D.M. was making some arepas at the shared kitchen in his Universidad de Los Andes dorm when the guy from the Centro de Estudiantes (Student Center) brought him the bad news.

Líder,” his friend says, “I heard the guys from the Communal Council brought a list up to the Centro de Estudiantes and, well…”

D.M. knew exactly where this was going.  He’s a card-carrying PSUV member who says he still has respect for Chávez, but D.M. parted ways with the government a long time ago. He’s so fed up, he actually signed the petition to have Nicolás Maduro recalled from office.

“They told Zea,” the Student Center president, “that people who signed won’t be able to shop at the PDVal any more.”

This was serious. As a student, money is tight, and the deeply discounted groceries on offer at the state-controlled PDVal shop his Consejo Comunal (Communal Council) runs are the reason D.M.’s able to stay in school.

As soon as I approached him, I could see it was true from his body language

Alarmed, D.M. decides to go ask Zea, the head Centro de Estudiantes about it. He couldn’t risk turning up to the PDVal and being denied at the cash register.

“As soon as I approached him, I could see it was true from his body language,” D.M. tells me.

Zea sympathized, but said he couldn’t do much.  “Orders from on high” (órdenes de arriba) were clear: recall signators “wouldn’t keep receiving the benefit.”

How can buying food the only way that’s legal be a “beneficio”!?

Astounded, I ask D.M.: the benefit?”

Mind you, it is illegal to sell food at any price other than the controlled price. How can buying food the only way that’s legal be a “beneficio”!?

“They see it that way, as though it was a benefit, ¡un privilegio!” he tells me, “that’s how they talk about it.”

Zea tells D.M. that he has to check the system because he shows up as having signed. But there was a “mitigating circumstance,” Zea said: his signature had not been validated by CNE. D.M. was not even allowed to put up his fingerprint to be validated.

Still, he was told he’d have to go to the local Mérida CNE to withdraw his signature. Levantar un acta, saying his signature had been faked, counterfeited. Only that way would he be allowed to buy food legally again.

“You have to understand, líder” Zea told him — they all call each other líder, as it turns out — “if the cédula numbers from the blacklist start showing up on the PDVal shoppers’ list, they might withdraw the benefit from the entire Consejo Comunal.Órdenes de arriba.

D.M. tells me he was conflictedon the following Monday morning as he went down to CNE to withdraw his signature.  

I could feel the government wanting to humiliate me, to put its boot on my neck.

“I felt a little bit dirty, but I knew I had no choice,” he says. His finances won’t work at all without ‘el beneficio’. D.M. was angry at both sides, “sobre todo a este maldito gobierno de mierda y estupido, granted, but also at the opposition: how could they let my signature become public like that?”

But the real anger is the other way: “I could feel the government wanting to humiliate me, to put its boot on my neck.”

That was his state of mind as he turned up at the CNE’s Merida office, only to be told he was too late. “The final day to withdraw signatures was last Friday.”

Consider for a second the Kafkaesque situation this leaves him in. He’s signed, but his signature wasn’t validated, so he can’t confirm it with his fingerprint and it won’t count towards the recall. But it does count for intimidation purposes…and because he missed the deadline, he also can’t withdraw it.

Una sancioncita ahí: two weeks off of the PDVal rolls, that’s it.

D.M. pleaded with Zea to work something out. Zea knew that what they were doing wasn’t right, but he couldn’t afford to pick a fight with the Consejo Comunal, which in turn couldn’t afford to pick a fight with los de arriba.

Who exactly “los de arriba” are remains hazy to all involved —someone in some sort of ministry, maybe?— but the certainty that they could not be antagonized was anything but murky.

In the end, the Consejo was indulgent, D.M. tells me. “Una sancioncita ahí: two weeks off of the PDVal rolls, that’s it.”

D.M. and his friends suspect the real reason everyone is on edge is that the government is short on food, so they’re actively looking for any excuse to strike a consejo comunal off the “beneficios” list. So many people signed in Merida’s student districts that some think the Consejo might be struck off anyway: collective punishment of a sort, but also as a way to economize food when there isn’t enough to go around.

I ask D.M. if he’d consider signing again at the 20% stage. He’s very clear, “there’s no way, and I don’t say it due to cowardice but because I have to keep a cool head and think not just about myself but about my family. With the products I buy I can help them a bit, but more than that, it lifts a huge weight off of my mom’s shoulder. It’d be a big source of worry for her and my whole family if I didn’t have access to these products.”

He pauses.

“Me dejaría mal.”

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    • Specially one that says that he had no other choice.

      Life is about choices, he chose the stupidest and simplest road to stay in hell.

      What a coward

        • Quico, el articulo esta buenisimo, el tipo esta metido en tremendo problema y si, yo nunca he pasado hambre.

          Pero si piensas un poco, el tipo es chavista, es miembro del psuv, asi que no es la primera vez que toma una mala decision. El tipo tenia que saber que firmar era un riesgo y ahora se va a echar para atras? no me jodas!

          Locus de control interno, el tipo esta donde esta en gran parte por sus propias decisiones.

          • Peor es, que el tipo está jodido, porque lo tienen fichado para el resto de la duración del régimen, pero decide no ir a firmar el 20% porque “quedaría mal”, está siendo tan ingenuo, que piensa que no lo van a joder igual porque firmó el 1%.

            ¿Qué le garantiza a este carajo que a “los de arriba” no les va a picar el culo y decidan igual vetar a los que firmaron el 1% de la “compra legal de comida” de todas formas?

            El carajo cree que “bueno, me jodieron un poquito pero yo les tengo fe en que no me van a joder de nuevo”

            ESO, es lo que da rabia, ¿Qué más tiene que perder ahora que está marcado? ¿Y a cuenta de qué culpa de algo a la MUD por “dejar que su firma sea pública”? ¿Es que es tan ingenuo que piensa que las firmas iban a ser secretas como el voto? ¿Y aún así, sabiendo que está jodido, que lo están jodiendo, y que podrán joderlo de nuevo, decide rendirse y dejarlo así?

            Mira, yo no le tengo rabia en absoluto, porque es un peo con la comida (De hecho, yo no siento nada por los chavistas de base siempre y cuando no se burlen) pero a más de uno que ya lleve años siendo jodido por el régimen le hace hervir la sangre ver que haya tanta gente que ni se atreva a respirar porque le pongan la bota al cuello.

            Perdón por comentar en español, pero es que a veces se me apaga el traductor en el cerebro para escribir una respuesta entendible.

        • The economy of this country has been so wrecked by this government that absolutely anyone who has two brain cells to rub together and a willingness to work, can figure out a way to feed himself. That’s to say, whenever a government steps in and attempts to do what free markets are designed to do, there are opportunities created for all in the chaos that always follows.

          I don’t speak mandarin but I’ve heard it said that the symbol for chaos in chinese is also the symbol for opportunity. Might just be bullshit, but it sure sounds right to me.

    • I have no sympathy for a card-carrying PSUV member
      IOW, you have no sympathy for Chavistas waking up to the truth because you woke up to the truth much earlier.

      • Well, after his rude awakening, the guy decided to go to sleep right away!

        In fact, I think that he received a punch in the stomach while in his dream-turned-nightmare and decided to move inside his bed to accommodate it. He never woke up!

        That is why I have no sympathy.

  1. He has voted for the system many times, and now complains that the system that he voted for is doing what it’s supposed to do? The only reason he is bitching is that it’s his turn to suffer it. He never cared when others were screwed.

  2. And from the other side, he is offered insults and sanctimony, not support or sympathy. So yes, D.M., living in a country of two nations- them and us- is truly screwed, not having the resources to wait it out with ‘them’, and not having the ideological purity to be ‘us’.

      • “He doesn’t think the system is unfair, he thinks it’s unfair that the system is unfair to HIM. Big difference.”

        Unfair to him NOW, because until yesterday everything was ok.

        And that’s what is really sad, because when the same was happening with others, he couldn’t care less.

        Leopoldo Lopez arrested? “Fine! He’s got that coming.”
        Venezuelan students being killed for nothing. “Well, shit happens.”
        The destruction of a whole country and a diaspora akin to a war. “That’s not my problem.”
        Venezuelans crossing the border to find food. “At least they are doing some tourism.”

        My fridge is empty. “OMG! Now they have crossed the line!”

        The lack of empathy and solidariety of people like D.M. is depressing, and help explaining the Venezuelan situation. They are the cause of the problem, not just spectators, and they should be sorry, very sorry.

    • What is truly shocking about this story, after you get by the evil of the regime that we know and have come to expect, is that having decided to do something, D.M. is truly on his own. There’s no movement behind him. There are a bunch of sanctimonious stand arounds saying toma tu tomate pana. If that’s the way it goes in general, welcome to years of hell folks.

      • He is part of it. He is against Maduro, not against the revolution. He just wants to replace Maduro with another revolutionary.

      • Yeah, hater ucranians of Holodomor started the hell. Shocking is the scarcity, shocking is the unlivable insecurity, shocking is the hyperfinflation. I’m sorry the schadenfreude feeling is just human. Also anyone carrying a PSUV card on 2016 and “respecting Chavez” is willing to get an enchufe and then forget and forgive.

        But yeah, “eso no suma”, stupid ucranians who never tried to make peace with their captors.

        • I’m assuming you are not referring to the ones with the courage of their convictions that the asshole with the smaller mustache was right.

          As Ukrainian history tells us, if we get too tied up with our benighted principles and score settling, we become the thing we hate.

          • So, what is the lesson? people is supposed to feel simpathy/empathy for their captors? Is that the new morality we should learn after 17 years of chavismo?

            Becoming what we hate would imply I want to run other people’s lives and vote for people who willing to enforce it, so I can be an asshole, douchebag, obnoxious prick but I’m not willing to be compared with that bullshit called chavismo who IS forcing people to starve slowly because all they want is to keep in power forever like Fidel Castro and the Kim dinasty. So, I can not relate to your conclusion even if I am all that I just said.

          • Carlos, on that definition of “your captors”, a good 70-80% of your countrymen and women are your captors.

            On the topic of the “captors” and the “captive” in Venezuela, its not so simple: he who has not capitulated to PSUV bullshit in some form or other, to some degree or other, whether it be attending a rally, signing a card, doing or accepting a favour to get by, to put food on the table, to get medicine for a family member, to get a kid through university, to expedite a passport to get the hell out, or even out of sheer bloody ignorance that is later regretted, you sir can cast the first stone…and please don’t let it be cast from a nice condo in Miami or Panama.

            If you want any of “your captors” to work on the side of escaping this mess, you might start by recognizing that most of them are human like you, they are not cartoon characters sprouted from the head of some armchair anti-communist freedom fighter, and that if you don’t want Venezuela to be like the Ukraine and be messed up for all eternity, to hold the unusual position in the eyes of history of having both suffered and perpetrated genocide, or other strange shit like that, you had best recognize that the attitudes you hold toward “your captors” today – i.e. making them and their families pay a HEAVY PRICE for SUPPORTING YOUR RELEASE – will have a very significant bearing on your actual release date.

            You are not an enemy of your cause trying in good faith to broaden support for it, and you do that by appealing to the thing motivating the other guy which is like the thing motivating you.

          • Well, I beg to differ on your definition of captors and even worse trying to draw a line we all crossed at some point because we had to (ie. me paying for a license driver medical exam because there was no other way to get it), I mean, seriously, c’mon? How in hell would that make me a captor? Of course we have all capitulated at some point I just NEVER ever voted for Hugo Chávez nor Nicolás Maduro, I had a hard time voting Arias Cardenas (and even for Rosales and Capriles, twice), is that supposed to mean I am somehow guilty? That’s like blaming a women who have been raped for being in the street alone, seriously?

            Captors are all the ones who decided it was pretty great idea to make Venezuela el mar de la felicidad cubana, captors are those who ordered to write in Plan de Desarrollo Económico y Social de Nación 2006-2013 “reconocer el trabajo como la fuente la única fuente generadora de valor”, captors were Luis Tascón, Lina Ron and Rodríguez Torres, captors are Diosdado Cabello, Madullo, Padrino López, el Pollo Carvajal, Nestor Reverol, and everybody who voted chavismo after 2000 helped them.

            I am unable to feel the bit least of empathy for the people who put us in this situation, the people who broke my business and forced me to leave my country. One of the biggest lessons I learned in life is this “you will harvest nothing else but what you planted”, why should it be different for chavistas? why should they receive “benefits” while the rest of the people is starving? Hundreds (or thousands) have already died from the lack of medicines and malnutrition, why should they prevail? So, bottom line is if anyone should be suffering first hand the consequences of chavismo are chavistas.

            Now, this is the firm line I didn’t cross nor I intend to: I do not know what’s best for your/their life so I won’t force you to do what I think is best. THAT is a clear line ALL chavistas crossed because “revolution”, because the Eternal Commander knows what’s best.

            So I can be a dick, an arrogant obnoxious prick, a soulless anarchocapitalist if you want but I won’t be placed in the same dish of shit as chavismo place itself, sorry but no.

      • That’s the real tragedy. Instead of reaching out and saying, “Brother, we feel your pain. Come and join us.” It’s schoolyard you-get-what-you-deserve crap.

        How can Venezuela every hope to build a future when one side can’t extend a hand to the other? Maduro, Cabello and the Chavettes may never be willing to talk. Eroding their base one person at a time on the other hand is what makes them ultimately vulnerable.

        Commenters on here are crucifying him for 18 years of Chavismo, and this kid was probably still in diapers when the guy was elected. And yet, he is, quite clearly, the whipping boy for every policy choice the government has made.

        People make mistakes. Beating them down for those mistakes doesn’t make you better.

        But go ahead. Pick on the guy for worrying about his family. Pick on him for being caught in the middle of trying to make things right. Easy to do when you are in Doral, London, Toronto, or Miami. Also easy to do when you can afford to pay bachaquero prices by maybe skipping some other luxury, instead of picking between a packet of harina pan or bus fare for the next week.

        Perpetuate the cycle. Spend 20 years on top. Then you can go back to bitching about the next populist leader that overthrows your populist leader.

        • Mistake is putting salt to the dish when your wife already did or putting your underwear upside down, voting 20 times for Chávez and one for Maduro. No, that’s no mistake. Giving a gun to a killer is not a mistake.

          Trying to make things right? You think he signed the petition because he wanted to make things right? Seriously, how naive one have to believe that. this is what happened: he got sick of scarcity, hiperinflation and insecurity, and that has nothing to do with “doing things right”, the guy admits he still “respects Hugo Chávez”.

          So, please, let’s just cut the crap. If he’s victim is just of his own decisions, there are millions of venezuelan suffering the same consequences (or worse) who never voted for Chaves nor Maduro, THOSE, my friend, those are the victims.

          • Reread some of what you have written here. Change chavista/chavismo for escualidos and pelucons. Change Maduro and Chavez of Lopez and Capriles. Do you hear yourself?

            Saying that it is “our way, and if you’ve never been with us, the highway for you” or taking the position that the sides have already been picked and are inflexible and unchanging dooms your country.

            Think about what you are saying.

            Think about what that creates as an endgame strategy.

            Your solution leads to fire and blood.

        • Si mi amigo bota a la novia y yo la consuelo y termino empatandome con ella, soy un perro.

          Es lo mismo que decirle a un chavista “Chamo, ven aca, lamento lo que te pasa. Unete a nosotros”

          • Think of DM and chavismo as the abused wife in a hideously machista relationship and it might be closer to the analogy you are trying to string there.

            To fix Venezuela’s problems, everyone must have a stake in the governance for the polarization to end.

      • “What is truly shocking about this story, after you get by the evil of the regime that we know and have come to expect, is that having decided to do something, D.M. is truly on his own. There’s no movement behind him. There are a bunch of sanctimonious stand arounds saying toma tu tomate pana. If that’s the way it goes in general, welcome to years of hell folks.”

        Isn’t this EXACTLY what has been happening with people that got it MUCH WORSE than DM, since more than a freakin’ DECADE ago?

        How Franklin Brito was labeled a stupid madman for keeping his hunger strike until he died; LL is rotting in a Ramo Verde cell; Forero, Vivas, Simonovis and the other cops are languishing in a basement…


        Dude, not being able to buy food for almost free for two weeks “FOR NOW” is but a mild inconvenience when you compare it to people that are literally starving to death (I just met again with a customerthat I haven’t met since one year and half ago, the man should have lost at least 20-30 kilos by now, he was fat as a shelf, now he looks like he’s wearing freaking curtains)

        • If you’re telling me there’s a long tradition in the opposition of encouraging people to defy the regime, and then not supporting them when they do, I’m not going to argue with you. Those photos of GN signing the list were great, we loved it, an inspiration, cause for hope…now that they signed and may be paying the price, fuck them and their friends.

          Most people don’t think that way. I hope.

          • No, I’m telling, that there’s even a longer tradition of “leaving people alone” when things go ugly, and the cases I mentioned were much worse as the beginning of the problems with buying food, and that people that’s been against the regime has got the sharpest end of the stick, being shunned by everybody much more than the “repentant” chavistas.

  3. And if people there are not going to take chances to make changes in their gubmint, why should I feel sorry for them?

    If your freedom is so cheap, then you have nothing to fight for. Hope for the best that the election next time is not stolen out from underneath you.

    Voters get the gubmint they deserve.

  4. “also at the opposition: how could they let my signature become public like that?”

    I wonder if he ever heard about something called “Lista Tascón”… oh wait, he’s a card-carrying PSUV member and surely voted for Chavez til he died. I have one word for him: schadenfreude.

  5. For all the people posting insults, take a moment to think about this: you’re a student, with no fixed salary and your mom depends on you. Buying at PDVAL is the way to bring food to your home. Would you still think twice to withdraw your signature? If you are unable to understand, there’s no point discussing the matter.

    • Rewind to 2002, you worked for PDVSA, you fed your children from your work, perhaps your parents too and then after the strike you are a man without a country. It’s been 14 years and you now freeze your butt off in Alberta.

      Or perhaps you signed for the recall and you were about to get your prestaciones from your career at some public hospital and you never got it.

      Sorry Alex. Chavismo is like Cronus, it will ultimately devour its own children.

      • And that’s why I deeply regret voting for Chavismo the first time. I was young, I was an idealist, I was dumb. I learned it the hard way just a year after. I only point out that is completely obnoxious to ignore the fact D.M.’s mother could starve to death. He’s to blame, but I certainly wouldn’t cheer over his mom dying. That’s all.

    • People from the oposition are as filled with hate as their PSUV counterparts that is always on the rise if you add the precarious situation the country is now, thats part of the legacy of one of Chavez strategies , to divide the people in order to be able to conquered Venezuela.
      People saying this D.M. guy to fight back but there is no other side to turn to, he made mistakes but things are way too deep and he got people counting on him to be making blunt moves and lets face it there is more than one person ready to hit him with the ¨Pero tienes Patria¨ with a sarcastic grin as soon as they see him getting denied at the PDVAL, i have seen it many times even the most repent former chavista(PSUV supporter) getting mock and laugh at when they finally get their eyes open, and sadly sometimes sending them back to the circle of hate that got them making those old mistakes

      i always say, one of the most damage this ¨revolution¨ has done to this country is the social and mental damage that was inflicted to the population, if sooner or later Venezuela gets rid of this gobernment, not only gonna be hard to go back to the civility and strong values i can see a strong raise in classism and even racism in this country

      • El revanchismo gonna keep destroying Venezuelans for years to come if they keep with this behavior, Look at Jorge Rodriguez to see how horrible a person becomes by holding grudges for so long, even after all bad things he done he still howling for more blood, pain and misery just because his criminal father was killed by the ¨4th republic¨

    • Alex, who said that the process to recall Maduro was going to work seamlessly, peacefully and democratically?

      The road ahead is pretty tough, if you buckle at the first sign of trouble, then my friend, you are a coward and you will get what other people decide you get.

    • Did he think about the millions who don’t have the “benefit” of buying at PDVAL because they are not a card-carrying PSUV member?

      Look man, if that guy gets a “puestico en un Ministerio” he forgets and forgive all his contempt for the revolution otherwise we wouldn’t “feel respect for Chavez” nor carry a PSUV card, so you know what: schadenfreude, he can only harvest what he planted.

      Will I burn in hell? Probably, and still this is just poetic justice.

  6. This reminds me of “Breaking Bad’. Walter White decided to break bad, just a little, for fair and noble causes.

    I fault the poor sap. At best he is the useful idiot that supported the Chavez the huckster and embraced bunk communist ideas. At worst he missed el enchufe.

    Now, it does not take much of an education to realize that the system is collapsing, so if he is going to be cowed into submission at this point, he well deserves the famine that Chavismo will unleash on Venezuela.

    Yes, Quico, I have never been hungry, this is true, but I have had very hard moments in my life where I had to make moral decisions and pay the consequences either way. This is a constant of the human condition. It is our choices in those moments of challenge that define us as humans.

  7. Excellent and revealing article. So this particular Chavista finds out today, rather than two, five, or fifteen years ago (during his toddler year so) that the Revolution is repressive rather than liberating.

    I think the main point here is this totalitarian use of food supplies as a political weapon by the regime, not whether any of us was more prescient than this fellow was.

    • Wonderful, he might be able to answer what was his stance on La Lista Tascón a little over 13 years ago, you know, since he’s blaming “also at the opposition: how could they let my signature become public like that?”, Some people might found deeply interesting what he has to say about that.

      • There were bits of the interview that didn’t make it into the story. A while ago Ramos Allup said they were passing a law to protect the privacy of signators. D.M. understood that as a guarantee of privacy. I think his exact quote was “o sea que no se movieron con lo de la privacidad de las firmas…”

        I don’t know the exact story. It seems harsh on an oppo that can’t get shit by the TSJ. But it *should* be a reminder that when oppo politicos write rhetorical checks they don’t have the political power to cash, people suffer, and get pissed off at them.

        • The oppo in Venezuela is not solid and do not generate trust enough for people to feel totally confortable backing them, but…….is all Venezuelans got right now thats not entirely tainted in psuv red

        • I remember HRA saying it’s 112 and it’s 112, and “vamos con todo y somos 112”, then again, first thing they did was complying una setencia inacatable, that came out after illegally designing several TSJ magistrates. Now that I think about it, it was pretty like Semteti with “el 28… el 28… el 28”, he only missed la lloraíta.

          Also, even if the National Assembly pass that law, TSJ and CNE will shit all over it.

          Anyhow, beyond the existence or not of that law, I’m interested on his stance on La Lista Tascón and what chavismo did with it because you see, with or without the law, the Constitution is cristal clear in Arts. 19, 21 and, specifically, 89 number 5.

        • So, because I’m also a long time reader I can say here whatever I want and expect everyone accept my opinion?

          Better saying it the way you wrote. No need to say “reader of many years”

  8. To D.M.:

    Like the scorpion, my brother,
    You are like the scorpion
    In a terror-stricken night,
    Like the sparrow, my brother,
    You are like the sparrow
    In inconsiderable restlessness.
    Like the mussel, my brother,
    You are like the mussel
    Closed tight and tranquil.
    You are terrible, my brother,
    Like the mouth of an extinguished volcano.
    And you are not one, alas,
    you are not five
    you are some millions.
    You are like the sheep, my brother,
    When the butcher dressed in your wool
    when the butcher lifts his Staff
    you hurry yourself to get back in the flock
    and you go to the slaughterhouse running, almost proud.
    You are the most strange of creatures, in short,
    More strange than the fish
    who lives in the sea without knowing the sea,
    And if there is so much misery on the earth
    it is thanks to you, my brother,
    If we are starved, worn out,
    If we are flayed till the blood flows,
    Pressed like a bunch of grapes to yield our wine,
    Will I go so far as to say that it is your fault, no,
    But for many it is so, my brother.

    Nazim Hikmet

  9. “Though he’s a card-carrying PSUV member and still has respect for Chávez, D.M. parted ways with the government a long time ago. He’s so fed up, he actually signed the petition to have Nicolás Maduro recalled from office.”

    1/ ‘Respect for Chavez’? , this guy, like many others, is a moron. Many people still do not comprehend that it was Chavez who created their mess, destroyed the country, was in power for 14 years, and then elected Masburro as his successor, recently. Maduro and the current Chavistoide criminal regime has only been in power for a few years. But since oil prices and production went down, there are no more freebies to go around.

    So I suspect that those who “still have respect for Chavez” are either stupid, corrupt, ignorant or former leeches. Or all of the above.

    2/ If you cannot vote to remove a horrible bus driver/ president and his corrupt crew from power, because they force you to starve or buy more expensive food, then you know it’s a messed-up, authoritarian, third-world regime. Cuban style.

    It’s what I call a disguised neo-dictatorship of Terror. The regime pretends it’s a “socialist” “democracy” but they act like thugs, stealing, and intimidating people. They pretend there are ‘elections’ and freedom, but then they have political prisoners, oppress, threaten people, and if they hit the streets to protest, many are abused or sent to jail. Disguised neo-dictatorship of terror.

    After they forced over 1 million of us out of the country, they are now controlling the remaining population through hardships, poverty, lack of food, long lines to keep them busy, and lousy jobs. People eventually lose faith, and give up. Cuban style.

    These disguised dictatorships also grow the government, 35 ‘ministries’ and millions of public employees, to remain in control. Millions and millions of complicit people work for the corrupt government, so they eventually become corrupt themselves. You see, you can’t buy lunch with ‘minimum salaries’. So they are practically forced to become corrupt, and get into illegal deals, just to survive. Plus there are no laws, no justice, no jail for crooks, so people feel free to join the crooked party. These millions of ’empleados publicos’ can criticize the system, or they lose their jobs. Cuban style.

    Expect more repression in September when people go out to protest. Many will go back home real quick, and get back in long lines hoping to buy whatever is available, after the bachaqueros are done. Now where do they get the money to buy whatever they can? Plus pay for all of life’s expenses? Beats me.

  10. I keep thinking of the politics of starvation under Mao during the Great Leap Forward. Maduro/Padrino established yesterday (Contacto con Maduro) another layer of control over basic goods by setting a general to oversee each strategically important good (e.g. rice).

  11. Govt has just announced holding 3 giant supermercals in Ccs on Sept 1st where you will be able to buy sugar , toilet paper, rice, harina pan , cooking oil etc etc at ‘precios solidarios’ . Of course this had nothing to do with the Sept 1st Oppo call for a giant march …plain coincidence ….?? hardly likely !!

    Fear of starvation is being used as a political weapon to block opposition moves , extortion pure and simple , if you want to eat , don’t sign the recall papers, don’t go to oppo marches ……..typical gangster tactic !!

    If people in D.M.’s situation feel they cant sign then make sure their mother or other friends or relatives sign ….and of course when time calls for the final recall vote then its easier for them to chance signing because there is a good probability that it will lead to a change in govt that will make it impossible of this one to make good on its threats…!!

    • Jesus, and where did all that sugar, toilet paper, rice, harina pan, cooking oil, etc., that they plan to sell magically appear from?!

  12. It strikes me that many people, out of a perverse desire to demonstrate that they are more heroic and pure than their brothers and sisters, truly wish that Venezuela either be delivered to them in recognition of their grandness, or remain for all time completely fucked up.

    And in that way, they have inadvertently taken on the mentality of the man who has for so long been the object of their hate.

    • El revanchismo is taking over the mind of plenty of Venezuelans i know the country is in shambles an we are not living we are surviving, but that mentality really worries me, in times when moral values are in a all time low that aint good

      I even heard people from both sides this couple of days wishing for an all out war september 1st

    • What I want is for people to take responsibility for their actions and consequences. I want them to act as grown ups and accept that in order to have a better life they need to set their goals and act accordingly.

      I find it amazing that D.M. believed that his signatures were “safe” and that the recall process or any other process to get these criminals out of the government was going to be easy peacy.

      These criminals are going to make “the end” as uncomfortable and impossible and criminally possible. Its them against the world and they are ready and willing and able to do many ugly things. So, that he goes for the emergency parachute at the first sign of trouble its sickening to me.

      I do not enjoy at all that he cowered, I think is weak and I do not enjoy or feel pleasure in front of waekness.

      “D.M. and his friends suspect the real reason everyone is on edge is that the government is short on food, so they’re actively looking for any excuse to strike a consejo comunal off the “beneficios” list”. I mean how on earth after saying that he still decided to get off the list!

  13. So, D.M., begging is what you have to do. Beg a lot until no more “Claps” are available. Beg for a Canaimita or for a Vergatario. Beg for a beca, beg to stay in the PSUV so you can continue to get the “benefits” of begging. Beg for a commission, beg for a chambita, beg for un guiso that pulls you out of your misery as student beggar. Beg dude and beg a lot because that is what your hero Chavez really made you when he said that being rich is bad meanwhile everyone in the government was becoming filthy rich so they won’t beg no more. Beg until your begging makes you realize that you can’t achieve anything on your own unless the government gives you something so you can stop begging today and keep begging tomorrow. Beg for this nightmare to end so we can stop being a country of beggars and panhandlers.

  14. No sé si me entristece más la situación de D.M. o los comentarios a la nota. Sí, estaba equivocado. Si, tomó decisiones incorrectas. Pero de eso a ser él el problema, merecer el infierno, recibir ataques por no protestar por hechos de cuando era poco más que un niño…
    ¡Qué impresión…! Conozco a D.M., un hombre gentil, al que le gusta la mitología, la fantasía, los animales, que ama a su familia y que sí, tomó malas decisiones y paga ahora las consecuencias.
    En un mundo con este nivel de empatia, cuidemos todas nuestras decisiones, porque cualquiera puede justificar cualquier vaina.

    • Ro,

      Imaginate un chamo decide correr en el carro ‘paleao’ de su papa. Tiene un accidente y mata a unos cuantos miembros de una familia en otro carro. Una decision pendeja con consecuencias desproporcionadas.

      Pobre D.M., pobre chavistas, pobre ex-chavistas, pobre Venezuela.

      Y ahora?

    • Ahh…nadie le esta deseando nada malo a D.M. Sencillamente los comentarios es un reflejo opuesto a la arrogancia chavista cuando el petróleo estaba a $140/barril y que se ha convertido en una pasadera de pena que no ha llegado (aun) al potencial de su proporción.

      D.M. debe sentirse orgulloso que ahora puede ser parte de los CHARRAS (Chavistas Arrepentidos) conformados por miembros excelsos como Hector Navarro, Cliver Alcala, Raul Baduel y el “Monje” Giordani. Este es un grupo de pusilanimes que cuando pudieron no tuvieron ni los cojones ni la fibra moral de ir en contra del comandante galáctico. Hubo que esperar a que perdieran el “beneficio” para luego convertirse en una suerte de testigos presenciales de la debacle vista desde adentro. Ahora son oposicion chavista, sabra ud. que vaina es esa.

      Ahh que hay que unir fuerzas y amalgamar a todo el mundo para ir en contra de los herederos de Chavez?. O que no hay que caer en revanchismo?. O que hay inocentes o inexpertos o muchachos que no sabían que hacían?. Bueno, si quizas, pero en esta hora grave de Venezuela cada quién tiene que entender y llevar el peso de su responsabilidad, cosa que es muy rara por aquello del pragamatismo.

    • “Merecer el infierno”? NOBODY SAID THAT. Note that if a chavista breaks his leg I feel bad for him, despite our political differences. But if a chavista gets his leg broken by a chavista horde when he tries to defect because it is no longer convenient for him, it is difficult to have the same level of empathy.

  15. Dear D.M.,

    I’ll start this by saying I’m sorry. I’m sorry you have to struggle to get food. I’m sorry that your choices have led you to this dark place. I’m sorry that someone uses your own (and your mother’s) hunger to control you. I’m sorry I cannot help you in any significant capacity. I’m sorry the only thing I can offer you are words.

    But I want to ask you a very important question: How long do you want to suffer?

    Because make no mistake, with this decision, you are only prolonging your agony.

    These people have shown you that they are willing to starve you if you do not comply with their wishes. They are in fact offering you a trade: In exchange for food, they want your freedom to choose, to demand, to elect, even to live.

    You are, as a free man, free to accept such a trade, but it is a trade that never ends. Today you don’t get food if you sign for the RR. Tomorrow, you won’t get food if you complain about corruption. The day after that you won’t get food if you complaint about the quality of said food. By making this trade, you are in effect trading away your own life. Not the physical thing (a beating heart, etc.) but your life as the experience of your life, as something that you alone can make worth it.

    You are young, as am I, in a world that is full of possibilities. And this government wants to reduce you to your mere existence. What you want to do, who you want to be is irrelevant, because it will always come second to their interests and their interests are all-encompassing.

    I understand what they are willing to put you through if you don’t comply, and its an awful thing to live through. It will force you, and your loved ones, to adapt, to find other ways to survive, but in the end, you will be free. Free from a government who tries to control you, for whom your suffering is just a tool to achieve their ends. Free from a government who has shown you that it is willing to starve you (and many others) in order to keep its hold on power.

    I’m sorry that these are the cards life dealt you, but you have a choice. You can accept the trade, and relinquish your freedom or you can accept that it will be hard, it will be a struggle, but in the end, you will be a free man, with a future you control and beholden to no one.

    I sincerely hope you are well,

    A Venezuelan Friend

  16. Dado que han mencionado que el tipo en cuestión lee esto, yo, pese a ser recalcitrante de a bolas con los chavistas, pienso que sería mejor sentarse con él y explicarle, que el chavismo ha hecho exactamente esto desde que llegaron al poder en el 99, y que lo seguirán haciendo mientras sean poder.

    Y que eso, es razón pasa sacarlos a patadas o por el medio que sea del poder, porque como él puede ver ahora, la revolución le tocó la puerta.

    D.M., yo personalmente ni siento rabia, ni tampoco empatía por tí o gente como tú, que se calló los abusos y las atrocidades del chavismo escudándose en el cuentico de “la 4ta hizo esto y aquello y por eso nosotros podemos desquitarnos con esto”, yo estoy fichado por estos malnacidos por los que tú votaste y apoyaste ciegamente desde que se recogieron las firmas para el “consultivo no vinculante”, y pese a que no me fué tan pésimo como a otros que sí se están comiendo un cable, no escapo a la situación de escasez crónica y sostenida que tiene casi ocho años consecutivos afectando a Venezuela por culpa de las políticas de Chávez; sí, de Chávez, es culpa suya, porque él tuvo poder absoluto, y eso conlleva responsabilidad absoluta.

    Te diré lo mismo que le digo a todos los chavistas a los cuales el gobierno que ellos se supone apoyaban con “todo su corazón”, incluyendo su hipócrita forma de mirar para otro lado cuando la cagaban porque “es que son de los nuestros”: ESO que te hacen a tí, ES el chavismo, ESO lo han hecho desde el 99, y lo seguirán haciendo, y se pondrá mucho peor, y por ESO es que hay que sacarlos.

    Ni te aprecio ni te tengo rabia, para mí y para muchos, el que apoyes el RR o cualquier método para sacar al chavismo simplemente es algo necesario, porque el chavismo, la cúpula roja y putrefacta, es el enemigo de toda Venezuela.

  17. Chavistas won’t pay with regular old fashioned justice all the damage they did to Venezuela.


    That is why some of us think that they should pay by being trampled down by the boots of their own kin. That is why we show a grin whenever one of them gets the short end.

    Chavistas didn’t care about our dead, our prisoners, our suffering. Since we cannot inflict such damage to them as payback, because of moral principles and legal ones, lets at least ENJOY their suffering as for now.

    That way they won’t have any excuses. They fucked themselves.

  18. I don’t understand why the author tries to humanize D.M. Why try to elicit sympathy, what have government supporters done to deserve it? Absolutely nothing. My memory isn’t as short as yours Quico. Did D.M. stand up to the government when security forces killed a 14-year-old boy in cold blood? I’m tired of reading that we don’t have the moral high ground. It is ridiculous to say we don’t.

    I appreciate all CC writers who believe we will all hold hands in a rainbow nation when this is over; your optimism is admirable. Unfortunately it won’t happen because we are inherently a violent nation; we no longer know how to live in peace. Thank the D.M.’s of the world who stood by while we became a failed state.

    • “I don’t understand why the author tries to humanize D.M.”

      Sin vaina, Quico. Here I was, calmly going through life thinking of about half of the country’s population as animals and you have the balls to try and remind me that they are human beings?!? ‘Tas pasado de comeflor.

      “I appreciate all CC writers who believe we will all hold hands in a rainbow nation … Unfortunately it won’t happen because we are inherently a violent nation; we no longer know how to live in peace”

      Yes, we venezuelans are an exceptionally violent peoples. Why, you’d need a nation full of Gandhis like South Africa to make it work at all.

      So many ranchos in so many heads….

    • Desde hace unos días estaba pensando una respuesta medianamente inteligente para este comentario de Pedro en particular, pero, ya qué carajo.

      Con el perdón de la grosería (En plan de palabra usada por el nivel del idioma informal a diario en comunicación verbal) a Mr. Toro, pero, Pedro, tampoco así, marico.

      Sí, no nos vamos a agarrar de las manos y a cantar en un arcoiris, pero tampoco hay que matar a los chavistas de base o cazarlos como animales.

      Y antes de que a alguien se le pase la peregrina idea de decir que me he contradecido, de una vez me adelanto y les aclaro: Al de base se le puede perdonar, al puerco rojo enchufado sí hay que tirarlo a una celda por 30 años.

  19. The original problem with this article starts with the title, which in my view is *false dichotomy* (a blatant one). The choices are not either you sign or eat. There are many course of action in between these two alternatives. Really poor framing – again just my opinion.

  20. Oh god when did this turned into La Patilla comments section??

    I think anyone who believes they haven’t themselves been deceived at some level by a faction, ideology, movement, brand or politician before is pretty delusional.

    Yet so many are acting like you don’t know what that is.

    And I don’t know what D.M. deserves or not, I don’t know the guy, but what really troubles me is that commenters here don’t know him either, just seem incapable of feeling compassion for someone just because at some point got a PSUV card and (I’m guessing) a red shirt.

    I thought we were fighting the system, not the people trapped in the system. Is D.M. part of the system itself? The article doesn’t say.

    OT: how messed up is that they all call each other “leader”? D.M. no es por nada pero solo eso debió ser suficiente para que todo el asunto te oliera a secta demente y salieras corriendo.

    • Anybody can be deceived at any point in their lives. However, if that deception goes on for 18 years, they should grow a pair and own up the consequences.

      Btw, in Venezuela “Líder” is malandro for pana, amigo, etc.

      • Actually, for all I know D.M. could be 18yo now, grew up all his life in communicational hegemony Venezuela, with a chavista family and has known nothing else but chavismo. So going to sign against chavismo was growing up to reality, rebelling against all he has held true before and yes, growing a pair.

        If that were the case I would say it’s actually pretty cool. Plenty of people go through their lives without ever questioning what they grew up on.

        Or he could be 35 and be a lazy idiot who was happy while he was given free stuff, or yes even part of the crazy aporrea army. The point is that I don’t know that, so it should be a little harder to pass judgement.

        Also, apparently I can’t translate venezuelan =/

  21. Epa D.M., se me olvido decirte que tengo un tio (en esta familia hay de todo) que se consiguió una chaqueta de las Milicias Bolivarianas, siendo él de esos que dicen estar tan hartos de este gobierno que de no ser amante de la paz y de su propia vida ya se hubiese ido de voluntario a cargar un cinturon de dinamita revuelto con C-4 para La Casona. El caso es que él, mi tio, se va a las reuniones de la comunas con la fulana chaquita y se le cuadran y todo. Lo bueno es que los Claps ya no son un problema y me imagino que el se siente así como el doble agente espía de una película del Conde del Guacharo.

    Un datico ahí para que te rebusques mientras terminas de descifrar la verdadera “herencia” del yugo de Hugo.

    La otra opción es que te termines de graduar y dejes de estar jalandole bola a los del Centro de Estudiantes y su “lider”. Acuerdate que en su inexpungnable intelectualidad, Maduro dio la orden de no “apostillar” los titulos universitarios, no vaya a hacer que venags a chapalear nieve a Canada y te nos vuelvas escualido.

    By the way, yo no sabía que el Centro de Estudiantes de la ULA todavia tenía ñangaras hijos de Chavez. Quizás es un remanente de esas cosas tan odiadas de la 4ta en que los Centros de Estudiantes eran una extension de los partidos politicos, en vez de una agrupación para hacer valer los derechos de los estudiantes y ayudar a las autoridades universitarias a adaptar la educación y las políticas de la Universidad en pos al bienestar estudiantil.

    Bueno, espero que los 65 y pico comenatrios que aqui se te han concedido te ilumine la mente. Mientras consiguete la chaquetica, aunque eso pueda significar cierto nivel de riesgo personal en las calles de Merida. Hasta donde yo sé los gochos nunca estuvieron muy contentos con aquello llamado “Chavismo”.

  22. Not that Maduro is blackmailing people with food to stay in power, wonder if this strategy might backfire, and how. Will be interesting to see how the Sep. 1 march forms up. If few show up, it looks as though the long-suffering pueblo has basically rolled over. Easy to say from LA, California, but this is hard to watch, and even harder to keep getting dire dispatches from family in country.

  23. Part of me likes to think I have little sympathy for chavistas, but reading stuff like this really hits hard. Yes, voting for chavismo, buying from PDVAL, signing for the recall referendum and keeping in line with chavismo’s will perpetuates the problem, but we’re talking about someone going hungry because some bastards deny him even buying food. Plus the guy doesn’t even want Maduro in power (anymore, I guess). The problem isn’t as black and white as you’d like to think. I wouldn’t wish this guy this kind of situation.

  24. I’m appalled by the comments in this article. De pana, appalled.

    Yes, he was wrong before. Yes, he supported a government who has been an absolute disaster. Yes, he probably ignored many things that were wrong. He probably even justified some of them.

    But now, when he is suffering himself, when he is being treated the same way many have for years, instead of receiving a helping hand, he gets this? People that say that they neither love him nor hate him, but screw him?!

    Sometimes I wonder if we are truly ready to rebuild this nation. Rebuilding our country requires compassion, it requires that we forgive, that we stand together to build something better for everyone. For those that suffered the most, for those that suffered the least.

    Think about it from Danilo’s perspective for a second. We see how this government has trampled on him, as it has trampled on a lot of other people. He has seen what is to have his dignity destroyed and what he receives are jeers? A you deserve that? Why should he join us? To be criticized? To be mocked? To find little compassion or support?

    Maybe he would be better off just shutting his mouth and taking his food, because if this is the opposition, if this is the spirit that drives us, how can he be sure that if the opposition governs he will not be treated even worse? After all, according to many here, he deserves it.

    This is the worse part of Chavez’s legacy. The hatred, the you are not human (I mean how can somebody complain about Quico humanizing a HUMAN?!), the you deserve to suffer. Great nations grow because people are willing to forgive and work together, to let bygones be bygones.

    Remember: an eye for an eye and we all end up blind!

    • There are both great and lousy comments in this thread, CarlosG. Not all are loony toons.

      This scenario is going to become “el pan de cada dia” in the years to come.

      It’s going to take bridges coming from both sided to begin to heal, and it’s gonna take years.

      And before I get flamed by the loonies, think for a second about South Africa. They could not just blink and disappear all who believed in Apartheid and all is hunky dory.

      To this day there are racial tensions there, and they made a concerted effort to try to sort the past, punishing those who they could and getting the rest to shape up.

      People in DM’s position face a Hobson’s choice when it comes time to provide and survive. My words to him would be that his only real choice now is to vote the asshats who put him there out of office, or keep the boot on his neck going forward. And to never forget. Forgive, not forget.

      Party membership in PSUV-type organizations is many times just another card you have to carry, not a statement of of belief. Ask your anySoviet about belonging to the Communist party in the USSR back in the day…..

      • “Rebuilding our country requires compassion, it requires that we forgive, that we stand together to build something better for everyone.”

        I am sorry, rebuilding Venezuela requires TO GET RID OF PSUV. That’s what it’s needed.

        The other it’s like asking a jew to feel compassion for a nazi even before they were liberated by the allied forces just because the nazi fell in disgrace.

        An eye for an eye was law since the Hammurabi Code until Lex Talionis, that’s, I don’t know, two thousand years? and it was faaaaar better than impunity or forgiving the criminals. Is he a criminal? I don’t know, don’t really care, but he surely voted for them, just like the regular nazi did.

        Compassion and forgiveness might be needed at some point, AFTER justice has been served and chavismo is out of power, not before.

        • Excellent plan. You lead the way. When it comes to the Hammurabi part, I’d like you to spare a couple of people with dubious political leanings who showed me mercy when I was hallucinating and puking out all my bodily fluids…

          • People have been chosing the lesser of two evils for years, now let me ask you a question, if you only have two choices, what’s worse, an eye for an eye or impunity? It’s not really a hard question and it’s nor rhetorical either. It’s simple, if an eye for eye seems barbaric, impunity is far worse and leads to a distopic hobbesian world.

            Back to reality, I’m not sponsoring a linchamiento here just stating that showing mercy and compassion for the guilty is serving injustice to the victims, btw, justice doesn’t mean vendetta, current justice left behind Lex Talions long time ago, problem is there’s no justice in Venezuela none. So let’s start with something really really: I don’t anyone having special “benefits” over the scarce food in Venezuela, and certainly not those ones who build and fed those in power, if anyone has to suffer the consequences of the current disaster, they -chavistas- should be first in lane.

            Did I made myself clear now?

          • Well, if you’re a guy like Pinochet, and see the world in dualities, and want to rid Venezuela of socialists, guess you’d be an eye for an eye man. Or a tooth, a hair, a fingernail, a point of view, a buddy with that point of view, etc. Youd go all lex Hammurabi on all of them, because for you socialists and criminals are essentially the same thing. And you’d save the worst for the late converts. Think I got it.

          • Germany did forbid nazism, and Poland, communism. No need to kill’em, you just use legal tools to help avoid they return to power, you enforce the laws which already exist btw, to penalize hate speech and crime apology. The Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance is a good guideline to follow.

            Feeling empathy for your captor is called stockholm syndrome. Every plate of food that goes to a chavista table because of their political clout is a plate of food missing in another John Doe’s home family, and you’re telling me the right thing to do is feel compassion for people who “respect Hugo Chávez” or, otherwise, be like Pinochet? How’s that for seeing the world in dualities?

            I’ll tell you what, I won’t put a bullet on their heads but I won’t suffer if they have go thru the same dire need the rest of the population is going.

            Bottom line is, in an hypothetical situation, if I must choose between en eye for an eye justice system and an eye for impunity one, I shall nor choose the latter. Moreover, when we’re talking about people starving to death you’re at the very bottom of the Maslow pyramid, and card-carrying PSUV chavistas nowaydays are basically trafficking with the scarce food there is.

            So, are you sincerely asking to feel empathy for a person who feels repect for Hugo Chávez? If I were Pinochet-like guy I’d say you’re being very condescending.

          • Carlos, if I abandon feeling empathy for every Venezuelan who feels or has felt respect for Hugo Chavez, I would in the eyes of Venezuelans, probably fit the definition of a sociopath.

            If your solution to the social and political intolerance and abuses under chavismo is more of the same (“an eye for an eye”), you’ve basically become the thing you say you hate, rather than solved the problem. And as a practical political strategy, your ideas are just going to empower your tormentors. But I’m just repeating myself over and over now….

          • Yeah, you did really well taking my words out of context. It’s ok man, keep punching that strawman. Captives who don’t feel empathy for their captors are sociopaths. Tell Damas de Blanco to feel empathy for the CDRs in Cuba and colombians to feel empathy for those supporting the FARC.

    • “Think about it from Danilo’s perspective for a second. We see how this government has trampled on him, as it has trampled on a lot of other people. He has seen what is to have his dignity destroyed and what he receives are jeers? A you deserve that? Why should he join us? To be criticized? To be mocked? To find little compassion or support?

      Maybe he would be better off just shutting his mouth and taking his food, because if this is the opposition, if this is the spirit that drives us, how can he be sure that if the opposition governs he will not be treated even worse? After all, according to many here, he deserves it.”

      First, nobody has said “he deserves to starve to death” so stop making stuff up.

      Second, if he believes that the opposition is full of faceless monsters that will chase him at the first opportunity after seizing power, then he’s still lost in the mire of chavista propaganda, that has painted everybody non-chavista into a rabid animal, so he isn’t even thinking on stop being chavista in the first place, in fact, in his frustration, he still blames the MUD because “there has to be some reason for them to be guilty, after all, they’re the RIGHT, they MUST have done something wrong so it’s okay for me to hate them”.

  25. I am from Brazil and have no close ties to Venezuela, apart being from a country that is part of this great and misleading abstraction called Latin America. But I have been reading CC for a long time now and I’ve learned a lot about your country (although still not much). But, to be honest, I just can’t understand how you guys got into such a problem and why there is so much delusion and denial on both sides of the aisle.
    I think you probably know that Dilma Roussef is going to be impeached next week and rightly so. She (and PT and Lula) did a lot of damage to Brazil (and probably a litle bit to Venezuela as well since they supported your government). But, I,d say that this damage was nothing more than 10%, 20% at most, of what chavismo has been doing to Venezuela for years. And yet, nowadays the leaders of PT can barely walk on the streets. The people has strongarmed all of their allies into voting for the impeachment. Artists that supported the PT’s government are being spontaneously boycoted. Gosh, I am not going to watch the 2nd season of Narcos because Wagner Moura, a f… scumbag of a petista, has the leading role! So, in Brazil PT is going to get at least part of what they deserve (which includes, I hope, a few years in jail for Lula and some of his main colaborators) in spite of all the disfunctionality of Brazilian politics.
    And yet, from what I know and from what I read, its seens to me that chavismo still has an incredible level of support. How come??? DM, God bless his pure litle stupid heart, still says that he has respect for Chavez!?!? I really can’t get my head around this…
    But then, there is the opposition as well. I hope I am wrong but this whole thing of the recall seens to be just a waste of time. I see no chance of your government giving up power through that. I also see absolutely no reason to expect nothing but a fraudulent result when the next election comes up (if it comes). I think that anyone that gets worked up because of these signatures is just in denial.
    You guys are absolutely screwed and there is no way out of this shit through “forgiveness” or “understanding” the poor guy’s situation. At least not for now. You are not going to get your freedom back without many, many guys like him getting a much worst fate than going out of his “benefits”. And, possibly, the leaders getting something along the lines of Mussolini’s final act. I might be wrong, I hope I am wrong, but honestly I cannot see how… It is either that or decadess of dictatorship, abuses and ruin.
    In spite of all that, here you are discussing your feelings about the guy and the guy’s feeling about the opposition. It is kind of noble from your part, but I’d advise to spare the magnanimity to when the regime is crushed and their supporters have started begging for mercy…

    But, then, I don’t have a dog in this fight, specialy now that the chavismo cancer doesn’t looks like being able to spread throughout the continent. I sincerely hope that the decent people of Venezuela finds a way out of this mess without the kind of bloodshed that I think is inevitable.

    I mean no offens, but, by God, you look like crazies from the outside…

    • The recall might not matter in the long run. With a lot of Venezuela debt coming due soon, the possibility of total financial collapse is very real.

    • I believe the major difference between Brazil and Venezuela in that regard is that the bulk of anti-PT sentiment in Brazil comes mostly from people that have always hated PT and everything that it stands for since day one, whereas in Venezuela the opposition comes mostly from ex-Chavistas, social-democrats, left-wing people in general that had had a thing for Chavismo in some way or other until some years ago.

      Thus, when they read stories like this one portraying Danilo, it’s as if they were reading a story about themselves from a couple years ago; they can really see themselves in Danilo, and that’s why they are desperate to hug the guy and forgive him, even if Danilo has never said ‘sorry’ for any of his actions nor intend to do any time soon. After all, he still carries that PSUV member card and admires Chavez, doesn’t he?

      The opposition in Brazil is more “extreme”, and because of that it has achieved more extreme results. We can only hope that the ‘Venezuelan way’ of forgiving people who are not really sorry for anything nor intend to change any time soon can trigger positive results, but it’s unlikely. Dilma would still be around if Brazil had done the same.

      • Well, maybe you are partialy right. However, I remember the golden years of petismo when polls showed that less than 10% of the population were against the government (I was a proud member of that 10%). So, there are millions of brazilians who use to support PT and have turned their back towards them.
        Also, Brazilians in general avoid conflicts as much as they can. The coup in 64 was done without a shot. The dictatorship, while awfull, was a walk in the park when compared with what happened in most of the continent. The anmesty that paved the way for redemocratization was a great sucesss and, apart from a few in the extreme left, the country has no intention of looking back.
        And now, while the impeachment has polarised the country (even though support for PT is very thin) there was not a single incident of clash between factions that end with more than a few punches…
        So, while anti-petismo is intense nowadays, it was not the case a few years ago. And I don’t know if it is more intense than anti-chavismo in Venezuela.
        A more plausible reason is, obviously, oil. Brazil does not rely in oil and has a stronger private sector and people rely on that. The government cannot bribe a sufficient large part of society once a significant crisis reaches the private sector…

      • Marc, você tá enfiando o dedo na ferida.

        Brazilian oppos are very different than Venezuelan “oppos”. Porra, you can find people on this very blog, writers and commentators, who think socialism can work if managed by better people, or if it isn’t so radical (social-democracy). Why do you think they keep supporting social-democrats all over?

        Venezuelan oppo “leaders” have NEVER blamed socialism for this disaster, because they believe they can make it work if THEY manage it. They blame corruption (as if they weren’t corrupt themselves), but see no correlation with socialism (aka big government). Heck, the two most prominent “oppo” leaders, HRA and LL, are fucking members of the Socialist International. “Oh, I want Swedish Socialism”, they vomit. Sweden could afford a welfare state BECAUSE they got rich with free-market policies before, and have lately been reforming said welfare state towards free-market policies AGAIN.

        They cringe at the idea of having free-market capitalism, since its eventual success would crush their case for left-of-center policies. If you’re either a conservative or a libertarian, then you’re automatically labeled as can anti-gay, racist, woman-beater, xenophobic bigot.

        I can tell one thing: being called “extremist” for defending free-markets and freedom is quite a compliment when it comes from closeted socialists.

        • Yes. But, at least in part, that is the case in Brazil as well… The main congressional opposition party is PSDB. Petistas, in their ignorance and bad faith, like to say that they are “the extreme right”, “the fascists” etc. But that is a joke. They are social democrats. The best among them have just made a litle bit of “aggiornamento”, but they are clearly a left wing party. They’re main leader is FHC! And you will struggle to find a single politcian who declares himself as a liberal (or even to be in the right). So, on that issue, I don’t think that Brazil is very diferent.
          Now, it is true that the PT years have produced a grassroot movement of the right (from conservatives to liberals) and I don’t know if anything like that is happening in Venezuela. But, this movement will have a hard time reaching power or even getting congresional representation…

          • E não foi exatamente o PSDB que queria acalmar a população que pedia o impeachment? “Peraí, vamos esperar as eleições, não importa que até lá o Brasil esteja quebrado”. Closeted socialists use the same M.O. everywhere.

            Anyways, at least in Brazil there are politicians, journos, businessmen, artists that have no problem in declaring themselves anti-leftists or conservatives. In Venezuela chavistas call their lighter comrades “derecha” for pretty much the same reason Petralhas do, but you put “Conservative” in your Twitter bio and your veneco countrymen will despise you.

          • Ricardo,

            Yes, you are probably right. I haven’t seen any venezuelan Olavo or MBL (this is not an endorsement of either of them from my part. I’m not willing to go through that rabbit hole right now). But then again, why? I think that in the end it all boils down to oil…

        • Indeed. Chavez didn’t invent the Petrostate. As the dispenser of petroleum revenues, the GOV has long occupied the commanding heights of the Venezuelan economy. What Chavez did was to personalize things. Instead of funds coming from the party, they came from Hugo.
          While private enterprise had some breathing space under the Fourth Republic, now it has none- unless the owner supports Chavismo. But private enterprise was still highly regulated under the Fourth Republic. Chavismo just increased the regulation.

          Government-owned businesses abounded during the Fourth Republic. The downturn in oil revenues from 1986-1998 meant that there were no longer sufficient funds to subsidize unprofitable government-owned businesses, which led to privatization of some government-owned businesses. Which Chavismo reversed.

  26. So much sanctimony and chest-hitting in some comments.

    The thing that “worries” me here isn’t about how “the oppos don’t give a cuddle and a tissue to dissilussioned chavistas” but how viscerally the self-proclaimed “saints of forgiveness” wield the nauseating caricature straw man that chavismo build, calling people who doesn’t break into hysterical crying for that guy’s situation “soulless monsters”

    • So, stating that is not cool to see people dying from starvation makes you a “saint of forgiveness”. Great. Nobody demanded “hysterical crying” for the guy’s situation. But roasting him and telling “you got what you deserve, scum” certainly will not make a difference. My two cents on it: calling the guy names and insulting him is absolutely useless. Unless, of course, you actually enjoy watching people suffer. In that case, my friend, you just have a philia, not going to judge you. I like to eat uncooked cakes, so it’s ok.

      • You’re aiming your guns to the wrong target, I’ve never called the guy any names besides naive, because objectively, somebody naive would believe that all the ruin that chavismo brought was just a lie made up by the Cafetal crazy snob grannies and that they were just overreacting. No one’s called him “scum”, so let’s try not to delve in the murky depths of the “I make this up just to have a point”.

        People pointing that the dictatorship is screwing him now is not insulting nor roasting him, it’s just pointing that the dictatorship is screwing with him. Every dictatorship is fantastic, until you find yourself in the wrong side of the equation.

        There are, indeed, several folks here in the comments trying to apply the “don’t say anything that might make even slightly uncomfortable to the guy” because they think that the opposition should run and pick up anybody who expresses the tiniest discomfort against any chavista bureaucrat’s actions; people still remembers the “triple gallina batracia” Arias Cárdenas, who even claimed Chávez was a bloodthirsty murderer and now is one of the worst butt-kissers in chavismo.

        Is people angry at the base chavistas? A LOT of them are, man, and no one here would be able to change that, in fact, “angry” is an understatement, a lot of people are FURIOUS for reasons that have been exposed a lot in the comments, one of them being “chavistas fucked my life and have been mocking me for that since years ago”, for someone whose life’s been ruined by an all-powerful regime with no chance at all of being able to do something about it, they don’t have any other resource left than taking their frustration on base chavistas, and that even at the risk of being even killed for that, or do I need to quote some grisly news about some person being murdered by an offended chavista?

        You have to understand, that the anger that the guy’s getting here is by a very simple reason: He appears to the eyes of the readers here as an hypocritical person who’s pissed just because he lost a privilege, read the article again and you’ll see that DM never saw the whole food thing as an obligation of the socialist government, but as a privileged he enjoyed, and becoming angry for losing the privilege BUT trying to “remain loyal for Chávez” is exactly the posture that the “dissappointed chavistas” hold: Giordani, Navarro, Evans just to list some names, they were zealously chavista cretins that did everything in their power to make life miserable for everyone they despised, while mocking their suffering in the cruelest way, now they’re against Maduro just because they lost their privileges.

        For a lot of people here, DM passes as just another Giordani. Other people think base chavistas are crazy enough to “prefer to see this whole country exploding in pieces rather than accepting they were wrong” and that makes people even more furious.

        • You forgot to include Luigino. Damn, I enjoyed reading his patadas de ahogado when his electronic bucks were cut down. But the point I tried to make, rather than pointing at you (not personal, I don’t even know you) is that is completely useless to attack DM because he supports Chávez, as much as idiotic it sounds. Hard lessons are already coming, without all the bashing spit in the comments. I only said to have a *little* empathy, especially because his mom depends on him. Es buuuurda de chimbo ver a tu vieja con hambre. No me burlaría de eso ni que el pana votara mil veces por Maduro. By the tone of your comment and others I’ve read, people assume DM had “a privilege” because he bought at PDVAL. Coño, no. For a vast amount of people, buying at PDVAL, Mercal, CLAPs and so on is the ONLY way to bring food to their tables. And that doesn’t make them enchufados. They all have to make lines and suffer the misery of having to wait long hours to buy a bag of sugar.

  27. Well, apparently asking people to be held responsible for their actions (and I don’t mean for signing a petition, I mean voting 15 years for Chávez and then for Maduro) and to harvest what they planted is being insensitive, self righteous and so on. And name-calling is the proper way to show how wrong we’re, right? RIGHT?

    How does it feel “knowing” that you’re morally superior to those barely human ones expecting that chavismo finally take the ultimate test on the monster they fed and created? Does it make you feel better? I hope it does, I really hope it helps you sleep better at night.

  28. Everyone from that “Centro de Estudiantes de Ciencias” have been supporting and being supported by the government for many years, they are just tasting they own medicine. Why would I feel bad for them when they haven’t feel bad for many other students that don’t get the “benefit”.

  29. Castro’s job is done. Our society has been so utterly divided we fail to see who the real enemy is. It’s not chavistas or corruptos, but rather the intelligentsia behind a well executed invasion and occupation. We need to have compassion and empathy for all the people suffering and at the same time no mercy and nothing but hard cold justice fir all the criminals that have aided in the treacherous destruction of the nation.
    The day we understand we have been played against each other for a while and we all face the regime And demand accountability, it’s the day this naked emperor falls.
    I would like to ask this valuable audience, is this September 1st?

  30. Also, it’s curious that so many advocating for the so-called peace and forgiveness insist so much into lumping all the base chavistas (The supporters who only gave their vote and perhaps mocked the other people’s suffering later) with the sewage that is all the high command of the dictatorship.

    And, asking to have empathy for the dissapointed chavistas, uh, when they have never had any empathy for those that have been suffering for much longer than them first? How do you expect to convince a chavista to stop being chavista when ALL what they have got from chavismo is a bunch of good stuff and privileges? It’s only logical that they have to suffer first, even a bit, for the idea of defecting to take root.

    As long as chavistas are doing fine with their regime, they won’t even consider us as human beings, they’ll continue to live in their “bubbles”. It’s ironic, they have become everything they claimed the middle class they love to hate so much was in the 4th.

  31. Crucifiquemos a todos los chavistas que están hartos del gobierno, volvamonos intransigentes, porque decir que es su culpa es más importante que salir del atolladero. Que por siempre sea un ellos contra nosotros, y que el país se hunda en la mierda 17 veces 17 años más.

    Yo por mi parte le tiendo la mano a DM y lo recibo “en este lado”, acá encontrará empatia y mis razonamientos de porque soy opositor (capaz y le abro los ojos y el ve por su cuenta mañana todo eso que no es capaz de ver hoy), cada chavista descontento es un arma y un aliado para salir de este gobierno, esta en “nosotros” el decidir utilizarlos o seguirlos castigando y así perpetuar el calvario.

    Saludos a todos

    PD: de verdad espero que nunca les toque pasar hambre o tener que escoger entre su dignidad y el hambre de sus madres. Ya sabemos que en ese caso sus madres no la cuentan…

    • Deja el trauma que acá nadie a crucificado a nadie, ya está ladilla el cuentico de que están los “sádicos sin alma” regodeándose y deseándole al carajo que se le muera la mamá o alguna babosada como esa, acá nadie ha dicho eso así que mejor que argumenten la cosa por otro lado, ya se parecen de verdad a los chavistas más recalcitrantes que se inventan alguna huevonada para justificar su tirapiedrismo.

      Entiende algo, viejo, el chavista NUNCA va a dejar de ser chavista a menos que tenga que pasar por lo que han pasado todos los opositores durante 17 años, ya que hablan tanto de que hay que “ponerse en los zapatos del otro” y cosas como esa, pues bien, ¿Acaso esto que le pasa al tipo no va a por lo menos mostrarle que todos esos sifrinos a los que él detesta no eran al final un puñado de “viejas locas que sólo odiaban a Chávez porque sí”?

      Ese tipo seguramente a más de uno que le echó el cuento le habrá dicho que era paja o que estaba exagerando, bien, ahora él sabe que la cosa no era mentira, que el chavismo sí pone a la gente indefensa, como él, a comer una guaya por mera porquería política al peor estilo de la 4ta.

      • Y encima escoge quitar la firma…porque no sela iban a proteger? en serio? de verdad? creo que es hora que despierte y bueno no comprara por 2 semanas mientras tanto los que tenemos familias y estamos fichados desde el referendum consultivo no podemos comprar en mercal o pdval , porque asta si luces muy blanquito no eres chavista! Y en la cuarto por lo menos habia perrarina que segun comían los pobres…


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