Saturday, August 5, 2017

CARACAS – After two aborted attempts to install the National Constitutional Assembly (ANC), its recently elected members were sworn-in in a short ceremony that started close to midnight on Friday in the building that also houses the Venezuelan parliament. The members of the ANC were elected on Sunday in an election that saw just 20% of the electorate some 3.8 million voters participate in.

The original ceremony, last Wednesday, was cancelled amid chaos outside the Legislative Palace, with government and opposition supporters clashing in street battles that left nine dead and almost 200 injured. For today’s ceremony, the building was surrounded by members of the pro-government “People’s Guard” armed with assault rifles.

The swearing-in comes as rumors of widespread unrest in the military spread, with several high-ranking officers said to not recognize the ANC. If true, these soldiers could join calls of protest by the opposition-controlled National Assembly and the Attorney General. According to military sources, most officers are unwilling to bear the burden of repressing the widespread outcry, which saw several small military facilities around the country overrun and ransacked by protesters in the past days.

The only order of business for the new body in its first session was to elect its president, with Diosdado Cabello beating former Foreign Minister Delcy Eloina Rodríguez in an unexpectedly tight vote. In a short and fiery acceptance speech, Cabello warned the opposition that “the ANC will do what must be done to quash all terrorist activities,” adding that none of the other Branches of the State were above the ANC.

According to sources close to the high government, President Nicolás Maduro regrets going through with the ANC election, and is mulling an astonishing about-face to disband the ANC, which would open a deep rift between the radical ‘chavista’ faction led by Maduro himself, and Constituent Assembly chairman Diosdado Cabello.

– – –

As the push to make Maduro cancel the ANC goes full steam ahead, all or parts of that dispatch from the future are likely playing in his mind, and in the minds of many people in Fuerte Tiuna.

So as negotiations get going, quietly, between Havana and Bogotá, it’s worth pondering: what would it take for Maduro to cancel the ANC of his own accord?

For Maduro, giving up the ANC has become the price of admission he would have to pay to begin any negotiation. After making a farce of the 2016 dialogue, the government’s reputation is shot. To open negotiations, they will have to make immediate concessions, not promises.

That would be a very steep price indeed. The ANC is his most powerful weapon against the opposition and, more importantly, it’s his offer to other chavista leaders to stick with him. If he were to cancel the ANC, he’d be left without a weapon, and it could lead radicals to abandon him.

The Diosdados, the Reverols and the El Aissamis need the ANC. They are, by virtue of their crimes, completely committed to staying in power no matter what. Maduro is useless to them if he’s not as committed.

I believe Maduro would be willing to pay the toll on his own, not forced by men in green fatigues if he thinks the ANC is too much of a risk, or if he can make a good trade.

The ANC is his most powerful weapon against the opposition and, more importantly, it’s his offer to other chavista leaders to stick with him.

In the first option, Maduro could cancel it if he believes the ANC will do him more harm than good. This is the scenario described in the opening news from the future: the country might become ungovernable if the ANC is installed, or the ANC could fall into the hands of a rival. Both scenarios would put Maduro at personal risk.

So far, MUD has done little to establish this risk. All efforts seem focused on stopping the ANC election from happening on July 30 not on the aftermath.

But what if on July 30 the government holds the election? If Maduro sees the days after the election as days of harvest, of reaping rewards? Then going through hell to get there will seem to be worth it.

That’s where MUD and the international community must step in and make clear it will be far worse for Maduro to hold the election than to cancel it.

Two other groups hold important sway in raising the risk for Maduro: the Armed Forces and the less radical members of his party. Both groups seem largely opposed to the ANC, and are pushing Maduro to drop it.

A second reason for Maduro to cancel the ANC could be for him to get something in return, like a truce or amnesty: if Maduro is asked to drop his weapon and disarm, he would obviously like the fighting to stop. The big “something” on offer from the international community at the moment, and apparently from MUD, is the start of a new round of negotiations.

The country might become ungovernable if the ANC is installed, or the ANC could fall in the hands of a rival. Both scenarios would put Maduro at personal risk.

On Monday, we saw a clearly coordinated international push to get Maduro to cancel the ANC, with statements from eighteen countries, including President Santos of Colombia who met with Raúl Castro on Sunday and a threat from the USA to stop buying oil from Venezuela if the ANC goes through. Every statement seems to carry the same message: cancel the ANC and we can work something out. And it’s surely no coincidence that MUD’s statement on Monday included the same offer.

Maduro so far has not accepted, and it’s easy to see why. As I said above, he depends on radicals for support, and they won’t agree with negotiations that would lead to a transition. He sold them on an ANC, now they want an ANC. Thus, the net effect of the type of negotiations on offer with proper independent mediators, and clear goals can be destabilizing for Maduro, even if they lower the pressure from the opposition and abroad.

For Maduro to take this offer, he would need assurances from the opposition and from other countries that he’ll be safe, either in Venezuela or elsewhere.

These reasons to cancel the ANC are not mutually exclusive. Maduro could realize that the ANC would be too risky, and try to make a trade: if he must cancel it anyway, better to do it for something than for nothing. Furthermore, the two reasons are intertwined: the worse that probable dispatch from the future looks, the less it will take to convince Maduro to cancel the ANC.

On the heels of the July 16 consultation, it’s Maduro’s turn to play. MUD should, and surely will, step up its street agenda to put pressure on the President. Outside our borders, several countries are acting; but we don’t know on what or how it’ll work. The end game is in Maduro’s hands, but if he makes a mistake, or takes too long to play, the game could be taken from his hands, never to come back.

103 COMMENTS

  1. What about the same Radicals assassinating Maduro because he got too flaky, after or just before the ANC, and deploying a hardcore militarization of the country? Is this something too crazy?

    • Don’t think that will happen, but it couldn’t be any worse than things are now and would invite military intervention from outside.

    • Why make the moron a martyr? Wait until after Chavismo falls, and he (and his sycophants) will get the glorious chance to forever live in a Socialist paradise (Cuba)… if he doesn’t get the Benito Mussolini/Nicolae Ceausescu treatment first.

      • Who says that the “radicals” are going to frag him?
        The ones that are most likely to fabricate the martyr are the masterminds of all this disgrace: The cubans.
        They already killed Allende in Chile and also offed shiabbe in their island on 2012.

        • The Cubans killed Allende? That would be news to most historians. Allende was a committed Socialist. He and his government were overthrown by a hard Right-wing anti-communist military led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, a man not exactly in sympathy with the Cuban Revolution.

  2. Please lets not fall again and again reacting to what Maduro throws at us and let him dictate the course of action.
    In the bigger scheme of things the ANC is a distraction.
    Weather it passes or not the country will remain ungovernable, it is already illegitimate, a freaking dictatorship before or after the ANC.
    The real goal here is to put and end to the narcoregime, lets keep remembering that.

    • “Please lets not fall again and again reacting to what Maduro throws at us and let him dictate the course of action.”

      Brilliant!! Perhaps we have more cards in our hands now than they do. I watched the US Senate hearing yesterday. Tough talk that could turn into action very quick.

      Yes, we need to ponder the thought that the ANC IS A BLUFF.

      Eye on the prize, Diosdados head on a stick.

  3. Problem I see is that the announcement of, basically, a new TSJ by Friday makes the option of “negotiation” much more difficult.

    If Maduro now calls the ANC off… what about the TSJ? Who solves that? The MUD should not, can not, undo that, it would be a loss of face that could sink them again. And he cant just say ok, we lose the ANC AND the TSJ as our generator of bullshit legalistic justification for everything and expect the radicals, that depend on the TSJ for both their political plan and for not being in jail, to agree. If you think El Aissami or Diosdado will be angry at losing the ANC imagine their reaction when facing the prospect of a non-puppet TSJ.

    Unless somebody is offering him and selected members of his circle of crooks exile, I dont see how this can be solved. He does not have any other option that to go for it. And then… well, deal with it. Probably with an scenario much like the fictional one at the beginning, one where the sheer absurdity of imposing the ANC keeps breaking the support of the Armed Forces and the non-radicals for this government.

    Unless I’m missing a piece of the puzzle I dont see right now, I dont see how this ends in anything different from your dispatch from the future.

    • But the current TSJ is not legitimate and it would contrary to the constitution to let that stand. No going backward on making right on the constitution.

    • Jesus, you are right on the money. Exile to a selected few is the way to go. This is how you can drive a wedge between the radicals who know they are fucked, but have nothing but money laundering charges that can be forgotten as opposed to full blown capos, narcotraficantes and money launderers. Have to drive this wedge now. Let Maduro and Cilia go free. Even Delcy, Jorge, Hector Rodriguez and others flee the mess they created in Venezuela. Force the rats who can escape now, jump ship now.

      We have to keep our focus on Diosdado, Tarek, Padrino, Reverol et al.

      Drive the wedge. Carrots and sticks.

      • Implying Cilia isn’t legs deep in the trafficking business and by extension, Maduro. I honestly doubt the venezuelan people will accept letting Maduro go, he’s the “captain” of the ship, his capture and trial will be of extreme symbolical significance and an important asset for the new government to amass popular support and solidify its position.

        • Most Venezuelans feel humiliated, deceived and betrayed by the Chaduro regime.
          We are not only demanding surrender but also justice for all the suffering and destruction they have caused and as an example for future generations.
          We are about to make history, a history that will make us proud!!!

  4. He can’t cancel. Plodding ahead blindly, embracing the dogma is all they know. Thinking logically and reasonably? They are immune.

  5. How do you know “the Armed Forces are largely opposed to the ANC”?

    The ANC is now about a week out. I have no idea if it’ll come to pass or not. What I do believe though is that within a couple of weeks, we’ll know with certainty what the future holds for the country. This really is Zero Hour.

  6. Substitute “Castro” for “Maduro” and read it again. Castro will make the decision to keep the ANC. Maduro is only Castro’s puppet.

  7. Fuck the puppet, we want Diosdados head on a stick, as well as the rest of the carteles de los soles. Give Maduro a golden parachute and let him freeze his ass off in Russia.

    Diosdado and the radicals are the big fish who we want to purge. Would be nice to return to a tacit nuevo pacto punto fijo where the armed communists are banished from Venezuela.

    Watched that asshole last night, this is the guy who needs to go.

  8. Watching the US Senate hearing spearheaded by Marco Rubio, the language was one of “intervention”. Really, it surprised me. They went places where I thought they would never go. I was thinking just targeted sanctions, but it could go way further than that. The gringos could have this banana republic by the nuts if they want to…and then add support from other countries putting sanctions on these baffoons.

    Trump quite literally holds the Trump card and could destroy this regime.

    Furthermore, it looks like he has bipartisan backing. If he went with hard core sanctions, he could literally destroy the narcos in Venezuela and then go for Cuba after that. Thus scoring two huge foreign policy victories at a time when his poll numbers are sagging…and ironically enough winning himself an important sector of the Latino vote for the Republicans (a smart political move considering the last election of Obama where the Latino vote was key).

    Sanctions! Sanctions! Sanctions! if it goes to the ANC

    Hey Delcy Rodriguez, I cant wait to see you die of hunger for your bullshit revolution!!!!

      • Lorenzo, thank you for submitting this–Senators Rubio/Menendez are extremely competent/well-informed, and Almagro has been nothing less than heroic.

      • Wow!
        Rubio threatened Rosneft. You won’t get Citgo, you will just hold bad debt.

        Rubio threatened China. You won’t get control you will just hold bad debt.

        Rubio threatened St. Vincent and Grenadines, Dominica and St. Christopher and Nevis, Nicaragua and Bolivia, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua and Barbuda. The US will cut you off from all aid and maybe trade.

        Rubio threatened Goldman Sachs and anyone else on Wall Street who may strike a new deal with Venezuela.

        The US is about to react in a very serious manner with worldwide repercussions.

    • Jim, 100% right on the nail head.
      I wrote about exactly the same a couple of months ago. There is bipartisan support and Rubio even “suggested” stopping financial aid to those corrupted Caribbean Islands siding with Maduro in the OAS.
      We actually need the ANC to go through as the trigger and justification for though actions and eventually forced removal of the narcoregime. They entered the scene by force, they will have to be ousted by force.
      That would be the perfect outcome, since we won’t have to give any concessions to these criminals and in my opinion a FORCED REMOVAL is the *ONLY WAY* to put an end to this catastrophe.
      Me and many millions of Venezuelans really want to see Lucena and many others facing trial and in Jail in Venezuela not retiring in Cuba.
      We have to do to this for the future generations, justice have to be served.

    • I fail to see how sanctions will affect a bunch of billionaires. I can see me and millions of citizens who depend on imports dying of hunger though.

      • Here is an idea. When Maduro sends us his oil to refine, we pay him in food and medicine instead of US dollars.

        I wonder what Russia, China and Goldman Sach would think about that?

      • It’s a question of maybe suffering hunger now/short-term in order to restore democracy, and very possibly dying of hunger mid-/long-term under a Communist dictatorship

  9. Chavistas are shitting their pants over sanctions. They know that they are broke and if sanctions hit, they will have no way to pay their debt. The are doomed. Futhermore, it will be even harder to borrow money if hard sanctions hit. China and Russia are concerned about long-term business interests in Venezuela that they got at rock bottom prices than any loyalty to the monkeys running this banana republic. High level negotiators are cool with that, as indicated by Almargo.

    Furthermore, in Venezeula, we all know that we have already been “sanctioned” by a corrupt band of criminals for years. We are sick and tired of it an they have to go. The ANC will only result in more misery and it is much better we bust the piggy bank of these scum. They will take the blame for any worsening of the humanitarian situation–not the gringos.

  10. The whole plesbicito affair is starting to feel like another sham as Allup is calling for primaries implicity for the 2018 election like if the Constituyente next week is ever a thing to worry about and omiting naming new CNE rectors. Luisa Ortega is already dismissing the new magistrates election that will take place tomorrow btw so that’ll probably be just a simbolic gesture as anything the AN has done the last 2 years.

    This whole week has been a landmark achievement for trojan horsing and moving towards nothing. That plesbicito’s meaning is being twisted around so much by politiqueria adeca that is unbelievable. I wish i could blink and have this next couple week of bullshit over with

  11. Does not the author realize that for MUD to announce plans for after the ANC would be taken as an admission that the ANC could not be stopped? But is it so? Who says it, you?

    Then if ANC goes through you will be asking what are MUD plans for the 2018 presidential elections.

    Your approach would be similar for somebody who is diagnosed with cancer to prepare for his funeral rather than for his treatment.

    This post is nothing more than that a mental orgasm achieved contemplating your own “cleverness”

    • If you really want to stop the ANC, it’s a lot better to make BOTH threats: for what will happen before, and after. Otherwise, as it’s explained in the post, going through hell before will seem perfectly worth it for Maduro. After July 30, he’ll be home free and victorious. You have to make the threat: “That victory will be a poisoned chalice; we will raise an even worse hell if you hold that election”

        • Actually, threatening with doubling down on the street pressure is the way to force the puppet to rescind the ANC, because he’s hellbent on doing it as it’s the order he’s been given by the cubans.

          And Pedro, the threat you wrote is too subtle, it has to be more direct coming from the people, such as “Continue with this BS and you’ll know what a truly violent opposition actually means.”

  12. Link does not work Ernex. But we should fact check the comments by LOD. Remember, at this time there is a lot of government sponsored fake news to confuse us. I am trying to verify this.

    That said, be suspicious of Allup.

  13. As Ronaldo said above, Raul (+LOD Chavismo moderates) are the key. Hopefully, turncoat Cisneros’s suggestion of guaranteeing Cuba a lifetime 50m/bbls/da. of Ven. oil as a way out is not on the table. Also, for me, it would be a shame to let buffoon NM off scot-free for his human rights abuses, even though he’s only a puppet. The ANC, contrary to JL’s opinion (he should ask his brother William), once again, is not a bluff, but a back-against-the-wall last stand: Cuba desperately needs Ven. oil/massive $ aid to avoid their possibly Regime-tumbling second Special Period; major Ven. Regime narcos/military human rights abusers must be punished, and they don’t care how many innocents fall if they can avoid this (M. Rubio’s reference of DC as the “Pablo Escobar of Venezuela” has sealed his/henchmen’s fate)–it would be stupid/a bad example internationally for the U. S., in any “negotiation”, to bail these gross criminal/human rights transgressors out. The best outcome: pragmatic moderate Chavismo/military prevail, cancel the ANC, and agree to their participation in a democratic transitional govt. A more complicated outcome: the ANC goes ahead, because back-to-the-wall elements have the upper hand, economic/(armed, if necessary) outside sanctions/Ven.civil war tip the recalcitrant moderate Ven. military to a democratic compromise, and (everything’s not all bad) much of what’s left of Chavismo idolization is erased forever, with the added fillip that, hopefully, Castro Cuban Communism also goes down the tubes.

  14. After yesterday U.S. Senate hearing I can’t wait for the ANC to go through. :-))))
    That is the trigger and justification we need for a forced intervention with our Democratic allies.
    Though sanctions and popular opposition would not be enough to remove these subhumans from power.
    They came to power with violence, they will go down with violence.

  15. This article depicts Masburro as a clever, powerful ruler of all.. When he’s just the opposite. Many narco-criminal thugs are behind most decisions, plus la Havana. (Not just Raul Castro either).

    The clueless Colombian bus driver s too stupid and uneducated to make sole decision. He’s just a ‘tonto util’,
    a laughable semi-retarded puppet.

    Substitute “Maduro” for ‘Dictatorial Criminal Narco-Regime (DCNR) and this article would begin to make some sense. Alternatively, you can substitute el burro for “La Narco-Cleptocracia Criminal Chavistoide” (NCCC).

  16. People are going crazy over an interview with LOD at Venevision, I think she misunderstood the question or referred to something else and people are now going with the “she’s doesn’t agree with the AN on the TSJ matter”.

    • Thanks Ernex!!

      I figured it would be something like that. It is easy to splice video and throw it on youtube in minutes, when really you need to see the whole interview to put it into context. Soundbite hysteria unfortunately…I hope.

  17. I’m almost hoping that they go through with the ANC and they let no other choice than to wipe them out.

    OK people, now destroy me!

  18. Could the public threats of sanctions from the “imperio” have made it harder for Maduro to back down?
    It does give the regime a nice rallying point but only the brainwashed or bribed will bother ‘rallying’ at this point, so I think it may not matter anymore.

    In any event, I hope it induced or gave some leverage to some military officers or others to push back on the diehards of the regime.

    Man…a lot of happening. Good luck

  19. Gentlemen,

    We, as relatively logical, responsible people, have evaluated the currrent scenario and understood that the least politically risky move for the regime would be to have an institution come forward, just before “plan republica” is on the street, postponing the CNE due to a “technicality”. My money is on that outcome (since Havana isn’t stupid, and has the puppet strings).

    It is always important to remember: Those who have not learned from history, are doomed to repeat it:

    Lets get in the time machine, back to Nov 1983: “Public approval of President Reagan’s handling of the invasion of Grenada appears to have produced WIDE-ranging political benefits for him, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News opinion poll” That got him to a 3 year high, people rallied around the President.

    Can anybody suggest another strategy that could turn the media/public opinion in the US, away from Russian meddling in the elections and at the same time show muscle, executive decision and aplomb – with potential bicameral approval and a much needed increase in popularity, than the swift removal of a NARCOREGIME a “clear and present danger” to the region and the US? The situation is ripe. Audaces fortuna iuvat

    Every once in a while it might be advisable to flex the muscle, just so in more complicated scenarios – watch out NK- those leaders take the US seriously. Specially when it would be a contained drill.

    If the FANB does not show sign of supporting the People and is ready to commit atrocities in an industrial scale, The AN and Oppo leadership should ask for any and ALL help from anywhere. That is not relinquishing Sovereignty, but being responsible to the People, we do not want thousands of deaths due to starvation and brutality.

    • Yes yes and yes!!
      The political environment is ripe for a swift and decisive invasion.
      Everybody will support it except for Cuba and their puppets.
      And yes this will show North Korea that the US is not fooling around with these totalitarian regimes.
      Those who still believe that Maduro will fall with sanctions and internal pressure are adding to the deaths count.
      Killing the Maduro narcoregime will also bring Castro down with it once and for all, it is about freaking time.
      Lets make History !!!

    • Venezuela is not Grenada, or even Panama.

      As crazy as Trump appears to be, I don’t think that he would embark on the largest full-blown military intervention in the hemisphere in the last century just to gain popularity. In fact, it would have a high likelihood of backfiring for him.

      • This is not complex like North Korea, Syria or Irak, plus it would have support from the EU, and major Latin American countries, let alone we Venezuelans.

        The military wouldn’t put a good fight, in fact they would just run away or surrender. The rank and file soldiers have nothing to fight for, morale is low, only the high ranking officials would fight but with no support.

        That would be the only realistic way to put an end to this nightmare since the people is disarmed and the narco regime won’t back down.
        This situation reminds me of the hostage crisis in the Japanese Peruvian Embassy, when Fujimori was in power but in a bigger scale. It took an armed tactic team to ultimately resolve the conflict.
        The other option is to arm the opposition but that would be a bad, bad idea for long term stability when you look at the central american wars.
        The job has to be done by professionals with the right tools.
        We would gladly paid as any other job well made.

        • All those militaries would sent all the high Chavistas and generals in a gift wrap if even the posibility of foreigh military coming to Venezuela becomes true, they might whoop students and civilians but dont let that fool you, if gunplay with the USA or other country becomes a posibility nobody dying for no revolution, Cubans will get the fuck out fast and middle to lower military ranks will eat alive all the chavista hierarchy

    • As someone with close family and friends in the military (mostly in Army infantry and Marines, those will actually be in combat), and as an American citizen and taxpayer, no. No way.

      And I can tell you that Americans in general, and Trump supporters, would be squarely against it.

      • Rory, you are probably right. However, NOW IS THE TIME FOR GUNSHIP DIPLOMACY. We have to make these guys shit their pants. At least lets have some serious talk about it and put the discourse of “intervention” on the table and key lawmakers talking tough on Venezuela.

        Nevertheless, this is good for Trump because you can raise the level of the objective you are trying to achieve. Many might think Trump is a complete bafoon, nevertheless this is Art of the Deal 101, whether you like Trump or not.

        Heavy sanctions should be enough to finish these criminals off. Yet it is more politically difficult to achieve. However when you talk “intervention” at the beginning, you get “heavy sanctions” at the end. So, yes, lets talk “intervention”, lets not back down one inch, because I am sure that many Generals will not stick in it long enough to call out the Gringo’s bluff.

        They can repress their people all they want, but they are no match for the Gringos, and they know it.

        Again, it is time for some Gunship diplomacy–even if it is a bluff– while you are strangling them diplomatically/financially/legally and making a big show of it.

        Now is the time to be on the offensive because they cannot control the narrative and are being hit by too many things all at once.

        At the end of the day, their finances will ultimately do them in.

      • It is not that Venezuelans have not paid with lives. They realized that “Freedom isn’t Free”. 200k dead since HCF got into power. Over 100 assassinated, mostly young people in the last 3 months.

        We have to ask if Venezuelans have to put numbers in Rwanda’s context (but not in a far away location, Venezuela is smack center in the Western Hemisphere) before something is done.

        With criminals, it is not possible to have an honest deal. Negotiations? Only to find out when the regime leaves. It is unfortunate, since violence tends to bring more violence, and any live that is lost, is a tragedy. However, an isolationist policy, believing that the US can remain secure and distant in the face of a narcoregime (do drugs kill?) a short 1 hour flight from US soil (P.R.) is just delaying the necessary action. What could be a “surgical intervention”, removing Godgiven and a couple of Dept. of Justice targets, with time, might turn out to be a bigger and bigger intervention.

  20. Rory14,
    Blaming the USA for everything is a decades old tactic to make the U.S. back off and leave Cuba and Venezuela alone. If the U.S. has sanctions or other actions, the Cuban or Venezuela leaders will smile and say I told you so.

    The best action is to place the blame where it belongs and do what ever actions are needed. Public threats do not back Maduro into a corner although he is a wimp who is afraid of confrontation or even a debate. The military will be with Maduro until he risks the military lives–then Maduro will be alone.

  21. Absolute power over a country that will be impossible to govern and is on the verge of collapse. The clock is ticking and there is no good ending for the Chavistas.

    Watch yesterdays Agarrate where Patricia Poleo and Jose Colina mock Padrino for their stupidity.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DQd3iwpL3c

    Remember at that US Senate hearing the language more than anything else was on “intervention”. That is clearly on the table now. What form it will take, who knows??? But the discourse of “intervention” was a lot stronger than many of us here on CCS Chronicles messageboard would have ever predicted.

    Just imagine if the ANC goes through and Diosdado–the Pablo Ecobar of Venezuela– is put on the throne. Those are grounds for a strong Panamanian style invasion alone.

    I would not call holing onto the reigns of that situation as “absolute power”. That is a political nightmare with enemies hitting you from all sides and the gringos got you by the balls. Furthermore, the soldiers do not want to live in Army barracks for potentially 1 to 2 years. Something will break soon and it will be a complete surprise.

    • “Speak softly (though now, as per the Senate Sub-Committee hearing, it’s “strongly”-because, as Sen. Menendez agrees, up to now it’s been “too little, too late”), but carry a big stick (which will be used, by necessity, if necessary, to avoid the necessity of having to use an even bigger stick down the road)”….

    • He another dumb Venezuelan general but also Padrino is dirty, he in the Drug game, his sister in law got caught pushing heroin in Puerto Rico, thats is why he willing to sacrifice himself with the chavistas he know the ¨Gringos* know about his bussiness in Pto Rico and who know where else.

  22. Does anyone have actual intel about what is going on inside of Chavismo right now? What is the real situation, among the top players?

  23. Others have said it already but I think we cannot say it often enough:

    Cubans, Cubans, Cubans, Cubans, Cubans, Cubans.

    Not only the top generals but the whole military has been infiltrated.

    And the Venezuelans themselves think they can only follow the Cuban system.

    • Eso. For example, the issue of maintaining or not maintaining the oil gift to Cuba is trivial compared to all the Cubans infiltrated into military and government positions.

  24. Sounds like a solid first step would be to enforce an embargo of Venezuela oil going to Cuba, and replace it with American oil gifted to the country.

    • Quid pro quo. No point in the US giving oil to Cuba if the Cubans infiltrated into positions of power in Cuba remain.

  25. US boots on the ground or airstrikes are completely unnecessary. Simply threaten to board and divert any tankers leaving the country after a certain date and this regime will fold in two weeks. No money for the generals means no support from the military. End of story.

  26. Per embargoes – The tricky part is inflicting the most damage on the government and the least fallout to the population. Seems like the only way to manage that is to target a few thousand individuals. The CIA hacked the PVSD years ago and has dirt on many. Why not out the whole crew, but all the details. Why not throw the books open on everything, and let the people decide.

    Maduro is starting to feel like the crazy uncle in the attic that you can’t evict. The fact this keeps going on is excruciating to watch, and gut wrenching to hear when I get texts from relatives still marooned in Caracas, trying to stay positive and strong as this soul murder strings along for another week, month, year…

    • Juan Largo, the problem I see with “throwing the books open” right now is 1)that who oppose the regime already know that the alta-chavistas have been stuffing their pockets for years 2) those who support the regime already know that the alta-chavistas have been stuffing their pockets for years and 3) neither group gives a rat’s ass because that’s just the way it’s done here.

      Unfortunately, the mentality here (at least as I see it and have been told by multiple Venezuelans) is, what have you done for me lately? Pass that test and you’re in good shape, which is why Maduro now clings to about 15-20% of the likely vote.

  27. Wow!! The opposition members (including writers in this portal) are truly naive. Maduro is not going to cancel the ANC. Why is the opposition so stupid to believe Maduro will cancel the ANC? The arguments presented in this article are naive, weak and just wishful thinking to say the least. With an opposition this naive no wonder Maduro has been in power this long.

    Mark my words: the ANC will seat and a new constitution will be written. And the opposition has no plan and not a clue of what to do once the ANC seats. I’m afraid Venezuela is going the way Cuba and this stupid opposition won’t be able to stop it.

    • Yes, hallaca mal amarrada.. You have earned your clap bag with soap and deodorant… We could not put mexican corn meal this week but, you have an ANC that will make you happy (we know you are Delcy’s alter ego).. Isn’t another translation of naive=pueril)???? hahahaha shazam! Descubierta!!!

      • Yeah, but that Mexican corn meal that cost the government $14.95, didn’t cost the recipient anything other than a few bolivars. MRubio smacks forehead.

        • Yes, MRubio, together with other MX clap products,the government reportedly paid $42, cost being < $12 (including shipping).!

          Since this transaction was through a non resident Barbados company from
          Tarek's 'alto pana, that gross is net. Multiply the box times "N" and we arrive at a 9 digit $ figure. You don't need to be smart, invent some gizmo, create software, do very well in the corporate world or win the lotto repeatedly to be truly, truly, truly filthy rich!

          The "revolucion" is greed, avarice, corruption of the worst kind. Those profits are at the expense of the weakest. For real companies trying to stay afloat "no hay divisas". Priceless.

          • “Those profits are at the expense of the weakest.”

            Indeed FGB. Most of these poor bastards are of the mind, “what do I care if the roads are full of potholes and there are no spare parts or tires? I don’t own a car”, not realizing that those who move the products they need to survive, like food, can only do so at greater and greater expense with each passing day.

            Of course, that’s all happening while the government is telling them, “prices are climbing because the capitalists are greedy and want to wage an economic war against the fair prices we offer”.

            It’s maddening and hopefully coming to an end soon.

  28. Citizen, what stake do you have in this?? Most of the writers here are from Venezuela or have lived in Venezuela and have a lot at stake. They know what is going on in Venezuela. Many are critical of the opposition and some think this will go to the ANC. Yet all agree that if it does go to the ANC, the regime will eventually destroy itself. The crooks running the show have run the country into the ground and do not have a plan to dig this country out of the huge mess they have created– other than doubling down on the same failed policies, which is the ANC.

    So who is the naieve one here Citizen?

  29. Read somewhere that the US doesn’t needs to stop buying oil from Venezuela, they only need to stop selling gasoline and components to bring transportation in Venezuela to a standstill … And don’t forget the light crude being imported to be used as additive to pump heavy oil from the Orinoco Belt…

  30. At first I didn’t know if this video below was a Marlon Brando scene from ‘Apocalypse Now’, or if it was just Padrino “Yankee Hunter” López showing off his jungle combat skills.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXV2OWXQsiM

    Notice how fast he reloads the pistol. Beware, US Army! He’s not joking around (or maybe he is?).

  31. Reporting indicates the general strike got good buy in. Maduro’s reaction was very different this time from the last attempt at a strike earlier this year. He’s reacting like a failing leader under intense pressure. I don’t see how chavismo can pull off a vote under these conditions. It seems likely to me they will be forced to back down. The opposition is exercising real leverage right now. They should not get distracted by Washington or military leaders.

  32. There are some frighteningly naive comments here.

    I think it is a serious misreading of the situation to believe that Maduro is in control – either directly or as a puppet of Cuba. There are a large number of stakeholders around Maduro. They might all have different priorities but they share one all-important common goal – staying out of jail.

    Chief among the stakeholders are the military. There is strong evidence that the military leadership has been calling the shots in Venezuela since December 2015. They are allied in common cause with all of the civilian leaders in ensuring that there is no possibility of establishing an impartial, independent judiciary. This would be an unmitigated disaster for them where it most hurts – at the personal level. This is a far higher priority for them all than safeguarding Maduro’s position or reputation. (Personally, I am not even sure that Maduro still wants his job – I suspect not.) It is also a higher priority for each of them than obeying recommendations or instructions from Cuba. These people will not voluntarily go to jail just because Cuba asks them to, and they will cut Maduro free in a heartbeat if it becomes necessary.

    Hence, putting international pressure on Cuba might help but ultimately it will not solve the problem.

    When the time is right or when it becomes necessary, the powerbrokers – military and civil – have the option of asking or forcing Maduro to step down – to be replaced by another figurehead; this move will be dressed up with all types of promises of change – justice, democracy, human rights and world peace. Maduro can then try to slide off into obscurity to enjoy ill-gotten gains, or may become a scapegoat for all of the past evils. Plus ca change…

    The assumption that everything will be OK if Maduro is forced to resign is absurdly simplistic. The play will just resume until and unless the opposition find a good answer to the question:- how do we deal with the military, now a septic tank with the scum floating on the surface? Specifically (i) How do we treat with the military who are not yet criminally exposed? (ii) Do we have to consider a deal with the military (leadership) who are already criminally exposed?

    Given the above, the ACN will go ahead and Maduro is sacrificed soon afterwards in exchange for removing any imposed international sanctions or the ACN does not go ahead and Maduro is sacrificed a bit later to create a new Potemkin village. Either way, Maduro is toast, but the problem will continue until the military is prepared to support a new democratic government with an independent judiciary.

    • I think most Venezuelans have it clear they want a complete regime change, not just Maduro to step down.
      But I agree with the armed forces issue, which is central to dislodge this quagmire.

      On that front there are two possible paths.
      1. One sector of the military rise up in defense of Democracy and help with a transition.
      2. The military never rise up either because of the tight grip Cuban style or worse yet indoctrination of the rank and file. In other words, the status quo.

      On this second case foreign intervention would be needed, namely, US with some coordination with our democratic allies, EU, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Argentina Brasil, etc.
      Other solution would be to arm the opposition but that would bring unintended consequences and prolong a bloody conflict, central american style.

      One of the things that worries me is the actual decline on US leadership which it can’t longer be counted on or the role of China or Russia might choose to play.

      Very soon we would see if the scenario 1 will play out, I doubt it.

      If we finally bring down the narcoregime there would have to be a purge of the armed forces to guarantee a peaceful democratic future.

      The people is ready, the military is the big question here.

      • Firstly, I really don’t want to see a foreign military intervention. That would be very messy, and would leave Venezuela subservient to the other LatAm nations for decades to come. However, if such an intervention did become necessary, I would expect it to be carried out, not be the U.S., but by Colombia and Brazil. They are the two countries that are in danger of being overwhelmed and destabilized by a millions of starving and desperate Venezuelan refugees. I would expect the U.S. to be involved, but in a supporting role only.

        Let us hope that it doesn’t come to that.

        • C’mon, lets get real. Colombia and Brazil are broke and have too much in their plate to carry out an unprecedented operation like this.
          On the other hand, the USA has the experience and the size to carry out this rapidly and successfully, for them is almost routine, they are the defacto stabilizers around the world, role that they take reluctantly, mind you but is the duty of a world leader.
          The success of the operation is almost guaranteed by their sheer military might. On the other hand, a Colombia or Brazil intervention would be perceived as something that Chavistas would have a fighting chance.

          • Almost routine? Is this a joke?

            Keep dreaming, there will be no boots of the ground type US military invention without the spectre of mass killings/genocide. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that point.

          • Chavistas can fight only unarmed people that goes to protest with signs, whistles and painted hands, for everything more competent they’re completely useless.

    • Venezuelans are on a path to restore democracy without either military intervention or foreign intervention. They showed an ability to do without both with the recent referendum, and the paro. It is naive to think the USA will save the day or that an internal military coup will solve anything. Both the military and the gringos will always perceive themselves as indespensible whereas the historical record shows they have only been inconsequential at best and more regularly, counterproductive. Why people are putting their hopes in the gringos or the men in green exactly at the moment they have been shown a better alternative works is beyond me. You don’t take your good hand and toss it in the hopes of getting the same old crappy one.

      • “Why people are putting their hopes in the gringos or the men in green exactly at the moment they have been shown a better alternative works is beyond me”

        Because as chavismo has shown countless times before:

        “Bullets kill votes and voters” / “Bala mata voto y votante”

        • Canucklehead is scared to death Trump will do something that gives him credit for toppling Maduro and chavismo. Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass who gets credit, I just want to see the bastards thrown out. Having said that, if it’s Trump who ultimately gets credit, I promise to do my best to keep Canucklehead’s balls frosted.

  33. Las FANB. Se van a quebrar en un solo instante. Ya lo hicieron el día que chávez los mandó a la frontera con Colombia. Pidieron la baja, otros debajo de la cama. Chávez reculó.

    El gobierno esta aumentando a niveles de intervención el rechazo internacional. Videos y más videos de violaciones de DDHH acercan más el momento.

    En Cambodia sucedió cuando Vietnam, China a pesar de ser comunistas dijeron basta y entraron y removieron al gobierno.

    La constituyente sólo va a acelerar el proceso. Más miembros de las FANB, sobre todo medios y bajos se iran desprendiendo y llegará la hora del final de esta película.

  34. Maduro isn’t in control. He is riding a tiger he can’t get off or he will be eaten. To remain siting on the tiger isn’t a good option either. Sooner or later he will be thrown off and devoured too.

    For Maduro to cancel the ANC now is political suicide but to go ahead isn’t much better with so much opposition to it inside and outside the country.

    Let’s see how the end game plays out. We live in interesting times.

  35. F&$king A, interesting times…I have friends who have high blood pressure now. I see a lot more gray hairs on all of my friends. Pets are even stressed out because everyone around them are. If it were not so stressful, and not a life or death matter, it might be interesting. I just pray we are victorious and can end this 20 year curse of Chavismo.

    I just want to turn on the TV some morning soon and see some lower ranking FANB officer on VTV declaring Maduro and crew have been thrown out of office and now it is time to put in the transition gov.

    But yeah, this is tiring living through on the ground here and we just want it to be done and over with.

  36. ANC Update: bad news for FT and his ANC “bluff”; good news for Raul and his 2-burger bet. TODAY, ANC voting machines are being surreptitiously installed/activated in certain jefaturas/public schools. At this moment CLAP recipients are voting, asked to bring 1 other voter, in order to continue receiving their CLAP “beneficio”. And, Consejo Comunal leaders are each asked to bring 10 voters–technically, since ANC voting has already started, albeit “illegally” pre-7/30 date (but, what’s legality ever had to do with Chavista voting, anyway?), Ft has lost/Raul has won the 2-burger bet….

    • This will be an interesting drama unfolding. These guys are out of control. I hope they try something and end in epic FAIL. The raid on the AN was chimbisimoooooooooo! VTV got attacked yesterday and then they went out and thereafter employees of VTV went out and sang and danced in the streets in a made for tv event (obviously after the GNB dispersed the guarimberos). Lets see what the colectivos try to pull in response. Will they try to make a show of it??

      Strangely enough, in passing, I saw on VTV last night a warning that there is a possibility of “funcionarios” being assassinated.

      Just imagine types like Cabeza de Mango and the like getting elected as Constituyentistas if this goes through??? That is what is going to happen, as we see from the $toady article. Thanks for passing this on, because egomaniac Chavista douchebags all over Venezuela are lining up to be elected as Constituyentistas. Cant end good.

      Maybe Oscar Perez will take on these thugs on haha

  37. ******
    August 08, 2017:

    Hegemoncorp reports:

    “One of the first initiatives from the ANC, the “socialist people’s express truest justice”, seems to have found some resistance from the teggggggrorist blonde blue-eyed animals that keep killing each other simply because they’re too drown in their own hatred and dissociation.

    But fear not, socialist pueblo, because one of the best aspects from this initiative has been already begun to be implemented, the “alcabalas de paz”, checkpoints where every single person trying to go through will be asked for their loyalty to the revolution and our sacred liberators the cuban saviors, in case the patriotas cooperantes manning the “alcabalas de paz” discover a filthy animal through the completely accurate thechnique of analyzing their face, race, mannerisms or even the words they sputter, the “bravo pueblo pacífico pero armado” will have the full right to put that disgusting and filthy animal to sleep for good!”

    The streets report:

    “Another ‘alcabala de paz’ ravaged, burned to the ground, with three colectivos hanged from a neraby post, when the GNB tried to repress and murder the people, the people fought back using the new version of mnolotov bombs, the thermite bombs, which can literally chew through the roofs of the armored vehicles and burn the soldiers inside, their first uses completely toiok by surprise the GNB, resulting in 15 GNBs burned to death so far…”

    ***/Fiction***

  38. AN has designated the magistrates. Now, and for the first time, we have the mechanism to destitute the CNE and Nonebudsman. Keep going.

    Seeing Padrino playing Rambo in the shooting range is laughable. With such a secretary of defense, no wonder we are being considered a banana republic. The FANB is an embarrasment and the reason why things have deteriorated to where they are. The sold themselves to the Cubans. Costa Rica got it right when they decided to just have a strong police force to enforce the Law of the Land. Costa Rica has vaccinated itself against the Ciprianos, Gomezes, P. Jimenezes and Chavezes… and others in history. They have been the scourge of Venezuela.

    Venezuela can’t afford to keep this military privileged caste, apptly referred by a contributoras a “septic tank with scum floating” We just need a professional national guard & coast guard (and strong local police departments).,

    Every cloud has a silver lining, and this 19 year storm has brought us to the realization that the FANB has to go.

    • Couldn’t agree more, FGB. Costa Rica seems to have gotten a lot of things right, and gets along fine without all those Generals with all those medals.

  39. AMEN!!!! FGB, yes, we need to disband the military completely in Venezuela!!!!!!!!! so this will never happen again!!!!!!!!!!

    Just keep the ones who are worth a shit and somewhat honest. Give them government jobs or whatever. The rest can go to jail or back to work as malandros-only to be arrested later by a new police force. The new police force should be full of fresh recruits of the generation who is fighting on the streets now for our freedoms.

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