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I’m not even going to feign objectivity. I’m sick of giving MUD a now pathetic benefit of the doubt. Everything that MUD has done since they agreed to demobilize in exchange for nothing has been an insult to those of us who support them.

It was an insult when MUD agreed to call off a march to Miraflores. Big time mobilization — people on the street raising hell — has always been MUD’s only truly credible threat. That’s what you hold back until the very last minute. What you don’t do is put out on the first date like an idiot teenager unfamiliar with the concept of pregnancy.

It was an insult when MUD announced that they would “continue to pursue a street agenda” while sharing Hotel Meliá croissants with Jorge Rodríguez and Elías Jaua during the coffee breaks to their dialogue sessions. While the Student Movement valiantly tried to take up the slack, MUD leaders stayed well away, hanging the university kids out to dry. Bullshit, insulting hypocrisy.

It was an insult when, after the proverbial line in the sand was drawn, one by one, MUD spokesmen (yes, men) began to “manage our expectations” about what was possible before November 11th, priming the opposition base, riled up and ready to reclaim our trampled-upon basic rights, to cave in before this ludicrously asymmetrical negotiation had anything to show for itself.

It’s an insult when MUD asks for our trust, our patience and understanding during a closed-doors negotiation process.

It was an insult when MUD leaders touted the release of five political prisoners — out of 100 — as a victory. These people were hostages, and the government has continued to take new ones even as they release a few of the old ones…and you want us to clap when a handful are relased!?

It’s an insult when MUD asks for our trust, our patience and understanding during a closed-doors negotiation process, and can’t even fake an effort to inform us about what is going on…even after they’d told us that since the first two dialogue attempts had failed due to government leaks, they would just be wide open about everything this time around.

Maybe MUD didn’t get the memo: Venezuelans are desperate, hungry, sick and despondent before a nonexistent future; and MUD has a mandate. The government, in power for 17 years and counting, has consistently demonstrated its absolute indifference to their suffering. It has put up roadblock after roadblock to letting the people decide through elections whether they support this government or not, to the point of digging up the dead recall from the grave just to kill it a second time, Pablo Escobar-style. 

The constitutional rights we are — outrageously — negotiating we’re trading off for “concessions” that shouldn’t even count as concessions at all.

It says a lot about how low we’ve sunk when we’re ok with negotiating constitutional rights.

It says way more about the degenerate position we’ve allowed ourselves to be dragged down to when the constitutional rights we are — outrageously — negotiating we’re trading off for “concessions” that shouldn’t even count as concessions at all.

Just stop and understand the point we’ve reached: these sinister monsters are now treating letting medicines into the country so newborn babies don’t die from easily preventable illnessess…as a concession!

They are treating allowing the National Assembly to do the thing the National Assembly exists to do — legislate — as a concession!

They’re treating allowing the appointment of new CNE members to replace those whose terms are about to expire and who’d need to be replaced anyway…as a concession!

And MUD will proudly announce this? Are you fucking kidding me?

It’s way simpler than that: you fight, or you’re fucked.

I’m sick of rationalizing away the MUD’s incompetence. “Maybe they know something we don’t.” “Boy, their job is hard.” “Wait and see, patience reaps results.” No, pana.

It’s way simpler than that: you fight, or you’re fucked.

If I’m being simplistic in my analysis, if I’m trivializing an enormously sophisticated strategy that MUD has painstakingly put-together in a ninja-level war-room of genius, a strategy that’s somehow (magically) about to bring down the government, I’ll be delighted to eat crow.

But grow the hell up, that’s not what’s happening here. This pipe-dreams of redemption via exquisitely massaging the status quo, this disastrously wrongheaded determination to celebrate minute signs of normality amid a sea of dictatorial excess, this is the problem, not the solution.

Nothing will change if we don’t demand it. All of us.

How can something so obvious be so hard to see?

49 COMMENTS

  1. 100% Agree here.
    Except that there is almost no alternative.
    The march to Miraflores will be a waste of time if you want to be realistic.
    It is easy to criticize but much harder to come with real solutions.
    I think peaceful protests against an armed Directorship is futile, a waste of time and energies.
    Ask the Syrians.

    Solution: Since we have exhausted all the peaceful and constitutional means to topple a Dictatorship, we have no other option but to Fight, yes as in Violence.
    But you don’t bring a knife, the constitution pots and pans to a Gun fight.

    Venezuelans in and out of the country have to really organize in a massive scale and help in the finance and creation of a well TRAINED and ARMED MILITIA.
    That is our constitutional right !!
    Stop paying taxes to the Dictator and channel your Money to the opposition.

    The alternative is do nothing and accept to live without freedom or dignity for the rest of our lives or simply move to another country.

    As I have said before, I have my humble $500 waiting to help finance such project.
    Where is such organization?
    MUD is just a Political party coalition, we need something larger than that.
    What other Venezuelans are willing to do?
    Venting on the Internet all day every day our frustration won’t solve this.

    It is big time now that All Venezuelans of conscience have to assume a more direct responsibility and do something.

    The outrage I feel now have made me lose any fear and would do anything to defend Democracy Justice and Freedom to a country that gave me so much.

    Time for action…

    • I sincerely hope that you (and I) are deeply wrong about the path forward.

      But I fail to see an alternative that would work.

      Protests are only going to take it so far.

      There are still options regarding workstoppages and such. But people still need to eat.

      And I would hope that commenters here realize that any external force.is.impossible as long as both parties look for a new target of their frustration to distract the starving.

      A coup within the military would be the least deadly and most effective way to effect change. Lets just hope there is as little blood shed as this whole thing progresses.

      Maybe American is can engineer a bioweapon that makes the Chavistas sleep for 23 hours in a day so that things can get done under their noses.

      One can dream, can’t they?

  2. Reading your article, Ms. Duarte, it seems there are two paths to follow.

    One, continue to support the MUD.

    Two, start a new opposition.

    I share much of your (and many, many, others) frustration over the timing, the cool down, and so on.

    However, is this the right time to pull support for the MUD?

    That question will be answered later today, I guess.

    Depending on what is announced, the MUD will either be shown that they were right, or that they have miscalculated so gravely they will lose the support of the masses they have spent hours and treasure on getting.

    So, assuming the worst, the MUD screwed up and got diddly squat, my question to you is: Y ahora que?

    Are we going to see an avalanche of anger that sweeps away any chance of an orderly transition?

    Will that anger be enough to sweep away this government, or will it falter and we end up worse than before, with an openly dictatorial military regime?

    Who, I ask, is going to be able to lead? How will “Oppo, V.2.0” make enough of an impact to be able to take the lead?

    Personally, frustrachera and all, I have been willing to accept that the MUD and the process needed until today to arrive at the conclusion of whether or not peace (with an end result we all clamor for) is truly achievable in a short time frame.

    Personally, I’m afraid that the “rope-a-dope” the regime loves to use is going to leave a whole hell of a lot of people angry. We are not going to see any worthwhile concessions (I know, that in itself really sticks in my craw too).

    The regime will give just enough to tell itself they were “generous” and expect the MUD to thank them. Like thanking the thug who is holding you up and decides not to shoot you.

    A social explosion, if contained, will only benefit the regime.

    If there is one, it had better be one that goes all the way to ridding the vampires for good.

    And that is going to be bloodier than anything we’ve ever seen in Venezuela.

  3. While I get immense satisfaction from reading your article as it perfectly articulates my frustration, we must come to terms that we are not Ukraine or Syria. ie. people are not willing to bleed on the streets for this (I certainly am not).

    What alternative does this leave us? I have not idea but Chuo must go and VP has to play a bigger part in the future of the MUD.

    • I am sorry Luigi but the problem is not Chuo nor the MUD.
      To be honest they are more part of the solution than you are.
      And there are many ways to help the cause, you don’t necessarily need to engage in bloody physical combat but you can certainly contribute in many other real forms.
      Freedom is not free.

  4. So, you think (probably rightly so), that the MUD is putting out, not on the first, but, what, the third, or more, date?; of course, hopefully soon, at the 10 days “limit”, we will soon find out. I think you’re right, “you fight, or you’re fucked.” The sad thing is, that the 20% or so what’s-left-of the shrinking better-educated middle class up to now has to fight virtually alone from the shrinking violets 80% D-E lower classes, who are the ones more mired in complete sin salida misery. Until Venezuela is completely exorcised of the Chavista Revolutionary demons, it will have no peace, no progress….

    • Net you are right, the 80% lower class does not topple regimes much less now that they are more used than ever to handouts and the middle class is gone. Unfortunately this people will never go peacefully and oír people seem to be “tamed”. Yhe Bravo Pueblo ended un The dar of independence.

  5. “t was an insult when MUD announced that they would “continue to pursue a street agenda” while sharing Hotel Meliá croissants with Jorge Rodríguez and Elías Jaua during the coffee breaks to their dialogue sessions.”

    Highly predictable, if you know Venezuela. Over coffee, or a wijkisito, or 5, that’s how politics have always worked. Yet, to be politically correct, writers, reporters, even bloggers do not really say much less write the Real Reason why most of this Muddy Mud goes on.

    Remember Ad and Copey and all the others? Have you ever lived in Venezuela?

    It’s all about bribes, corruption and dirty money. Has always been, except now it’s even worse with Chavismo.

    Those who think that the “MUD” Saints are incorruptible, better land back on planet earth sometime soon.

    Most of our MUD Heroes are probably Millionaires by now. Comprende?

  6. Emiliana’s post made me think about one of my favorite themes, and that is the subject of Rights. We need to stop thinking of “rights” as something that exists in nature. The concept of “human rights” is a purely human social construct that has no objective definition or meaning. It is entirely subjective and can only be defined in terms of negotiated or imposed social accords or agreements between individuals or groups of individuals.

    The statement, from the American Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”, while noble sounding and well-intentioned, is not an objective truth but an ideal to be sought. While these “truths” may have been “self-evident” to the Founding Fathers, I find no evidence of them in human history. In fact, the Founding Fathers were similarly doubtful since they followed that statement by saying, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”. They were obviously practical men who understood these Rights were not going exist unless they were fought for, won, and defended. If Rights were truly “inalienable” we would not need to defend them.

    I think that, on a gut level, we all know this is true. When our four-year-old stamps his foot and whines, “Its not fair!”, we chuckle and tell them, “Get used to it Kiddo. Life is not fair.” As our children grow up, we force them to steadily negotiate and win their independence (or rights) by proving their responsibility to us. Why should we, as adults, not understand the same lesson?

    I would like to argue that, by starting with the concept that “rights” exist in nature, we are making a grave error. We would do a better job of securing the rights and freedoms we desire if we understand their nature better. My definition of Rights is those freedoms and privileges which we claim and demand as ours and which we are willing and capable of defending, or which someone else is willing and able to defend for us. I could claim a right to have a mansion and yacht given to me for free, but I do not have the means to defend that right and no one else is going to defend it for me. Therefore, if I continue to insist on that right, I would be considered deluded. I do claim that I have a right to live. If someone tries to deny me that right I will, of course, contest the issue vigorously. As a society, we collectively defend that basic right, when and as we can. Regrettably, even with that minimum right, we fail far too often. Life is not fair.

    Which brings us to Venezuela. Clearly, the Government is not not only not defending what the public considers to be their own rightful freedoms, they are willfully infringing on those rights. These rights and liberties will have to be re-won. It would be nice if we could count on the UN, the OAS, and the community of nations to defend our rights against the abuses of this Government for us. In theory, this should happen through the peer pressure and censure of our fellow nations, however that does not appear likely, as this Government has already demonstrated itself impervious to international pressure. The only other threat from outside that could influence the Government is force of arms, but there is no indication that any country is willing to do so (recall my definition of rights above… “willing and able to defend”).

    Therefore, it falls upon the shoulders of “The People” to demand and defend their rights by whatever means are required to do so. Venezuelans need to stop stamping their feet and whining, “Its not fair!”

  7. We have been fighting for a long time. We fought two years ago because we knew what was going to happen and wanted to prevent it. We were shot, tortured, imprisioned. We were called radicals, fools and even sifrinos by our own people, even though we had no guns, no bombs and we certainly were not rich. Goicochea actually was a part of the only movement ever that defeated Chavez …now he rots in a prision cell while some idiots publish bullshit on Prodavinci. I remember how we managed to pull that victory. It was’t easy. We were shot many times, and we didn’ t shoot back, never. But we stood firmly and won because we were courageous and had principles. Back then we were also called radicals, fools and sifrinos too, but by Chavez.
    You know…the most simple answer is the right one. And the most simple answer is that the MUD is just a bunch of corrupt sons of bitches and we as a people have to get rid of them for good.
    I don’ t see any way to improve unless we do that. Right now the MUD has no future, the only political future it has left is if it becomes a part of the dictatorship. That’ s the only way their careers can survive, by selling us. That’s what they are doing. So you have to decide if you want to keep reading bullshit on prodavinci and be a a corrupt son of a bitch like them while everyone else is completely desperate, or if you want to be a decent human being. That is were we stand. Everything is very simple right now. And a word of advice: sonner than later this lie will collapse, and you just lost the chance to stand on the right side when the real shitstorm begins.

  8. I suscribe to every word of Emiliana. It would seem like the mud and psuv agreed to convince the people who is still in Venezuela to join the millions of exilees abroad

  9. Emiliana frustrachera esta llegando a un limite de “no regreso”. Respeto profundamente sus sentimientos porque sus reportajes en CC han sido muy profesionales y acertados, siendo este ultimo bastante emocional.

    Desde la comodidad de vivir en el exterior y ver lo que pasa en Venezuela, yo observo que la agenda de la MUD es diferente a la de la gente común.

    Pero decir eso es estéril. Siempre habrá alguien que justifique lo contrario. Inclusive dentro de CC.

    Perfecto recipe para aumentar la esquizofrenia social venezolana.

  10. Did I not see Allup today call for a march to Miraflores this coming Thursday? As much as some of you are tired of marches, I think a huge march to Miraflores will be a tipping point. Why do I say that?

    Maduro has already called such an event an effort to take over the government, and has said that neither ballots or bullets will accomplish it. That’s his signal to the thousands of chavistas who will be there to meet the opposition marchers and I think we all know what’s going to happen on the streets.

    I also saw Godgiven Hair today saying that there is no RR or regional elections. “What we have here waiting for them is revolution”. I think the end is near though I have no idea in whose favor it will be decided.

  11. Roy brings up a deep reflexion on the subject of natural rights , The french Revolution was keen on declaring the existence of such rights , in the US only Jefferson ( a convinced francophile) was insistent on having them included against the opinion of most of the founders who where wary of any such doctrinaire declarations…..!!

    Natural rights are simply human interests which by common agreement of most cultures at different historical periods are deemed deserving of social protection , todays natural rights might differ somewhat from those of the past because historical notions dont stand still instead they mutate and expand in scope and meaning….as peoples mentality evolves and develops new sensibilities that gain the almost universal SPONTANEOUS recognition of all men.

    The Romans had a somewhat similar notion they knew as Ius Gentium , today we see slavery , racism and any form of discrimination against certain minorities as a breach of natural rights , not so in the past.

    They are natural not because they have existed in all times, but because they are spontaneously recognized by most men living in a particular civilization or culture . in that sense they are natural …..

    Just think of that social construct which is money …..what makes money valuable is the widely shared belief that by itself it has an inrinsic value which makes it exchangeable for any good or service…..it may come in the form of a golden coin , or a printed piece of paper , it may be plastic card , or a big round stone with a hole in the middle ……..human rights exist because we believe they represent interests which all human beings are entitled to have protected by civilized society ……..

    Its as absurd to pretend that they dont exist because they lack an intrinsic natural embodiment as to think that money doesnt exist because it can also lack an intrinsic natural embodiment ( think most of the worlds moneys exist as bips in a digital system ) …….!!

    Roys reflexions are usually so very interesting ……!!

    • Thanks Bill. I appreciate your encouragement. I understand the point you are making, and you are correct that “rights” can be said to exist by virtue of near universal social consensus. But this does not make them “natural”. The only part of “rights” that truly exist naturally is our human capacity for empathy. This is part of our biological nature and it evolved because it was a necessary trait that allowed us to live together and cooperate in social groups beyond immediate family. I maintain that the concept of “rights” is a purely human cultural invention and one which is highly mutable depending on circumstances even within a single culture.

      As an extension of my “reflections”, I would also like to note that every single “right” comes at the expense of someone else’s rights. My right to life comes at the expense of someone else’s “right” to kill me. My rights to my property come at the expense of someone else’s right to steal from me. It sounds absurd when we consider “basic” rights but when we get into less basic rights, it becomes an important consideration. Many people consider education to be a right. However, this comes at the expense of paying taxes that are collected with the threat of force. If I don’t pay my taxes, my property (another of my “rights”) can forcibly taken for me, or I could even be jailed.

      Hell, if you think about it, the Venezuelans’ right to freedom and democracy will come at the expense of Maduro’s and Cabello’s rights to continue ruling and robbing the country blind! It may sound absurd, but the Chavistas in power believe that they have every “right” to be there and to continue ruling Venezuela however they want to. Al Capone and Pablo Escobar both thought they had a “right” to run their criminal enterprises and enjoy the proceeds too.

      So, all individual rights come at someone else’s expense. That is, of course, why we have developed massive bodies of Law to try to balance out competing rights and create something that approximates “fairness” (another highly subjective concept).

      Recently, we have started to add many new “rights” to the social consensus: Higher Education, Health Care, Shelter, Clean Drinking Water, Food, etc… We should keep in mind that all such “rights” will have to be paid for by infringing on other’s property rights. Such rights, taken to extremes, become communism or national socialism in their most extreme forms. And we know how that story always ends.

        • If indeed, the concept of natural rights is obsolete, it appears that a lot of people didn’t get the memo. Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan was published in 1651. His Social Contract Theory of politics is brilliant.

          Nevertheless, it appears obvious (to me) that the Natural Rights concept still isn’t dead. Too many people still want rights without responsibilities, or something for nothing.

          • Roy, estoy totalmente de acuerdo contigo.

            Yo para pensar en la situación de Venezuela siempre vuelvo a Spinoza.

            En un curso de Deleuze sobre el pensamiento del holandés se toca el tema del derecho natural.

            Lo cito como una curiosidad:

            “Hoy las teorías del derecho natural nos parecen a simple vista obsoletas tanto jurídica como políticamente, En los manuales de derecho o sociología vemos siempre un capítulo sobre el problema del derecho natural y se lo trata como una teoría que duró hasta Rousseau -Rousseau incluido-, hasta el siglo XVIII, pero en la que hoy nadie se interesa”.
            “…hay dos nombres importantes en relación a la concepción clásica del derecho natural. Por una parte, Cicerón, que recopila en la Antigüedad todas las tradiciones sobre el tema- platónica, aristotélica, estoica-. Hace una especie de presentación del derecho natural en la Antigüedad que va a tener una extrema importancia. Es ante todo en Cicerón que los filósofos, los juristas cristianos -además de otros autores- harán esta especie de adaptación del derecho natural al cristianismo. En particular Santo Tomás…”
            “Ahora bien, ¿Qué es lo que ellos llaman “el derecho natural”?. En líneas generales, diría que en toda esta concepción lo que constituye al derecho natural es aquello que es adecuado a la esencia…”

            Luego, habla de las cuatro proposiciones básicas del derecho natural:

            1) Una cosa se define por su esencia. La esencia del hombre es ser un “animal racional”.
            2)”El estado de naturaleza es un estado no social”. “…El estado de naturaleza es el estado conforme a la esencia en una buena sociedad. ¿Qué llamamos una “buena sociedad”? Se llamará una buena sociedad a una sociedad en la que el hombre puede realizar su esencia…”
            3)”Lo primero es el deber. No tenemos derechos más que porque tenemos deberes? “…¿Y por qué lo que que es primero en la existencia es el deber? Es porque los deberes son las condiciones bajo las cuales mejor puedo realizar la esencia, es decir, tener una vida conforme a la esencia en la mejor sociedad posible”.
            4) La preeminencia del sabio, porque éste es más competente en la búsquedas de las esencias, y por ende saber cómo organizar la sociedad.

            Esto es antes de Hobbes, que subvierte esos cuatros principios simplemente porque para él el derecho natural sí precede al derecho social.

            ¿Cómo define él el derecho natural? Pues, no tiene que ver con las esencias sino con la potencia: todo lo que está en tu potencia, todo lo que puedes hacer, lo que eres capaz de hacer,es tu derecho natural, y ahí es donde empiezan los problemas, porque obviamente hay ciertas cosas que están prohibidas, que no puedes hacer aunque ciertamente están en tu poder. Ese es el punto de partida de todo.

      • Men are largely interdependent, and no man’s activity is so completely private as never to obstruct the lives of others in any way. ‘Freedom for the pike is death for the minnows’; the liberty of some must depend on the restraint of others. Isaiah Berlin

    • Because rights have not been understood or recognized for all time in all places does not mean they are purely subjective notions. If it were the case, there would be no need for courts. There would be no need for precedent. They would be purely a function of power.

      The notion that rights are purely subjective is the corollary of notions that history is purely subjective, truth is purely subjective, or taste is subjective. The argument is easy to make, it has its allure, its has a long pedigree. I’m not going to win an argument with Nietzsche and perhaps neither would Aristotle or Kant.

      But still, if the chef is crappy, all the arguments about the subjectivity of the ordering principles of our society, won’t put bums in his restaurant, and if the guy holding the knife stuck in the bleeding victim says he did it, reasonable people may agree that he is guilty of a crime worthy of censure…

      We live in a world connected by shared, basic values. They have to be defended.

      • But, it is BECAUSE rights are subjective that we need constitutions, laws, and courts.

        And, not everyone in our world does share our “basic values”. There are fundamental cultural differences in concepts of values that are driving much of the current conflict we see in the world today. To say that human rights and values are objective is to paint the world in terms of black and white; good and evil; without allowing for any compromise. Therein lies the recipe for extremism of all stripes.

  12. What a complete and utter cr*p was that dialogue.

    I was already thinking bad of it and the MUD, but the results… celebrating that? Seriously?

    It would have been FAR better to walk out saying that once again it was proven that the government has ZERO interest in actually solving the crisis, that they (MUD) walked into the negotiations because there was a demonstration of interest on part of the government and The Vatican but, in spite of it, there was no actual will to constitutionally solving the crisis, ergo, there are no agreements and they (MUD) will continue to pursue any legal action at their disposal to reinstate constitutional order.

    Se rompio el hilo constitucional!!! #not
    Vamos a establecer la responsabilidad del presidente y llevarle su pink slip a miraflores!! #not

    They say that a dog that barks doesnt bite, thats specially true for the MUD.

    I agree with Juan:

    ” La MUD no longer represents the opposition”

    MUD-exit? Lets see…

  13. This is the only path. People need to take the streets in caracas. Remember people are dying (starvation, medicines, hampa). They should go once and again (days). Like the one they had scheduled for november 3rd.

    The loyal troops are myth ( they are also starving and they have families) so they are epecting this and they will act (they are not the top officers but they are the most).

    They need people to lead them, to show them that the step they will take is right so they need to be pushed to step in and that is the reason people need to rescheduled the november 3rd.

    The govt is not an unity, they are filling their pockets while they are allowed to but this unity will be broken as soon as they hear the first shot against (that ‘s what happened april 12 th all top officers including the armies were running and hiding)

    That’ s the reason the govt rushed when they heard about november 3rd , they accepted to be seated in a table because they didn’t want to take chances.

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