I wasn’t surprised that Diosdado Cabello moved today to force a presidential election in the first quarter of 2018. Rumors about this had been circulating for some time and, in its own twisted way, the government’s decision makes sense.

Why? Because our economic crisis can only get worse. Venezuelans do not have enough money for food or medicines as it is. Even for the few who do, food and medicines are nowhere to be found. The comatose productive sector is under merciless onslaught. And the Carnet de la Patria and CLAPs barely hold back the crisis. Public services and public transport are on their last legs.  

Other things being equal, you’d rather hold a vote when there’s less social conflict than when there’s more.

Screwed up though the country is, all signs point to things getting even worse. Social tension and conflict can only grow.

Social conflict on this scale carries risks. Why take chances? Sure, the government can steal an election whenever one is held. But other things being equal, you’d rather hold a vote when there’s less social conflict than when there’s more.

Not that the coming months will be easy. The government and PDVSA must pay bondholders some $2.5 billion — in capital and interest — between February and April this year. Chances of a messy default adjudicated by gringo courts are increasing by the hour. That would mean even less food and medicines for Venezuelans.

The opposition is at one of its lowest points ever. In the coming weeks AD, PJ and VP must revalidate their status as official political parties to maintain their access to CNE ballots. That’s unpopular among their followers, because it involves recognizing the current CNE, which brazenly stole at least one governorship last October and is blatantly partisan.

Rushing the timetable will make it difficult for the opposition to rally support behind a single candidate chosen via primaries. It’ll leave the eventual candidate basically no time to campaign, to organize against fraud, or to do any of the thousand other things he would want to do to be competitive.

To make matters worse, less than a week ago the opposition was a no-show at the negotiating table in the Dominican Republic. That helps the government frame today’s decision, saying it’s the opposition that doesn’t want to negotiate and that if they won’t even talk, they have no right to complain about the electoral conditions. And just like that — poof! — the prospect of credible international monitoring disappeared.

The government betting on a fratricidal debate over abstention to depress our turnout and hand them the election.

Many within the opposition are now convinced that elections are not the answer, spending their time daydreaming about Marine Expeditionary Forces instead of doing the hard work of organizing politically. This is a serious problem for the political parties as they seek to retain ballot access, or to mobilize voters for a primary election and for the presidential vote itself.

“If the opposition is not in it to win” some will surely argue, “there’s no point in taking part.”

You can be sure the government understands this dynamic. They’re betting on a fratricidal debate over abstention to depress our turnout and hand them the election.

Just to be clear: I don’t like it and I don’t approve it. We’re heading towards a blatantly unfair vote. I just hope that the opposition, instead of spending the next week criticising what they ought to have anticipated, starts organizing right away for what’s to come.

Time’s a’wastin’.

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50 COMMENTS

  1. Agree. What ever happened to the 4-5 points that the opposition was demanding last year? (release all political prisoners, yada, yada, yada).

    Get those points back in the agenda and make them a prerequisite for the opposition to participate. If not, you are just wasting your time.

  2. Wait, could anyone provide more information about the opposition missing the dialogue at the end of last week? Why did they not go? What day was it scheduled for?

    • I believe it was supposed to be last thursday. Two (pro-MUD) representatives, from Mexico and Chile (If I remember correctly), could not be there.

    • Because they wanted to avoid being labeled as “the snitches that turned Oscar Pérez in” as drogarol said in his press conference about the El Junquito Massacre.

  3. “Social conflict on this scale carries risks. Why take chances? Sure, the government can steal an election whenever one is held”

    You just answered your question, the regime will steal the elections, regardless on how many people actually vote or for who they vote.

    “They’re betting on a fratricidal debate over abstention to depress our turnout and hand them the election”

    Again with this fallacy about “This is all the fault of those who don’t vote because THIS TIME WE CAN WIN?”?

    “Many within the opposition are now convinced that elections are not the answer, spending their time daydreaming about Marine Expeditionary Forces instead of doing the hard work of organizing politically.”

    Ah, so you’re part of the “team votophiles” who will spend their time daydreaming about maduro & co. magically stepping down after “seeing how many people voted against him” instead of doing the hard work of ousting the dictatorship.

    It’s quite insulting to find people that are still so staunchly convinced that the elections shortcut is anything else than a red cloth to distract people and international pressure, trying their hardest to ignore the fact that chavismo is a bloodthirsty dictatorship that’s willing to bomb half of a barrio and killing dozens of people in the process just to eliminate one person that opposes them.

    • Amen bro!! Time for Venezuela to grow a pair of nuts. Got to make it bad enough so we can inspire an international intervention, or the remote chance that Venezuelans might actually get organized and flat out tumblar esa mierda.

      Remember that we are going against old dogs who cant learn new tricks. The MUD keeps falling for the same tricks over and over again. Stop playing their game. We need to step up and show that the politicians are not in control of this. Otherwise we will fall into the same trap as always. Yes, Diosdado always plays truco with the opposition. It is time to shove that baston up his ass, fat end first, without lube. You can only do that by not playing truco with Diosdado.

      Some really dark days are on the way. It will get really ugly. But this is the only way we can bring about change. Caracazo 2.0, but in all parts of Veneuela. Prepare yourself for that now if you actually live in Venezuela. If you live abroad, we need your support now more than ever this year. 2017 was just spring training.

      • comeflorismus maximus. Luego te dicen guerrero del teclado, pues lo siento, muchas hasta que se partio el cántaro. Conmigo no cuenten para esa guachafa

  4. People should cut it out and stop refering to MUD as “opposition”, they are not opposing anyone.

    Just refer to them as the other political party involved, they represent no one that actually opposes the government, they very much fit within the same structure that fuckes Venezuela over.

  5. Yes, they are upset. All of their children to school in Europe. They own houses there. They have millions of Euros, gold and probably even Dollars del Imperio in bank accounts there. Yes, many enchufados settled in Miami, Doral, Ft Lauderdale and Orlando so they can say Hi to Mickey. But many more, much many more, went to Europe durring the “good years” (cuando si hay).

    They can laugh at sanctions from Trump, but hopefully this aint no joke.

    Diosdado can say that he has nothing in USA on Con el Mazo Dando, but Daniella Cabello is living in a posh apto in Italy, going to the best schools and taking care of the family bank accounts. If this aint puro paja on behalf of the EU, hope she is looking to enroll in a new university, look for new apartments and a new life in some Axis of Evil country next semester…

    Nevertheless, we are talking about kleptozuelans. So if you know how to steal here, you can steal and get fake papers made anywhere. You got to be a part of it, Kleptozuela, kleptozuelaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  6. “You can be sure the government understands this dynamic. They’re betting on a fratricidal debate over abstention to depress our turnout and hand them the election”

    Come on Anabella. Hand them the election? Do you really believe that this regime would abide by the actual results of any election it held? Sorry, but that’s just pure bullshit and every sane person knows it.

    The country is a fucking disaster. It’s collapsing around us. Every single day is worse than the day before and if you live here you know this because you see it, you live it.

    There’s is no way on earth that this regime could win an honest election. The money is worthless, food and medicines are tough to be found and when they are, they’re more expensive than the average Venezuelan can afford. Even the clap bags are no longer being delivered. The last we saw here in this town was back on election day in December. Good luck surviving on that until the next clap bag arrives which will probably be the next “election”. For fuck’s sake, even chavistas hate Maduro.

    Oh, but I forget, we have the actas!

      • Maduro jura que gobernará definitivamente hasta el día de su muerte, mientras destruye al país en todas sus connotaciones de vida humana cuando no existe producción ni importación de alimentos ni medicinas, o cuando quiebra nuestra industria petrolera, o permite de manera infame acabar con la naturaleza del mal llamado “arco minero”, así como hábitats de nuestros grupos ancestrales. Con ese pensamiento reta y mantiene inflado un egocentrismo que sólo es posible a través de una condición patológica llena de prosopagnosia.

        Definitivamente Maduro gobernará hasta el día de su muerte, hasta el día de su muerte política, y esa muerte está cada vez más cerca. A propósito de ser ciego. Quien tenga ojos que vea.

        Powerful stuff. I’m with you, it’s amazing the guy hasn’t been disappeared.

    • What I do not understand is how nearly everyone is in agreement that the regime is literally CRIMINAL, yet dialogue and elections on their terms is seen as an avenue of change. This seems hugely contradictory to me.

      • waltz, this is why I beat my head against the wall every time one of these types of stories is posted. I can’t wrap my brain around how otherwise intelligent and thoughtful journalists can continue to believe in the myth.

        • They keep deleting my posts which say the same thing, and I’m not being nasty in them at all.

          I don’t know what the heck is going on here.

  7. A menos de una semana de la Masacre del Junquito, hay quienes todavía creen de forma ciega y contra toda evidencia en la viabilidad del “atajo electoral”

  8. Last year the gang announced an election for a new ANC with unlimited power even to remove the president. Had the oppostion won that election another government would be ruling by now.

    However, the opposition skipped that election, arguing “las condiciones” but then they went all-in in the meaningless regional elections.

    Now, the decision is tougher and again the opposition without any strategy will dance any rythm the gang plays. And btw the same clowns that have already jumped in “the race” surely will be awarded of a special clap. The same clowns that have harm the opposition leadership and the country once and again.

    • Also, they “won” that election by pulling almost 9 million fake votes out of their asses.

      Why would it be different this time? Dunno, somehow the “hard work” will make a difference.

  9. TENEMOS QUE HABLAR SOBRE VENEZUELA SERIAMENTE

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

    The only way to get out of this is to return to the streets. And the only way to do that is to learn the mistakes of 2014 and 2017. Elections will solve absolutely nada!!! We are dealing with a dictatorship in a tropical kleptocracy.

    Annabella, wake up.

    Venezuela, wake up.

    The moment is arriving very soon and Diosdado gave us the time table.

  10. “Last year the gang announced an election for a new ANC with unlimited power even to remove the president. Had the oppostion won that election another government would be ruling by now.”

    Sure, had the opposition won that election. And if bullfrogs had wings they wouldn’t bust their ass so often.

  11. Epa, ¿Ya se hizo algo respecto a ESTO?

    ¿No? Ah, bueno, entonces es absurdo esperar a que el resultado cambie si se hace algo en las mismas condiciones.

  12. I don’t believe elections wil lead to a change of government.

    However, I also don’t see how abstaining makes a difference. If we don’t vote, that’s the end of it. Nothing happens afterwards and it’s life as usual.. So on elections day we just stay home watching TV? Haven’t heard anyone supporting abstention propose anything for the day after.

    I believe in particiating in elections. If huge oppositionc rowds show up to vote and the official candidate “wins”, we have a reason/right to complain/rebel/etc.

    If the opposition candidate wins and the government assigns someone to oversee his/her government, we have a reason/right to complain/rebel/etc.

    If the winning opposition candidate is forced to be sworn in in front of the ANC, we have a reason/right to complain/rebel/etc.

    I think voting forces the government to more blatantly cheat again, abuse power even more, etc.
    If the one of the above happens, this further shows the world what the regimes really is all about. Also, it gives the people in the country a another good reason to take to the streets once again.

    So, based on all the comments here, I’m probably 100% wrong, but this is how I feel.

    • “If we don’t vote, that’s the end of it. Nothing happens afterwards and it’s life as usual.”

      Voting under these circumstances will simply validate the regime as “a peaceful democracy that won with the people’s support again”

      In fact, since 2004 people has been voting and NOTHING has happened because the so-called “representatives” have done this, over and over again:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKl2ZwVNfPE

      Even when the election was blatantly stolen, Capriles had the nerve to tell people “Don’t do anything about it, stay in your house and listen salsa”

        • The only way out is by protests to make the country impossible to live in for the chavista regime, that’s why the regime has responded with widespread genocide.

          Also, the population alone can’t break free from chavismo’s grip by itself either, so international assistance is required.

          There will be more violence, there will be more deaths of innocents, and there will me much more suffering in Venezuela, there won’t be a way to avoid it.

          • Having the elections stolen gives the people a good incentive for the people to go out and protest. It also gives the international community one more reason togive assistance to the country. But abstaining just keeps people at home waiting for something to magically happen.

          • “abstaining just keeps people at home waiting for something to magically happen”

            Change “abstaining” for “voting” and you have the very definition of elections in Venezuela for the last 60 years, participate in the fraud will give chavismo an excuse to validate their fraud in front of the international community to have all the economic sanctions lifted so they can go back to buy tons of bullets, grenades, rockets to explode people and have millions of dollars to pay their colectivos to keep killing protesters in Venezuela.

            It’s true that abstention must be followed from action, it must be followed by nationwide protests that make the country impossible to control for chavismo, a task made much easier since they can’t buy that many weapons to butcher the population now (And that there won’t be a chuo Torrealba to tell people that they’re only authorized to protest until 2pm or that they don’t have the right to defend their homes from intruders).

            Everytime that opposition has gone to the rigged elections they only helped chavismo to consolidate its position more and more, the 2005 boycott failed precisely because the leadership of the opposition, which had JB and HRA among its members, quickly dismissed the whole affair and struck a deal with chavismo for the useless 2006 presidentials with the traitorous Rosales, who’s now blatantly sold to the regime yet he sits at the MUD’s boss table.

        • Because it’s easier to sell people the idea that elections will somehow make all problems go away magically, as it involves zero risk and zero effort.

  13. Here is my 2 cents.
    Yes the opposition needs to put up one candidate for President.
    Don’t even bother trying to explain economics, causes of hyperinflation , foreign reserves or anything else with more than 3 syllables to the masses.
    Simply tell them that ships loaded with free shit from all over the world are waiting to unload food, medicine, free HD TV’s, computers, IPhones, American Dollars or anything else you want them to believe.
    Tell them that Maduro refuses to allow this flotilla of aid to unload because he wants to control them with the food, medicine etc., and as soon as the new President is in power, the masses get everything imaginable for free.
    When the election is stolen, as it is certain to be, the opposition can tell the masses that expect free shit, that the regime stole it all from them.
    There are numerous aid organizations and countries that would confirm that the regime has refused to allow aid into the country.
    If these idiots would sell their vote for a piece of pork, they should riot when they believe that Nicholas has stolen it all. Their food, their medicines, their money and their futures all stolen in a rigged election.
    The most recent elections in the UK were a surprise for the Labor party. They did not win control of government but their expected demise didn’t happen. Jeremy Corbyn, the labor leader who desires to be Prime Minister promised everything to everybody. Free tuition, forgiveness of student debt, higher pay for public employees, increases in old age pensions, steep increases in NHS funding and lower taxes.
    It was impossible for him to do what he promised. He knew it, but the voters fell for it. He also knew that he would not win. The Tories are under political pressure to keep the electorate happy and make people believe that they are better off with the Tories in power. Opinion polls now show labor leading the Tories if an election were to be held today.
    The Venezuelan opposition needs to take a page from the Socialist playbook. It is the one thing that Maduro can not compete with. Nobody will believe his promises and the regime can simply ask that if he claims to be able to feed you, where is the food?
    The reality of it is that once the regime is gone from power, foreign aid and aid organizations will be able to quickly get supplies into the country and at least stop the bleeding.
    This should guarantee a large voter turnout and more importantly, a very angry reaction to a stolen election.

      • The problem is that so far, MUD and all its previous incarnations have refused in an almost dogmatic way to blame Maduro (And Chávez before him) of ANYTHING at all in the country, insteac citing some nebulous and shapeless factors, but NEVER pointing fingers at a specific individual because there’s the idea that doing so would “scare away potential chavista votes”

  14. I believe if we were a united front, able to organize, we could make the government steal the election the hard way with actas in mano a la Andres Velazques.
    Sadly, this wouldn’t change anything either. I didn’t for Andres, at least.
    If we fantasize about marine invasion is because there is simply no other way out.
    There is simply no other way anymore, and its time for politicians to step aside and accept this. Exile your self or call for open rebellion. The change for a peaceful resolution died with the ANC.

    • dd,
      Everyone knew the ANC vote was a fraud. The company that supplied the voting machines came out and said the tallies were not true.
      Instead of this rallying the people and the opposition “leaders”, everyone simply gave up.
      I know my comment may seem ridiculous, but it is the only way that I can think of to bring the people out into the streets and get them to stay there until the regime is gone.
      The MUD members aren’t held in much higher esteem than the current regime. Someone needs to be available to step into the void and stop the military from taking control.
      That is why I think a single candidate and widespread participation is the only way forward. This isn’t about winning the election. That won’t happen with the regime in control.
      It is about motivating the people to take back their country. Making promises that the regime can’t compete with may be the spark that ignites the rebellion if the people feel the regime has stolen from them.

      • “Instead of this rallying the people and the opposition “leaders”, everyone simply gave up”

        It’s not that the people “gave up”, it’s that the so called “leadership” stabben them in the back.

        “… stop the military from taking control.”

        As if the worst part of the military hasn’t taken control already in Venezuela, Chávez was militar, and now Diosdado is too.

  15. I believe it doesn’t matter how politically organized or disorganized the opposition is at this point. Chavistas will not concede anything substantial, even if the opposition managed to win the presidency against all odds the Constitutional Assembly would just invent a rule suspending the office so they can continue their important work unmolested.

    The time for political organization is past. The time now is to obtain weapons to fight the regime I’m afraid. Do that and you just might get that Marine expeditionary corps – it worked (to a sufficient extent) in Libya and Venezuela is much closer to US.

    • TV
      The regional leaders lost a golden opportunity when they unanimously condemned President Trump when he mused about the possibility of military intervention.
      They played to their own political bases and allowed the ghosts of US fruit companies to influence their reactions.
      If they had simply said, “We hope to be able to avoid a military intervention.”, that threat would still be hanging over the regime.
      The unanimous condemnation of President Trump’s remarks empowered the regime and convinced them that they can act with impunity.
      Many of the regional leaders are getting very concerned about the burden migration is placing on their countries and the region as a whole. I believe that eventually the same people that condemned President Trump, will be demanding action from the US to address the continually deteriorating situation as it risks destabilizing nearby countries.
      The people that have no voice, the long suffering people of Venezuela, may feel differently about foreign intervention than the people that are on the outside looking in.
      Without a doubt, the current crisis in Venezuela is the most significant humanitarian event in the Western hemisphere. The media has not given Venezuela anywhere near the attention that this situation demands. I am willing to bet that more people died from the actions of the regime than died in the hotel in Kabul this past weekend. The news from Kabul was front page on every news outlet in the US. While the people in Venezuela, for the most part are ignored or relegated to a lower priority.
      Perhaps the Liberal bias of the media and their long time admiration of the Chavez regime is clouding their judgement regarding the current conditions in Venezuela.

  16. They don’t plan to steal the election. On the contrary. They plan to lose big time.

    This is really an exit strategy. They know they have stolen all than can be stolen. There is nothing left. The bonds will default just in time for them to leave.

    This lets them leave town with their loot and let some other suckers clean up the mess.

    • Ron that is actually a very good strategy for leaving office with a rope tied around your neck. Losing let’s them step down AND keep the money. Staying in office runs the risk of revolution and being hung or shot.

      That being said, I think Maduro is too stupid to see this as an excellent chance to run

      • I would love to see Maduro concede defeat and leave the country. It will never happen.
        The US and possibly other countries have warrants and / or sealed indictments waiting for many of the regime members.
        Their only hope for survival outside of prison or living in Cuban exile is to remain in power.
        One can only guess what LOD has turned over to investigators regarding criminal activity, where the bodies are buried and more importantly where the money is.
        Assets that may have seemed safely hidden away in the names of family members in the US or EU states, may no longer be accessible. The post 9/11 banking regulations have made moving seemingly insignificant amounts of money subject to scrutiny. Very large transactions from questionable sources trigger alerts on a regular basis. The US has penalized many banks for inappropriate activity and the banks are gun shy of running afoul of US banking laws.
        Any bank that does any business in the US is subject to these regulations.
        The internal pressures within the regime must also be building. The people that have had all of their assets frozen must be coveting the assets of others that have so far escaped sanctions. Ramirez refusing to return to Venezuela is probably driven more by his fear of a Saudi Arabian style extortion than clearing his name if that is at all possible.
        The ability of the regime members to steal enough to replace what has been frozen has been compromised by the collapsing oil production and the imports needed to keep the military from rebelling. Allowing a few scraps for the people also must be considered.
        I used to think that if Maduro and Cabello were to attempt to flee to exile, the rest of the regime would quickly collapse as the rats tried to save themselves. I don’t see that happening now. Even if Maduro were to flee to Cuba, someone else from the regime would seize power. The risk of being prosecuted or extradited will make that a necessity.
        The vast majority of the voters, convinced that the election has been stolen from them, refusing to accept the regime’s claim of victory, taking to the streets until the regime is gone, is probably the last best hope if Venezuela is to be free within the next generation.

    • “This lets them leave town with their loot and let some other suckers clean up the mess.”

      They won’t let go an inch of power, because that means there’ll be those who will immediately do whatever is possible to bring them to justice and make them pay.

      90% of Venezuela’s people is asking for justice, and that means: Strip every enchufado of all their money and privileges and lock them in a cell for the next 50 years.

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