The more I think about it, the more I’m in awe at what Venezuelan civil society achieved yesterday. For all the cheap talk painting Venezuelans as passive victims unwilling to take risks to defend democracy, for all the hater-naysaying, for all our learned helplessness and alleged tendency to wait around for somebody else to do the heavy lifting, yesterday 7.6 million of us looked around and said “you know what, this mess doesn’t belong to anybody else. This is our peo. Either we fix it or no one does.”

And so they did. With little fanfare, no oil money, no state-provided security…just elbow grease and civic spirit. And they did it right under the noses of a menacing, heavily armed dictatorship.

That takes guts. Serious guts. And it’s time we celebrated it — in all its historic resonance.

Or that, at least, is what I tried to do in my WaPo piece today.

Scarcely anyone in Venezuela who genuinely considers the “official” Electoral Council anything more than a government sock-puppet. The National Assembly — though rendered almost totally powerless by the pro-government Supreme Court — realized it had to push back. Hence the idea of calling a “popular consultation” vote, convened but not funded by the opposition-dominated parliament. In the spirit of a constitution designed specifically to deepen people’s participation in politics, it was entirely organized and funded by regular people on a worldwide basis.

The referendum they delivered turned into an amazing explosion of citizen energy: Volunteers improvised voting centers, ballot boxes, logistics, site security, everything. Citizens aghast at the country’s authoritarian slide turned out in millions to stand patiently in line to vote — even though they knew the government won’t recognize a vote that wasn’t organized by the Election Council, which it can control.

[…]

The bottom line is that the government isn’t strong enough to impose outright dictatorship on the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans, who vehemently oppose that plan. Close off access to “official” ballots and they’ll vote on their own nonetheless. We’re stubborn people, and we’re not going down without a fight.

I’d expected the flash of pride I’d felt all day yesterday would tend to fade today. It hasn’t. It’s getting stronger.

48 COMMENTS

    • Double the voting locations and remove the restrictions to vote and we might be over that figure with over 90% of the voters marking YES.
      It is unquestionable that if we also promise to give everybody a ticket for clap bag raffle we might be over 19 million.

  1. “The bottom line is that the government isn’t strong enough to impose outright dictatorship on the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans”

    What overwhelming majority? 7.4 million people out of 19.5 millions registered to vote? All right…

    And don’t come to me with that crap about how this was organized in such a short a time, or that there were few places to vote, etc. etc. etc. Everybody in Venezuela knew this event was taking place, and most couldn’t be bothered to move their asses and participate. That’s the truth, and it has nothing to do with any of the excuses that have been given for the low participation (low compared with the total amount of people who could have participated).

    I’m really amazed that you people are unable to see what happened yesterday for what it really was: A total disaster.

    I will give you hint: you know one of the plans some in the opposition had after 16J was to call for a general strike, don’t you? Well, we can’t do that now. It’s clear not enough people would join.

    The opposition has nowhere to go from here. I expect the protests on the streets to cool down, and the ANC to proceed as planned.

    I’m so damn depressed. Two thirds of venezuelans proved to be like blow up dolls. Maduro will fuck them over and over again and they will never complain, say anything, fight back or do a damn thing against it.

      • JRP the shrink is working overtime on the airwaves trying to make people believe that this was “a disaster”.
        Guess what, we have our paro civico on Thursday. New TSJ judges on Friday.
        The fight is on.

        • As I believe you said elsewhere FGB, the opposition needs to control the narrative and do what they can to keep the government reacting instead of acting.

          Don’t know about everyone else, but I’d like to see the new supreme court’s first ruling be a clearly laid out reason why the ANC is illegal and should not go forward.

    • I didn’t know about the plan for a general strike. The vote was inspiring but that’s what has got to happen to bring down the government, aside from a military coup. And it has to involve government employees in key areas, technical and tradespersons and people who move things. This may take a while still. In any event, the vote sends a strong message of unity. Nothing wrong with that.

      • Guess what this vote does… it gives those people (the military, Chavistas on the fence, government employees) a legitimate mandate to bring an end to the dictatorship. The international recognition of the results, the results themselves, and behind the scenes negotiations with assurances that they’ll be protected = people risking going against the current regime.

    • “I will give you hint: you know one of the plans some in the opposition had after 16J was to call for a general strike, don’t you? Well, we can’t do that now. It’s clear not enough people would join.”

      Labor force of Venezuela is composed of 15 million people. 7.4 million voted yesterday.

      http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.TOTL.IN?locations=VE

      Roughly speaking, people who go vote tend to be economically active (kids can’t vote and older folks/disabled tend to stay home).

      Any economy in the world would halt if 1/3 of its labor force decided to stop. A factory can’t function if 1/3 of its workers doesn’t show up. Venezuela has easily 5 million people to go on a strike, actually, more than that are very likely.

      And your assumption that people who didn’t vote wouldn’t join a general strike doesn’t hold water.
      To not cast a vote doesn’t mean that people are against a particular cause.

    • so 19 million voters who never vote? we never get anywhere close to 100% participation at any electoral event, this vote is higher than what maduro supposedly got, this vote is twice as much as the people who participated in chavez constituent, with 2 weeks notice, (last thursday I spoke with a woman and asked her about the voting, she told me she was going to go july 30th and vote “no” not knowing popular consultation was a thing and somehow thinking 30’s event was a consultative referendum)some people just didn’t find out because of lack of internet, when national media is in a leash and what you get around is cadenas everyday it can impede finding out the event even existed. this along 1/7 the polling stations compared to the last election, this plus the last minute oiling up and threats, it’d be dishonest to just dismiss all this

      http://www.noticierodigital.com/2017/07/hector-rodriguez-con-el-carnet-de-la-patria-vamos-a-chequear-quien-ha-votado/
      http://www.ntn24america.com/noticia/asi-amenazo-ricardo-molina-a-los-trabajadores-y-pensionados-que-no-voten-en-la-constituyente-146803
      https://www.el-carabobeno.com/1353035-2/
      http://ecosdeltorbes.net/2017/07/10/vielma-mora-con-la-anc-se-podra-encarcelar-a-una-autoridad-que-participe-en-terrorismo/
      http://www.noticierodigital.com/2017/07/hector-rodriguez-con-el-carnet-de-la-patria-vamos-a-chequear-quien-ha-votado/
      http://www.caraotadigital.net/carrusel/con-cacerolazos-y-consignas-corrieron-los-clap-en-el-barrio-la-lucha-video/

      this without counting the things they say off the airwaves, my aunt has worked as a teacher for 9 years and she’s still with contracts, and as always, she was threatened with being fired if she voted in the popular consultation or didn’t participate in the anc, and I mean, she still voted, but how many million decided to not risk their jobs? or what little benefits they receive?

    • Getasrhink, everybody knows the REP is bloated with dead, cubans, chinese, iranians, farcs, hezbolites and all sorts of multi-ID chavista fraudsters, so that 19 million number must be pretty much a lie, as 99% of what comes from the CÑE and the puerca tibisay.

      Yes, one reason for the lower than 10-million is the threats, you can’t seriously believe the regime wasn’t going to extreme lenghts that day to stop people from voting there, they even ordered the colectivos to go and shoot people in the lines, resulting in two murders in Catia. You can choose to deny the effect of the threats, but the threats were there and they resulted very effective.

      Also, there’re two other factors, one, Venezuela has always had a high abstention %, so it’s not a surprise that it combined with the second factor, that because the popular consult wasn’t binding, they chose not to vote.

      Also, take in account that there were much less voting tables and less time to cast the votes, so the 7,5 million votes was about the possible maximum to reach in that event.

      And last but not least, MUD fell in the same stupid self-exalting idiocy than chavismo has done to claim impossible numbers such as 15 millions, that’s simply to put impossible goals that end dissapointing people.

      In any case, the only viable exit to the dictatorship continues to be the street protests to put pressure on the regime, the people should never allow any negociaton that allows the status quo to continue as it happened in 2014 when the anti-salidistas were ecstasic that everything returned to “normal”.

  2. Get a shrink, I hope you are wrong, but you do have a very important point.

    Filosofo 777 echoes this point: Resultado 16 de Julio GANADOR LA INDIFERENCIA DE UN PUEBLO

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgoznLbXA9o

    Hard to say which way this will go. Obviously both sides have a lot to chew on with the election results of 16J.

    Bottom line, these guys are broke and nobody will loan them money any more. I think most readers of CCS Chronicles are aware of that. These guys are on a sinking ship even if most of the population is pathetic and cant be bothered to stand up against the prostituyente. In every society, mediocrity is always a huge factor that needs to be accounted for.

    Great metaphor of the blowup doll lol

  3. Well, for what it’s worth, the AN will appoint a new Supreme Court this week and have called for a general strike Thursday or Friday.

  4. Getashrink said:

    “Everybody in Venezuela knew this event was taking place, and most couldn’t be bothered to move their asses and participate. That’s the truth, and it has nothing to do with any of the excuses that have been given for the low participation (low compared with the total amount of people who could have participated).”

    And it is true. And on this fact Maduro has a winning strategy:

    The winning strategy that the government has is Leopoldo out of jail and receiving Zapatero in his house.
    Capriles said that Zapatero opposes the ANC. Even Freddy today said “if the government does not back up”.

    So, Zapatero is making MUD believe that Maduro might negotiate and this will make MUD not go full blast with the “Hora Cero” while the clock ticks and 30J comes.

    This needs to happen: Leopoldo walks out of his door and gives there a press conference where he reads from a statement repudiating all further contacts with Zapatero or anybody else until Maduro accepts publicly the content of Parolin’s letter while MUD goes full blast with “hora cero”.

    Leopoldo goes back in and let Sebin come for him in front of all the people gathered there and the national and international press. This will truly galvanize the people.

    Otherwise we are dead meat.

    • Would love to see that… But there are other options as well. Will be interesting to see what cards are played in the coming days.

      Will there be another Oscar Perez sighting tomorrow? Dont think the streets will cool down for too long. Back to work tomorrow for the guarimberos hopefully.

  5. 7,676,894. 100% of the votes. In record time. Only volunteers. Thank you all!
    Masburro: You have been recalled. Get your shit-and Cubans-out of Venezuela.

    The AN has a direct, clear mandate from the People.
    We have to be mad to believe anything the CNE spins and that includes the size of the REP.

    It is not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog.

  6. I am blown away by the control Chavismo has over the armed forces and the uselessness of the armed forces. We have to get rid of these vendepatrias ASAP.

  7. Reading some of the comments, it is clear that half the reason why Venezuela is in the state it is is because of the… quality… of some of the “saviors”.

    2 decades on, and some of you are still more interested in throwing the towel if it means declaring that “the people” of the country you claim to love are so worthless as to make any attempt to do anything irrelevant.

    God damnit, go vote in the ANC already. You would be less toxic as enemies than as allies.

    Some of those millions that you decry didnt show up are at your feet. You, and your stupid condescension and need to remind yourselves and anybody else how much better than “the people” you are. You think they forget so easily? You think the contempt you exude like a bad odor is something they cant feel?

    The 7 million votes under such bad conditions are all the hard work and credit of the ones that have been working for years to build up the bridges you insist on burning every time you open your mouths. Of the people that right now are searching for ways to reach those that by whatever reason didnt movilize and tell them hey, we are waiting for you, come, you still can help. Of the ones sowing hope, instead of that comfortable despair of the better-than-the-rest crowd.

  8. Some people (probably living outside Venezuela) forget or don’t know that when a person stood in line to vote, automatically becomes a target of retaliation. In a country where most people depend on the government to eat. Old people were threatened with their pension, others with jobs, other with food. It took balls to vote. So fuck off.
    Also, if anybody believes that Venezuela has 19 million REAL voters, please change what you are inhaling.

    • It has to be said, but people like you should shut the fuck off. We are living outside of Venezuela and we can feel the pain that our homeland is crumbling at the hands of the worst dictatorship of the Americas. We are helping our families and friends from abroad, even to those who still believe in fucking chavez and maduro, and it pisses me off, not only me, but to a whole lot of people to see fucking twats like you speaking through their arse like that.

      So quit that fucking nonsense.

      You forgot to mention, that these were the same people that voted in the socialist regime. They were told over and over that WE were bound to become another Cuba. You are afraid to lose your benefits? well you have to step up now. Our founding fathers have to shed tears and blood to get our freedom, we will have to do the same. We need to end this feeling of entitlement and indifference and pull it together if we want to recover Venezuela.

      Sadly enough, the bravery of the Venezuelan people were never matched by the leadership in the MUD, and no one, with the exception of few leaders like Leopoldo Lopez, Maria Corina Machado, even Lilian Tintori is doing great in the face of adversity, are willing to go above and beyond in order to break the current resolve of the communist regime.

  9. The national Assembly needs to invoke the clauses of the Constitution that will enable them to remove Maduro, appoint a transitional government and schedule elections.
    Similar to events in Honduras a few years back, the MUD needs the new government to gain international recognition as the legitimate Venezuelan government.
    That changes everything. Maduro will be stopped from borrowing money or even moving any assets.
    When the military doesn’t get paid their loyalty may not be so strong. No oil or funds to Cuba or any other country.
    Convince the bankers that the new government has an economic plan that will get them their bond money and they will exercise their political influence to assist the new government.

  10. I notice that no where does it say how people voted or even what the ballot looked like! I would bet many people voted against the opposition proposals and support the memory of Chavez.

    By the way the Venezuelan opposition got this vote funded by the Trump state department.

  11. This vote was meaningless, it was an internal MUD consultation, and the final numbers can’t be trusted….but, Jorge “needle-nose” Rodriguez has whined about the event all day long and tonight his entire show is dedicated to the subject. Hmmmmm.

    JudiLynn, Trump must be kicking your asses over at the Democratic Lunatic Underground or you’d not be trolling your pathetic crap here.

  12. here’s how people voted www(.)el-nacional(.)com/noticias/oposicion/mas-siete-millones-venezolanos-participaron-consulta-popular_193587 (broke the link because my last post seemingly didn’t go through)
    and no, trump didn’t fund the popular consultation

  13. Trump’s threat of economic sanctions if Maduro goes ahead with the ACN is appropriate, measured and brilliantly timed. Ideally, he needs to add to this threat by further publicising his intention to add names to the US list of sanctioned individuals.

    I am way beyond the belief that the key criminals leading the government and the armed forces will voluntarily step down under democratic pressure. They cannot afford to do so without assurances of amnesty. They will need to be forced out or carried out, but the AN has no tank divisions in its name. The diputados can pass all the legislation they want, but they cannot enforce an audit of the BCV. They cannot replace the “instant judges”. Indeed, they cannot even enter parliament without the permission of the GN.

    Despite the unjustified euphoria over the consulta popular, the low level of turn-out betrayed the kids who are out protesting every day and left the coalition against Maduro in its underpants. It has been weakened in the one area where it most needed strength – the ability to provide overwhelming evidence to convince the majority of the members of the armed services of the inevitable crashlanding of Maduro and his henchmen in the armed services, and hence the need to get on the right side of history.

    Trump’s threat has thrown Venezuela a lifeline. Just a month ago, I was strongly against economic sanctions, because it is impossible to target justly. Inevitably the first casualties will always be the most disadvantaged – not the criminal leadership. Now however there is nothing left in the cupboard.

    And quite simply, if the ACN is firmly established, many more people will die in the long-term.

  14. And as far as sanctions go…well how far will they go??? Remember there is a very powerful oil lobby en el imperio. The VE governments pays for those scum also. Also remember there are refineries and other industries that do not want to see VE oil cut off.

    Now Trump has big nuts if he goes full sanctions. However I think this will be sanctions lite and is a lot of talk. Lets see…. I think the biggest thing is to mobilize the international community to totally blackball Venezuela and come at these malandros from all sides.

    For sure, full oil embargo would be awesome (Maduro and clan would literally collapse in one month). But what I would like to see is the IRS/FBI start making arrests, freezing accounts and confiscating properties of massive amounts of enchufados in the USA. However, that is unlikely because they just want to make one or two big arrests, pump out the press release and then move on to the next case.

    That said, it is easy to criticize. The harder thing is to live here and hold out hope that this nightmare will be over with.

    • Guacharaca,
      Cutting off oil trade with Venezuela produces swings and roundabouts for the US. US imports of Venezuelan crude has fallen to around 250mmbbls per year – a third of its pre-Chavez high. This is less than 8% of total US crude imports and only about 3.6% of total US consumption. However, since last year Citgo has been exporting crude products to Venezuela to allow it to keep gasoline at the pumps following the slow deterioration of domestic refining capacity, so the NET loss of hydrocarbons going into the US is pretty small. Losers will be Citgo for obvious reasons, as well as some Southern US refiners who specialise in heavy crudes; additionally Chevron will take a small hit since they won’t be able to monetise their Venezuelan production. Winners will be Canada, Northern refiners of heavy crude and tight oil producers in the US. With the current oversupply situation globally, the effect would be no more than a small ripple in the markets as new supplies adjust. I would therefore not foresee any major outcry from the “powerful oil lobby” in the US.
      The problem is far more likely to be political opposition on humanitarian grounds, but this wll depend on exactly what is proposed. A full trade embargo would probably result in massive opposition.

  15. Godgiven Hair has a huge DEA target on his back and in his mind he can never leave the country unless another like Somalia accepts him. I’m not even sure Cuba would accept him though it’d serve him right to live his dying days in that communist paradise.

    Now, imagine the shitstorm that would ensue in Miraflores if an elite group of Navy Seals plucked his ass out of the country. Yeah, I know it’ll never happen, but a man can dream, can’t he?

  16. It is difficult not to conclude that the gradualists as in. Quico, at tbis point have shown the wisdom of their approach although the long road to democracy has resulted in much suffering. That assumes you are in. at least the 7th inniing of this game. It is just hard to see a non violent event that will restore democracy but if that happens Venezuelans may look back with great pride and respect that your generation actually left a strong foundation for democracy and thereby honor your sacrifices.

  17. 16J was meaningFUL. It was: organized in 2 weeks, including international; all volunteers; self-funded; no major media coverage; had Govt. threats against its 5mm employees+millions more misiones/pensiones/CLAP/PDVSA/military/milicia/et. al. dependents; and was given credibility by international observers (those who can, listen to V.Fox’s scathing end-16J speech against the Regime) (which observers were declared personas non-grata yesterday by NM) and supervision by major Venezuelan university rectores. Turnout was EXCELLENT. Venezuelan REP voluntary 18/+ voter registry is not 100%, or 20mm, of 18/+ as claimed, but, my guess, may be max 80% (not ONE of my wife’s extended family youth 18/older is registered) being generous, since the U.S., after 300 yrs. of democracy, only recently reached 95% voluntary voter registration of its eligible 18/+ population. 80% x 20mm Ven. eligible 18/+= 16mm (generous) Venezuelan voluntarily registered voters X 61% (U. S. recent % registered eligible voters voting in recent U. S. presidential elections) = approx. 9.6 mm voters in Venezuela normally voting in a national election, vs. 7.6mm who voted 16J for democracy/freedom/individual liberty. And, these extraordinary results, with 1/3 the normal Venezuelan polling stations, and approx. 1/7 the normal no. of mesas. For those numbers-oriented, you can see, by using U. S. voting statistics comparisons, how, historically, Venezuelan Chavista elections have been fixed by SmartMatic/CNE.

  18. Lets not forget that those claimed REP numbers account for entire towns in Cuba voting for the chavista/maburrista formula as reported by many sources. Also, the thousand Colombians HCF bused in and gave ID’s, although we suspect many of those are now voting oppo. The list goes on an on with the Bolivians, Nicaraguans etc etc. and the FARC (which, we suspect, they all vote in the Venezuelan elections). I have even found in the REP somebody that by virtue of same last names, date of birth, etc is a long lost – never to be really found – family member living up in a barrio, however, that person appears to be actually voting and have no doubt for whom the vote is casted.

    In essence, the registry of the Venezuelans able to vote (REP) has been manipulated in a perverse way, we have to treat it as CORRUPT, not to be trusted. Any new electoral process has to start with the recreation of a representative REP, which by its very nature is of the highest national importance and could never be allowed to be in the hands of a foreign entity (can really say foreign power, when we are a colony of a miserable little dictatorship in the Caribbean). Just my two cents.

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