Yesterday was the first day of the fifth year of Maduro’s term of office.

Yesterday, the rules changed.

They changed constitutionally: from now until January 2019, the presidency will stay in PSUV’s hands, barring the kind of catastrophic regime collapse that looks further and further each day.

And they changed politically, as Tareck El Aissami rushes to stamp his authority on SEBIN — the secret police force that, we turn to forget, is under the control of the executive vice-presidency in the government’s org-chart — by ordering the detention of Gilber Caro, a sitting member of the National Assembly, after planting explosives on him.

The decision thumbs his nose at the concept of parliamentary immunity, declaring open season on the 336 opposition figures (Assembly members and their alternates) who thought they could count on some respite from recession.

Together with the move to give Henrique Capriles his own speeding-ticket-at-the-Indy-500 for Odebrecht-related corruption, and the Supreme Tribunal’s obscene over-reach in telling the National Assembly who it can and can’t elect as speaker, and Maduro’s decision to give his Memoria-y-Cuenta (a.k.a., State of the #TropicalMierda) speech at the Supreme Tribunal instead of the Assembly, this week is becoming an inflection point in the Venezuelan crisis.

The country is shedding the last vestigial remains of its institutional structures and devolving more and more openly into a straight-up police state.

At this rate, Julio Borges’s panicked insistence that the government has decided never again to hold free elections looks as on-point as his plan to counteract it looks beside-the-point.

 

46 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not one to usually say that we need to take uncoordinated, desperate measures. But if this month hasn’t shown the opposition we aren’t going to get rid of the chavista regime by doing the same things we’ve been trying to do – nothing will.

  2. It is clear for everybody now that the only way out of this is civil disobedience.

    That is the reason for the declaration of “abandono del cargo”.

    There are other declarations that surely will come.

    Either you fight for Venezuela or lose it for at least 50 years.

    And the support of the international community is vital. Will it come? Will the Pope step back from supporting Maduro? Almagro said that the Pope is holding everything internationally. The CEV, thanks God, so it appears, already smelled the fish.

    • The Pope went to Cuba to embrace Fidel and Raul under the Che Guevara huge billboard. He hasn’t shown up in Vzla.. Almagro? What have they achieved for any country. Counting on the ‘international community’ is like counting on fair presidential elections in 2019: a childish illusion.

  3. “Yesterday was the first day of the fifth year of Maduro’s term of office.”

    You’re wrong.

    It began on APRIL of 2013, because shiabbe was allegedly alive in the military hospital until he allegedly kicked the bucket in march 7 of that year.

    chavismo is able to do lots of stuff, but it can’t travel back in time to have madroga be president at the same time that they themselves were claiming that shiabbe was alive AND in charge too.

    The opposition “leadership”‘s incompetence is fully shown when they quielty accept 90% of the chavismo’s bullshit without batting an eye, just for the sake of the “arrepentidos”.

    And here we are, where that specific bit of fact, the VITAL difference between january 10 and april 14, and more important, march 7 and december 29 (The date where it’s most likely that shiabbe got killed by his untreated cancer) and that BOTH could be used against the regime, yet the MUD insists on remain silent about it, or worse, berate people who dare to bring up the issue like Chúo “el innmamable” Torrealba is used to do when he bursts in fits of anger with journalists that ask him uncomfortable questions about MUD’s work.

    • It kills me to say it, but I’m about there. This has gone on long enough. There at this point, appears to be no peaceful way out of this. There’s no way to pressure better behavior; this is a committed regime against an opposition that has no real leverage. The Venezuelan people would do well to liberate at least one town and install their own leadership, with guns pointed outward. Then see how committed this regime really is to reasserting control.

      It’s a forgotten point, but while Leopoldo Lopez sits in prison for imagined sedition, Gral. Angel Vivas preached actual sedition, and sits a free man because he dramatically waved an AR-15 around from the driveway of his home in El Cafetal and shouted at cameras, basically saying “Come at me, Bro.”

      • Leopoldo Lopez is an accomplice to 43 murders. That’s why he is in jail. Not for sedition.

        Take a town and hold it with guns pointed outward? Are you insane? The state has the weapons of war. In any case not even bocones such as Freddy Guevara have the cojones to do that but he would gladly send idiots to their deaths to do it on his behalf.

  4. The MUD played the democratic game with a dictatorship clothed in a democratic skin. And it won the democratic game by demonstrating that Chavismo is inherently authoritarian. But the bottom line is that they brought a knife to a gun fight. Moreover, the doomsayers (Leopoldo, MCM, et al) were right all along! They can pat themselves on the back together at Ramo Verde or worse…

    Maduro, following the Cuban model is now in the consolidation of the tyranny as his mentor Fidel did in the early 60s. It will need the military to enforce the police state that this political model requires and it will need $$$.

    Fidel could implement a police state accompanied by Marxism, a broken economic model due to the profligacy of the Soviets. Chavistas are banking on a rise of oil revenue for the necessary funding, and this is dubious. One must add their inherent incompetence and corruption. The economic wreck is unavoidable.

    The power broker is the military which as far as we hear has cast its lot with Chavismo. Moreover, they swallow more and more power exposing the incredible decay that Chavismo nourished. In the past few weeks alone one sees how intellectually and morally challenged are the likes of Padrino Lopez and Reverol. They ignore the experience of military governments in Latin-america of the 70s. They were all an absolute disaster, except for Pinochet which brought forward a solid economy over the bones of dissenters in El Estadio Nacional.

    So it has come to this. Las Fuerza Armadas Nacionales Bolivarianas, fuerza de ocupacion de su pueblo.

    Curse you milicos!

      • So R@fa, I assume you are going to man the barricades and march first in line against the collectivos and the guardia nacional?

        Or maybe you will go 60s commie guerrilla, like Petkoff and company? Blow so shit up, totally bad ass, like in a hollywood movie?

        I won’t. Given the above options or being and undocumented waiter in some other country is a better deal than risking a bullet.

        Bourgeois make poor cannon fodder.

        • You have too much imagination. It is much simpler than that. Remember september first? I remember. Well, instead of making people come from all corners of the country for nothing, maybe we could have stayed on the streets until our demands were listened to. Same in november. Actually we could have done that in march or april, too. Instead, even though we don’ t have guns, we sat for “peace”, legitimizing the governments propaganda about us being violent…Those who insulted Leopoldo in 2014, call Maria Corina a madwoman and all guarimberos analfabetos, and sat to “negotiate” actually helped to create the comando-antigolpe with their stupidity and corruption. That’s the hard truth. Some speak of a civil war, I don’ t agree. This is just the dictashorhip versus the people, not the people against the people.

  5. As indicated by the comments, Venezuela does seem to have arrived at some sort of crossroads. The Opposition is now within spitting distance of a declaration of open rebellion, and many of the regional powers are going to be forced to choose sides. It is starting to get even more interesting and events are going to occur more rapidly.

    CC should consider a mobile friendly web page or even a simple app to broadcast news and events as they occur. Hint, hint…

  6. Co#o chamo, como que se transformó? hace rato que lo es. Lamentablemente ya yo creo que el regimen no sale en al menos dos generaciones. Es el PRI de Venezuela ahora y mira a Mexico como esta con sus protestas y saqueos. Venezuela es el poster child de todo lo que le puede salir mal a latinoamerica.

  7. Even if the MUD leaders wanted to call for protests (they don’t), it wouldn’t matter anyway.Nobody will follow them because they are burned. It makes no sense to expect 2 miracles at once”, 1-That the same MUD leaders that have been killing any attemps at civil disobedience since 2014, will now call for civil disobedience. Simply, that is a path that they, by sheer stupidity, made almost impossible for everyone, even themselves. They helped the goverment in that sense and they continue to do it2- That the people, after what happened last year, will follow them. If they wanted to go through that path, they had to make some changes. They did not. They are screwed. To expect that such an idiot like Borges will succeed in convincing the people of anything, is absurd. LL, sadly, is entangled in that same net of mediocrity.and corruption. He is the only wildcard we have ever had, but instead of using it, we decided to spit on it. So… Very bad move. Now, he is almost burned too. MUD is death, we have to transfer its resources elsewhere before it is too late,become a semiclandestine movement for the restoration of democracy. Prepare to be hunted, also prepare to figth back, to do the right lobby abroad, etc,etc. We will see many traitors, we will see the true colors of many people. This all started back in 2013, after the regional elections. It is too sad to even think about it. So my advise is: keep alert, know who the traitors are, know their arguments, don’t be fooled again. Decide if you care about freedom and truth at all, or if youcan deal with living a lie everyday. A lie like thinking that Ocariz, Muchacho, are really alcaldes, Capriles is really gobernador, and Guevara is really a diputado.

  8. It will be interesting to see how big – or small and disorganized – will the 23-de-Enero protests be.

    Also, how much repression and force will the Regime apply to dissipate the crowds, arrests, bullets, violence.. Expect more of that than in previous ‘peaceful marches’..

    Many say Chavistas are dumb and inept.. Well they have learned a lot from Cuba, and they’ve been quite adept at applying the Boiling Frog Experiment principles in Venezuela. Slowly but surely, they’ve been tightening the noose, choking the country little by little, a little jail, a little violence, then more, some unconstitutional moves, then more, bribing everyone, slowly but surely, kicking out everyone else, or jailing them. Pretending to be a democracy, while starving the people a little, then more, then bogus minimum salary raises, a few popular gifts, then less, free this, free that, while things get worse.. Poco a poco, and people, “el pueblo”, getting used to the misery, Frog Style. Even the few companies left, getting used to the mess.

    Then, when the Sebin, Guardia, Police, Military, TSJ, CNE, BCV, PDVSA are all corrupt and bribed, the final blows toward a full-blown dictatorship, a police state.. Of course the will be no elections, instead there will be more violence and repression. All of these crooks risk jail time and loss of their stolen stuff. They won’t just leave for Curacao.. And there are thousands of them, plus Millions of complicit leeches and enchufados.

    The proverbial frog is almost fully cooked by now. They are reaching the final stages in Cubazuela.

  9. The only way Venezuela will unrid itself of this government is through civil war.

    Nobody wants that. But nobody wants the status quo either.

    Talks don’t work because the opposition has no leverage.

    The international community has largely abandoned Venezuela to its fate, other than to use it as a talking point / object lesson for domestic consumption.

    Protests don’t work. The entire nation has been mobilized time and time again, to no strategic end. You cannot shame these people out of office. And you can’t rattle them. They are committed and the wagons are circled.

    So at this point, Venezuela resigns itself to being a prison state, or the people of Venezuela start considering more direct means of resistance. It pains me to state the obvious.

    • Don Queue

      You say that the international community has abandoned has abandoned Venezuela to its fate.
      There are 3 tools that the international community can use.
      Diplomacy, economic sanctions and military force.
      Diplomacy will not work. Venezuela’s foreign relations are strained with many democracies. The small circle of friendly nations that Maduro deals with will not try to make him step down.
      Economic sanctions will hurt the people of Venezuela much more than the regime. The US is actively seizing assets that the regime has stolen from the Venezuelan people and is pursuing the officials that are involved in illegal drug smuggling. The US Attorney’s office in New York has many active investigations and has offered immunity to many lower level officials with knowledge of the Venezuelan regime’s corruption.
      The last option is military intervention. i would enjoy seeing the thugs that Maduro calls a national guard, engage in conflict with American forces. It would be like shooting fish in a barrel. We will shoot down anything that flies, sink anything that floats and kill anyone that resists us. With Mad Dog Madden in charge, he could probably charge people for the opportunity to rid this world of the bastards that are causing the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis.
      I pose this question to you. Why should anyone from another country put their own life at risk to fight for people that refuse to fight for themselves? I do believe that the Venezuelan people will find many governments eager to assist you in your struggle to restore democracy and human rights to your country. This must be the Venezuelan people’s fight. The people of Venezuela must earn the liberty. Democracy handed to someone will never be as cherished as democracy earned. People have a tendency to defend what they have paid for much more diligently than what is given to them. If you are not prepared to pay with your life, don’t expect others to pay for you.

  10. There is a chilling detail in the allegations against Gilber Caro that has not been mentioned yet: SEBIN is accusing him of plotting to murder other opposition legislators and then blame the the gvmt.

    The gvmt’s clear message to the opposition: “just remember that we can kill any of you and then blame it on any of you…”

    • You think that’s new? Dude, chavismo has been murdering people and blaming opposition for it since freaking april 11 of 2002, Iván Simonovis, Lázaro Forero, Henry Vivas and other dozen of metropolitan cops are rotting in jail as a result of that very MO.

      Even when there is diamond solid evidence that the chavista hordes were the ones who did the killing.

      • Yes, of course you’re right, this isn’t new, it’s just…so damn infuriating. Like everything else they do and say. Just one more indicator, as if such were needed, that there is no reasoning with these thugs. It would be like Bilbo Baggins trying to reason Smaug out of his treasure: not happening, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Dragons must be slain, they never submit to binding arbitration

  11. This is exactly the reason why we should have marched to Miraflores on Novemeber 3rd, or why we should have not allowed the MUD to sit on another negotiation fiasco and why we should have gone on active resistance when Maduro was at its lowest.

    The moderates, you included Quico, imposed a vision that government change could happen using legal means while acknowledging that we were dealing with thugs willing and able to manipulate the law in any way or form as convenient. You see how stupid that was?. You see now?.

    Now the MUD, and the people are paying for their lack of vision. Leopoldo Lopez was and is clear on how to deal with these people hence he is the one in jail and not Capriles.

    Unlawful detention is nothing new, even for the ones having that thing called immunity. What is new is how bold and coordinated this is happening. At least they are being detained and not worse but “the night of the long knives” may not be too far away if you poke the beast in the right place.

  12. “Yesterday, the rules changed.” — no, they didn’t. This has always been inherent in every form of Marxism/leftism so stop pretending. Under leftism everything is political, thus law enforcement is political.

    Maduro, etc, would be remiss if he did NOT use law enforcement to suppress dissent.

  13. TIme for someone to say “Si, Hay Golpes Bueno” The stigma related to no Golpes is what the Regime counts on. But to rid itself of a Dictatorship and restore Democracy and Constitutionality, then maybe un Golpe is the only thing that can happen and should..There, I said it…

  14. I do not sense anything big happening in 2017. It will be the same old, same old again and again.

    Caracas Chronicles is my first read everyday but the topic has become depressing.

    Can the opposition bribe a general into taking action?

  15. I keep getting requests and messages for us in the US to do something. Prayers ! they say. Anything but getting their hands on a rifle and marching to Miraflores. ” Es muy peligroso !” They say. This kind of cowardly attitude is what is dooming the country. There are no courageous leaders. Plain and simple. And to a leaderless people oppression will always follow. Buckle up because there are 50 more years of shortages hunger and lawlessness. Ask the Cubans.

  16. “El que se arrodilla para conseguir la paz se queda con la humillación y con la guerra” this is what is probably going to happen to the opo for not seizing the moment in Nov/Dec 2016. They are either going to get wiped out or will need to humiliate themselves to stay out of jail.

  17. Finally there is an Executive Vice President with the will and experience to stamp his authority to combat terrorists such as VP deouty Gilber Caro and the PJ councillor in Zulia. Both were caught with arms and explosives in their vehicles.

    In addition Caro was released from rpison on 15 December 2015 where he was serving time for drug running and homicide as he was elected as suplente in the AN.

    Unfortubately, Francisco, no matter how you spin it, the AN has no legal basis to do anything – not even elect the directivo until it bows to the consitutional authority of the Supreme Court.

    Tough, eh?

    As I have said before – best to work for the upcoming elections but if that is not good enough and your crew operates illegally, then face up to the OLP’s and the Comando Antigolpe that is there to protect democracy, the consitution and the rule of law.

    Supporting terrorists never used to be your style Francisco and is clear evidence of your irrational desperation.

  18. “The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night…” 20th Feb’14

    “Yesterday the rules changed” 13th Jan’16

    Hoorray! It’s rule changing groundhog day again!

    “Journalists cannot grasp that what is interesting is not necessarily important; most cannot even grasp that what is sensational is not necessarily interesting” N.N. Taleb

  19. All comments are interesting but I agree with Eugenio T viewing this from the
    UK as a UK national married to a Venezuelan ((still there believing it will all come right!) and seeing the complete and total disaster that is Venezuela hoy dia. I knew when Chavez came to power that he had an agenda based on the Cuban model but for years his modus operandi was not mentioned. As a foreigner living in Venezuela I could see the beauty but also the corruption in the lives of Venezuela – very typical,of a developing country, even more so one with oil. Chavez was astute but cast from the same mold, so lining his pockets whilst cleverly purporting to be paying lipservice to the poor – token missions, housing, etc., he was carefully rolling out his Five Year Plan, so to speak. The average Venezuelan was so “quedado” and indifferent that the gradual loss of radio stations, expropriation of land, take over if PDVSA (insolito) was met with the usual shrug of the shoulders and life went on.
    If ever this country gets back on its feet, there has to be a complete change of mentality. Less verbal diarrhoea from politicians, a genuine desire to improve the lot of the poor (not with handouts a la Chavez) but through education, proper housing schemes and decent public health care and an awareness that because you have money, this does not mean that once in power you neglect the less well off, but surround yourself with likeminded people only interested in furthering their easy and comfortable lifestyles and with no intention of furthering any real,change. I saw the same mentality through both A.D and Copei parties and felt at times such frustration at the total incompetence and deep seated cirruption both in the public and private sectors that I felt at times that Venezuelans needed a benign dictator who would not tell them WHAT to do, but what NOT to do.

    I watch and read with despair but hope that this younger generation may prove worthy and be able to produce a country that could be considered not of the third world, but of the first but with less of the Mediterranean mentality and more, as Arturo Uslar Pietri said, an Anglosaxon thought process! Communism is a discredited and hideous form of government. It has to be fought with all means.

  20. And it has to be fought.
    Why not have some independent group like a university or perhaps the IESA collect signatures to call a referendum that would pose the following (proposed) question:
    – Do you agree that 21rst century socialism has brought financial ruin, poverty and misery to our country and, if a majority of the people vote for this referendum, presidential elections – in which the current president may run as a candidate – should be held whithin the next 30 days?
    I think this question should at least be considered.
    Remember our constitution stipulates that any referendum is binding.

    • There are no legal processes to be had. By now it should be clear that any attempts to remove this regime will fall flat in the Supreme Court. Time for a rebellion.

  21. It’s understood only increased social pressure and demonstrations will ultmately
    pave the way.
    But I firmly believe one should always offer parallel means of getting out of this mess.

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