbing the bull by the horns. If we went to the streets and did not come back home until the gvt. is out the gvt. this situation would not last months or years, as it looks it might. Violence? Venezuela has been in the midst of violence for 16 years, every aurter more Venezuelans die violently than in a year in Afghanistan, a country in war.
    Talking and negotiating is OK with our adversaries, says Chuo. But the gang in power is not an adversary but an enemy. Or 17 years of looting, expropriations, persecutions, humiliations, fraud and shameless abuse of power only makes them “adversaries”?
    We will not be a real country again until we rebel openly. Only until we give the gangster a kick in the behinf=d we won’t be able to look at ourselves in the mirror with pride, only with sahme.

  4. The Event? Tahir Square? Well my Little coward in exile, tell me why there has been no Tahir Square after 3 and one half years of shortages and frustration? Because the opposition does not have the stomach for an EVENT unless they pay violent student psychos to beat pólice women, place snipers to kill chavistas, arrage hits as they did with General Velesquez or go for a BIG assassination.

    Your only hope is an invasión and if the happens both your family and mine could be victims. So forget the EVENT and work to win the presidential elections in late 2018.

    In the meantime the starving the population conspiracy will continue.

    There will be no recall referéndum. If you saw Jorge Rodríguez in his press conference yesterday, listen to the last question from a VTV reporter which ws probably planted fopr Jorge to answer.

    In a nutshell Jorge implied that since 40%+ of signatures were either defectuosas or fraudulentas then this was ilegal, a fraud and unconstitutional – implying that thsi whole furst stage of trying to actívate the referéndum could be annulled.

    In any case there will be no referndum this year and after Janury 10, if Maduro were to be recalled, then the Vice Prez takes over. So tough shit Henry!

    • Bingo !

      Not to mention that, in such a scenario, most victims would probably be at the hands of malandros que no creen en nadie taking advantage of the chaos.

    • With Arturo’s command of logic and reason he certainly needs to be on Chavista payroll as an act of charity (also his English is good). Otherwise he would be like most Venezuelans, hungry,

    • Little man, as obvious as it seems to everyone but you; it is certainly an oxymoron that when a military person is assassinated they are or were part of the government because el finado mixed the military with the civilian government. Duh..

      People with two finger in the forehead understand that Maduro (your president) has the military and hence the weapons to quench any attempt of an “event” as you said. The military have license to kill while you and certainly myself don’t.

      Our glorious “Liberator Army” has been used since last century to fight its own people, that something CAP and el finado share in hell. Better uses of our expensive military can be found abound: Guess what, Exxon is drilling again in Guyana and your buddy Maduro has nothing to say about that. The paracos and narcos are in fact so infiltrated in our armed forces that it will take a full generation to clean up the mess. And last but not least, we allowed the Cubans to invade us and penetrate our armed forces without even shot a bullet to the air, a cold invasion that it will be in the history books as an example of the most pusilanime and jalabola country in modern history. And we did not sell our integrity dearly, the Cubans are currently quiet, mouth zipped and they don’t even hint and attempt to save some face at the debacle of Maduro because they just sold their ass back to the gringos.

      Of course, a caracazo or a coup will serve the PSUV more than the opposition. Don’t you think we know that?. Maduro will be flying to Cuba or Grenada (where he spent a lot of dough – yours by the way – to ensure a save heaven in case of the shit hits the fan). Then the chavista dream would survive and then you may attempt to re-build this pitiful utopia called chavismo. HA!, wake up Dorothy!, Chavez dream requires Chavez and Chavez is dead.

      So, R2D2 you may want to wire your ass with you brain while making line to get your government limosna while the people that stole 300 billion dollars are drinking mojitos and eating lobster in the Orchila or drinking $300 wine bottles in Washington to show the benefits of the “revolution”. Those by the way are former revolutionarios like your saint patron, just that the got more honest with their greed at the end (ask Cilia Flores kids, Walter for example and not only the narco-cousins).

      By the way, learn these little equations from memory, it will save you a lot of time to reconcile why your beloved high ranked military are being killed:

      Drug trafficking x Military = Dead military (or wealthy military that will get robbed and killed like the +20,000 Venezuelans dead without palanca)

      If you feel offended by that then try:

      Impunity x poverty x arrogant government x complete disregard for human suffering = lots of dead Venezuelans (including militares con palanca)

  5. In all honestly, I fear a next ‘Event’ almost as much as I fear the idea of waking up all drugged up in the middle of the night, with Diosdado dressed as a drag queen lying next to me, smiling.

    The point is this: none of the previous Events have happened during such a non-ideologically violent period, where the murder rate in Caracas alone averages at like 2 per hour…

    None of the previous Events took place in a time when government that had actively militarised extreme supporters, ‘colectivos’, who already have blood on their hands.

    In short, never before has there been this amount of weapons, hatred, and disregard for human life out on the streets.

    I dread thinking about what will go down if all hell breaks loose. Well, the expression would be almost literal. If shit hits the fan and blood is spilt, I fear most of the blood won’t be spilled in the ‘us vs. them’ context, but in the ‘we are malandros and we can now do whatever we want, mercilessly’ one.

    I don’t mean to fear-monger, but… bueno, la verdad es que tengo burrrrda de culillo…

    And yet on the other hand we are left with trying to negotiate with the empowered zoo. Fruitless and frustrating as the process is, which generally just ends up buying the gang more time.

    Hopefully I’m just paranoid and kind of a pussy… but it’s hard to avoid that thought… That aquí se va a armar un peo bien feo…

    • That other article about the guy convincing some other guy not to kill a policeman?

      That is one little spark avoided. Unfortunately, sparks are going to be generated all the time, and the country is a powder keg.

      It just takes one mistake, and one overeaction, to have the whole thing blow up.

      • Mistakes and overreactions have been all over the place since years ago:

        – The april 2002 slaughter by the Llaguno gunmen.

        – The 45 murders of the 2014 protests.

        – The kid whose head was blasted off by a national guard’s shotgun blast at point range, after he pinned the poor guy like a bug to the ground, execution-style.

        – The beating Marvinia Jiménez received just by taking pictures of some “People Guard” goons abusing people, also, the fact that said guard is cozily living now outside the country, courtesy of the regime.

        – The dozens of people dying from easily curable diseases due to the idiotic and lambucio mentality of chavistas of stealing public funds to pay for their prepagos and properties in Miami.

        And I can go listing lots of abuses that could have been more than reason to topple this regime several times over, by any means necessary, even by military coup, but we all know that already.

        Chavistas should be thankful, crying and kneeling on bottlecaps and shattered glasses that they have the most patient opposition in the history of humanity and that Bush’s actions in the middle east made the oil skyrocket the way it did.

        • I’m not sure that ‘patient’ is the right word, it sounds more like a euphemism…

          Remember the guarimberos? No, remember the GOCHO guarimberos? You know, the dudes who fearlessly took over army tanks, leaving the Tiananmen Tank Man looking almost mild in comparison?

          That is about as big of a spark as we could have hoped for, the unrest was heated and, most importantly, national.

          And yet… everyone suddenly got bored, all that adrenaline had been drained and the guarimberos started packing their bags, as it were. I, as others do, like blaming the World Cup for this… ‘I mean, this is good and all, but I can’t stream shit on my phone. How the fuck am I gonna watch the games?’

          Ojo, I was never a supporter of the violent guarimbas. In fact, I think about all of the dead chavistas and motorizados from that time with great pain: it’s their job to do the killing, not ours. The guarimbas turned young, incensed students into murderers… Not on the level of some paramilitary colectivo and of the safari exhibit in power, of course… but killers in any case.

          So, as you say, the sparks have been there. Hell, the sparks have even caught some fuses… but we’ve always been ready with a bucket of water at hand.

          Not patient, then, but ultimately unwilling? Levelheaded? Too much into football?

          • *** “I’m not sure that ‘patient’ is the right word, it sounds more like a euphemism…”

            No, it’s exactly that, patience.

            *** “And yet… everyone suddenly got bored, all that adrenaline had been drained and the guarimberos started packing their bags, as it were. I, as others do, like blaming the World Cup for this… ‘I mean, this is good and all, but I can’t stream shit on my phone. How the fuck am I gonna watch the games?’”

            Actually, the guarimbas died for two reasons, three to be precise: One was the “diálogos burundangueros”, Two was the lack of ANY leadership that drove the protests (Regardless of how much people stupidly relish on calling LL and MCM “radical lunatics”)

            *** “Ojo, I was never a supporter of the violent guarimbas.”

            Neither I am, and because I am a dirty coward, I won’t tell people to go and fight against armed thugs, but I’ll tell them to the point of boredom and annoyance that they MUST KNOW that they MUST DEFEND THEIR LIVES if they ever get attacked and can’t run away.

            But want to know something funny? That, as much fearful and helpless might be someone, the worst thing you can do is corner them without any chance at escaping. Did some poor chorito got his head whacked and his bike burned? Awww, gimme a towel, man, because the mob should’ve at least broke one of his arms to stop him from ever repeating such a stupid thing.

            *** “…I think about all of the dead chavistas and motorizados from that time…”

            To which I point and laugh my ass off, because they don’t exist, there isn’t a single chavista killed by any oppositor, because, Juancho Montoya? Killed by sebins. The so-called beheaded biker? Doesn’t exist, the only biker that died was a choro that killed himself for drunk-driving and smashed his bug on the sidewalk.

            Again, there is not a single chavista that’s been murdered by any oppositor.

            “Not patient, then, but ultimately unwilling? Levelheaded? Too much into football?”

            You would be amazed to see how “patient” can somebody be when they are staring at the gun barrel.

          • Can’t reply to you again for some reason… hit maximum reply count for a thread?

            I take it the third reason was the World Cup???

            All jokes aside, can you provide any evidence about the guarimba deaths (or lack thereof)? Oh, I really want to believe you, but I can’t just take your word for it… because scepticism and all that. I know you might say the proof for the existence of said deaths is equally disputable, I just tend to jump to worst case scenarios.

            Still, I don’t think patience is the right word when you and I are both self-professed pussies, and we’re not the only ones. Patience is not the same as resignation, just as tolerance is not the same as submission.

          • “I take it the third reason was the World Cup???”

            Oops, I forgot to write that one, heheh.

            The third reason was the crushing repression from the regime, it’s sad and infuriating, but their old “hit, maim, and kill” standard procedure has served them damn well to supress protests and dissension, that’s what chavismo has done since 2002.

            “can you provide any evidence about the guarimba deaths”

            Innocent till proven guilty, if the regime can’t prove the murders, they didn’t happened, and everybody here knows that they can prove them beyond all reasonable doubt if they wanted to do so. They can’t prove them because said murders never happened, starting with the husband of that woman that acts as spokesman of that tariffed group “vicims against barricades” who was supossedly killed by “demonic ultra rightwing nazi-fascist daddy-mommy-kid guarimberros” when that was actually a choro who murdered an AD supporter shooting her on the back, I can’t remember the name of the AD-lady, and I couldn’t care less about the name of those disgusting chavistas (the man because he was a murderer, and his widow because she sold the dead for political reasons) And there’s too much chavista hate-propaganda floating like the Guaire garbage that obstructs any quick search.

            And that’s just one example.

            On the other side, there are plenty of proof of how the colectivos and other regime forces slaughtered people left and right during the protests, the two Geraldines were an example of the colectivo maniacal bloodlusting brutality (Both were shot in the head, one with a shotgun and another with a 9mm, kinda impossible to do when the protesters never had any guns in their power); and there’s even more evidence of how chavismo disgustingly rushed to use the corpses as political flags, because that’s what chavismo does, they kill people and blame others, they’re the regime that’s exploited such a nausea-inducing and putrid tactic the most in these last decades.

    • No, no, you’re so right. So, so right.

      If you study criminology in this nation, one of the figures that jump to your eyes is how criminal violence has a rush during two particular periods: The Caracazo and 11-A.

      The quantity of weapons that found their way into the streets after those two events ended up on malandro’s hands.

      Your take couldn’t be more accurate. Caracazo was nasty, 11-A was bad.

      And there weren’t this many guns out there…

  6. We’ve had dialog attempts since 2002 to no avail. One has to know his opponent and Chavismo is not a partner for dialog. Moreover, any dialog in the past was just a delaying tactic.

    The real significant change is that Chavismo cannot win an election ever again. So opposition forces command popular support. This is hugely important because Chavismo is clearly an oppressor and seen as such inside and outside of Venezuela. Carta Democratica would be a capstone in this process.

    Common sense would have shown that Chavismo would have negotiated their way out of the corner they have painted themselves into, but it is late in the game and they still don’t flinch. They are certainly more and more isolated, and as Naky Soto wrote, Maduro cannot and will not leave Miraflores. But what is left of Chavismo is a cadre of criminals and fanatics that are contemplating jail or glorious death.

    At this point Chavismo must be defied in the streets, but in a non-violent way. As Rodrigo Linares presented so well in his article http://www.caracaschronicles.com/2016/05/30/heroism-for-our-times/. As hunger bites harder crowds must swell forcing Maduro’s hand. People have 5 day weekends to sit hungry in the dark. One would think that going out and banging your pot is a worthy calorie expenditure.

    If Maduro decides to repress the crowds, as Rafael Diaz in the comment section here points out, he may find himself as the East German government in 1989 or Ceaușescu. They will ignore him.

    Finally Mr Osio captures my life and relationship to the news about Venezuela as of late.

  7. Chavistas don’t negotiate. Ever. So mediation (meddling) from the Spaniards or others will probably go nowhere because the conditions hinge on Maduro releasing political prisoners and letting the referendum go through. Also, as faux revolutionaries drawn from military model, Chavistas (whatever the hell that means nowadays) have to have someone to fight and revolt against, and those numbers have pretty well vanished from the national landscape, ergo all this talk about an economic way and Dollar Today “creating” a parallel market, as opposed to it merely posting an exchange rate fashioned from the real world, the world Chavista’s refuse to acknowledge. Any official presently denying the country is in meltdown is a criminal and traitor to Venezuela, and should later be tried for crimes against humanity. But if the people spontaneously rise up the Chavistas will finally have someone to fight and revolt against, so round and round we go as folk tragically and needlessly vanish down the drain.

    Two things seems certain: Something will happen soon – the pressure is mounting and needs release by most any means; and what comes next is anyone’s guess.

  8. The opposition has no weapons, the ones with the guns are:

    – Colectivos, who’d love to go GTA on the Altamira square.
    – PSUV Militia, a bunch of fanatics that either want to kill escuálidos, can’t even use the guns they were given or just sold them to the local gang leader.
    – The mafias that i assume won’t be involved in any bloodshed if there’s no real economic incentive.
    – And the FANB / PNB.

    From these, our hopes are that the latter have a patriotic change of heart and think “no, my duty is to protect the people, i shall stand by them”. The thing is, many policemen, soldiers and guards are chavistas already, who would side with the colectivos on a rampage scenario, leaving us counting on even less armed men to join our cause. From this last group of officials, it would be nearly suicidal to go against their own: They’d be outnumbered, treated as traitors, and already hated on our side (think about a PNB leaving a farmatodo stacked with food while you queue for hours leaving empty handed).

    And this is on a extreme, “caracazo” scenario. Meanwhile, even the Guardia Nacional who signed for the referendum and thinks Maduro has to go, still has a VIP ticket to buy food before fellow civilian countrymen. How can we convince him/her to pass on this little privilege to join the right side?

    • “(think about a PNB leaving a farmatodo stacked with food while you queue for hours leaving empty handed).”

      And who told him to rub his privileges in the face of the less fortunate ones? Any harm that can go his way is well-deserved. If he didn’t wanted to get punched in the face, he shouldn’t go mocking people. In fact, even a single “escuálido” uttered by them deserves at least a well placed punch right to the kisser, it’s their own fault.

      “– Colectivos, who’d love to go GTA on the Altamira square.”

      Colectivos are less willing to help Maduro and his cronies since Miguel Rodíguez started the trend of killing gang bosses (I-don’t-remember.nor-I-care-for-his-first-name Odremán, boss of march-5 colectivo, the one that was present shooting people down during the 2014 protests) to “show them their place in the food chain”. You don’t go killing your enforcers when they’ve “outlived their usefulness”

      ” – PSUV Militia, a bunch of fanatics that either want to kill escuálidos, can’t even use the guns they were given or just sold them to the local gang leader.”

      A bunch of untrained, mostly coward idiots that might end slaughtered by dozens by furious, hysterical and rabid people, you know that without the surprise factor it’s actually really risky and difficult to “kill escuálidos” in their own houses? I feel a bit of pity for those, because they get to become the most disposable cannon-fodder and they don’t even realize it.

      ” – The mafias that i assume won’t be involved in any bloodshed if there’s no real economic incentive.”

      The root of all Venezuela’s evil, which are all in the ruling nomenklature.

      “even the Guardia Nacional who signed for the referendum and thinks Maduro has to go, still has a VIP ticket to buy food before fellow civilian countrymen.”

      That’s something you don’t know, the privileged ones are not stupid to sign for the recall, the ones that signed are those who are tired of being starved by their corrupt officers.

  9. Great post by Rafael. Tragic and insightful. I personally do not believe the stage is set for an event. El Peo can’t happen when only one side has guns. We are still years away from the bottom of this. Look at other failed states…shit goes on for a long time and nobody cares…
    Interesting to see we have our very own chavista (Arturo), which supports the famous Kissinger phrase “los rusos tambien juegan…”
    Keep it up Francisco and team, awesome job!

  10. I think… the worst part of the culture of violence with which the country was raised, undermines every other source of authority and public order (¿meritocracia, anyone?). Only violence can make sense out of what we’re surviving. Only violence can decide the destiny of the nation, down to it’s very credibility, heck, it’s very viability. That paired with a permanent yearning of an unknown glory that embelishes the most violent figures of our (recent a ancient) history. Those waving the civilized flag are quickly discarded because of a certain lacking of bolas for the necesary violence that leadership requires. We in a way, never knew that other ways were possible. That the ways of citizenship, though not always effectively immediate, preserve lives and encourage people to be more participative in the process of maintaining a certain level of living. But since only the violent, the más arrechos, the más cuatriboleaos, execute power, those who don’t are subordinated and therfore, powerless, must obey (also, there’s a phallocentrism that I’m not going to get into, but that is very annoying, in that violent culture).

    It is a pity because that violence, though discursive and seductive, breaks us apart at our very cores. Our communities shatter because we don’t care about the people suffering next to us (if you care enough to try to raise your voice and do something about it, then you are perceived as a huevón). It’s not my problem, because I’m only ballsy enough to look after myself. And that lack of empathy among with other lackings, are dissolving society (a very troubled society to begin with) and leaving behind this blob of people who can’t look past their own necessities. We are dangerously close to losing everything we once held “dear” about venezuelans. The transformation is deep and complex, and may require generations to restore the blob into a functioning society. If we ever were one.

    My fear is that we haven’t learned. That we’re seeing the forest for the trees. That we get stuck on tiny moments instead of understanding the general picture, it’s causes and consequences. Our inability to comprehend and be aware and alert and reject any big-mouthed snake charmer that wants to control us through violence. When you are too close to a situation you need to step back and get a little perspective. But violence doesn’t let you see much else. We’ll have to wait and see what ends up happening. If we’re willing to shed all this violence one and for all.

  11. I loved this quote: “and then that period of relative peace during which my generation was born, to grow up under the illusion that we inhabited Chéverelandia.”

    I was born in 1972 and was foolish to think that I was living in a country on the brink of becoming first world. It was all an illusion. That country does not exist, or maybe never existed, and it makes me sad.

  12. Por ahi viene la cosa (the Thing is out there), but it would be much better, wiser and civilized if the opposition (MUD) would leave aside personal aspirations and prima dona complexes and set their sites and support on one leader who embodies the spirit of the MUD and the expectations of all Venezuelans for things to change. Also, Venezuelans as a whole, as a nation, as a society must be aware that instead of relying on the windfall of oil prices, they must embrace hard work, the desire to learn and sweat it out, oil alone will not solve the problems of Venezuela but rather a radical cultural shift and the ultimate awakening that the 21st century is 16 years overdue and it is time to catch up or shut up.

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