After falling to absolute chaos, Ciudad Bolívar has been at the forefront of the Venezuelan crisis for days, and Caracas Chronicles has reflected that. Widespread looting and riots transformed this city of 380,000 into a hostile, desolate environment unrecognizable to its own citizens. Many joined in the mayhem, while many more are holed up at home, unwilling or unable to go outside for fear.

How is the government allowing this? Do they want it to happen? What’s really going on? And the kicker: how is it possible that while Ciudad Bolívar is falling apart, nothing much is happening here in Caracas?

What does this mean for the country as a whole? How is the government allowing this? Do they want it to happen? What’s really going on? And the kicker: how is it possible that while Ciudad Bolívar is falling apart, nothing much is happening here in Caracas?

The latter made me really wonder about our media environment. Sure, we get to find out everything via social media and WhatsApp. But to some extent that’s a function of our privilege. How many people in Caucagüita right now really understand what went on in Guayana?

It’s easy to forget that, with the traditional mainstream media either shut down or bought out by the government, many people just never find out about these things. How many? I can’t know for sure. But the state propaganda machine is doing its utmost to keep them in the dark.

Now, back in the world of those of us who do have access to social media. What has been the response -or lack thereof- of our political leaders to the Ciudad Bolívar tragedy? In summary, some are silent, and some are focused solely on assigning blame. Let’s take a look.

First, the gold star winner for solid reporting of this weekend is the Correo del Caroní, which has held back neither information nor criticism and even made Diosdado sweat in his press conference:

Now, the ever-presidentiable Capriles. He’s focused heavily on retweeting news sites to spread information about what’s going on. He’s also made it clear that blaming Maduro is his priority, throwing some insults in there for good measure.

We then see our National Assembly’s Speaker who, like Capriles, focused on informing and insulting. Maduro’s undoubtedly to blame.

Leopoldo López, amazingly, is silent on this matter.

Chúo Torrealba is far from, but he’s only retweeted other sources, not putting in his own two cents. Chiefly retweeted by the aforementioned is Luis Almagro. But Torrealba did take to Periscope, posting a long video full of condemning words and concerning numbers.


Among MUD’s members, though, the most affected and most active have been La Causa R, having Andrés Velázquez under pursuit. Américo de Grazia, probably Bolívar State’s most active and relevant AN lawmaker, has filled his timeline with detailed reports and stark criticism.

Before I go on to the grand communicative finale, I must pan through the PSUV’s Twitter feeds in reaction to this apalling crisis. Are you ready? Here we go:


As for the State media, we see pearls such as:

The amazing virtual silence by characters like Nicolás Maduro and Diosdado Cabello tells me that they’re level of Goebbelsian denial has gone beyond looking for a mafia or empire to blame and just completely ignoring the whole thing. Well, that’s not entirely true. Diosdado did speak to the press, sonefacedly saying that Ciudad Bolívar is in absolute calm and that there hasn’t been a single protest in the country. The State’s governor has likewise taken to brushing over the conflict and declaring peace. Because that’s how it works.

And since we’re on protests, here’s my absolute favourite Twitter response to the Ciudad Bolívar Apocalypse.

Oh, María Corina. Sweet María Corina. How you love to insult the government and call for protests shorn of any consensus or logistics. How your defenders will argue forever that you’re the only one with guts, and how you seem to be destined to eternal irrelevance beyond your tantrums being noisy.

So to sum up, the government is in stark denial and the opposition is focused solely on slaming the President.

I’ll concede that channeling what’s happenning into peaceful protesting is probably a good course of action. But, as we’ve discussed thoroughly before, protests aren’t just spontaneous miracles. They take planning, logistics, consensus. Things, sweet MariCori, that you seem to ontologically lack.

So to sum up, the government is in stark denial and the opposition is focused solely on slaming the President. Even the AN called for a session to “determine responsibilities”. I want to break this down for a bit into philosophy and logistics. Logistically, it is true that only the government has the power to do anything about this crisis. Even if the AN would unanimously come up with a plan to alleviate Ciudad Bolívar, they have no means to execute it, and they’re not the executive branch. So yes, the only way to resolve the crisis is by eliminating this government. And blaming them for what’s wrong is one tactic towards that.

But the philosophy must not be forgotten. What is and what should be cannot be completely dissociated, least of all by those who expect to set an example of change.

Do I want to be rid of Maduro? Desperately. But if I criticize PSUV for being a corrupt bunch whose public communications consist on lying in their own favour, blaming everyone else for what’s wrong, and insulting their enemies, then how can I accept the same from my own leaders? I won’t be satisfied substituting one evil for another, even if it’s a far lesser one.

It may be idealistic, but it’s also quite pragmatic. We’ll have to learn to think long term eventually. I don’t only want this Ciudad Bolívar crisis to be over, I want it to never happen anywhere again. And that’s a much harder thing, but much more worthwhile.

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  1. So you don’t want the opposition putting blame on Maduro? Aren’t he and his cronies the ones who caused this disaster?

    They should be organizing mass protests and opening up humanitarian channels, things which apparently not one of the bunch has the balls to do. But to suggest they are wrong for criticizing the guys in control is absurd.

  2. When the MUD has the initiative to do something about a problem, they’re called traitors for working with Chavistas (the only ones with the power to do things). When they stand up against Chavismo, they’re unhelpful critics (because again, only Chavistas have the power to do things). Which is it?

    I fundamentally agree with you that we need to think long-term. Eventually, the MUD will need to be one party, otherwise we’ll keep on having different party lines and ego-centric politics. Only that could bring speedy, centralized decision making to our messaging. Right now all we have is a lack of vision and consensus.

    Also, nothing was lamer than the “protest” to oust Maduro today:

    Like seriously, invest in a pancarta

  3. Carlos, I could not disagree more with you. We are dealing here with a bunch of criminals that act in complete disregard of any moral, legal or ethical standards. The opposition can not afford the luxury to play nice and be civil anymore, especially when you are at a disadvantage.
    I think the long and painful time that we have to go through to unmask before the world the true criminal nature of this Narco Kleptocracy is over.
    The real fight is just starting and we would still maintain the moral high ground even if we have to resort to unethical tactics.

  4. “I’ll concede that channeling what’s happenning into peaceful protesting is probably a good course of action. But, as we’ve discussed thoroughly before, protests aren’t just spontaneous miracles. They take planning, logistics, consensus. Things, sweet MariCori, that you seem to ontologically lack.”

    But that is not only her fault. She’s trying to find water in the desert. The people she speaks to is either in exile, in jail or dead, what’s left in the country is either looting stores or afraid at home (I’m just stating facts).

    She went to the snake pit to give the example: “See? I’m here, come along, don’t be afraid. It’s possible.”

    And what she did was ‘lame’ for someone above, and that explains the current state of affairs.

    To be brave is lame.

    When the old values are lost we start understanding what is happening in CB.

  5. The worrisome bit is how organized crime has developed to a point were its capable of becoming an important agent in shaping and affecting the daily lives of most everyone , in bringing on events that catastrophically disrupt the social order in cities and neighborhoods both large and small .

    In a way they are gradually taking over from a failed dysfunctional corrupt government thats no longer interested in anything but holding on to power using the most fraudulent and coercive of methods ……The regime is really just another criminal gang with some external trappings of legitimacy , perhaps with bigger resources than the average criminal gang but the same raw ruthless disregard for the law and for the humanity of its victims !!

    The thing is that once crime becomes part of the Culture of a society , of a lawless society , more than a career choice crime becomes an established way of life for thousands of its members , its become very very difficult to uproot, Even if they are offered regular ordinary jobs the tendency will be to reject them for the emotionally and financially more rewarding and exciting life of the criminal !!

    The call to think ahead to the tackling of the crime problem is correct , just getting rid of a dysfunctional corrupt system of governance is key but clearly not enough , lots more will be involved in erradicating the more virulent form of criminal activity that now has taking root in our society , of course giving people better chances at life will help , but the problem now requires a deeper more demanding effort !!

  6. Two reactions:

    Mensajepor Perra Atomica » 20 Dic 2016, 19:39

    PROM escribió:
    Se lo han ganado esos malditos chinos de [email protected]!!!! Vienen aqui, se hacen ricos vendiendonos comida de porqueria y baratijas de mala calidad, quieren tratar mal a los clientes (sobre todo a las mujeres y ancianos porque no se meten con un carajo que les pueda partir el hocico) ademas de no pagar impuestos, y de no contribuir con nada a la sociedad… Fuera esas ratas sucias…

    Ellos venden y la gente compra. El venezolano siempre se quiere hacer el vivo con el chino porque creen que no entienden o no hablan el idioma. La verdadera reflexión es ¿Por qué los chinos, árabes, portugueses, italianos, españoles, gringos, colombianos, etc son grupos de poder en Venezuela?

    La respuesta es simple: Porque antes éramos ricos y no importaba. Todos esos extranjeros eran nuestras perras, que se habían venido a arrastrar hasta nuestro país y les dimos cobijo. Resulta que ahora que somos pobres “somos las perras”. Entonces estamos destinados a ser colonizados hasta por los peruanos.

  7. Another couple of reactions. Same message.

    My point here is: why would the “citizens” of Bolivar state rise against Maduro et. al. if it is far easier to loot the neighbour. Like the fishing-village turned pirate that carries out murderous raids against the neighboring fishing-village

    Registrado: 18 Sep 2016, 15:46
    Mensajepor Adair Aideen » 20 Dic 2016, 20:13

    Manolipe escribió:
    Lamentables sutuaciones las que se vienen presentando. Pero en otro orden de ideas, un sustico de éste tipo para los señores orientales no está nada mal. Cuando se entra a un comercio de chinos, bien sea automercado, quincallería o de cualquier otro tipo, lo tratan a uno como tratarían a un hampón común y corriente. La desconfianza y lo grosero que demuestran en sus gestos y en su semblante lo hace sentir a uno muy mal. Si les preguntan algo no contestan, sobre todo las cajeras, y si te diriges al dueño, te mira como gallina mirando sal. A ver si agarran mínimo, señores chinos. Pescuezo no retoña.

    Es triste que les pasen estas cosas, pero a decir verdad, usted está en lo cierto, no se equivoca ni en una letra.

    • El fulano manolipe ese es, con el perdón de la audiencia, un racista de mierda.

      Demuestra con su mensaje el mismo traumita estúpido de mucho chavista, que se cree con derecho de venir a meterle candela al negocio y casa de alguien porque es el “castigo justo porque me miró mal”

  8. El gobierno chino en plan oficial ha estado tratando de dar clases de buenos modales a sus ciudadanos para que cuando viajen al exterior no pasen pena, la gente puede ser muy tosca y directa , tuve ocasion de pasar unas semanas entre ellos , la comunicacion es dificil por que la mayoria no parecen entender ni ingles ni espanol y mantienen el rostro totalmente inexpresivo cuando uno habla con ellos de modo que uno se ve forzado a preguntarle si han entendido …..!!

    Tuve mejor suerte que otros occidentales que me acompanaban en ganar la suficiente confianza de su parte para que me pidieran acompanarlos a sus comidas cotidianas las cuales son muy distintas a las que aqui pasan por Chinas ….se sirven un inmenso plato de arroz y luego van poniendole como pequenas cantidades de aderezos que se rotan entre si …….., me dijeron que tomara su te (no el que se conoce en occidente) que vierten muy parsimoniosamente en inmensos jarrones de agua hirviente y que basicamente no tiene sabor……(ellos me decian que esta era el autentico te y que no probara de los otros) . Son humanos como los demas, apegados a sus familias, muy laboriosos y concentrados. Un amigo que trabajo con ellos por anos me decia que eran muy recelosos y desconfiados pero que una vez te cogian confianza no habian amigos mas fieles …!!

    En Espana desde hace anos han tomado el lugar de quincalleros y bodegueros que aca tuvieron los portugueses hace 40 anos , son muy solidarios entre si y eso les da ventaja a la hora de establecerse en un sitio nuevo….!! Como hombres de negocio son feroces y agresivos pero mucho mas cumplidos que otros pueblos ( los rusos por ejemplo) …..realmente hay un esfuerzo por complacer al cliente y servirlo lo mejor que se puede ……

    No les es facil trabajar con Venezolanos por lo general , para ellos no somos fiables ni trabajadores y mas bien alzados y entrometidos, prefieren por eso que los dejen trabajar con su propia gente con poco contacto con los nativos del pais….!! Algunos se creen inmensamente atractivos a las mujeres Venezolanas y juran que estas los persiguen y acosan con fines pasionales. ( esto segun el amigo que les conte) .

    Creo que en el mundo de hoy ningun pueblo puede ignorar su presencia y actividad , aunque las barreras culturales y de idioma los hagan a veces inaccesibles al trato que acostumbramos entre nosotros o con otros pueblos mas parecidos al nuestro!!


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