Tibisay Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the 2016 Maduro Recall

N-Day is Here


National Elections Council chairwoman Tibisay Lucena just announced that a the next stage of the referendum process — the collection of signatures from 20% of voters — might (not will, might) take place in “late October,” provided some more arbitrary conditions are met.

CNE norms say a recall itself would be called 90 days after the 20% of signatures are collected.

This announcement kills the prospect of early presidential elections following a recall.

Add 90 days to “late October” and you get…late January 2017. That’s after January 11th, the first day of the fourth year in Maduro’s term.

This means that even if Maduro was recalled, there would be no fresh election: Maduro’s vice-president would finish out his term.

Though couched in the kind of highly defensive and hyper-bureaucratic circumlocution Tibisay Lucena is famous for, make no mistake: this announcement kills the prospect of early presidential elections following a recall.

Today is N-Day: No Recall in 2016 Day. It’s a major turning point in this year’s political crisis and will have serious consequences, both domestically and internationally, both within the opposition and within the governing coalition.

Barring a highly unlikely climb-down, Chavismo has effectively killed the 2016 Recall Referendum: Venezuela’s last, best chance for somehow overcoming this catastrophe in some semblance of democratic order.

What comes next is highly uncertain. Street protests from the opposition are a foregone conclusion, as is heavy-handed repression from the government. Defections —potentially large— from the governing coalition are likely, and the cabinet will come under strain like never before.

Lucena has invested heavily in her reputation for never reversing a decision once she’s made it. If this decision isn’t reversed, the consequences will be ghastly.

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  1. I agree with every comma in this post.

    Nonetheless we must continue to push for a RR. Even in March. Handing chavismo a major defeat on the executive branch is crucial to continue to deligitimize its actions.

    This will also lead to defection. Big time.

    • You handed chavismo a MAJOR DEFEAT at 6D. Even so It was a phirric victory of sorts.

      Nobody defected. Not a single chavista henchmen on whom you’re betting so heavily hinted to do so. Never ever.

      “Delegitimizing” is something Maduro and Co don´t give a damn. Las caretas se cayeron hace mas de 12 años. To stay on the coroto they need/have GUNS, not “legitimacy”.

      I will tell you what is going to happen from now on:

      Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

      Chavismo under Maduro, in an example of political genius, just arrived to “Stationary conditions” and will remain as such for a long time.

      People will continue dying, with the occasional saqueo here and there. And that will be about it. Candelitas apagadas en todos lados.

      Unless oppo understands that this government can only be toppled by armed means, of course.

      Shocking and DISGUSTING that you can still bet on “defections” so long at this game of death and sorrow.

      • JH, you do have a point. I understand that the 6D should have lead to defections.

        And you perhaps are right, that only violence will topple this government. Perhaps I refuse to accepted because I am both unwilling to pick up a rifle and also understand that gathering resources for an armed movements won’t be an easy task.

        But the violent path will only bring you more disgusting death and sorrow. You bet.

        • Aren’t Juan Barreto, Cliver Alcala, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, et all defections post 6-D? yeah they didn’t happen right away but are a direct consequence.

      • But there were defections such as Marea Socialista. And now just spend some time in Aporrea and you will see a very unhappy crowd. The difference is that they don’t seem to think straight and miss the point that Chavez is the root cause for the sorrowful state of affairs.

      • “Unless oppo understands that this government can only be toppled by armed means, of course.”

        In which case…. what?

        Today is a great day for machos del teclado.

          • Mmmm, Robert Redman and Bassil Da Costa were two so-called “machos de teclado” (They were users in the infamous noticiero digital message forums) who made “the sacrifice” themselves (If being murdered by the regime’s enforcers could be called sacrifice).

            So, I have to disagree with you and the Ratónfilo, not everybody who vents their frustration in an internet comment is a dirty coward in real life.

            People in 2014 protested, and a lot of other folks turned their backs on them, today in 2016? The ones that’ll protest and will have to bite the bullets will be the “popular sectors”.

  2. “make no mistake: this announcement kills the prospect of an early presidential election following a recall.”

    It’s good to clarify this, because I’ve already seen ppl saying that it MIGHT still happen in December if the CNE is willing, it WON’T! The earlier we accept this the “better” for everyone.

  3. Que luego no digan los chavistas que no se les advirtió, están jugando con bengalas en medio de un campo petrolero lleno de fugas y pichaques.

    Que se atengan a las consecuencias, ellos solos son los únicos culpables de lo que pasará en Venezuela, y con todo, me refiero literalmente a eso, todo.

    • Como si a ellos realmente les importaran los venezolanos… Pueden morir miles y no van ni a pestañear ya que son simplemente ególatras despiadados enfermos de poder.

    • It seems to me that there’s a lawyer behind all this, carefully calculating how to reword things and make them plausible without crossing over that line of outright rejection. Probably in the TSJ, but close advisor to the President, official or unofficial, and probably the guy who’s keeping the regime on its tightrope without falling.

      I met a lawyer here in the U.S. who was so very wrapped up in what he thought he saw of the “legal aspects” of things, that he had totally lost sight of reality. He was literally lost in a sea of words and infinite possibilities, fascinated by the possibilities of arguing effectively on either side of an issue, all without ever seeing the present reality and its foundation in truth. A poor, pitiful creature, really, full of his own “intellect”, but people listened to him because they themselves could not decipher the lies he knowingly or unknowingly told, and accepted his word as authority. It is surprising how people come to believe that words themselves carry more meaning than the thought behind them. Esto lo podria decire en espanol, y los que no conocen nada del espanol no lo entenderian, pero el pensamieno queda igual. Hay gente educada que se envuelven en las palabras hasta perder el sentido, llteralmente. Gente como ese pendejo Karl Marx. Nos toca a los que aun son capazes, a hablar claramente.

      • When I said “everything” I was covering even the most murky options a handful of people pushed into the brink of desperation could think of, which, if you want to explicitly know it, could count among them taking the frustraton right against any “mono con carnet”

  4. This was all totally predictable.
    All you had to do was listen to the talking heads for the last 30 days.
    They told you it wouldn’t happen in 2016.

    This government will not be removed democratically.

  5. No entiendo por qué Tibisay dice cualquier barrabasada y la gente dice OK.

    Nadie se da cuenta que el poder reside en el soberano y que si el soberano quiere RR ya (que 81% lo quiere), por la razón o por la fuerza el CNE tiene que hacer el RR en los tiempos?

    ¿Cuál es el entreguismo? ¿De que se trata la lucha si cuando ellos doblan las reglas a su favor nosotros las damos por válidas?

    Esto es el colmo.

      • El soberano no tiene un ejercito ni las ganas de salir a protestar. El “soberano” pueblo se mantendran hacienda colas, dandole gracias al gobierno por las bolsas de comida, viendo a ver como bachaquea, y tratando de comprar cervezas para bonchar los fines de semanas.

        • El “soberano” no protesta ni se alza a menos que alguien lo instigue para eso, quedó demostrado con los peos del 27 de febrero del 89.

  6. After all that has happened, a worse electoral defeat to boot to last December’s would make it impossible for any normal political movement to hold onto power. However, Chavismo has over and over shocked me with the depths they will plumb to hold on. If nothing else, this announcement is one such action.

    But taking a step back one sees that the government has failed to take even ONE corrective action to the maladies that afflict Venezuela. Moreover it doubles down in indecisiveness and lets things fester for the worse, much worse.

    Chavismo keeps digging deeper and deeper.

  7. So, we (the opposition) win the elections of governors in 2016. The silver lining is that the MUD can do grassroots work by supporting local leaders. Either way, Maduro will be out sooner or later. The problem is that most venezuelans can’t survive “later”.

    • You’re assuming there will be governors elections this year. As things looks from here, to me, it doesn’t look likely.

    • And you are assuming too that chavismo will hold presidential elections in any other time before 2021.

      Yes, the problem is, that thousands of people won’t survive to see that day.

  8. Soberano desarmado Vs. Usurpadores armados. Viejo dilema, mucho más, en un pueblo mayoritariamente cristiano que aborrece la violencia. La resistencia pacífica no funciona con los psicópatas. Entonces?…
    Sovereign unarmed vs. armed usurpers. Old dilemma, much more, in a predominantly Christian people who abhors violence. Peaceful resistance does not work with psychopaths. So?…

  9. Chavismo will fight like a cat paws up to not go to elections ever again as long as they’re this disliked. So they step on us and bet on breaking our spirits. I believe waiting for September is way too much time, but the only option I see is occupying the street. It looks to me like a line was crossed and simply marching as an act of will and a display of support falls short of what we need.

    Occupying the street, say, outside the CNE or the TSJ, will surely end in blood. So this is the part where I understand that the option I see has marked flaws.

    I turn the question to you now: What can we do?

    • “I turn the question to you now: What can we do?”

      Spread the truth, so people realizes that Maduro, Diosdado and Chávez before them has the people chewing a wire.

      And that goes by spreading easy to digest messages, such as “While you’re eating ****, Diosdado laughs his ass off” or “While your children starve, Maduro dances with your money.”

      Spread and stoke the hatred against the regime and all what they stand for.

  10. A simple hypothesis is that socialists/ communists despise people who produce good products, services, and contribute to general well-being – without giving them, the socialists, credit for it. It’s slavery. One might well ask how anyone’s hatred could be so intense and pervasive, doubt that it could be so, and thus dismiss the hypothesis on the basis that it is itself vindictive and frivolous. But any facile dismissal is met with stunning, terrifying, facts.


    “The highest death tolls that have been documented in communist states occurred in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, in the People’s Republic of China under Mao Zedong, and in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. The estimates of the number of non-combatants killed by these three regimes alone range from a low of 21 million to a high of 70 million.”

  11. The assembly is toothless. The international community just talks. Looks like without a popular uprising, its simply more of the same.

  12. Todo lo que está ocurriendo era predecible desde que los genios de la estrategia decidieron darle la espalda a cualquier tipo de insurrección civil. Ahora vemos las consecuencias de esa jugada. Nosotros mismos hicimos todo lo posible para cerrarnos el camino de las protestas y el gobierno sabe que no tiene nada que temer. Puede arrinconarnos todo lo que quiera porque sabe que no lo vamos a enfrentar en la calle. El sector de la oposición que le dio la espalda a las protestas en el 2014 acabó para siempre con la posibilidad de una resistencia, y no se preparó para todos los escenarios. Quemó todas las naves al cederle al gobierno demasiado terreno.Evidentemente, las personas que en ese momento hicieron todo lo posible para desmovilizar las protestas e incluso directamente o indirectamente criminalizarlas, no pueden ser las mismas en iniciar una rebelión ahora. No les queda otra opción que ser parte del sistema (o sea, de la dictadura). Ese terreno moral que se cedió al gobierno al desmovilizar las protestas y criticarlas es una de los principales razones de que no tengamos ninguna capacidad de reacción ahora. El gobierno nos llevó de manera brillante a un callejón sin salida. Por lo menos debe quedar claro ahora que jugar al populismo y cederle espacio ideológico y propagandístico a la dictadura (con el vano propósito de ganar votos)es un error y que en vez de apostar a eso debemos crear focos de resistencia que por muy minoritarios que sean tengan objetivos y discursos claros y coherentes. El propósito de esos focos de resistencia es justamente salvarnos del pensamiento único y conservar un espacio que quizás pueds crecer en el futuro. Una persona que está clara en su oposición fundamental al gobierno vale más estratégicamente en este momento que 100 zombies votantes populistas.

  13. The real question is…what can we do? We can take the streets, but will that change anything? Sometimes I think it will, sometimes I think it won’t. Is there anything more we can do? What can the oppo do? We’re hopeless.

  14. I am an American that empathizes with your plight. The humanitarian crisis that is Venezuela seems to be under the radar of much of the world. At this point, I worry that civil war is coming to Venezuela.
    Ideally the military will move against Maduro. But the military seizing power and then immediately relinquishing that power after free elections, is very rare in world history.
    Outside of covert operations to destabilize Maduro, I don’t expect the US to pay much more than lip service to helping the suffering citizens of Venezuela.
    The opposition should make an offer of clemency to any government defectors and establish an alternate judiciary, remove the judges and then remove the government. As long as it is done constitutionally, the military may abide by the will of the people.

    • Unfortunately, the military has lots to lose. Many high officials are involved in the drug trade (eg Gen. Néstor Reverol, interior and justice minister, is under indictment in the US), many others are involved in contraband of fuel to Colombia, and others have access to gov’t contracts and dollars at the official rate (black market rate is 100x higher).

      • But those are just the higher heads, the ones in the lower commands are eating a wire like the rest of the common folk.

    • Shit John. That’s not a bad thought.

      I think the only thing going against a plan like that, where institutions take up the fight themselves and gamble on the military’s over-all support (so many ways to do it…), is our opposition leaders’ fantastic lack of balls.

  15. Creo que el revocatorio en el 2016 era nuestra última oportunidad de salir de este gobierno en el corto plazo. Piensenlo.

    ¿Qué se puede hacer cuando todos los poderes están de un mismo lado? ¿Qué puede hacer la gente cuando saben que si en una protesta se pasan un poco de la raya pueden acabar en la morgue, con total impunidad? ¿Alzamientos militares? Todos comprados, al menos los más importantes y poderosos, no hay nada que puedan hacer pequeñas hordas. ¿Presión internacional? El gobierno ha sabido venderse como una democracia gracias a la “bondad” de Chávez con los países vecinos; además, personajes como Zapatero y su comisión de la verdad avalan la imagen de democracia internacionalmente. ¿La Asamblea? Transformada en una plaza para que los diputados opositores drenen sus penas y se crean parte del juego político. Lograron que nadie la tomara en serio, incluyendo los mismos opositores.

    Además, lo peor para el gobierno ya pasó. Que hayan pasado estos últimos meses sin apenas consecuencias políticas es increíble. Que Maduro se haya mantenido con un 30% de aprobación con todo lo que ha pasado, va más allá de la razón. Para mí, ya solo queda esperar hasta el 2019, y ligar a que no haya un incremento del petróleo de aquí a allá, porque en ese caso, estoy seguro de que el chavismo ganaría, y sobradamente.

    Sí, claro, hay que seguir metiendo presión… pero en lo que a mi respecta, ayer Tibisay desvió nuestra última bala.

  16. The Chavistas have the guns and the political muscle to nullify anything that the AN does. So, I only see more misery for most of Venezuela.

    Sometimes I look back at the fall of the Berlin wall and I become hopeful that Venezuela will one day become what many in Venezuela wish it is: a great country for all.

  17. Can someone please explain to me: how is January even close to being 4 years, if Maduro took office as Elected President in April? What am I missing? If he did in fact start his term in office in January, then why would the MUD kick start the process 4 months late???

  18. I have the same question as Ricardo. I always thought that Maduro was “elected” president in April and that’s why the MUD waited until the to start the process to revoke him.


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