This sequence of tweets starring MUD Executive Secretary Chúo Torrealba is, I think, the ultimate reductio ad absurdum of MUD’s public line about dialogue. Chúo begins by noting the way the government is now fighting the dialogue facilitators, and how the process lays bare their brutality. Some lady retorts, reasonably enough, that that brutality was amply obvious without or without a dialogue table. And Chúo shoots back that it was obvious to her but…not to the Vatican.

“Now they’re living it in their own skin,” he tweets. “The Dialogue table was worth it.”

Makes sense. You’ll recall the opposition’s campaign promises, last year, that if elected they would spare no effort to…educate Pope Francis on the government’s brutality. Right?

When we pointed out that it didn’t make much sense to bank on the catholic guilt of a gaggle of drug-dealing Marxists who imprison doctors for receiving donations of medicines, MUD’s retort was…an incoherent mess. 

It’s an evident bit of non-sense…the opposition mission was never to lay bare what’s already bare, it was to put an end to this ruinous government. Vatican mediation was sold to us on the premise that it didn’t require us to believe in the government, only to believe in the pope.

The pope, as everyone knows, has no armored divisions, he can’t compel compliance. His influence on the government is a matter of moral suasion, and to morally suade you need a counterpart that’s morally suadable. When we pointed out that it didn’t make much sense to bank on the catholic guilt of a gaggle of drug-dealing Marxists who imprison doctors for receiving donations of medicines, MUD’s retort was…an incoherent mess.

Now, with dialogue sputtering towards failure, the new line was that it was all worth it because it taught the Pope a valuable life lesson. Sure, it’ll leave the government in power for another two years, at least, but hey, an old mister in Rome now really knows what we’re going through, so it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. Right?

This line is so aggressively dumb the real wonder is that Chúo actually put it down in words for the world to see.

They were desperate for some way to defuse the situation, and Vatican mediation offered that face-saving exit.

Incoherent excuses aside, the real reason Chúo, Timoteo Z. and Ocariz/Borges dragged us to an obviously doomed dialogue was that they were convinced a militant strategy on the streets would backfire, leave a bunch of people dead, many more in prison, peter out in weeks and solidify the dictatorship’s dictatorial bent. They were desperate for some way to defuse the situation, and Vatican mediation offered that face-saving exit. They didn’t go for it despite the fact that it demobilized us, they went for it because they wanted to demobilize us.

It’s not an analysis I share, but it’s coherent, and honest, and imaginably even right. (Counterfactuals being what they are, we’ll never know what might have been.) I’d respect them if they leveled with us and said as much. But this form of “it was worth it” excuse-making is just sad.

44 COMMENTS

  1. I subscribe to the accomplice thesis. They say “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity” but there’s just too much that can be explained by MUD and PSUV having the same agenda.

    The Venezuelan oppo is a really tight Group of the same people, there’s just no space for anyone else and that ensues that even in a scenario where they don’t share the same interests, maduro and co will always face the same opponents.

    Even if the heads of the MUD are innocent (again, not likely), they are unwillingly helping the governement by just being a barrier for any new people, ideas and strategies, therefore always givin maduro an adversary for whom he has all the strategies figured out.

    So, whatever your stance is, stupidity or evilness manso favor le hacemos…

    • +1
      Actually everybody must push for a real democratic mud. Those guys failed abruptly. Their ineptitud is helping the govt destroy the people hopes. Why mud cannot be under scrutinity?

      Those four or five guys really messed big time this year after ending last year with a big victory, not only moral but instututional with two thirds of the AN. But their strategy to use those power were defeated by the govt, they did not put the govt in a worse position but better. They failed big.

      They must resign, call for an election and let people choose other ways. Right they are sabotaging the whole country.

  2. And Chuo can’t even prove that the pope knows what is actually going on in Venezuela.

    Have you guys heard what the pope said about Fidel’s death?

    “On receiving the *sad news* of the death of your *dear* brother, His *Excellency Mister* Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, former president of the State Council and of the Government of the Republic of Cuba, I express my sentiments of *sorrow* to Your *Excellency* and other family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as to the people of this beloved nation.”

    I mean, the man in 2016 clearly doesn’t know that Fidel and Raul executed people with their own hands.

    Hell, there are pictures about that, those are Raul and Fidel getting ready to kill a person:

    http://babalublog.com/wpr/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/RaulGettingReady.jpg

    And the pope is *sad*, expressing his *sorrow* about the death of the *dear* tyrant.

    I defy Chuo Torrealba to prove that the pope actually knows the atrocities perpetrated by Chavismo. You can’t, Chuo! You have nothing up your sleeve. I heard your radio show, you seem to be a good, simple man, full of charisma, but you are clearly not prepared to an endeavour like bringing down a communist dictatorship.

    Go home, Chuo. Wanting or not, you are going against the Venezuelan people’s best interests now, and as such you have become a traitor. Yes, even good, well-intentioned people can become traitors. And you are one now, it hurts me to say it.

      • Toro Volt, this is just an allegation as puerile as Chuo’s one, if not more.

        We still have nothing.

        The Vatican using their official media to praise Fidel Castro at the same time that they remain nonchalant about the disaster in Venezuela: that’s what we have in the 5th of December, 2016.

        Sorry. I wish we had better news too. But it is what it is. When that changes it will be reason to celebrate.

        • Their position on Castro is just so that, diplomatically, the church is able to re-enter Cuba. It has nothing to do with Venezuela

          • So you can’t extrapolate the Vatican’s actions toward Cuba, what is a much worse and long-lived dictatorship, to Venezuela?

            To make it simpler: If they treat Fidel and Raul (picture above shortly before killing a person) with such unnecessary, and even humiliating reverence, how do you think they will behave toward Maduro?

      • That is not the position of the Pope but of the CEV. The Episcopal conferences do not vow obedience to the Pope in political matters. This Pope, because of his present circumstances in the universal Church cannot support Maduro in the way he wants.
        This Pope made a personal pilgrimage to Fidel Castro’s home to pay his homage to Castro; he did not have to do it, Castro was a simple citizen at the time.
        This pope is a Marxist charlatan of whom his catholicity is being questioned by several cardinals.

        • Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes! So it would follow that the head of the body of Christ in the earth would visit and murderous atheist. Maybe he tried to convert him :-). BTW, he went to Cuba to talk to the Patriarch of Moscow.

          As for the rebelling Cardinals, there are 6 prominent ones that have written a letter requesting clarification on the teaching for readmitting divorced and remarried Catholics into communion as described by Amoris Laetitia.

          Juan, you’ve got to layoff the conspiracy theories.

          • Jesus Christ rebuked the sin of the prostitutes although he forgave them with the admonition: sin no more! Where is this Pope’s admonition to Castro? To the contrary, this Pope sang Castro’s praise.
            This Pope has refused to answer to the DUBIA submitted by the cardinals you referred to. He even avoided speaking at the Consistory where Porras was made a cardinal so that he would not have to answer.

  3. Trolls work hard to convince us that the oppo leadership are in cahoots with the govt because they are both equally corrupt or that they do not deserve our trust because they are of the same ilk as the regime leaders …….they try again and again to instigate our conspironoia, using it against the MUD because the MUD represents the most effective means of fighting the regimes authoritarian ambitions ……..thus they mean to demoralize and discredit the oppos rank and file in order to strenghten the regimes pursuit of hegemony ……..dont think there is anyone in this blog (who isnt a troll) that the MUD and those that represent it who are in doubt as to their good faith opposition to the regime …they may err , take gambles that dont work quite as hoped , painfully go off message but they represent US , and even with their mistakes ( which is to be expected when facing a situation as harsh and difficult as that which the country faces before a tyranny that is absolutely unscrupulous and ruthless ) they are our best hope to get out of this mess ……!!

    The process will dictate the strategies to be followed as it progresses , from what is happening now , it seems as if we will be open to much more aggresive actions than before an effort was made at a dialogue which few expected would yield the desired result …..but wanted to try anyway ( polls showed that a huge mayority of Venezuelans did want a dialogue )

    I do think that having tried the dialogue and had it blow up in the faces of the Vatican and the rest of the world because of the flagrant gangster conduct of the regime , will make the world realize what most of us already knew but the govts of the world ( and many of our own people ) still wanted to believe , that a negotiated settlement might avoid a more violent process for the restoration of Venezuelas freedom and prosperity ….next time they meet in world forums , the fantasy of a dialogue will be quickly dispelled , some as authorative as the Vatican will set them straight on this point ….!!

    • That’s my stance on the subject, even if they are not in cahoots, having all of your strategies being sistematically taken down by your opponnents and spinning something that meaningless as a victory would certainly be grounds for getting fired in any other entrerprise, keeping the same faces after they lost all those battles is not helping anyone, having Capriles around is certainly not helping anyone even (specially) if your agenda is the traditional patriarchal messiah approach to politics.

      For the first time we have the PSUV reacting to us and we keep having the same strategy as before, wich sadly is reacting to whatever they do, and we are trapped in this re-reacting cycle because that’s what we do, my explanation is that it’s all designed to be like this, and my point is that even if I’m wrong in their motives, the results will be the same.

      I don’t know the answer or the right thing to do, but i’ve seen more new faces in a table in “the last supper” than in any MUD press conference and while that works for the PSUV because they are in charge, it’s certainly not working for us.

      This MUD has nothing else to offer, not a constituyente, the referendum we can all agree that is not going to happen, the trial has always been a charade, calle aparently is off the table as well… If i’d have a choice between waiting to see the next strategy (wich they won’t follow trough) and supporting a new batch of people, i’d choose the latter, it might take a long time, but mazes with no exits usually take longer.

  4. It is the rationalization of a mistake. About the only good thing that came out. Now the Pope could be 100% on our side, he might not be able to persuade the Marxist Narcos, but the Pope can help galvanize international support against them.

    Now, I don’t see how a March to Miraflores with constitution in hand, if you even get there, would topple the Dictatorship.

    The most realistic and faster solution to the crisis is to escalate this to an armed conflict.
    But you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.
    What we could do though, is the same as Kuwait did back in 1990 to fight back the Saddam Hussein invasion by hiring the US to do the professional job, they can send us later the bill. I think this is a fair deal we can make with Trump.
    I can easily imagine that just the threat of such a thing could take care of the situation without firing a single bullet.

    • Yours is the first astute assessment in this sea of stupidity Venezuelans are living in. Descubrieron el agua tibia, como dicen. The only thing that the corrupt mafia ruling Venezuela understands is violence. That is the coin of the realm unfortunately and until that violence isn’t brought to their door steps they will not yield power. Read some Clausewitz. You have no other choice if the intent is to remove these hoodlums from power.

  5. MUD was, and still is, under intense pressure from OEA, UNASUR, ONU and many others to dialogue with the government. Had MUD gone to Miraflores without dialogue the bloodshed would have been excused by all of them and Chavismo would have been in power in Venezuela for a century.
    Now the Pope is a pro Marxist Pope that wanted and still wants to make the Chavez experiment a success, see how close he is to Correa? MUD made a mistake when they invited the Pope to mediate and it has the CEV who has opposed the Pope’s meddling. Don’t you read between the lines of the CEC’s declarations? It might be though that MUD gambled on that this support from the CEV was going to be enough to deter this Pope who is having serious doctrinal issues with the universal church. So far this gamble has paid off.
    But don’t you be surprised if Maduro gives in a little thing, let us say free Ledezma, and the pressure is all again on the MUD to capitulate.
    MUD is playing chess with Maduro and the Pope; so far it is a draw.

  6. There’s a line from the recovery movement about some people who are constitutionally incapable of change. The Chavista’s seem to fit that bill. The entire outfit is built on a military model that the party gives orders and the soldiers obey. Even having a contrary opinion is fielded as insubordination. Questioning direct orders from outsiders is meddling. If they can’t have it entirely their way, they simply change the rules so any challenge to absolute control is null and void. And when they got booted out of the trade union they refused to accept it because it wasn’t what they wanted.

    My take on this is that going forward, any efforts to geared to evoke change from the inside, legally or through “suasion” are a waste of time, and impossible to enforce anyhow. Forcing the government to accept terms that are not their own has always caused a meltdown to these clowns. Look at Dollar Today, and how Maduro et al basically lose their minds at the mere idea that they cannot dictate the exchange rate, and that is determined by outside forces. Engineering forced change on the Chavistas might be a workable strategy going forward, because they are incapable of change. But the sad fact is that MUD might be much the same, and so the two are locked into a kind of intractable mutual paralysis.

    But one thing is for certain: When you run out of money – as Venezuela has – change is coming, like it or not. So far, neither side has show the flexibility to navigate change, or adopting measures that result in anything but more of the same. It’s painful to watch, and to hear the resigned talk of family members still stuck down there, themselves unable to effect changes in their life. At this point, the paralysis seems endemic.

    • We know all of this, the problem is you could apply the first paragraph of your comment to the mud andit would still aply, they don’t take criticism kindly and can’t connect with it’s supporters, they are in some fictional moral high-ground when criticized and just rationalize anything so they look good

  7. The Pope, as Stalin duly noted, doesn’t have “any divisions,” yet still has power. In this case, however, the Vatican used the pulpit in St. Peters to wade into a political fight in the worst possible way. They ignored the choice of making the obvious, but simple demand to the Chavistas for free and open elections in 2016 based on the Venezuelan constitution. Instead they chose to make a hash of it all and demand a so-called “dialogue.” Inexplicable, stunning. It was a choice which was met with incredulity among honest democrats, but was cheered by Marxists throughout South America. There is no “good and evil,” just another step in the dialectic. The crowds seen mourning Castro’s death is absolute proof that people can be persuaded to accept barbarism, on a massive scale, in the name of an illusory “greater cause.” The Dialogue came right out of the Left’s playbook. The Pope has made a very bad situation worse, and his Marxist-inspired “Dialogue” will cause new untold suffering and misery in Venezuela for the foreseeable future. Amazing.

  8. Look guys, the Pope is no Marxist nor Marxist sympathizer! Moreover, the Conferencia Episcopal Venezolana, CEV, ultimately reports to him. They, in turn, have been telegraphing all of last week their displeasure with the government and the talks.

    EVERYONE knows that Chavismo has devolved to Marxist-Narcos. The Pope knows this much.

    Never forget that the Pope has the the best intelligence system of the world bar none. If he wants to know what is going on in bum-fuck Venezuela, there is a nice nun or a parish priest that will provide the report within hours.

    It was foretold that dialog would fail, however the Pope tried to save the lives that Chavismo is demanding as ransom for Venezuela. Failure of the dialog is another embarrassment to Chavismo. Of course this will not bring Chavismo down, but it is yet another straw on the camel’s back.

    As for the MUD, they have no divisions under them either, which in Chavismo’s Stalinist state of mind means they hold no sway.

    Finally, quien paga los muertos? Middle class people do better trying their luck as an illegal alien in Miami than facing down live-round-shooting-collectivos. Even Nicholas Casey at the NYT reported that poorer Venezuelans are choosing to become boat people or go to Roraima state in Brasil than catch a bullet.

    MUD, is exactly that, a bunch of well intentioned middle class Venezuelans.

    Then it comes to the military, professional muerto-makers. Do they want to become an occupying for in their own country?

  9. We are not in a situation where there are clear and clean right tactical choices, everything you do is a gamble where things can easily go wrong and may, with a bit of luck, allow you some gain or advantage , this is per force of circumstance a messy struggle so lets not be too demanding of expecting a desirable result each time , thats not going to happen , we are dealing with a gangster regime absolutely ruthless in holding all to power whatever the consequences to the country…..so playing the outraged pure warriors of a sanct cause incensed at our leaders lack of absolute success is puerile and unrealistic……(even though it might flatter our morally glamorous self identity) ……dont ever expect anyone in this game to be absolutely candid about how they explain their moves ……, thats not the way this kind of political game is played….you sometimes have to be fuzzy and ambiguous…….or even self contradicting ……!! Try reading any biography of Presidents Roosevelt, Einsehower, LBJ …….how they got things done …go further in time and read how the US was born as an united country after the convention of Philadelphia , John Adams , Hamilton , Madison were not dewy eyed babes in the way they presented their ideas and proposals for the constitutional ensamblage of a new Nation…., they were cunning dissembling and sometimes deceitful to get the job done!!

    This also goes for the way the Pope is acting , he needs to gain the trust of the regime somehow , he must speak sweet phrases, and drop a tear or two at the right time ……., play to their conceits and prejudices ……while holding on to an agenda which is slowly and carefully advanced ….. The person who really knows Venezuela inside out and knows what might work in this difficult task of getting the regime to loosen its tight tyranical grip on the country is Parolini , who lived among us for many years as Nuncio Apostolico and who is a very clever and clear sighted man ……!! Getting Maduro to ask the Pope to intervene as a mediator was a brilliant move ..because it allowed the crisis to be seen as something which might be resolved via a Dialogue he cannot control , and which even if he tries to sabotage will cost him the whole worlds credibility and animosity…….!!

      • Yes, in Poland the church provided moral support to an independent trade union movement that had the popular support and leverage to bring down a totalitarian regime. There is nothing like moral authority allied with massive economic leverage when you want to get something big and difficult done. The current debacle in that regard is an unfortunate example of Marx’s dictum that history replays itself as farce, or in this case, the Vatican’s role in freedom struggles replays itself as farce.

    • I understand your point. The issue I see with all of this is TIME. As these strategies and counter-strategies are playing out between the government, MUD and interested third parties the Venezuelan people are starving and dying. How long can these games go on before this tragedy ends?

  10. I believe the Dialogue had to be tried from an international public relations standpoint, even if failure was the likely outcome. The MUD are not collaborators, but truly want a successful democratic outcome for the Country, which, so long as the Military remain loyal to the Regime, is in doubt. Auguring for a successful democratic outcome is an intolerable economic/personal security situation; auguring against a successful democratic outcome is a Petro-State Peon Pueblo mentality conducive to total submission to a Cuban Communist socio-economic model….

  11. First MUD has to fall in order to achieve anything. We need the head of Borges, Ocariz, Ramos Allup, and all UNT. If you can’ t see that they are not only not helping but that they are actually ruining us, you are blind. LL has to take charge, as the only symbol we have left we can use . We can’t go to Miraflores, yet, but there are many things we can do, if only we were free of the stupidity and limitations of some. Just do the opposite of all that you have doing the last three years, and you wil be fine. And if you are just a coward imbecil piece of shit, that have been proven wrong everytime you have open your mouth and everytime you have made an important decision, just…go away, kill yourself, whatever, but don’ t act as you are nothing but a fucking loser, don’t make people feel bad by calling things what they are. Just a modest proposal.

      • So anyone who complains about the MUD is sold… It is sad to see how you adopted a chavista frame of mind. In any case, as long as there is MUD there is no chance to get rid of the government and there is no hope; maybe if the bags of food you will have to buy in the future not to starve have the words PJ written on them you would feel better, less humiliated! The truth is that by supporting a bunch of cowards and imbeciles that don’ t give a damm about you, you are signing your own death sentence or a least a very long, hard humiliation. I will not even argue anymore with the likes of you, because I feel pity for anyone who actually support the MUD at this point. I feel pity because your death sentence is already passed and you don’ t even adknowledge it. Now, what I will not stand, is that you call me chavista. I have never been, I am the kind of person that will tell you without any hesitation that Chavez had to be killed in 2002, that riots wouldn’ t have lasted more than three days. If anyone but the government paid me for saying something as obvious and true as what I am saying, that Borges and Ramos Allup, and Ocariz, are just as terrible as Diosdado or Carreño, I would actually accept the money. You probably live outside Venezuela, anyway. But for those who still live in Venezuela, I say: stop being fucking zombies, you were screwed just after the last regional elections were lost. Everything that has happened is a consecuence of some choices some very stupid motherfuckers made then. Don’ t be dumb, have dignity, and don’ t buy their shit anymore, because they will sell you a thousand times if they have to. If you have to starve, at least do it with dignity.

        • “If anyone but the government paid me for saying something as obvious and true as what I am saying, that Borges and Ramos Allup, and Ocariz, are just as terrible as Diosdado or Carreño, I would actually accept the money.”

          Just as bad? Okay buddy.

  12. It is just sad. If the Vatican needed this kind of educating, the MUD should have seen this dead end at the outset, they should have avoided the talks in the first place, and just gone to Rome and educated someone.

    This was the proverbial hail mary pass from the MUD. The truly depressing thing is that it seems to indicate that they saw no viable alternative between useless talks that did nothing except to sap their own legitimacy as the de facto opposition, and a bloody confrontation. And it made them look, above all, naïve.

    As for the Vatican, I don’t see where this inclination to mediate between the forces of evil and the forces seeking to oppose the evil comes from. Isn’t the job of the church as a moral authority to speak out against evil, unequivocally? It speaks out about what it perceives as social evils. Why not something truly dangerous and unequivocally harmful like this regime?

    The Vatican has no problem getting into the minutae of legislative initiatives in various liberal democracies at various times, which they are completely entitled to do, but when it comes to taking a position on the abuses of a totalitarian regime, they seem to be awash in completely unjustifiable seas of neutrality. Unfortunately, the answer why appears to be that they are concerned about offending their constituents. Well, they’ve tried their hand at diplomacy and they look like amateurs, or worse, appeasers. Maybe it is time they preached about the sins of the Maduro regime to their constituents, and risked the “offense” of speaking clearly about the truth.

    Venezuela could be this Pope’s trial run on whether, over the next few years, he and his church are prepared to take a stand on human rights, or instead, play this ridiculous part (for a self-proclaimed moral authority) of “mediating” between good and evil.

  13. I totally sold to Bill Bass pov. Lets not forget, that its very hard to get rid of the Chavernment.
    In good eurocentric tradition, I kind of compare the situation with Europe 1989. In many respects the job of the venezuelan opposition appears more difficult than that of polish, german, czech pro representative democracy opposition. Never underestimate what a heck of an external shock it meant for Honecker and friends, when the URSS publicly declared that they refused to send tanks, no matter what would happen in middle eastern europe. And never overestimate the profesionality, the realism and the genius of the opposition in GDR of the time. They had a lot of covered Stasi spys in their ranks, quite some infights, etc.. For those who understand german, I recommend awsome TV serie “Weissensee” about the time. Especially the common people were offered a somewhat realistic hope for economic support for the time after the crash of communism: Federal Republic/EU will and can help. This hope was in many points exagerated, which created loads of frustration, which somehow dimnished but lasts until today, nearly 30 years after the events. The real genius of the time was maybe Lech Walesa… and he spent a lot of times at negotiation tables during certain periods, when I remenber right.

    I don’t believe that a bravado march to Miraflores would have blown away the Government quickly.
    And why can’t the population be remobilized. I am very far away, but it doesn’t look like that:
    The only people, who believe that regime change isn’t messy are the likes who believe in the Economic Hitman and Rambo III style anti-communists.

  14. If we look at both sides – MUD and the Chavistas – in terms of results, results that effect a change to better circumstances, it is clear that both have failed miserably. It hardly matters why at this point. Neither side has demonstrated any competence to alter the nation’s near total collapse. At this point, expecting different results from the same non-actions is itself insane. Ergo suggestions to an impotent MUD, or bickering about strategies or bad moves accomplishes what it always has: Nothing.

    Time to move on and look for alternatives. And it’s unlikely that a bail out is going to come from the outside anytime soon. The first order of business is to break out of paralysis. Of merely talking, analyzing, criticizing. Start taking action.

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