Hunger’s Victory

For Monday, December 11, 2017. Translated by Javier Liendo.

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Photo: Luis Carlos Díaz

Once again, without prior notice, the CNE changed our voting station and we had to vote within walls decorated with drawings of el finado’s face, several versions of his crooked eyes and Fidel’s portrait, in a so-called camp of pioneers. Upon watching me enter, the idiot who acted as secretary of my table said “Una escuálida más,” a violation of my human rights, but if I could practice restraint with the space imposed by the CNE, I could do it with him as well. There were no pictures of the candidates in the ballot, only the logos of the political parties and the candidates’ names in small letters. At 4:00 p.m., I was the fourth person to sign the records.

Surrender

These elections were marked by defeat at too many levels: the imposition of the ANC’s election, gubernatorial elections, the induction of the winners before the ANC, the results in Bolívar state being tampered with and the ouster of Zulia’s legitimately elected governor. They were also marked by imprisoned mayors and those who were forced to flee the country, by the administrative disqualification of so many politicians with unresolved proceedings, as well as by notable mistakes committed by the opposition’s leadership and the expectations they created without preparing any answers for potential failures. A disenchanted electorate, consumed by the anguish of shortages, hyperinflation, the collapse of public services, sealed the ruinous path of institutional decay, of an illegal CNE that decided, with the greatest brazenness possible, to act as the Administration’s instrument once again.

Attacking your peer

Voting or not voting wasn’t a dilemma. It was, instead, a reason for digital confrontations that included discreditations and insults among the same victims of the failed State, the consequence of infamous decisions. Abstention was sold as the best way to demonstrate our dissatisfaction with institutions, more than justified with what I described above. For others, it was an act of surrender that only eased the way for the regime to violate our electoral rights. In my mind, abstention did nothing to undermine power, it only gave them stability, wrapped with the ribbon of the certainty that I couldn’t do anything to change it.

The day’s barbarities

Plan República didn’t prevent the attacks from chavista armed groups, the pressure of red spots or the campaign they carried out near voting stations, but they did prohibit voters from exercising their rights if their arms, legs or feet were uncovered. Additionally, Plan República prevented journalists from accessing electoral centers, some were stripped of their phones and forced to erase pictures, while others were even detained. When you have the chance, check Venezuelan Electoral Observatory’s work (@OEVenezolano on Twitter). At the end of the process, there were abundant complaints for voting stations that hadn’t closed despite long hours without voters.

Most notably, PDVSA and Oil Ministry employees were forced to report their vote on a website.

Motta committed a crime

Electrical Energy Minister Luis Motta Domínguez decided to keep his voting ticket even though he was being recorded.

It’s an electoral crime because the ticket is a public document, necessary for auditing, and the fact that it’s not in the box only guarantees numeric inconsistency between registered votes and their physical records.

Journalist Eugenio Martínez (@puzkas on Twitter) said that holding on to the ticket “is the way to guarantee that everyone who registers for the carnet de la patria voted for the PSUV,” so each voter leaves the carnet, goes to vote, takes the ticket and the following voters keep that ticket and do the same with their own. Regardless of whether this is the “method”, the CNE has to investigate minister Motta’s case and set a stance regarding the coaction imposed by red spots.

Regime candidate Erika Farías let slip a tweet stating that Nicolás “spoke of rewarding those who vote through the carnet de la patria.” She erased it, but didn’t consider the magic of screenshots.

Banned from running?

Nicolás voted at the same hour as me yesterday and offered statements to consolidate his tyranny, after attacking Henry Ramos Allup (“Alú” in his version) and claiming that the U.S. already picked another presidential candidate, he said that “Even though all polls show AD as the main party of the Venezuelan opposition, very far from PSUV; and the remaining parties, Voluntad Popular, Primero Justicia, have disappeared from the Venezuelan political scene, and now they’re gone for good, because any party that didn’t participate today and instead called for a boicó (sic) on elections, can no longer be allowed to participate, that’s the position that the ANC has adopted constitutionally and legally, and since I am the head of State of a legitimate power. I support them, they’re banned from running again.” The ANC’s decision is neither constitutional nor legal. Diosdado Cabello made his contribution by claiming that all elected mayors must be inducted before the ANC in order to take office.

Human rights

Journalist Gregoria Díaz (@churuguara) denounced:

“A huge military and police deployment in MBI Aragua to arrest former mayor and candidate Delson Guárate after he demanded that voting stations without voters in line must close. The whereabouts of the candidate and former political prisoner are unknown.” And this happened yesterday, right on Human Rights Day.

The day also marked the 8th anniversary of judge María Afiuni’s arbitrary detention, ordered by Chávez during a cadena and carried out by prosecutor general Luisa Ortega Díaz, even though judge Afiuni merely complied with a resolution of the UN and the Inter American Justice Court and has withstood abuses throughout a trial with liberty restrictions that exceed the top limit of her sentence: seven years.

Results

With 97% of transferred data, CNE authority Sandra Oblitas announced a 47.32% turnout: 9,139,564 voters. With the abstention reported all over the country, many question the consistency of this figure. Omar Prieto took Zulia’s governorship with 57.3% and except for San Cristóbal, all the results reported so far show PSUV taking every mayorship, with the opposition losing historic bastions.

Chavismo celebrates its “victory”. The carnet de la patria was instrumental, because the government has made the instrument necessary for access to any social benefits. Coercion doesn’t guarantee support or loyalty, it’s merely a testament to despair and misery, key variables for this “victory,” hunger’s victory.

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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.

31 COMMENTS

    • No, because Trumpsters are the equivalent of chavistas and deserve their monicker.

      Right now they are applauding that Commander Trump´s proxy on the fcc is ending Net neutrality. Very funny and eerie.

      • Yeah, let’s take a shot at Trump and his supporters because Venezuela isn’t enough of a cluster fuck.

        I’ve never seen anything so shameful as what I saw happening yesterday and I’ve seen some shameful shit in my life. This country is fucked up beyond all reason.

        • Meh. People will do some strange shit in order to put food in the mouths of their kids…

          Money to bribe the “Dumb Masses” who vote Chavista is Maduro’s Big Problem. Time isn’t his ally any longer. Don’t be surprised if the TSJ, ANC and the CNE decide to move the presidential elections up to January. Not that it matters. When the Chavistas can’t feed their devotees any longer, the gig is up.

          I have to wonder if things will be better after the coming coup, since the military is so rabidly Chavista already? It appears that something “symbolic” must occur… the military already controls everything worth controlling.

          Except the inflow of money that will soon be gone.

          • Thanks for pointing out what I didn’t realize. That the elections would be moved up because he doesn’t have the bribe money to wait until the end of 2018.

          • “People will do some strange shit in order to put food in the mouths of their kids…”

            Yeah, agreed.

            Having said that, I’ve been here in this pueblo long enough and have dealt with enough of the population here at the bodega that I know many of them well.

            The polls were one block west of me. The food hand-out was one block to the east so I got to see virtually everyone who made the trek to pick up their bag as the passed in front of the shop.

            The shameful were those who didn’t need the bag of food but sold their souls regardless.

          • My best guesses (joke) as to the regime’s next move (choose more than one if you wish):
            — annex Cuba
            — change the Venezuelan flag to the Cuban flag
            — declare war on New Zealand
            — repudiate the debt (already almost done)
            — declare that “diseases do not exist”
            — declare that elections are no longer necessary since everyone who holds a carnet de la patria has already voted positively
            — repair the hueco on 4a transversal que cumple 28 anos hoy
            — announce that President Trump is a valued ally and nominate him to the TSJ in Chavez’ honor
            — renounce all Earthly possessions
            — nationalize a second permanent table at L’Enchuffee and declare it a monument to 21st Century Socialism
            — sell el esequibo to the Chinese for $100 billion dollars

          • @MRubio

            Two possibilities: (my opinion, naturally)

            #1. Ignorance. Actual or willful. The Dumb Masses who vote Chavist either don’t know that liberty brings prosperity, or they don’t care. They think that only “smart” people get elected, and because they are smart, they should make the difficult decisions. They think they should be taken care of… coddled and nurtured.

            #2. Wealth envy and class hatred. They don’t care that they have to suffer under Chavismo… so long as “the Other Guy” has to share in their misery. I am inclined to think that this scenario is what ails Venezuela.

            I see scenario #2 all the time in the US. People here have their undies in a knot because of some new tax scheme that allows them to keep more of their own money…. wait… WHAT? THEY ARE PISSY BECAUSE THEY GET TO KEEP MORE OF THEIR OWN MONEY?!?!?

            Well, not exactly… what gets the Precious Snowflakes fair-trade hemp thongs in a twist isn’t the fact that THEY get to keep more of their own money, but that someone else (who earns more) gets to keep more of their money. The bed wetters don’t care about their own financial well being… they care about the other guy and how much HE ISN’T PAYING.

            Wealth envy and class hatred. You can set your watch by it.

          • El Guapo – With due respect for your understanding of U.S. political spectrum, in Venezuela it is ~~possible~~ that the people know their vote is not going to make any difference (proof is the nullification of the AN, the governor of Zulia, the corruption of CNE, the TSJ, etc.), so why not get some food?

            The big difference in the U.S. is that in spite of the ridiculously lax voter identification laws in some states and blatantly wrong “court decisions”, our votes DO get added up and they do count (what happens after that, is a matter of how truthful a candidate is, as we have discovered in RINO’s). One party here seems dedicated to principles not at all unlike Chavistas: giving away not just food, but housing, education, health care, “therapeutic” tanning beds, and lying through their teeth.

            Underlying all of that is the matter of philosophy or character of individuals in any country, and that is indeed subject, I believe, to universally applicable attributes of virtues, but as the saying goes, “politics make strange bedfellows” and it is too easy to draw inapplicable conclusions from one specific subset. I gave up on understanding what’s happening in Venezuela, in specifics – that is, I don’t know who is on who’s side, and how that side lines up.

            You may be right about greed and envy and class hatred, but isn’t that a manifestation or symptom of a lack of personal initiative and material success? Born of deficits in personal values, perhaps? It gets pretty deep and foggy, because luck may also be a significant factor – was Facebook, for example, a can’t-fail design, or was part of it simply that it “caught on” as a fad, and the guy happened to be in the right place at the right time? What characteristics of humans does Facebook appeal to?

        • Ira,
          Exactly!!
          Politicians very rarely admit that they are wrong.
          The outpouring of love that the Liberal politicians, media and celebrities had for Chavez and Venezuelan Socialism, even though it has shown to promote corruption and result in human suffering and human rights abuses on an epic scale, shows how wrong these people were than and are now.
          Their egos or selective indignation only allow them to find fault with Conservative Ideology and makes it almost impossible for them to criticize the criminal regime that has destroyed Venezuela.
          You don’t have to like Trump to honestly admit that as far as Venezuela is concerned, he has done more to focus international attention on the criminal regime and make it much harder for them to continue on their trajectory to Communism and a police state than any other President.
          The Obama administration’s foreign policy as a whole was a complete and utter failure. Clinton was the adviser to Obama for four years. What did Clinton do to try and help the people of Venezuela?
          Trump does not have the polish and tact of a career politician or diplomat.
          In Venezuela’s case, Trump is the most powerful person in the world that advocates for the Venezuelan people and the restoration of Democracy.
          Condemning Trump for conflicting with Liberal ideology does not serve any useful purpose for the people of Venezuela.
          The sanctions that have been imposed on the criminal actors in this regime, have done more to weaken it that anything the opposition has done.
          Trump outmaneuvered Maduro, Just as Maduro has outmaneuvered the opposition.

          • “Trump outmaneuvered Maduro, Just as Maduro has outmaneuvered the opposition.”

            It wasnt until late 2016 (after 2015 elections were basically voided and the path to full dictatorship sped up) when the rest of the world joined the US in calling out Venezuela as a dictatorship. Before that it was impossible to go beyond targeted sanctions and providing covert support to pro-democracy groups without being counterproductive and playing into the regimes hands. Now as they are ‘beyond the pale’, we (the us) can use more tools and they have been used.

            I’m truly baffled how people’s partisanship so colors their perspective of everything.

      • Continually amazed at the idiocy shown.
        Remember it was the previous US admins party that loved he who must not be named.
        But, let’s make fun of the current US admin party that knew what he was from the beginning.

      • I’m sooooo sick and tired reading BS about Trump. I’ve never been a fan of the guy but those who want to see change in any way, shape or form in Venezuela should thank the god they believe in for Trump being the US president. Actually you should get on your knees and suck his dick long and hard and swallow every bit of cum he still might have in his balls. Señor Obama didn’t care one bit what was happening in Venezuela. The CUNT even tried to legitimize the Cuban dictatorship FFS. TRUMP IS THE ONLY HOPE VENEZUELA HAS, Dios Santos y Maria I hope he gets a second term so he can finish Chavismo for ever!!!!! Btw fuck allllll you left ass MF’ers on here!!!!! Bunch of ignorant cunts. Socialism and Communism ARE the worlds biggest CANCER!!!!!

      • No, because Trumpsters are the equivalent of chavistas and deserve their monicker.

        I don’t know if you are a US citizen or a Venezuelan citizen- or both.

        If you are a US citizen, I would refer you to George Ciccariello-Maher, an Associate Professor Drexel University. He is vehemently pro-Chavista- has written a book about Chavismo- and is also decidedly anti-Trump. As such, your equating “Trumpsters” with Chavistas is absurd.

        In general, your comment reflects the smug, sneering, self-righteous attitude of many of those on the left in the US. That attitude has been around for a while. Tom Lehrer captured that attitude rather well in The Folk Song Army.

        If you are a Venezuelan citizen, I would inform you that a decisive factor in my leaving the left was my reading Carlos Rangel’s Del Buen Salvaje al Buen Revolucionario, which I purchased in Anaco. My observations of Latin America at ground level did not agree with the leftist catechism I had absorbed at university. Rangel’s book helped flesh out my observations.

        If you are a Venezuelan citizen, I would add that when you are attacking Trump supporters, you are alienating about half the US electorate. I would assume that the Venezuelan oppo would want support from US citizens. Insulting Trump or those who voted for him will lead many to decide, “to hell with Venezuela. Chavistas hate us and the oppo hate us. No point in helping THEM.”

        ¿Me entendés, pana?

        • Open admiration of autocrats, disdain for democratic processes and checks and balances, attacks democratic institutions that get in the way of his personal power or otherwise threaten him, claims there is a media war against him (and hates CNN lol), blatantly lies all the time, introduces coarse and low language to official Presidential communications, appointing of unqualified family members to high positions, repeating and spreading conspiracy theories, message of outsiders and elites holding down real Americans, waving the flag whenever possible, provocateur extraordinaire, narcissist, etc etc etc.

          He has a lot in common with Chavez, absolutely true. But also a very different country and a different person, so these comparisons are not that helpful.

          • What you stated about Trump appears to be the approved CC narrative about Trump. Quico stated much the same about Trump in the WaPo. So it isn’t as if I never heard it before.

            Anyone with a modicum of knowledge of US politics is well aware that much or most of what you stated about Trump could also be stated about Obama. (If you are not aware of that, you might try alternative news sources, such as Instapundit.) Which is why, as you put it, these comparisons are not that helpful.

            I would also point out Vero wrote about those who supported Trump.
            When most Americans on both sides of the political aisle are either indifferent to Venezuela, or are in “the hell with Venezuela” camp, it isn’t a good idea to further alienate them by expressing scorn for ~half the electorate. That is my point. Vero doesn’t agree with me.

            Escuchame, pana. By virtue of having worked in Venezuela, and also having worked with Venezuelans in the US, I am concerned with Venezuela. My concern for Venezuela puts me in a very small minority in the US. When I read such one-sided statements from oppo people like Vero, Quico, and Jesus Torrealba- which shows me they lack a modicum of knowledge of US politics- my inclination is to say, “the hell with Venezuela.” If you are going to insult people, don’t act surprised when those so insulted refuse to support you.

            Ciao.

  1. “…abstention did nothing to undermine power, it only gave them stability,” This is not accurate. If the opposition had participated the number of alcaldías would not have been much different. 50 more alcaldías would have done nothing to undermine “power”. That’s the real reason people did not participate, their goal is to remove or at least undermine power.

    “…[w]ith the abstention reported all over the country, many question the consistency of this figure.” This statement lack of consistency. First of all, the number of votes were 2M less than on 15O, and second of all, Caracas voted yesterday and not on 15O. As such, why should they be consistent on 15O and not now?

    This the problem in the country: on one hand, not being clear on the goal; on the other hand, inconsistency.

  2. I find Javier’s translation of “puntos rojos” oddly appropriate, considering that “red spots” are an indication of measles and other diseases.

  3. The prophetic warning about “The Devil’s Excrement,” that the “free money” earned from oil sales would eventually kill the capacity, gumption and natural ambition of an entire nation, is seemingly being played out in the death throes of present-day Venezuela, a failed state by most any definition. While a minority within and perhaps a majority outside the country see the train wreck for what it is, it certainly appears that the status quo and both Chavista and opposition camps have been rendered totally incapable of changing the paradigm. The Devil’s got them, and the whole thing must burn up entirely before the Phoenix can rise.

    If a new leader was ever needed, now is the time for he/she to step forward. I believe in the human spirit, so there’s always hope. But this here party is over. Arguing over the details is starting to feel foolish.

    • Yeah, as a functioning 21st century country, it appears we’re done. The only reason I haven’t left is some morbid obsession I seem to have with not only surviving, but prospering, in the face of overwhelming odds against it.

  4. “Upon watching me enter, the idiot who acted as secretary of my table said “Una escuálida más,” a violation of my human rights, but if I could practice restraint with the space imposed by the CNE, I could do it with him as well.”

    Naky, how did he know? I’d find that at least a little disconcerting.

  5. RubiocitoI think everyone on this thread is rooting for you, a kind of diamond in the rough like all those hanging in. At some point the country will have to change directions, however slow and traumatic it will be, and you people will be there to put your oars in the water. That’s me hoping. Throughout the 80s and 90s when I was frequently in Venezuela (both my kids were born there and are still there) I was terribly ignorant of the discontent that brewed in the millions of have-nots that made Chavismo a necessary evil. Socially, economically, and spiritually the place was too out of balance. Just too much silent angst. But i never saw coming a communal death for virtually all involved. If the world doesn’t learn from this we are all insane.

    • Venezuela’s tragedy…Chavez’s election win…isn’t the result of the have-nots.

      The fucking doing okay middle and upper middle class bastards ALSO voted for the dipshit.

      Because of greed.

  6. “At some point the country will have to change directions, however slow and traumatic it will be, and you people will be there to put your oars in the water.”

    Well, the boat’s full of holes and pega marina, like most other products, is nowhere to be found. LOL

    Seriously, thanks JL. I decided long ago I wanted to die in Venezuela, just never dreamed it might be from starvation. I do agree fully, something’s got to change eventually. It can’t keep going in only one direction. Wonder if I’ll live long enough to see it.

  7. Gringo-

    I don’t see New Zealand being declared a hostile rogue nation by the Chavistas. More likely, Greenland or Malta. Maybe even Suriname will make this list. I spun the globe and chose countries that my thumb landed on at random.

    All those countries are home to a straw man to fight with.

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