Photo: AVN

Launching a new format for his Sunday show, without an audience and shortened, yesterday Nicolás appointed major general Manuel Quevedo as both head of PDVSA (replacing Nelson Martínez) and Energy minister (replacing Eulogio Del Pino). Quevedo is remembered for his repressive crackdown on 2014 protests and knows nothing about the oil industry, but Nicolás believes in him.

Allegedly, the main demand of the State-owned oil company is: “purge, purge, purge in PDVSA!”, so Nicolás ordered Quevedo to: “Find the most committed employees so that PDVSA once again becomes the PDVSA roja rojita that the Revolution needs.”

The presidential speech didn’t mention the need for reinvestment or for improving output, not a single mention of the coming post-default crisis. Suddenly, the priority is weeding out the corruption established by chavismo itself over 18 years and with that mission accomplished, Venezuela will then be “a world energy power,” obviously, because in order to produce oil, we don’t need specialized technicians but loyal militants. Without a single sign of remorse, Nicolás militarizes the oil industry, the country’s main source of foreign income. Now imagine the reaction of PDVSA bondholders…

Castlings, like always

José Vielma Mora returns to the Executive cabinet as Foreign Trade minister, replacing Miguel Pérez Abad who will remain as head of Banco Bicentenario. The former governor is charged with finding other products to export in exchange for dollars, even though there’s no food or medicines. Export-worthy products must come up without raw materials or investments.

Ildemaro Villarroel is now Housing minister and must build 600,000 housing units in 2018, with who knows what materials or where. General Carlos Osorio is now Transport minister, replacing his military colleague Juan de Jesús García Toussaintt. Without mentioning the lack of spare parts or the endless price increase of the few parts that can still be found in the country, Nicolás claimed that the first order of business in Transport is recovering 500 units (?) burnt down during guarimbas.

Sick? Show me your carnet

The government started freely distributing some medicines on Saturday, in order to mitigate the shortage in the country 95% according to the most recent estimates , but pointing out that in order to access them, patients must have the carnet de la patria, the filter to benefit from any social program, the crown jewel of chavismo’s instruments of social control.

Foreseeably, the announcement means that there are no medicines enough to satisfy the demand we’re literally suffering, so social networks will remain a space for urgent requests of medicines, while the government keeps denying the humanitarian crisis and more people die everyday due to its indolence.

Dialogue

National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges restated that the priority for negotiations with the government to be held in the Dominican Republic are food and medicines for Venezuelans. In his view, the priority must be the creation of a humanitarian channel followed by a democratic government change: “so that we can establish the conditions for Venezuelans to procure, through vote, the change of government that’s urgent in the country.” Borges said that this Monday, they’ll reveal the committee that will attend the meeting next weekend, with the observation of Foreign ministers from Chile, Paraguay, México, Bolivia and Nicaragua, as well as president Danilo Medina, representing the host country.

Onslaught

Prosecutor general Luisa Ortega Díaz admitted the mistakes that prevented actions to halt “the authoritarian wave” in Venezuela on time, recognising she was part of such wave for so long. In her message for the 48th anniversary of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Day she addressed employees:

“These are hard times for all of us, but I know that through the years in which we built strong and modern institutions you had the chance to develop a sense of belonging and identity that will make us overcome the dictatorship’s pitfalls,” says the document, adding:

“With absolute responsibility and committed with the future, I admit before you, the mistakes that prevented us from timely halting the authoritarian wave that was imposed on our institution and the country’s constitutional order.”

She called for fortitude with the certainty that “they don’t have much time left.”

The flu is winning, but I go on.

As Luisa says: it doesn’t have much time left –.

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Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.

23 COMMENTS

  1. “Allegedly, the main demand of the State-owned oil company is: “purge, purge, purge in PDVSA!”, so Nicolás ordered Quevedo to: “Find the most committed employees so that PDVSA once again becomes the PDVSA roja rojita that the Revolution needs.”

    Isn’t that what’s commonly referred to as the death rattle?

    • “Find the most committed employees so that PDVSA once again becomes the PDVSA roja rojita that the Revolution needs.”

      For some reason I was reminded of that PDSVA union leader who disagreed/argued with Chavez on live television during the 2012 Presidential Campaign, which was not part of the script! The show ended up cutting off due to “technical difficulties”. I wonder what ever happened to him.

  2. Appealing to my “Miraflorogist’ skills, I sense important movement inside the Chaverment. The designation of a military man as the new Venezuelan Oil Capo dei Capi and the food fight with Ramirez and the action movie imprisonement of Citgo executives deserves some speculation.

    Obviously someone tiene que pagar el muerto of PDVSA so they seem to be ready to sacrifice Ramirez and his cadre. Moreover, Maduro seems determined to make it a spectacle, however, I would bet that it will not make the waves of Luisa Ortega’s defection. I wonder where will Ramirez run to? Would he cooperate with the US justice if recalled to Caracas?

    Then a man known for his violent repressive abilities trying to negotiate PDVSA out of the hole it has dug itself in. It sure does seems like a skill mismatch. Moreover, it reminds me of the mistake the Latin-american military did in the 70s when they tried to run Argentina, Brazil and Peru (save Chile, it got technocrats to do the job). Venezuela’s military seems to be in a worse position as the economy is already tanked. It sure shows what a boil the Venezuelan military is, ignorant of history, economics and oil business. But then again, history shows that in time, they too will be fold at a terrible cost to the nation.

  3. Military are put where there are still some barrel scrapings left–e.g., PDVSA. RR has too much dirt on everyone to be thrown under the bus. Viva La Revolucion!

  4. “Julio Borges restated that the priority for negotiations with the government to be held in the Dominican Republic are food and medicines for Venezuelans.”

    This is the problem, populism. The so-called “canal humanitario” is BS. The country needs to change the economic route and for that it needs to change the political regime at first. “Canal humanitario” is BS. Things need to be called by its name. Political change is the only first step. Everything else is just diversion.

    P.S. For those who think the statement “canal humanitario is BS” is harsh, think that the crisis it’s not about “ignorance” or “bad policies”, all things are happening for a purpose, and the purpose is to control the country (its richness). People only bother the regime. Stop begging for food or medicine because the regime, on purpose, imposed starvation.

    • It makes me wonder, what would the humanitarian channel look like?

      Certainly, delivery of food and medicine to Venezuelan ports of entry would be easy enough logistically to accomplish… but, like any good bloated and corrupt bureaucracy, the goods would have to magically make it from said port of entry to end user. The start of the skim…

      Naturally, Chavismo would like to make it appear that THEY are the ones who are making this happen. They are NOT going to let their mortal enemies disperse such important and politically sensitive goods to El Pueblo. And you can be damn sure that they will be getting their cut first, followed by their pals in the military, then their faithful voters (CLAP?) And, you can be assured that the WRONG people won’t be getting much, if any.

      I think it would be quite entertaining, if it weren’t so sad. Grab a bag of popcorn and pull up a chair kind of stuff. Cue the Yakety Sax…

  5. Perhaps the biggest mistake Chavismo is making is the idea that the revolution can proceed on rhetoric and socialist passion and military force, and do so, in a country of 30 million, with no funds. They have one cash cow, PDVSA, and it’s dying. To revive it, they appoint some soldier with no background in the energy sector nor yet in international finance, with an order to increase production no matter what – a total impossibility without new funds to repair ailing rigs and new talent to manage same.

    Fact is, going into the negotiations in the DR, Maduro has no real bargaining position, though I’m sure he thinks he does. But what would it be? Without opposition approval of a debt restructuring, Maduro is out of business. Period. He’ll be the manager of an empty store. So the opposition needs to stand fast and not concede to their demands which must be met BEFORE any discussions about debt restructuring is finalized, otherwise the Chavistas will never deliver as promised.

    This could get volatile because the Chavistas have never shown any ability to compromise in anything. It’s always been strictly on their own terms. If the opposition give in to those terms for whatever reason, they have failed the country in my book.

    For my money the opposition should take a take it or leave it approach. If Madro decides to leave it, it leaves him nowhere but in a death spiral.

    • Great perspective!

      So the military have taken over the food distribution for a couple of years and people are going hungry. They may shirk their responsibility by claiming that it is the lack of money, so now they take over the money, i.e. the oil business. So they try their hand at it, they will attempt to intimidate in true chavista/military form and… fail miserably.

  6. The NGO’s and other international aid organizations are not so naive as to simply turn humanitarian aid over to the regime. They would be involved in distribution.
    The regime will not allow humanitarian aid for that simple reason. This isn’t about acceptance of humanitarian aid being an admission of failure for the Socialist / corrupt / Cuban regime.
    It is all about control. How many people would be loyal to the regime if they did not have to depend on the regime for everything they have?
    Food and medicine is a weapon that is being used to control the population.
    The only hope is that sanctions and the actions by bondholders will remove enough money that the regime can no longer feed the military or the generals begin fighting each other for the scraps.
    In the meantime people will suffer and die.
    I so despise these bastards that I will celebrate their demise and do anything that I can think of to accelerate the end of this regime. The regional leaders that went nuts when President Trump said military options were being considered, betrayed all of the people that are suffering and crying out for help.
    Venezuela is the single most important humanitarian and political crisis in the Western hemisphere.
    I would much rather that these leaders had simply said that they hoped to avoid US military intervention. As it stands the regime acts with impunity. Assured that they can not be touched inside the country.
    As the refugee crisis in neighboring countries increases and the suffering and deaths continue, these same leaders will be demanding US intervention when their countries are experiencing the effects of this criminal regime’s actions.

    • “The new minister then tweeted that “We’re going to turn PDVSA into the sacred temple of the people!” vowing to bring the company closer to the ideals of Hugo Chavez.”

      Peachy.

  7. “It is all about control. How many people would be loyal to the regime if they did not have to depend on the regime for everything they have?”

    Not a day goes by that I don’t hear someone talking about the regime requiring the presentation of a Carnet de la Patria in order to receive some government handout.

    “The regional leaders that went nuts when President Trump said military options were being considered, betrayed all of the people that are suffering and crying out for help.”

    Yesterday afternoon I left with a neighbor and his truck to pick up 5,000 kilos of corn about an hour’s drive from here. On the way he asked if I thought the US would “intervene” in Venezuela. “Military intervention”, I asked. “Yes, absolutely” he said…….”this country is run by a dictator and he’s starving us to death, something has to be done”.

    Other than my attorney who asked me about such an intervention 10 years ago, this is the first that anyone locally has ever brought up the subject.

  8. Everything folks are saying seems spot on. What we see IMO is a group of people doing more of the same and promising different results. Other than getting an opposition sign off on restructuring debt, what do you think the Chavistas are hoping to negotiate? What does the opposition stand to gain if they agree? And if they don’t agree, what are the Chavista’s options?

    • what do you think the Chavistas are hoping to negotiate?
      Nothing of real value. They are just faking proper form and buying time. As you said Chavismo NEVER negotiates.

      What does the opposition stand to gain if they agree?
      Preserve goodwill from international actors. The opposition has to go through the negotiation platitudes, but nothing of significance will be produced.

      what are the Chavista’s options?
      They don’t know they have no options… yet. They are ignorant and jingoistic. Moreover, they probably cannot imagine the shit storm they are unleashing on Venezuela. I think of Alan Garcia Perez in Peru in 1986 or so, where he thought the could force conditions on the international banking system. He lost, bad, and the people suffered a lot.

    • What we see IMO is a group of people doing more of the same and promising different results”

      The definition of insanity. “Doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting different results”.

      I wish I had a Bolivar Fuerte for every time I have heard that particular saying*. I might have 0.00003 cents.

      ———-

      *I have not had a drop of alcohol since my early 20’s. I am a 30 year “Friend of Bill W”, as we like to say. (I came from a long line of heavy drinkers who either ruined their lives, or put themselves into early graves. I saw where I was heading and got “sane” while the getting was good.) That being said, these Chavistas have become drunk with power, and they would rather keep doing what hasn’t worked than let anyone take away their power. And what they do is blame. It’s literally all that they know. Its the hallmark of Marxism. Blame someone else, because Marxism works fabulously on paper. Blame the old oil execs. Blame the new oil execs. Blame the Chavista guy who replaced him. Blame the new Chavista guy. Blame him when things go down the shitter again, Bring in the new MIlitary guy. Repeat ad nauseum. It won’t stop until they can’t find anyone else to captain their ship of fools.

      Insanity.

  9. I think we’ve gotten to the point that they’re no longer trying to convince the international community and opposition about the sincerity and validity of their schemes.

    They’re trying to convince THEMSELVES, and failing.

    Think Adolph in the bunker.

    • That’s a good observation. As the hunger goes further and further up the Chavista apparatchik chain, will they continue to take part in this charade?

  10. what are the Chavista’s options?
    They don’t know they have no options… yet. They are ignorant and jingoistic. Moreover, they probably cannot imagine the shit storm they are unleashing on Venezuela. I think of Alan Garcia Perez in Peru in 1986 or so, where he thought the could force conditions on the international banking system.
    ————

    If this isn’t the crux of it, what is? All politics aside, what imaginable option do the Chavistas have at this point? The hole is too deep for the Chinese and Russians to actually haul them out. And any idea of gaming the international banking system is only a short term ruse that complicates the very factors needed to change course. That is, they can’t look to cheat foreign investors while at the same time rally for more of their funds.

    Man, this goose is cooked. It just doesn’t know it yet.

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