When new negotiations between Maduro’s government and the opposition parties were announced, the internet went mad: talking was treason, negotiating with a dictatorship is unethical, double-crossers hide everywhere. It could be argued that political action should be about morality, while many theorists state it isn’t.

But let’s assume it is.

What moral imperative should guide political actions in our country now? Should personal dignity and purity against the dictatorship be the compass? Is it ethical to focus on abstract values when Venezuelans are suffering so much? When chronic disease patients struggle for essential medication before dying? When the fact that children are dying because of hunger is not news anymore, and we don’t even record their names?

If you think that political action is about morality, what imperative is higher than saving lives?

We’re going through hell: a pointless catastrophe engineered by ourselves. It’s not a devastating natural phenomenon hitting our country, it isn’t the oil prices (those have been lower in the past and living conditions weren’t this miserable). This crisis is our fault. All ours.

It is Maduro’s government’s fault on the first place. The policies that have been implemented show that, for state officers, some lives are expendable. That it’s okay for them to cut medicine and food supplies, that they believe people should take care of themselves. No one in the government cares about those who cannot. They’re doomed.

If you think that political action is about morality, what imperative is higher than saving lives?

Then we have parties in the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), unable to agree about basic issues like elections or negotiation. Time goes on while these guys argue about the sex of angels. Meanwhile, Venezuelans die.

And then there are those who claim to oppose Maduro, but fight against the political opposition. They weren’t elected by anyone. They support abstention without a sensible plan for changing the regime, believing they have the monopoly of dignity and are entitled to rule this country. Any negotiation that could improve living conditions for the most vulnerable Venezuelans would be treason.

I think treason is not fighting for those condemned to die from shortages and hyperinflation. They don’t have time, they can’t wait for “conditions,” they need action now.

I know most of our readers will think I’m some colaboracionista, because I propose saving lives as our main goal, and not “Maduro vete ya.” But maybe, just maybe, if that sense of urgency was a priority for all political actors, we could agree on strengthening our institutions, on a plan for our foreign debt… on fair elections next year.

I know it sounds like a dream, but dreaming could be the first step for giving a future to the hopeless.

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Is a PhD sociologist and researcher at Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales and Sociology Professor at Escuela de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Católica Andrés Bello. Blogger and collaborator of SIC Semanal and ElUcabista.com.

84 COMMENTS

  1. It depends if one considers the regime as legitimate interlocutors or just a bunch of gangsters who will renege on agreements as they have done in previous negotiations. Keep dreaming. Three possible outcomes; Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria.

  2. Leftists talking morals is like Muslims talking about women rights.

    “If you think that political action is about morality, what imperative is higher than saving lives?”

    If people like you cared just one bit, you would be asking for a military intervention plan now, but your hate for Trump is far bigger than your supposed love to your people!

    You have ZERO sense of urgency! Go ‘negotiate’ with Maduro while most of Venezuela starves to death.

    People like you are the reason why Venezuela is dead. And the common people already know that, that’s why they hate you both. You are all leftists, all moral relativists, your hands are soaked in blood, my dear.

    • I think you lose the argument when you take a moral high ground through an ideology (or even a specific religion). Leftists, rightists…their respective dictatorships soaked their hands in blood alike. Morals it’s not about left and right in politics, or about being a Catholic, Muslim, Jew or whatever.

      It’s about being a good person. That’s it.

      • Your wrong Javier, it’s about time that this whole political correctness disappears. Every religion, in the end, is a matter of “believing” in a imaginary “god” and screams for it to be torn apart. I worked for UHNW Muslims and believe me that feminism has a long way ahead of them within those types of communities.
        I thought that “Leftists talking morals is like Muslims talking about women rights.” was a spot on observation! Both statements are as true as the come.
        We as a civilisation would be sooooo much better off without either socialism or religion!

        • Duncanvd,

          I would recommend you study some philosophy of religion before you make a blanket statement condemning all religions. Religion, as political ideas, have a spectrum, from good to bad. (We can agree, for example, communism/socialism bad, Branch Davidians, bad).

          For starters I would recommend to you the philosophical proofs for the existence of a God. Notice that these arguments do not advocate any religion in particular, but give you the intellectual foothold to analyze the world religions.

          I, being a Catholic. would recommend you go to catholic.com for some easy reading.

    • Agree with you Mark.

      There is no sense with having a dialog with a criminal regime.

      Lisette’s article subtly implies that the government is looking to solve the crisis, not sure how?, and we in the opposition are not letting them, again not sure how?

      Oh then she fumbles when she suggest we should focus on the presidential election next year!

  3. I dont know Lissette. I mean, in principle you are right, but at this moment and given the circumstances and the players, “Any negotiation that could improve living conditions for the most vulnerable Venezuelans would be treason.” sounds like science fiction.

    IF it existed, it would be a moral thing to do, even if you had to lose some karma by being in the same room as the government. But as things are, do you think that is even remotely in the cards? That the government is at all interested in “negotiating”… what exactly? Do anybody thinks that, I dont know, if the oppo gives the government something (what?), the government will accept to declare an emergency, make a transparent debt renegotiation (who would lead that?), dismantle the whole set of idiotic controls, etc?

    None of that seems to be in the cards. The government just wants more of the same it got already – a smokescreen.

    So, I just dont see how this is an actual problem. It is a theoretical problem – should the opposition prioritize saving lives over purity and fighting the government? Yes. Do it seems like that is a real dilemma the government is putting in front of the opposition? Not really.

  4. This moral argument assumes something can actually come out of these negotiations. It almost assumes something WILL.

    That’s, I think, the problem with using morality as a premise. Clarity about actual dynamics and conditions isn’t a priority when righteousness is.

    This, by the way, also goes for our rightist, interventionist friends. I’m a rightist too, but not because I use morality to tell me I should be. My reasons are concrete, they are based on effective needs and possibilities.

    Bolívar said that the problem with founding a republic here was that damn christianity. Today, it’s christianity’s ugly offspring, moral righteousness.

  5. Unfortunately life is messy and most decisions are not black and white. One does what he thinks is right, where he can, when he can, and as much as he can, under circumstances as they exist. My moral compass says let’s save lives.

    The example of Oskar Schindler comes to mind. Google him up if you’ve never heard of him.

  6. The issue is Liss, that you make the same mistake that FRod makes. You assume that a positive outcome is possible and that the negotiations, can, even in a small way save lives.

    This is a mistake that I understood in the first round of the DR encounters, where we went with the exact same list of demands as today. The difference is that now MUD’s bargaining position is weaker. Given that crude reality, there is nothing to gain from these encounters.

    I think it should be sole focus of the opposition to strengthen its bargaining position and only then go to negotiate, even if just so for medicine and food.

    You are also trapped in your own argument because you may be saving some lives today at the expense of those that are lost by allowing Maduro’s regime to continue. If you are to maximize your total lives saved, you do so over what time frame? can you even morally make such distinction.

    I fear that you are rationalizing your own hopes.

  7. Understand that what the govt wants is for the oppo (thru the AN) not to oppose the regimes attempt at restructuring of the international debt but to support such restructuring effort and to press the US and other countries to drop the sanctions . in exchange the oppo leadership would want to ensure conditions for any future elections are fair and supervised by credible international bodies and that an humanitarian channel be created to allow for the import and distribution of much needed food , medicines and other essential staples to the population in general.

    Put that way there is nothing inmmoral about having discussions regarding the above matters , in the understanding that such discussions do not involve any recognition that this is a legitimate regime nor an agreement to stop the oppos efforts at restoring rule of law and democracy in Venezuela by peaceful means , in a way its a kind of truce allowing for certain basic matters of inmediate interest to the population to be attended to.

    What I find puzzling is how the govt can restructure the international debt with the very few and limited resources it has available and without substantially changing its economic policy to align it with the demands of any rational creditor …….until the latter matter is addressed , then the discussions really cant go very far .

    I am generally very skeptical of any govt announcement or proposal or promise , so that too bears watching .

  8. Chavismo has its pants around its ankles right now. They are stuck with no options. If these negotiations go past the cordial “Hello” without the Chavistas recognizing the AN and releasing political prisoners, then you can “put a fork in a free Venezuela. It’s done”.

  9. It’s a hostage situation. Do you negotiate with the criminals so that your loved one is spared from death, knowing that you will be beholden to the criminals forever, or do you stand your ground, not give them the power they are looking to hold over you, and call the police, even if that means your loved one will be shot in the head?

    Venezuelans are suffering immensely right now, and we will continue to suffer and die as long as this regime remains in power.

    Some of us still haven’t understood that we are at war, and that war means casualties. The bodies will continue to pile up until the war is over. It’s lasted 18 years so far.

    • Venezuelans are indeed suffering… is legitimizing the regime and the ANC going to make it better? (rhetorical questions here…)

      How is Maduro not recognizing the AN going to make things better? Not releasing political prisoners. Not accepting humanitarian aid. It won’t. It will prolong the misery.

      The negotiations cannot go past the first three demands to be met. Otherwise, it is pointless.

      Chavismo is backed into a corner. Going easy on them now is counter-intuitive and counter productive.

    • “Casualties” is a concept that I don’t like and that’s why I never supported any war. But if we are in a war right now, then the issue is how to end it. Do we have the strength to take out the government by any way (including military rebelion)? Sadly, I think we don’t…
      This economic and social crisis is debilitating chavismo? 15-O suggests it isn’t.
      What’s the correct political action course for us now? I wish I knew…

        • But if they win, death and suffering will continue. So I don’t think that’s an option. As I said, I don’t know what sould be done, I hope somebody does!

          • You may not like casualties, but they will happen wether you want them or not, and negotiation under these sort of circumstances with the sort of people doing said negotiations (both in the Mud and the Psuv) will only prolong it.

            So a million dead in a year is better than 300.000 dead in 4 months because in the first one we tried to save them by hoping.

            Hope hasn’t done us much good.

      • Lissette says
        “Casualties” is a concept that I don’t like and that’s why I never supported any war. But if we are in a war right now”
        In 10 years of the Iraq conflict (2003-2013) combined casualties accounted for 174 000 deaths.
        That was a major full scale war followed by a counter insurgency conflict.
        When you are averaging 20 000 plus violent deaths per annum YOU ARE AT WAR.
        Are you living in the same country as me? Jesus Christ Caracas Chronicles astounds us again with their reporting prowess.
        I thought the article was bad but your comment replies are worse.

    • Your resort to the rhetoric of war is a desperate effort to avoid thinking about the moral consequences of your own actions. It is pathetic in actual war time, and it is pathetic now.

        • I don’t understand how you see this as a zero sum game.
          10% of the country living a relatively bountiful life while 90% suffer. If a war reverses that equation, war is anything but a zero sum game.
          A single unstable country of 30 million that risks destabilizing the governments / living conditions / tax burdens / security of hundreds of millions of its neighbors?
          You can see where I am going with this.
          I for one would be happy to see Miraflores leveled before dawn tomorrow.

  10. -“what imperative is higher than saving lives?”

    Negotiating with chavismo for their continuity will not save lives, Chavismo ends lives, chavismo in power means more lives lost with or without negotiation

    -“This crisis is our fault. All ours.”

    Sorry, but i thought it was the government`s fault, the same government you want to negotiate with.

    Last time i checked i did not run the BCV and i am not the chairman of PDVSA. I never voted chavismo either, that means people llike me are not victims, we deserve it. Greast logic.

    -“It is Maduro’s government’s fault on the first place.”

    Make up your mind.

    “Any negotiation that could improve living conditions for the most vulnerable Venezuelans would be treason.”

    Pffft. You are still implying that anything that chavismo negotiates will improve quality of life. Is this Stockolm sindrome or what?

    You are giving your soul to the devil and in exchange you are asking the devil not to take your soul. That is the bottom of this stupid farse.

    • I think we all are to blame. I have not been a government officer, as most of our readers and opposition political leaders haven’t. But, behold!!! Chavismo hasn’t been this strong since the beginning, we made that possible. How? With huge political mistakes as April 11th or leaving the National Assembly in 2005. They have been able to do what they have done also because of us. I think that’s something we shouldn’t forget, because I believe that whatever is decided by political leadership now will certainly shape our future chances of political change.
      Politics is about negotiation, even with someone you really hate… We have to make room for politics again, or we shall be trapped in a conflict that neither side can win. That’s the worst scenario for all.

      • Politics is not about negotiating with people who are amoral agents.

        Maduro insists these problems are not of Chavismo making, and Delcy has gone so far as to accuse Venezuelans of “lacking willpower”, as if deprivation is the new normal. How do you negotiate with delusional people who feel they have done nothing wrong? That there is actually NOTHING WRONG?

        Negotiate? YES. But beyond the first handshake, no negotiations until the Chavistas give in on the basic demands that the Constitution (flawed as it is) be recognized and that political prisoners be freed. Otherwise, the opposition is wasting time.

      • “I think we all are to blame.”

        “We all” sounds like polyhedron (Me suena a poliedro), people who never voted chavismo have absolutely zero responsibility on this, stop blaming the victims to trying to defend a moral stance.

        “Chavismo hasn’t been this strong since the beginning”

        No, chavismo hasn’t been weaker since its beginning thanks to the massive protests that finally put Venezuela in the international eye, they’re tearing each other apart trying to escape the sanctions so they can keep their families outside the country and their stolen fortunes.

        ” we made that possible”

        Again, no.

        “With huge political mistakes as April 11th…”

        April 11 kicked shiabbe out of office, the enchufados came and ruined everything, but the people was right, if the people was wrong in anything it would have been letting the llaguno gunmen to escape alive after they slaughtered two dozens of people.

        “…leaving the National Assembly in 2005.”

        HRA and JB initially agreed with the plan to boicot the elections, but suddenly they went full reverse when they were offered SOMETHING by the regime, again, people are guiltless on that one, they were following the strategy, which was to boicot the elections to show the world that chavismo was less than 12% and then moving to massive street protests to pressure the regime to nmake it crumble and fall, the sellouts never wanted protests because they don’t want chavismo to fall.

        “…or we shall be trapped in a conflict that neither side can win. That’s the worst scenario for all.”

        No, the worst scenario of all has been in play since 1999: chavismo in the power.

        Every hour chavismo is in power, stealing millions of dollars and murdering dozens of people they’re winning, simple as that, chavismo only wants to remain in power for another hour to continue their impunity crime streak.

  11. It is sad to read an article by a young, educated Venezuelan saying that personal dignity and purity are “abstract” values that should take second seat to getting a bag of food from gangsters. Of course there is a humanitarian crisis. This is the reason action should be taken against the regime. She is right to say that there has been much cowardice, much opportunism, among the opposition leaders but there are leaders who have not been broken. Ledezma, Maria Corina Machado, etc.
    Politics is a human activity; humans are or should be guided by morals. Only gangsters feel moral guidelines do not apply to politics. Rebelion is the word. Did the jews seat down with the nazis?

    • The question is: whose dignity are we talking about? Because the people you just mentioned are talking about their own dingity, not about people that have been forced to search for something to eat in the garbage or people dying daily without proper medical attention. For whose dignity are we fighting for? How our actions enforce that dignity?

      • Trying to use “saving the most lives” as an excuse won’t work in this case, González, the way to save the most lives isn’t achieved by giving chavismo what it wants, time to steal more; the most lives will be saved by terminating and ousting the dictatorship, simple as that, because the reason is obvious as the dawn, the dictatorship is slaughtering the people.

  12. Woa! Is this a Miss Venezuela contestant speech? Are you that naïve? Do you really think both parties are going to RD to negotiate for the betterment of the Venezuelan people? The regime is going for ANC recognition, Debt renegotiation approved by AN and lobby by MUD against sanctions. The MUD is going in trying to get some power quota or “espacio” to feed their “maquinaria; they will try to get as much as they can while they can. This type of thinking/attitude has been and is very detrimental to those suffering the most who cant live of dreams or treat sickness with hope.

      • You are talking about me, a gringo, with a lot of friends and family that are suffering. Same shit that started 16 years ago, and gets worse every year, month, day. I used to be able to “help” but that is more difficult every month, week.. but I and many like me stil, try.

        And you say I /we don’t “really care”. Fuck off!

        Your naive thought process is disgusting. People are suffering because of the Chavez regime, who refuse any change. You are suggesting if “we” change or accept (surrender) that things, something, anything will get better.

        You want to save lives? Wake up. Take a trip outside your Stockholm syndrome, see life and future is good outside Venezuela for +2mm expats for a reason. Nothing changes with this regime in place.

        Btw, I’ve been a reader, and financial supporter of CC for a long time… It once was a place with clear direction, great debates and ideas of how to oust Chavez. Now, other than a few writers (we love Emi, Naky and some others) this blog has lost its editorial way.. it has become a Readers Digest of sad, and a few heroic, short stories. And Liss is recommending selling out to become N Korea? WTF? Katy where are you?

        • and to clarify, are you the daughter of Rodolfo, “El Aviador” and you still have confidence in the MUD and/or the regimen to negotiate to save lives? sorry to be so blunt.. but this is a battle and war to be won or lost, not negotiated with criminals.

      • “no one cares about people’s suffering”

        Specially those who sit to “negotiate” for the next decade, claiming they’re doing it for the people.

        The only ones who actually care about the people are those who want to get rid of chavismo right now.

  13. When has the government delivered a concession? Never. The oppo usually gives up all leverage in exchange for nothing.
    As for the objective of saving lives, give me a break.

  14. To this the Soviet leader responded “How many divisions does the Pope of Rome have?”

    I true Stalinist way, Chavismo treats the opposition in the same way. So yes, restructuring the debt with the Assembly’s approval would be a boon for it, but it is unclear that any concession they make can be trusted. I mean, they have strung the opposition to the point that they have NO CREDIBILITY.

    It comes down to the reality of tyrants that see their people as an expendable resource, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. They only understand the language of brute and cruel force.

    Sure, go talk to them and extract concession which they will not keep. Embarrassing the regime helps the opposition but it does not deliver the knock out blow. For that you need the gun, and this is held by la Fuerza Armadas de Ocupacion Bolivariana. They, as most of the other Latin American armies will figure out that they are unfit to run a country. But it will take time, hard time.

  15. I could point several mistakes in the article, but the only one I’ll mention here is how the writer still thinks that “saving lives” could be achieved somehow by giving the dictatorship another decade of blank checks.

  16. Bismark said politics is the art of the possible. What he didnt say in that quote is that he routinely found ways to make his desired outcomes not only possible, but necessary, unavoidable, even if he had to lie, cheat, manipulate or do anything to get there.

    In a normal time, in a normal society, yes, politics would be negotiation between peers. But what we see in the Venezuelan situation is that the government knows how to make his wishes become possible or even unavoidable, while the opposition routinely find new ways to make their hand weaker. They dont have any remorse into twisting anything till the “possible” becomes “necessary”, even if it is “vote for me or starve”.

    MUD and the oppostion need to realize that the game is not about negotiating in good faith, but to ensure that the government doesnt have any other recourse but to negotiate and accept your positions. Probably better not to get into the part about lie and cheat, but really, you cant just pretend to “negotiate” in good faith with Chavismo. You have to get into a position of force, whatever it is, and from then tell them yea, I want to negotiate, you will do this and this and this and I will give you something. The MUD routinely gets to a point of some force, like big street movilizations, and then manages to undo it for an attempt to “negotiate” like they had anything the government wanted apart from cooling off the street…

    Right now any negotiation looks like talking with a malandro about how nice would it be if he didnt want your money; he will answer with a more stronger position from which to negotiate – do it or I shoot you, your choice.

  17. This is a fundamental discussion in the context of the crisis of democracy in the western world, and in the case of the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis, an urgent one. It’s somehow alarming that is taken in such a superficial way in this piece.
    Gladly, this has been a week in which the discussion on morality and ethics have been circling our timelines. This, perhaps triggered by Mayor Ledesma’s scape, by its first statements to the press. His harsh criticism to the small portion of “opposition” law makers who have decided, unilaterally, to engage in negotiations with the government, for the seventh time.

    “When new negotiations between Maduro’s government and the opposition parties were announced, the internet went mad: talking was treason, negotiating with a dictatorship is unethical, double-crossers hide everywhere. It could be argued that political action should be about morality, while many theorists state it isn’t.”

    I wish you had cited one of those theorists who argue in that way. Because I can list not only theorists but incidents in our history that prove otherwise.”

    First of all, to say that this is about morality sort of banalizes what this issue is really about; this is about principles which are the foundations of democracy, which at the same time are connected with universal values recognize by all civilized nations.

    You say:

    “if you think that political action is about morality, what imperative is higher than saving lives?”

    Really? Wasn’t Rosa Park’s decision not to stand up, and go to the back of the buss a political one, grounded in morals, ethics and principles? Are you telling us that she had to think in that moment about the negative consequences of her actions, many of them, life threatening, and go back to the back of the bus? What about Martin Luther King’s, Jr. choice to dedicate his life to end segregation, despite his life threatening consequences? What about Churchill decision to fight the Germans when he didn’t have too? Wasn’t he threatening the life of millions of people?Don’t these struggles, and victories, speak to us of something greater than human life itself?

    I would argue that we got this far into our Venezuelan tragedy, threatening and sacrificing the life of millions, precisely because we didn’t have politicians nor democrats who held this principles at heart. Seriously.

  18. The best of the best: “They weren’t elected by anyone.” But who was it?. And even better the ones who were elected are the real ones? Let’s think about this: the current governor of Táchira was elected, right? But is she the one people really wanted? This is my point: the way things work are like that: the cogollos chose who are going to be contesting in some “salidores” seats. For instance who ever is chosen to be the candidate for gobernador de Táchira in the opposition (elected in a rare primaria pulled by AD to elect AD candidates with only hundred votes), it’s very likely going to be elected. do you really think it made much different that the candidate was this or that? No, whoever was the chosen opposition candidate would be the elected governor.

    Same worked for some deputies: they were located in the salidores seats and they were elected, but not necessarily because of them but because the circuits they were elected are pro opposition. Let’s think about another example: HRA was elected deputy in circuit 3 of Caracas, a circuit that the opposition won even when Ch was alive. So whoever was the opposition candidate would be elected the deputy.

    This happens everywhere: people vote against the government or to support the government; the name of the candidates does not impact the election. That’s why you can have an opositor being elected in Chacao with the MUD tarjeta and if this opositor suddenly “salta la talanquera” and becomes chavista he will not be elected in Chacao anymore. However if this new chavista runs supported with the psuv tarjeta in Cojedes he will be elected there.

    So don’t kid yourself when talking about “elected by anyone” because most of them (indeed, I’m talking about the “elected” opositores) are not, by any means, the ideal ones. They are there just because the polarization created by Chavez that only allows to elect candidates from one of the the two poles.

    And that’s why all candidates need the support of the owners of the tarjetas (psuv or mud): if the tarjeta does not support them they do not have a chance.

    If a donkey is the one chosen by the cogollo then the donkey will be elected. And that’s why we have the elected president we have: he was the one chosen by his cogollo.

    • True, due to polarization nobody cares about the candidate’s name… But when we had internal opposition elections (primarias), those in GANA, or Soy Venezuela never won or were on second place. They have no votes, that’s the truth.

      • “They have no votes, that’s the truth.”

        Because they’ve been crushed under the censorship and media ostracism.

        If a candidate doesn’t “pass the cogollo test”, they will never get a serious voting in Venezuela, where candidates are fabricated in the media.

  19. The “opposition” needs to negotiate not with the regime but with some lifesaver forces to take on the regime. Then it can go to the DR and tell chavismo, you give me these three conditions or else!

    Street protests, no rubber-stamping of your debt restructuring, actual corruption cases brought forward to the press (since there is no judiciary), long etc.

    The opposition’s lack of bargains power stems directly from its unwillingness to change the system. They just want to change who runs the system, the proverbial “quite tu pa’ ponerme yo!”.

    Anti system promoters (Renny, MCM, Leopoldo, Brito, etc.) do not get a respite from the attacks of both incumbents and hopefuls to the ” party”.

    What we have now is a tribe, who got to power and now does not want to give up its seat, and an political establishment, so corrupt, and corruptible, and short sighted, that still thinks the system can stand another round.

    When we have actors scubas the honorable Mr. Diego arria, advocating for regime change, con la cara lavada! and the bolichicos and chavista millionaires trying to pasar agachados, and NO ONE in the AN calling them out for embezzlement and looting at grand scale! there is little hope…

  20. Currently no one knows the true extent of the criminal activity that the PSUV have been responsible for. I mean the true real forensic understanding of their criminal empire.
    If you knew you were responsible for, and profited from a brief synopsis being.

    Drug Trade, with the associated Venezuelan Foreign Policy connected to FARC a terrorist organisation.
    Drug Trade, with the connections ongoing with the Mexican Cartels, and the illicit meetings in El Yaque Margarita.
    Black flights to Tehran from Maiquetia Airport for years facilitating the breaking of UN sanctions set out by the IAEA as part of the Iranian Atomic programme.
    Black flights from Tehran transporting terrorist personnel from Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to Venezuela for onward travel with Illegally issued Venezuelan Passports.
    Human rights abuses included murder, illegal detention and torture.
    Political abuses and Fraud carried out by the Government.
    The laundering of Drug money.
    The massive fraud in the Hundreds of Billions of dollars using SITME, DICOM, CONCOEX etc etc.

    So lets ask the question…..is this a functioning Government or is it a criminal empire?
    If you are part of the organisation that carried out such practices, and you have no future if you relinquish power….. what would you do to stay in power, and not face justice.

    Everything.

    Lissette this is were you, and so many others just do not get it, people need a dose of serious ‘real politik’

    • I agree, we have a criminal band as rulling party. But, talking about realism: what resources do we have to take them out of office without negotation or elections? Guns, an army, the Avengers???

      • Venezuelans are not the people who will remove this Cartel Government, and you are dreaming with regards elections or negotiation, and soon all you will have will be communes. But please prove me wrong.
        I have a feeling though that in a month we will be in a worse position, after the negotiations. Chavismo will yet further tighten not relinquish its power.
        Remember there have been more political prisoners taken during the negotiating process of Zapatero than before the negotiations.
        So yes you need the Avengers!

      • Liz, now that you have come to this realization it may be more beneficial to not ask what can be gained through negotiations but how to get rid of the gang of criminals in control.

        I just watched Charlie Brown try to kick the ball again. Same outcome from the same actions. Humans do not seem to benefit from handouts. Assistance, when going to a party that has shown effort, can be hugely helpful.

      • Lissette,there are other alternatives. You just have to abandon you current mindset to be able to contemplate them and embrace them. The faster you understand that you have to prepare for a rebelion, the better. It will never happen if you people like you deny and sabotage it before it happens. Of course, there is no guarantee that it will work, we may be defeated, but I think it is worth it. In any case, if no one is willing, it is okay, but let’ s not pretend we are saving lives, at least.

      • “what resources do we have to take them out of office without negotation or elections?”

        International sanctions followed by street protests, armed with whatever is at hand, the sanctions will erode the regime’s capacity for repression until they can hold the fort no more.

        There’s no other way, becuase the so called leadership allowed this situation to come to this point by deceiving the people with the empty promise of a “painless and easy way out”

        How many lives have been lost to the regime after the infamous flinching of Capriles in 2013 when he accepted to have his presidency stolen by the dictatorship? He claimed he was doing it “to save lives”, yet the last four years of chavismo have costed Venezuela over one hundred thousand lives (100.000)

        People keep claiming that protests leave a river of blood and a trail of dead, I don’t know, 170 murders pale in the face of the over 5.000 murders that happened across the rest of the country.

  21. Mientras ustedes discuten sobre si son galgos o podencos, el país y el gobierno sigue su propia dinámica y será esta la que dicte el desenlace si no la para antes nadie. Les dejo con lo que el estómago de un aporreísta (literalmente, según el autor del artículo) cuenta en esa web.

    “”¡Carajo!, estoy que reviento. Yo no sé de discursos que llueven sobre lo mojado. Yo no sé de postergaciones. Yo no sé de levantadera de manos para aprobar en cámara lo ya ha sido aprobado en el cenáculo. Yo no sé de nada de esas vainas…. menos cuando tengo el hambre atrasada de tres meses. Pero sí sé que no puedo viajar para ver a mi gente. Sé que no podré probar una criollísima hallaca. Sé que no podré estrenar ni un par de medias. Sólo me queda esperar lo que diga y haga la ANC. Antes del 30 de julio me ofrecieron acabar con la guerra económica… Saben una cosa, ya no aguanto tanta lentitud, tantos estudios y análisis. Quiero hechos, no palabras. Como estará la vaina que hasta el apacible José Vicente Rangel ha pegado el grito al cielo. Lo dijo él. Yo no. Yo no soy yo. Soy tan sólo un estómago vacío que espera la conduerma de la ANC y del gobierno para que manden a parar, y pueda llenarme un poco…He hablado con mucha hambre y mucho dolor, tal vez mis palabras estén llenas de confusión, pero con hambre no se puede exigir mucho”.”

    Ante esta realidad y la de un gobierno criminal, cualquier discusión bienintencionada como la que aquí plantean ustedes se siente como papel mojado nada más

    • Esos “aporreístas” lo que dan es risa, cuando pudieron ser bachaqueros andaban muy felices apoyando al chavismo.

      Ahora que vinieron las mafias gordas del chavismo y los sacaron a patadas andan quejándose.

    • Lo mas patético del asunto es que la esperanza de este imbécil es que el gobierno “mande a parar”. O sea, que sigue esperando que la cosa es que los gorilas se decidan a “mandar” de una vez. Como si no estuviese pasando hambre por exactamente todas y cada una de las veces que se les ocurrió “mandar” algo

  22. Such as it is, I think the situation can be summarized as follows:

    A) The country is so broke that Maduro & Co. Can’t pay the bills and take their graft too (as the last two years have shown. those two have much higher priority than importing food and medicine).

    B) The Chinese and the Russkies will NOT give us more money. Why not? they would have done it already. The Chinese just said they are “confident” we’ll be able to deal with the current situation. The Russians refinanced a US$ 3.15 Billion loan They will happily obstruct anything the US, Canada or the EU attempt at the UN Security Council. But as to give us any fresh money? hard to believe. If they were willing and/or able to do it, they would have done it already

    C) The sanctions set by the US & Co do not allow Maduro or any his cronies to refinance the debt, the only way around that seems to have the AN on board

    D) There’s been talk that bondholders will not force an acceleration and try to confiscate any assets owned by Venezuela or PDVSA because it’s going to be a messy default and they have hope that they’ll get payed, even if they’re late payments. Well, Maduro can show all the willingness to pay he wants. But the ability for Venezuela to pay is becoming more questionable every week. SO, I find it hard to believe that there will be no acceleration in the near future.

    E) Any refinancing deal will require a radical change in our country’s current economic policies. MOST PROBABLY will also required the assistance of our favorite “Imperialist Organization” (i.e. The IMF)

    F) It’s very hard to believe that the Maduro Government will implement the changes required by E)

    Based on the above. Plus (for whatever is worth) international pressure. I think that Maduro has no choice but to negotiate with the MUD. He (or any Chavista for that matter) of course would never admit to that, but I think that at most, with the Russian refinancing, he has three or four months before entering a messy default.

    This leads me to think that the MUD’s position ought to be:

    Non-Negotiable: Elections supervised by international observers by March 2018

    What can the MUD negotiate with Maduro?

    – Who’d get amnesty: Padrino Lopez and his top Generals most probably

    – Who goes to Cuba: Maduro, Diosdado, Delcy Rodriguez, etc.

    – Whether the PSUV gets to field a candidate for the March 2018 Elections

    The first point HAS to be non negotiable, let’s assume that the MUD is as spineless as it’s supposed to be and decides to accept CNE supervised elections in December 2018 (which is of course, what Maduro would accept at most). Furthermore, let’s say the AN is on board with this. Hell, let’s say the US actually accepts that and allows Venezuela to enter the necessary deals to refinance its debts. Well, I suspect it would still be a non starter. The IMF won’t be on board because there are no guarantees Maduro will actually do the required changes in Economic policy. And, in turn, bondholders can simply say that if the IMF is not on board they see no reason to refinance, Game Over, we default in April.

    • C) The sanctions set by the US & Co do not allow Maduro or any his cronies to refinance the debt, the only way around that seems to have the AN on board

      If the AN gets on board to help this regime try to refinance PDVSA debt, then I’d hope each and every one of the spineless bastards would be added to US sanctions list.

  23. “Venezuelans are not the people who will remove this Cartel”

    Well, no one is going to do it for them. There are no Avengers, sorry. Venezuelans will get used to their lifestyle of hyper-inflation, abject poverty (except for the uber-wealthy looting class) and government oppression that is the Glorious Revolution.

    If there is any silver lining, it’s that for years to come Venezuela can be a shining example of what not to do, despite how badly lefties want to impose this shit. If so, lives will be saved elsewhere, even if not in Venezuela.

    • Agreed, i do not think that foreign soldiers should waste their lives to act in Venezuela.
      I believe Venezuelans are a lost cause.
      I am starting to believe after living with them for 10 years that the majority deserve whats coming.
      The political ruling class on both sides could not organize a piss up in a brewery.
      One of the only people i have respect for here, and who can play a pivotal role in its future is Mendoza.
      But it doesnt matter what i think, it matters how Maduro, Cabello, Lopez, Reverol and Al Assimi believe how the endgame will be dealt with, for their benefit and survival.

  24. It’s not morality, it’s practicality–nothing substantive has been achieved by “dialogue” with the Enemy, much has been lost. The Regime only, for now, needs financial respite, and they think the MUD pendejos will fall once again for illusory mini-quotas of imagined political power in exchange for an AN-approved debt re-negotiation temporary reprieve, which finally will not materialize since the Regime will be unable/unwilling to make the fundamental free-market changes necessary for needed IMF approval. Meanwhile, post -Muni and probably moved-up Presidential elections, the Regime will tighten the screws on the Communal/Cuban state model of serfdom. Wild card–Ven. military discontent. Final draw into an inside royal straight–foreign military intervention to prevent the inevitable political destabilization of SA neighbors/Region….

  25. Lissette, this should lighten your heavy heart.

    CC poster “John”, at his own expense, and I’m sure at the cost of a lot of his personal time, has sent me a care package for the Venezuelan people in my area.

    Those packages arrived today via the significant help of the shipping company and family members. I received two boxes with perhaps a thousand or more packets of seeds…..onions, bell peppers, egg plant, tomato, green beans, and corn, just to name a few.

    We displayed them here at the bodega late today and now have a line leading out the door of those who wish to put their name on the list to recieve seeds. Once we’ve gotten all the names compiled, I’ll split the seeds up equally amongst those who expressed interest.

    There are plenty of people here who have the knowledge, the will, and land available to plant and produce food, right now they just don’t have access to credit or seed. What John has done will help keep them and their and families alive and somewhat healthy.

    And, as the commercial says, but wait, there’s more!

    John also sent over-the-counter cough and sore throat lozenges, cough and “malestar” syrup, anti-alergy medicine, an anti-bacterial cream, and numerous other treatments for everyday ills that most civilized countries take for granted. This will be a godsend to these local people.

    And while most of them are too busy looking for a meal or meds for their sick children and now hardly pay attention to the politics, I’m telling each and every one of them that it was evil empire seed companies who provided John with much of this material at greatly reduced costs because they knew the goods were going to the people of Venezuela.

    John, you’re a saint.

    • MR
      At Last!! Vicky sent me an e-mail saying that you have them.
      The owners of the seed company told me that there are a little over 2,000 packets.
      This is a job well done by so many people that helped me.
      My sister Barb was going to Florida and drove everything to the Port of Miami. As she has done many times before.
      Everyone from Bill and Justine, the owners of the seed company, Vicky, a wonderful women that I have never met in person, but I’ve been helping for a long while, Maria the lady at the shipping company.
      MR’s stepchildren played a critical role also.
      Kudos to everyone!
      I am so very happy that everything arrived intact.
      Personally, I am thankful that I have been able to do something to try and lighten the burden of your friends and neighbors.
      Let’s stay in touch. I still have a list of things your people need. I will do my best to get them to you.

  26. “Lo pragmático es ‘salvar la vida de la gente’, permitiendo que los criminales que han asesinado a la gente por décadas continúen asesinándolos durante otra década más porque así los matarán de a poquito y sin que nadie se dé cuenta de ello.”

  27. Lisette,

    Your argument sounds like a women who gets constantly beaten by her husband, and refuses to leave him or divorce him just for the “kids”… and on top of that berates the officer that is trying to help you and your kids.

    Your side presented this argument every time, a slippery slope that only serves to strengthen the government.

    For the record, your arguments will be better served if the regime is willing to change the direction of the country in regards to economy and human rights. At the moment you and I both know that they are less than willing, so they have to go.

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