The SEBIN commission showed up in the dead of night barking something about a “medical visit”. As a bleary eyed Daniel Ceballos was trundled into an ambulance, he must have realized this was no such thing. Only once inside did they produce the paperwork and the explanation: Ceballos was going to jail, in the same 26 de Julio jail that is now home to Pancho Márquez and Gabo San Miguel.

For the last year, Ceballos, the one time VP mayor of San Cristobal, had been under house arrest. For a year and a half before that, he had been imprisoned at Ramo Verde, facing an absurd trial on absurd charges of civil rebellion following the protests in his city in February and march 2014.

What’s worrying is the sense that the wing of the government that’s 100% ok with its status as an international pariah now seems entirely in control of policy. Days ahead of September 1st protests, with OAS and Mercosur actively considering international sanctions over the breakdown in constitutional rule, the government doubles down on openly dictatorial decisions: Cuban style shit that actively sabotages any chance of detente.


Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. They feel so threatened by the deep widespread rejection and intractable problems assailing them from all sides that they have gone into full paranoid mode and in desperation strike at whatever they percieve as potentially menacing . Thus all the arrests of people they fear might lead a protest. They fear a repetition of the 2014 street protests but now in an environment were popular anger and international condemnation makes things much more dangerous for them.

    Most people dont realize it but the threat of a Pdvsa default is much bigger that even well informed people realize , they are attempting a complex deal with the holders of the bonds issued for payment in 2016 and 2017 so they are traded for bonds expiring on 2019 , this is not impossible but there are obstacles appearing from everywhere ….the chances of a succesful refinancing becoming ever more slimmer….and if Pdvsa defaults all hell breaks loose… !! its 6.000 million USD they have to pay in the very short term and there is no way it can be paid unless the deal with the bondholders pulls thru…..!!

    The international standing of the regime is at its lowest …..the world is clamouring for its deposal and replacement ……an humanitarian catastrophe looms , as the lack of forex to import indispensable foodstuffs and very adverse crop prospects for this and the coming year make mass starvation a real possibility .

    They are like a cornered beast and thus at their most dangerous…!!

  2. They do not feel threatened, it is like Cuba, the more power they have, they don’t doubt and use it. It is away to remind everyone that they can do it and they will do it…In the time That Cuba an US relations “have improved”the attacks to the Cuban opposition has been worse, because They can

  3. I feel this is going exactly as they planned all along…step back and look at it….perfect.
    Complete goverment control…AN nothing…barely a symbol of its former self…..well fed ,infiltratwd brainwashed military,..intelligence……starving week population…seems like cuba….and their idiology subscibes to whatever it takes matter the cost….bla bla or death!!!…they are not worried at all..
    If you have all the guns and your determined…you win.

  4. Is worst than Cuba now, because in Cuba at least you have personal security and rum, in Venezuela we don’t have sh***. Unfortunately, this situation can’t be reverted without foreign intervention.

    • Poor, poor Cuba! Every month one Cuban Ceballos is arrested there, and with the exception of the Cuban community in Florida and the people elsewhere that follow Cuban politics closely by reading some obscure sites, no one will even know about it.

      Meanwhile, the Venezuelan Ceballos is arrested and it’s on the front page of every news site in the world. It hasn’t always been like that regarding Venezuela, but the Venezuelans abroad managed to make their cause a mainstream cause.

      Cuba remains a remote place like Mars to the world, no one knows a thing about the atrocities going on there.

  5. 7 Differences between Cuba and Venezuela .
    1. Cuba has a population of 6 million, we have a population of 30 million which not in a mood of calm resignation but of seething anger !! (if you do any lines in Venezuela you KNOW this !!)
    2. In Cuba Castro lived on , In Venezuela Chavez died and was succeeded by an un charismatic , mediochre Maduro whom even most Chavistas dislike.
    3. Cuban regime sustained most of its life by huge help from Soviet Power and later by formerly Oil rich Venezuela (now in ruins) , A failed Venezuela is sustained by no one ( China is no Soviet Union but a highly oportunistic and self interested Country, counting each penny its owed)
    4. Cuba counted on the romantic groundswell of latam support for a regime that during decades stood up to the hated Gringos in a very sympathetic left wing environment , Venezuela’s regime stands loathed and alone in a latam and world thats no longer as romantic and left wing as it once was , condemned by all international institutions , about to get kicked out of Unasur and sanctioned by the OAS.
    5. Castro came to power by toppling a traditional dictatorship in a Cuba that had little truly democractic traditions , Venezuela enjoyed democratic govts for 40 years , democracy got into Venezuelans cultural DNA and there are dozens of well organized political groups and parties actively canvassing the active support of massses of peoples with a strong voice both nationally and internationally.
    (in cuba there were no public figures such as Leopoldo lopez or tintori or capriles or chuo or ramos allup crying bloody murder against the regime) .
    6. The system of repression in Cuba is professionally and ideologically loyal from decades of soviet style indoctrination and training (cuba is a police state) , Venezuelas system of repression depends on group of highly corrupt , self serving , fragmented military whose loyalty to the regime is mediated by venal considerations of self interest and opportunism.Venezuelas security apparatus leaks at the seams and is incapable of keeping crime controlled which hurting its popularity and credibility big time .
    7. The Cubans are throwing the towell , in the process of giving way to a new system that will be very different than the one they had in the past and that will be more capitalistic than communistic in style , Castros death bed speeches alarmed at the coming changes and warning of the need to maintain the revolutionary purity of the coming Cuba are a distinct sign that the Cuba of the future will be nothing like the Cuba that Castro dreamed of .

    Just to put things in a more realistic perspective.

  6. The only reason I can think of for arresting Ceballos again now, is to instill fear and terror. The man hasn’t spoken or done anything. But he is a public figure, so the Chavista thugs gave him a ‘medical visit’ at 3am.

    This is what dictatorships do: create fear to subdue people. That’s how Cuba’s population became sheep, and stopped protesting. They knew they would end up in jail. They got scared, and slowly got used to the system. In that sense, there are similarities with Venezuela. In almost 18 years, there have been few protests, and people are scared. And they have gotten used to their miseries, including lack of food, long lines, no medicine, they even go to Colombia, like sheep, by the thousands, desperate to get some items.

    The one difference between Cuba and Venezuela, is that Cuba’s is a full-blown leftists dictatorship. In Vzla is a disguised neo-dictatorship, blended with some democratic elements. They pretend to be a free republic of sorts, with an elected “parliament’, but what has Henry and co. been able to actually DO?

    And these disguised neo-dictators will be tough to remove: they fear jail and loss of their stolen fortunes and properties. Where are they gonna run to? Africa, Switzerland, Bolivia? Imagine Cabello o Cilia or Tarek living in those places.. How long can they hide their large overseas accounts from authorities? And their phony apartments, etc?

    My guess is they will try to bribe their way out, and blend back somehow into Vzlan society. See, if Cabello or Cilia offer a few million $$$ to the MUD, just to be left alone in some remote Vzlan town, the MUD would probably oblige. If Tarek offers a couple million $$ to persecutors or police or la guardia, he may be able to slip away. People have short memories. Many, many crooks have gone free, and bought their liberty in Vzla in the past. Carlos Andres Perez and his Sierra Nevada ruses comes to mind. Lower level thugs might to escape to other countries, but many won’t, and the MUD is already talking about ‘forgiveness”

    They would have to replace the entire Military, the entire TSJ, the police and guardia, corrupt judges, to begin to put a few crooks in jail. Ain’t gonna happen. Corruption in Vzla runs very deep, everywhere, at all levels, public or private, for decades. And you can’t change that overnight.

  7. Other differences between Cuba and Venezuela:

    Cuba was eventually able to control crime. Murders and robberies are very low. Security is important for any society. Heck, that’s the main reason many of us got the hell out of Vzla.

    How is Capriles or MCM or Leopoldo going to control crime, in one of the most dangerous and deadliest countries on planet Earth? That’s a very tough task. Plus drug trade is now everywhere. Where there are drugs, there is crime…Go to all the barrios and the millions of ranchos and look for thugs? They might catch a few thieves and murderers, but there will be more brewing for the future.

    First, you need to educate millions of people, teach them moral values, and have them grow in stable families, with a mother and father.. You also need to start fixing the economy first, offer jobs. Then you have to clean-up the corrupt police, pay them better, and multiply their numbers. All of these are very tall and expensive orders.

    Cuba has been assisted bu Russia, now the USA, and now tourism. They have increasing tourism because it’s not as dangerous as Vzla. Any foreigner would be crazy to visit Vzla on vacation.. And they know it. It’s like deciding to take a vacation in Syria or Afghanistan.

    Who wants to invest in Cuba right now? Quite a few, now. Who is crazy enough to invest in Vzla? No one. There are dozens of safer countries to invest, or travel to to.

    Not that Cuba isn’t a despicable dictatorship, somewhat disguised too, but they are poised for a quicker economic recovery than Venezuela. They only have 11 million people, and they work hard. And they are better educated. As the American and European influence continues to increase, they will gradually change, and turn to Capitalism and Tourism. In Vzla, until crime and murders are controlled, and the miserable economy starts improving, they are doomed to more of the same: high crime, lack of food, low oil production and low oil prices, high corruption, high poverty, crooked politicians – including the MUD – It will just be not as bad as Chavismo is.

    • They only have 11 million people, and they work hard.

      Cuba has nearly 60 years of the “they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work” philosophy which is the result of Marxist-Leninist policies- guaranteed jobs with low wages.
      While the tourist hotels employ a lot of Cubans, Cuban employees get ~$20 US per month while the Cuban government takes the lion’s share of their wages. But even $20 US is better than what most Cubans get.
      The work ethic that Cuban immigrants to the US have exhibited is now much weaker in Cuba than it was 60 years ago.

  8. Also, note that after Ceballos was taken to jail, they moved Pancho and Gabo to the Tocuyito Prison in Carabobo. Without notification.

  9. “Cuba was eventually able to control crime. Murders and robberies are very low. Security is important for any society. Heck, that’s the main reason many of us got the hell out of Vzla. ”

    What would they rob?

  10. Cuba never had anything like the crime rate that now exists in Venezuela . so controlling it wasnt that difficult , also not sure that as a people they were all that fierce, my brother in law who befriended the local cuban expats in a town in Miranda ( before they left for home with their frias and TV sets) tells me they were a rather submissive lot , always calculating what petty things they could buy to take home……..!! always keeping quiet whenever the locals insulted them to their faces for being ‘the face of the regime’. Also at one time Castro opened cuban jails and sent the inmates in mass to the US..quick way of getting rid of your most hardened criminals.

    Funny that the million or so cubans who left the island and are now in the US have been estimated to produce multiple times the wealth produced by the whole island, guess its the system making them so unproductive…1 free cuban = to 10 home staying cubans in productivity……., The Miami cubans are a pretty entrepeneural hard working lot , its notorious that those that remained live from the handouts their miami relatives send them . Yeah…..made by their regime into a bunch of paupers

    Maybe they have lots of people notionally being educated , dont know about the rest but the medics are a sorry lot , its a joke among Venezuelan medics having any contact with them how ignorant they are , the many mistakes they make , how they kill people from misdiagnosing their illness or not being able to handle up to date medicines and therapies …..!! Good thing the dear defunct leader trusted them , we owe them having speeded his dead for a whole year (as per the russian medics that later saw him) .


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here