Letting Go of my Venezuelan Transition Ideal


What will it look like when Venezuela’s authoritarian regime finally loses power?

Do you picture protest crowds overwhelming the regime’s defenses and marching in to Miraflores at the end of a marcha sin retorno? Or do you picture a ceremony broadcast on cadena via radio and TV, as an old guard that’s run out of options hands over power, reluctantly but peacefully, to a new group of leaders?

Personally, I much prefer the first scenario: an East German/Romanian style regime collapse happening outside the control of the current leadership. A society-wide convulsion to cast off a toxic regime that’s laid millions of lives to waste, looted hundreds of billions of our common resources, separated countless families and imprisoned, tortured and killed in the name of a failed ideology.

I hate the fuckers who’ve done this to my country, and I want them to suffer: anyone with a modicum of democratic sensibility should, too.

Because I think regime collapse was the best option for us, I supported last year’s mass protest movement, the four months of incredibly brave street demonstrations were our last, best hope of provoking it. I cried bitter tears for our fallen day in and day out. Pernalete, Neomar, each of them.

That’s why I looked with nauseated horror in August, when I realized four months of sustained, vicious violence were going to succeed, that we couldn’t sustain the clouds of tear gas and arrests indefinitely. Nobody was going to jump after Luisa Ortega. For all of the kids’ heroism and spirit, it wouldn’t be enough. The defection cascade wouldn’t materialize. We weren’t going to be a Caribbean Romania.

At best, we might aspire to be a Caribbean Burma.  

Burma, in 2007, had thousands upon thousands of shockingly brave young people — mostly Buddhist monks — taking the streets to face down a regime way more violent than ours. They faced a repressive crackdown of shocking proportions, with dozens of Buddhist monasteries raided and thousands of monks sent to camps that make El Helicoide look like a Club Med.

It’s about bridging the gap between our goals and our capabilities, and that’s not a gap you can bridge via wishes or fond hopes.

The failure of the Burmese protests secured another decade in power for their genocidal junta. When the generals finally agreed to hand over power, it looked nothing like the regime collapse those young monks had dreamed of in 2007. It was, actually, just the opposite, a process designed largely around the needs of the military (not the people), which gave over nominal power to the civilian opposition, but left the military largely outside control of the new government. The nominal leaders of the country weren’t even able to stop the military when it pursued ethnic cleansing against one of its own minorities.

Burma’s transition to democracy has, in other words, been the polar opposite of inspiring. It’s been — let’s not mince words here — a cochinada, a deeply dispiriting display of realpolitik that’s ended up with calls to strip the opposition-leader-turned-ruler of her Nobel Peace Prize.

It’s hard to get excited about a “transition” in those terms. Guys, the old dream dies hard. The dazzling vision of an East German-style flameout, with a pure people turning out a corrupt regime, exacting justice from their former tormentors, well, it’s beautiful. To give up on that is to die a little bit inside.

Then again, politics is the art of the possible. It’s about bridging the gap between our goals and our capabilities, and that’s not a gap you can bridge via wishes or fond hopes. Politics is about taking a long hard look at your capabilities, your real capabilities, the ones you actually have, not the ones you wish you had or feel you deserve.

2017 showed pretty decisively that the regime is not going to collapse. It should, yes. If this was the Hollywood version, it would. But this is the grubby, disgusting reality, where murderous assholes can entrench themselves in power for decades and there isn’t a goddamn thing anybody can do about it.

At some point, once you fully internalize the reality of a regime that’s now encysted, you have to let go of the beautiful dream. You have to seriously consider that a transition will either be on their terms, or it won’t come at all.

You don’t have to like it. You’d be a monster to like it. But you do have to accept it.

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  1. I think bravery is this. To look coldly at the true reality that sorrounds us.

    Though some will say it is pessimism and a betrayal of righteousness, a kind of giving up, it is nothing of the sort. It is bravery because one is seeking in that cold hard reality the actual means to victory.

    • “I think bravery is this. To look coldly at the true reality that sorrounds us.”

      You’re welcome to do so, but frankly I disagree.

      I think Bravery was what Quico did before, or at least some of it. But increasingly I’ve found Quico unwilling to look the cold reality in the face. That THIS ELECTION could make the totalitarians step down. That the guarimbas were crazy. And so on.

      The reality is that this dictatorship is totalitarian and epically self-destructive. That deposing the regime will probably involve violence by the opposition, and yet in spite of the awfulness it will be the lesser of evils when compared to a Cuban style situation.

      Quico has never really been willing to confront this, and I can’t entirely Blame him. But at least planning for the possibilities is needed.

      “Though some will say it is pessimism and a betrayal of righteousness, a kind of giving up, it is nothing of the sort. It is bravery because one is seeking in that cold hard reality the actual means to victory.”

      It is one thing to look at that cold hard reality, because it is the actual means to victory.

      But it is another thing to take the lessons of the cold hard reality and see the possibilities, as well as the lessons.

      The fact is, Quico being unwilling to insist on victory, on a violent transition if the dictatorship did not allow a peaceful one, is cowardice.

      I don’t like it, but I think it’s also true.

  2. Hey, Fransisco, this is not hard to figure out. You are butt buddies with Falson.

    Secondly, trying to make some comparison to Burma is to completely discount the geopolitical, physical geographic, economic and historical factors that make the case of Burma distinct to that of Venezuela. So really, your analysis does not pass the smell test.

    Who knows, maybe you have switched sides and you are here just to demoralize the opposition. Nevertheless you will be amazed how things will change when peoples backs are literally against the wall. Sun Tzu talks a lot about this in the art of war…or the Venezuelan people are just pathetic pussies whose only option is to flee the country.

    We will see…but given geopolitical, economic and historical factors that make the Venezuelan unique, I think many of us beg to differ with your “Team Screwed” analysis.

    Yes, things will get really bloody, but that can be the agent of change as well.

      • Sorry Angel, did I ruffle your feathers??? I should have been more “sensitive pony tail type” and created a “safe zone” for you.

        • lmao, no – maybe you SHOULD go to Venezuela and put your life on the line for regime change. So will you? That was my question tough guy.

          • I live in Venzuela you TWAT!!!! I have two kids, the car does not work, mechanics are a piece of shit here and there is no transportation!!! NO HAY, NO HAY, NO HAY!!! FUCK YOU!!!! ANGEL YOU ARE A PIECE OF FUCKING SHIT!!! FUCK YOU!!!! YOU ARE A TWAT!!! PIECE OF FUCKING SHIT TWAT!!!

          • Talk about ruffling of guacharaca feathers (give poor caps lock a break). I’m sorry, but back to the question- I still didn’t get if you will be on the streets getting bloody?

  3. This appears to be preparing the ground for some less than perfect transition short of collapse of the regime but it gives no prediction of what that transition will be.

    An intra-Chavista military coup? Electing Falcón, even as Maduro makes clear in the campaign that Maduro will rule Falcon through the Constituyente, and Falcon later will somehow wrestle real authority from the Maduro and the Constituyente? The regime co-opting Francisco Rodriguez from Falcon to design a chavista-friendly stabilization package?

    The terms of transition espoused by the regime constitute never surrendering the Executive and completing the socialist project of the failed 2007 constitutional amendments through the Constituyente. What is to stop that? What is to stop the ideologically motivated economic suicide? Why does that suicide attempt not result in a Romanian-style explosion?

    As an outsider, this gives me no idea what to watch. Were I a Venezuelan, this would give me no idea what “real capabilities” are, and how you are asking me to employ them.

    • If one believes the rumors that are always swirling around, there are always two factions in the “Revolution” at odds with each other, like crime families can be at odds with each other.

      Maduro vs. Cabello, with the fight being not only about who steals what, but also who inherits the “mantle” of papa chavez.

      Falcon wrestling anything away from either crime family will only come with enough military to add to one side or the other. No way that both groups can be taken out of action unless we have an olive green Gringo Deus Ex Machina showing up to the party. Both groups control paramilitary forces that so far the homegrown boys in green have not dealt with either from fear of getting their asses handed to them, or because they have orders to the contrary.

      If, big if, Falcon somehow ends up with more of the vote than Maduro it will be because he’s someones sock puppet. After all, in today’s Venezuela it doesn’t matter what branch of government you control, what matters is how many weapons you control.

      There are rumors going around of ending Henrique Capriles’ trumped up prohibition from participating in elections so he can run as the oppo candidate. Should these prove to be true one would have to ask what he or the MUD gave up for that to happen.

      Also, how desperate is the regime to have an opponent that can bring a semblance, a whiff, of legitimacy to the obviously trumped up vote counting exercise to be held on May 20? With Smartmatic announcing the end of operations in Venezuela there is no support or auditing from them available. My understanding is that there will not even be a Smartmatic “presence” via a differently named company staffed with “ex” Smartmatic folks.

      I have been back and forth in thinking that a negotiated “exit” could be in the works or that Maduro is just doubling down and hoping to drive the final nails in the coffin. To me it looks more and more like the latter.

      How to stop this? Either a significant part of the population begins to get violent about their living conditions or there is a forced “humanitarian intervention” from abroad. The Burma analogy, the part where the military remain THE power in the country is the most likely. Hence whoever wins come May 20, whether it be Falcon, Capriles, Lopez or Maduro one thing is clear: the military will still be the arbiters.

      So watch the military, even better if you could watch their immediate family and business associates. Any funkiness could be a harbinger of things to come.

      • “Falcon somehow ends up with more of the vote than Maduro it will be because he’s someones sock puppet.”

        falsón is the cubans’ sock puppet.

        As well as bertucci and everybody who still thinks this will get solved magically through the fraud-farce.

  4. “What will it look like when Venezuela’s authoritarian regime finally loses power? ”

    The worst elements of Venezuela and all the invading powers are striving for two possible scenarios:

    – Nicaraguan Chamorro, a faker that only gets the seat but doesn’t get any amount of power to leave all the chavista mafias and putrefaction intact.

    – The worst scenario of all: The continuation of the castro cuban regime in Venezuela.

    In any case, there’ll be one thing that’ll happen: If there’s no justice for the people, then let there be NO PEACE FOR CHAVISMO.

  5. Forget the “painless transitions”, THAT’S the actual fantasy.

    There’ll be much more violence, there’ll many more dead, and most of them will be patriots, but in the end, justice will reach the most hated ones, and tha’ll be enough for many.

  6. I am not surprised you arrived at this conclusion. You have been pointing in this! direction for the past few months but why now. What event has transpired to cause you to run up the white flag of surrender now. Logic suggests that the Chavistas are vulnerable based on every metric and yet at this very moment you concede. And going forward, the bold mission of Caracas Chronicles is to curl up in a fetal position and become the Naypyidaw Chronicles (capital of Burma).

    • Why now, Quico is buddies with Falcon. Yesterday Falcon published an oped in the NYTimes. Obviously Falcon is making his rounds with the international press to justify this fraudulent elections…and hey, why not give his buddy at “The Arepa” a call. This is what this is all about, nothing more, nothing less.

      Not hard to put 1 and 1 together.

        • Ah, FRod, the same swindler that seeks to be in the “new gumbmint cabinet” to continue sucking Venezuela’s resources via the garbage bonds.

  7. Fransico how sad it is to read article of yours. Your peaceful wishful thinking, that was ignored to say the least, has now turned into blabbing about how ONLY on Chavismo’s conditions there will be a “change” of government. No mate, again you’re wrong. Chavismo doesn’t want to let go of power period. Chavista dipshit Falcon won’t have any chance in the upcoming May elections and you know it. Way back in the days when you were buddies with Aristobulo Isturiz he must have brainwashed you with his leftist shite. If there was only a pil you could take to get rid of it.
    Justice HAS to be served after Chavismo’s collapse. To remove this dictatorship blood will have to flow in the streets and it has to be Venezuelan blood. And last but not least if Venezuela wants to have ANY chance in the near future it CAN’T have yet another leftist government. Socialism is what has ruined this and many many other countries.

  8. Francisco. Typo?

    “That’s why I looked with nauseated horror in August, when I realized four months of sustained, vicious violence were going to succeed, that we couldn’t sustain the clouds of tear gas and arrests indefinitely.”

    Don’t you mean NOT succeed?

    P.S. Who is Lisette Gonzalez, and why were her name and email address auto-filled for my post here?

  9. So soon old, so late smart.
    Francisco, I have read many of your essays and I have seen you speak in person. You are an influential voice that needs to do everything possible to persuade other people of influence to do everything possible to remove this regime as quickly as possible.
    Instead of “Making Venezuela make sense.”, your failed predictions and ever changing views leave people more confused.
    Recognizing that you are dealing with despots that will not act rationally is the first step to understanding the challenges ahead. This regime isn’t going to leave when the people put carnations in the gunbarrels of the soldiers. This regime is going to either leave or die when the people actively and continuously oppose them by any means possible.
    The people that so quickly condemned Trump when he mentioned military intervention, are yet to successfully execute a return to democracy, the rule of law and the reversal of economic collapse. People such as you Francisco should have seized the moment, encouraged the support of other regional leaders and made the regime believe that an intervention was imminent. I believe that this threat may have been the best catalyst to collapse the regime as the rats tried to save themselves and abandoned the sinking ship. Instead, condemning Trump and siding with the chorus of regional leaders that are allowing the ghosts of the past to blur their judgement in the present, you have unwittingly encouraged the regime to act with impunity knowing that foreign intervention will not occur.
    There has been an active war occuring in Venezuela for quite some time. Millions of refugees and hundreds of thousands of people dead. Mass starvation and suffering from lack of medicines. People unable to reside safely in their homes or to safely traverse the streets. Destroyed and crumbling infrastructure that results in the absence of electrical power and potable water for millions of people. The major difference between Syria and Venezuela is that there is no armed resistance. The casualties in this war are one sided. Denial of food and medicine is as effective as bombs when it comes to killing your opponents. It just isn’t as spectacular for the media to show on the evening news.
    The regional “leaders” that so quickly condemned President Trump are now seeing the results of their misguided, anti Gringo, Yankee go home, knee jerk reactions that may have played well to their own electorate. The social welfare systems of neighboring countries are straining under the ever increasing pressure of Venezuelan refugees. This is effecting many facets of the societies of these countries. The continuing crisis only promises more challenges and increasing risks of instability.
    As much as you may deplore violence, there are times when violence is the only way to end death and suffering. As long as this regime is in power the death and suffering that it has wrought on the Venezuelan people will continue. I suggest you look to the story of Sgt. Alvin York, a US soldier that was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in World War 1 for guidance. His religion forbade violence. After much introspection he came to the realization that fighting to destroy an evil force that was causing this violence was the logical way to ending the scourge that was responsible for so much death and destruction.
    I have no skin in this game. Other than the absolute hatred for despots anywhere that cause so much suffering as they use their powers for personal gain. You as a patriotic Venezuelan have much more at stake. Many times throughout history the underdog has overcome incredible challenges to vanquish a more powerful opponent. There are many reasons for this. Dedication to your cause is the foremost quality that is needed. Opening your mind and embracing the fact that this regime must be removed at any cost is the vision you need to successfully influence the removal of this regime.

    • Francisco is one of many CC contributors that would rather see Chavismo’s go on and on instead of choosing Trump’s side. Their MISPLACED HATRED again Trump is sickening but is something we’ve been reading here for some while now. Blind leftist bunch that will probably never see the light.

    • You think the regime didn’t fear potential US intervention b/c Quico didn’t stump for it? I think you are ascribing this much power to Quico and CC.

      US military intervention is not happening, and the regime doesn’t fear that it will happen, because an intervention is not in the best interests of the US.

      How many troops will we need to occupy a country twice the size of Iraq? How many US troops will we need to go house to house and disarm 100,000 colectivos? How long will US military end up staying, and what will that cost?

      We all know that Venezuela is suffering under this vile criminal regime. But can you explain to a US marine’s parents why their son’s life should be sacrificed for Venezuela? Especially when we know that after a long and heavy investment of blood and treasure, there is a good chance that Venezuelans would vote for a chavista candidate the first chance they got?

      No thanks.

      No US decider is even talking about this, man. Not on the left. Not on the right. There is zero popular support in the US right now for an intervention in Venezuela. And you think this would be different if Quico had consistently called for it??

      • I am not saying that US intervention would have happened.
        If the response from the regional leaders and others had been different. Possibly saying that they hoped a solution could be found that doesn’t require foreign intervention, this would have left that in play in the minds of the regime.
        The way it played out, everyone quickly condemned Trump’s remarks and the regime realized that they were free to do whatever they desired.
        Paranoia surrounding a possible foreign intervention may have been the impetus that caused the fall of the regime. We will never know.
        What I do know is that the knee jerk repudiation of Trump’s remarks did not benefit the Venezuelan people at all.

  10. And Francisco still doesn’t believe in military invention. Hell, he probably doesn’t even believe in an oil embargo.

    Talk about wishy washy, and this site is supposed to be the English language voice of the opposition? It’s hysterical and sad at the same time.

    The one thing I respect him for…I admire incredibly…is how he doesn’t censor opposing views here, and takes the abuse heaped on him and carries on.

    I just wish he would carry on more sensibly and grow a pair of balls.

  11. Well, I lost hope on transition altogether, for me the only realistic escenario is that the regime reforms itself and conducts el paquetazo uncontested, de la mano de Lacava 🙁

  12. Have never been a fan of the apocalyptic ‘brave people take to the streets’ epic version of how most regimes collapse , they usually collapse from the inside , the result of the stresses created by the onslaught of many different types of adverse circumstances unremitting in their operation , hard outside pressure is a factor , street protest can be a factor , worsening economic conditions are a factor , they intemingle their effect making the chance of a collapse or surrender more likely ….the protest made poignant to the world the despotic nature of the regime , world media picked up the story and the result is todays international isolation of the regime and of course the sanctions currrent and future that harrass its financial viability The thing is to keep it going, to never give up, to take the punches and rebound every chance there is for hurting it….dont count the days , they dont matter just keep going ……, its probably counter productive to believe in the magic bullet that will make it collapse in one day ….., its death should be the death of the thousand cuts , ……..!!

    • Bill Bass, you are right on the money!

      Or as a Professor at Columbia University (I forget his name) said: it is a GAME OF JINGA.

      Eventually, once piece will pulled and the chain reaction will start. We do not know which one it will be (whether it be from internal or internal factors), or when this will happen, but there is way too much going against these guys right now.

      Furthermore, they cannot sleep at night and are making rushed and bad decisions: Sr. Lacava goes to Washington is case in point. Clearly they live in a bubble and it would be much better to send a top dollar lobbyist…Cant wait to see Maduro making a fool of himself trying to go to Peru.

      If they were making sound policy decisions and were not in financial dire straights, then I would be 100% team screwed. However, that is not the case.

    • Libya, Egypt, the USA, and a dozen other places.

      Yes, people take to the streets to overthrow tyranny.

      Just not Venezuelans.

      • The US won the war of independence thanks to the french , on their own they might have failed , read your history ….in libia outside pressures played a big role , as when the kadhafi libyans were prevented from closing in on the most important rebel city by western intervention……in Egypt the regime changed face and adopted a new one but an united military were always on top of things . its not that it cant happen but often with the aid of other factors among them inner decomposition …….What worries me is that we are too besotted with the epically appealing notion that brave free people can topple any govt it doesnt like …….boloney…..!!

    • Bill, your comments are interesting, but they would be easier to read if you would stop using run on sentences. Just sayin’…

  13. The regime seems to consistently make moves that defy any prediction. I have a prediction.

    The regime’s plan is this: all votes will be counted, Maduro will lose. He will give a gracious concession speech admitting the failure of 21st Century Socialism. The population will scream at him. He and his entourage will then legitimately apply for political asylum which will shield them from prosecution. They’ll build an Asylum Resort Enclave on the coast of Cuba with small villas around the expropriated holes at Caraballeda golf course (which will be dug up and flown out of Venezuela by transport plane), and retire there.

    In an irony of ironies, Castro will be jealous and expropriate all the houses, the olympic pool, the pleasure craft, and give them to the people. The pool will be a fish hatchery, the pleasure craft fishing boats, the guest room in the houses rabbit farms. And so Maduro & Chavistas will indeed realize their dreams of Socialism of the 21st Century.

  14. The article sums up what many of us have felt for a long time. Since the failed marches and useless protests.

    MUD is not effective
    People are unwilling to make changes
    Chavistas have all the real power now that they gave up
    The military is looking out for themselves and nobody else
    The sanctions are still working, but slower than expected

    You can’t have a dictator like Maduro without such a docilely compliant people. There no longer exists a national sense of purpose. There is no “revolution” just acceptance.

    It is a useless foley to believe that the people will rise up… They are, but with bags packed and heading for the border.

    Easier to run than fight. If the exciled TSJ (the legitimate ones) and the AN will not render legal protection to an outside force to assist, don’t expect much foreign assistance beyond sanctions.

    • “Since the failed marches and useless protests.”

      That was the MUD’s work from the beginning, to neutralize the people by locking them in the useless bailoterapias.

      “MUD is not effective”

      They never intended to be effective against the regime, because they are part of it.

      “People are unwilling to make changes”

      You would be surprised of how many changes people are willing to make to ensure two things: Personal safety and the opportunity to have access to food.

  15. Man, this was a depressing read.

    Not a wrong one, but depressing.

    I’m not sure about 2 of the ideas, the first one being that there is going to be no collapse, although I share the idea that we are past any prediction of that; at this point, all the avenues to start and channel that seems to be dead or missing or lost in space and we only get the nebulous “hope” that at some point hunger is going to be too much and something is going to break down in a Caracazo 2.0 and…. who knows.

    But the other part I’m not sure I share is the idea that they will go for any transition at all. It doesnt look like it. No move looks like preparing to hand things over to a Chavista-lite transition government, or anything. On the opposite, they look ready to keep doing whatever it takes to keep ruling forever, ever if it is over a country of skeletons.

    So, probably I’m even more depressing than Francisco, because I dont see an end anymore. Just 2018 being a worse 2017 and 2019 a worse 2018… forever, unless it all blows up in ways nobody seems to be able to predict, and worse, to see anything but total chaos.

  16. If you are going to be a feasible dictatorship, in addition to holding to power by whatever means, you must also have some modicum of statesmanship. The humanitarian disaster they are unleashing on the region has never been seen on this hemisphere and more importantly it is being inflicted on people that not long ago lived a better life.

    What is obvious by observing the appointments in all economic matters and the eternal Defense Minister Godfather is that we now have a military dictatorship with a veneer of communist civilians running the country.

    How long will the military push the Venezuelan death march? They, as an institution, are collapsing along with the country. Check out the salary of a colonel, 2 million BsF, hyperinflation has not even spared them.

    Then there is the PSUV/Godgiven versus Somos Venezuela/Maduro. The National Assembly is not lumped into the May elections as Godgiven requested. He must understand that Maduro has a gangster move on him. Just think of Luisa Ortega or malparido Ramirez, or even vulgar Baduel whose family must be going hungry without his general’s pension.

    It is clear to me too, that it is not the people that will remove the tyrant, but the tyrant has some very serious threats on its flanks.

    • Problem is, that was a good deal of the hope we had in 2017. That a breach will form because it was clear things could not be sustained, and some faction would realize better to jettison the idiots and the fanatics.

      And as Francisco said, we got Luisa Ortega and nothing else

      • LMFAO … Luisa Ortega the opportunist bitch Chavista that jumped ship like the rat she is after defending that same dictatorship since her first day in office. The cunt that made sure LL got 14 years in jail with COMPLETE BOGUS CHARGES. You and Francisco are talking about that same Luisa Ortega? Pardon my French mate but go fuck yourselves.

        • It’s gonna be fun to watch the cunt burn.

          Hopefully, and I’m pretty sure of it, the Trump cabinet isn’t buying the garbage she’s selling, and won’t get into the gutter with her for any important “information” she may have.

          She’s irrelevant, AND still a criminal.

          • I totally agree, if she would’ve shown/told ALL the filth and shite she knew that very first day in Bogota than maybe one could’ve given that upper cunt some credit. But she is a filthy diehard chavista that is ONLY releasing info about stuff that’s convenient to her at this moment in time. Very very VERY selective and only attacking her opponents within chavismo. Whenever this dictatorship falls and she returns they should find THE highest tree in Caracas and HANG THE BIATCH, leaving her rotting body right there until her bones fall of that rope. Fidel and Chavez have a special seat reserved for her in hell.

      • Have it crossed your, by the evidence, small mind that there is a real difference between sayting the ONLY breach from chavismo of entity we got was Luisa Ortega, thus ruining the idea that maybe at least they could fight themselves a bit and maybe thats could have been an opening, and thinking she is a marvelous person that one should love and praise?

        Jesus Christ, this comments section is getting so patetic with all the “arrechito murio cagando” types.

        • “thinking she is a marvelous person that one should love and praise?”

          You must be shitting me, you actually have the audacity saying THAT??? You lefties have no conscious what so ever. It shows why you are todays cancer that the rest of us should eradicate by all means available to us. “Small mind”? Mate you don’t even have one, so pretty please with sugar on top do is all a favour and STFU.

        • Thanks for proving the point.

          For somebody so full of rage and willingness to tell others to shut up and invent their political positions for you to scream at, you should probably start by learning to read. There is a difference between A and B, meaning I dont think B, I think A.

          But hey, yea, whatever. You will read this and scream some other idiocy, because you are here only to pretend to be a righteous crusader.

  17. Why are you giving up now that we have the international support and the regime have lost any credibility about any negotiated agreement or electoral path to gain time.
    What remains to be done and is slowly happening now is the consolidation of a untied opposition front beyond the political clout of the MUD and the final realization that a military intervention (preferably foreign) is the only option left.
    You catch criminals and bring them to justice by force, no negotiations or “elections”.
    For any International Force coalition the task of intervention would be much smoother, easier and legitimate if the opposition facilitate and approve such action.
    Unlike many voices of the opposition this blog has been extremely passive. Limited to reporting the daily barbaric activities of the regime. There have been many groups and actions from the opposition that you won’t know exist if you only follow this blog. Just saying…

    • “Why are you giving up now that we have the international support and the regime have lost any credibility about any negotiated agreement or electoral path to gain time.”

      Because their fantasy of the magical solution brought by elections that somehow supports their warped perceptions of how other regimes ended in the past is being debunked, and then, it’s much easier to shrug and say “well, at least you tried, Venezuela, now get ready for 50 years of continued slaughter, unparalleled destruction and brazen larceny, but rest assured that you NEVER GOT VIOLENT, not even when the colectivos entered your home to butcher you and your family! You might be manure tomorrow, but you’ll have the moral victor of having never stepped on the peine!”

      It also goes against the extremely leftist fallacy of sovereignity, the trauma of the “hated gringos stepping on our sacred coasts” but they never say anything against the cuban invaders pillaging, raping and slaughtering venezuelans by dozens every time the people has risen to protest, because “as cubans are socialists and thus socialism is good, then it’s impossible for them to invade Venezuela, nu-unh”

      “Limited to reporting the daily barbaric activities of the regime”
      And when someone finally rises up to the challenge, they call that a peine, a red cloth and any amount of ridiculous bullshit.

  18. Of course, defeatism is not inherently incorrect. But in this case, you are both defeatist and incorrect.

    You have no basis for your assertion that because the regime survived 2017, therefore it will survive indefinitely.

    2017 only further illustrated that the military is profoundly corrupt, and any patriotic elements within the military are demoralized and unable to organize among themselves.

    Unlike the regime in Burma, the regime in Venezuela does not have stability in terms of its resources. Quite the opposite is true: its resources are falling fast. Exports are imploding. The economy is crashing. This is a huge point which your analysis completely overlooks.

    Assuming the generals are psychopathic narco-feudal chiefs, they are primary concerned with the own self-interest. They will not mindlessly continue to support a regime that cannot grant them favors or profits.

    The men may be demoralized and intimidated, but they still have caloric requirements. Once their hunger intensifies, they will lose the ability to follow orders and enforce tyranny. This is an inevitability given the current trends and the regime’s refusal to reform itself.

    These internal conflicts will occur with or without external action. However, here too, there is no reason to assume the rest of the hemisphere will continue its current policy of inaction. Brazil and Colombia will not passively allow themselves to be overrun with another 20 million starving refugees. The USA will not stand by forever, especially once the international media focuses on future atrocities that the regime commits.

    In particular, it is disturbing that Toro repeatedly tries to compare Maduro favorably with foreign tyrants.

    • Brian, agree with you here.
      Besides, the Maduro regime have not done any particular smart move that will indicate the regime consolidation and success. The odds are in fact against the Narco-Dictatorchip, its collapse is a matter of time but a lot of organized effort has to be put against it because we are fighting the Castro 60 years of experience at this and more likely China and Russia as well. It looks like the domestic military intervention is currently being pushed first before the last resort foreign intervention. My ideal transition is an US militsry intervention solicited and approved by the Venezuelan opposition and a much needed short occupation given that the Chavista and corrupted armed forces can not be trusted.

    • Brian, I think I agree with you except your last line, which is perhaps ironic, or just a gratuitous jab at our host (which seems to be almost obligatory).

      I think the facts on the ground strongly suggest that this regime is unstable. They are issuing crypto currency and calling an obviously fraudulent election in the midst of a Venezuelan-history-busting economic meltdown. Those facts alone suggest this is not an autocracy operating with a clear understanding of reality, and autocracies need to understand reality and respond to it effectively in order to sustain themselves. The facts indicate that the regime’s incompetence is overwhelming its megalomania.

      What would replace the regime in a power vacuum? Who can say with any confidence? What we do know is that a number of countries in the region, including Venezuela itself, have had democratic transitions. What we also know is that people are notoriously bad at predicting these transitions.

      • Incompetent? No doubt. 42% per capita income decline from 2013-2018 (IMF) speaks for itself.
        Megalomania? Of course.

        Nonetheless, autocratic regimes can survive such economic meltdowns. Zimbabwe had a 52% decline in per capita income from 1999-2008, with a 46% decline from 2002-2008. The economy has rebounded, but per capita income is still 18% below what it was in 2002. Mugabe didn’t leave until several months ago- in his 90s.

        Zimbabwe: Gross domestic product per capita, constant prices
        Purchasing power parity; 2011 international dollar

        1999 2,837.93
        2000 2,725.07
        2001 2,719.68
        2002 2,516.84
        2003 2,106.99
        2004 1,959.72
        2005 1,799.10
        2006 1,709.12
        2007 1,646.88
        2008 1,368.97
        2009 1,456.99
        2010 1,667.06
        2011 1,920.75
        2012 2,081.60
        2013 2,131.18
        2014 2,134.78
        2015 2,110.47
        2016 2,070.55
        2017 2,075.02

        In looking at Venezuela 2018, I have concluded that I don’t know from nothing, as the saying goes.

    • Have you seen the recent reports of large numbers of GN and regular military simply not returning from leave/vacation?

      • It’s more than likely they were on “vacation” because they wouldn’t allow them to resign. I’d guess the only way to recoger tus corotos without being bothered by the government would be that.

      • To the point they are now prohibited from travel outside the country, order effective today.

        If they try to leave they are to surrender their passports and return to base.

  19. Besides the ridiculous comparison to Burma, of all places, this is where Francisco is fundamentally wrong:

    “2017 showed pretty decisively that the regime is not going to collapse. It should, yes. If this was the Hollywood version, it would. But this is the grubby, disgusting reality, where murderous assholes can entrench themselves in power for decades and there isn’t a goddamn thing anybody can do about it.”

    2017 were a bunch of disorganized, half-throttle, improvised, divided street street protests. Those are always easy to crush. Pueblo-People were simply not pissed-off enough, not enough of them for sure. Plus no military participation whatsoever, zero arms, not even low-level militia. Plus no real leadership, no Leopoldo Lopez figure, none. On the contrary, delusional pussies, MUD crap like Capriles or Borges or Allup were the freaking opposition “leaders”, callng for ‘peace’ and restraint, calling for freaking elections… Plus no massive, concerted International support. No wonder they failed.

    Of course there is a damn thing Millions of somewhat organized, really pissed-off people can do. With some real leadership, with thousands and thousands more per organized protest, not just hundreds or less at times as we saw, with some low-level military support perhaps, or at least massive International support as there is now. Besides the lack of the numerous aforementioned necessary ingredients, the real catalyst, the indispensable fuel for an effective street fire was what was missing: ARRECHERA de verdad.

    Pueblo-People were simply not super-mad enough. Really pissed-off. Not fed-up yet. There were Millions – around FIVE Million – Enchufados, public leeches, afraid of losing their ClapCrap and their bogus jobs. They stayed home. Others weren’t mad enough, poor enough, hungry enough to sustain the protests, invigorate them with the needed much larger NUMBERS. So the people were divided, weak, scarce and relatively apathetic still, no leadership, no weapons, zero organization, zero weapons, zero cash funding, weak international diplomatic support, of course it was going to fail.

    And now it’s even tougher, mainly because of the vast migration of almost 4 Million of fed-up people, the regime is even more ‘atornillado’ in power, and the remaining people are either enchufado leeches afarid of losing their freebies, or afraid people in general, too old or too young to fight, with no leaders.

    But the remaining people and some malcontent military are hungrier than ever. Yes, that’s what it takes. HAMBRE. Being really, really pissed off, to the point where fear is conquered. That’s how you get most popular revolutions, the French went out to la Bastille and many others as in Egypt recently went out en masse because of a lack of BREAD, lack of their Harina Pan.

    That’s where my buddy Rex comes in. The USA would have to shut down the only Legal cash the Genocidal Tyranny now gets: about $35 Million per day. That would have an immediate effect of the BRIBES to sustain the Narco-Kleptocracy. It would make it much harder to grease about 5 Million public leeches, plus the entire corrupt military. They would really start to arrecharse then. Get really pissed off. No more goodies, no more bribes. Even less food, more hunger, yes, unfortunately. That’s what’s necessary. Hit the regime in its filthy pocket, and the people that support the regime, ostensible about 25%, yes 25% of the adult population are leeches, today, hit’em even harder in their pockets and stomachs. Y que se chupen esa mandarina pa ver ni no salen a la calle..

    Unfortunately, Rex and the US administration, plus Macri and Macron know that may not be enough, and does cause humanitarian concerns. They know the Narco-Kleotocrats get even more cash from the Drug Trade. They know they are desperate to stay in power because they face jail time and loss of their stolen millions. They know they are ruthless, and don’t care if people starve, after the oil cash is cut. It would mean even harsher repression, further purging of the corrupt military.

    That’s when plan C comes into effect. After the mega-fraud of the upcoming elections piss people off even more. After $35 Million per day for bribes are gone. When people are really, really pissed off. The DEA and Seal team 6 stop by for a brief visit in the night, saying hello to Cabello, Tarek, Padrino and a few Narcos, backed off by covert international support, which will be massive and unprecedented after the mega-fraud.

    That’s when Unibrow Borges and company are set for a real transition. A los coñazos. Not likes the tropical pueblo-pussies Francisco talks about here. That’s when Leopoldo Lopez should be the head of the spear.

  20. Just wanted to add as a Central European (not Romanian or former East German though) that the transitions of East Germany and Romania were quite different from each other.
    In E Germany its true that the regime and its aparatchiks were dumped wholesale, with robust transitional justice (e.g. full declassification of political police files etc.), most of the political/economic figures of the regime banned from public life for the transition period or dismissed, or even replaced with personnel coming from West Germany. The territory of former GDR had this advantage to have a more developed “cousin” to fall back on, both financially and politically after the unification (they could adopt a functioning system instead of having to build it from scratch. But what was most important for this discussion, that the regime figures were completely removed from public life.

    In Romania on the other hand, although the dictator and his wife was executed, and their most trusted collaborators removed, the second-line party bureaucracy, led by Ion Iliescu (who was a county/province party secretary under Ceausescu but later fell from grace and demoted to some lower position) was able to seize power in 1989-1990 (first take over then win the elections in 1990). With that, even though there were some changes on the top, large part of the power structures of the regime remained intact or the personnel related to those were able to transition easily to the democratic (or at least more democratic than before) system in the 1990s. For example, most of the managers of foreign-trade companies or important industrial companies were officers of the secret police, the Securitate. Those high ranking people after the fall of the regime had an easy way to become businessmen, and due to their contacts from the old era were able to amass substantial fortunes during the chaotic period of the 1990s. Likewise, part of the security services remained essentially unreformed (even though the political police was abolished), and secret police files remained classified, with the new government in power actively sabotaging transitional justice, because otherwise it would uncover that they themselves came from the old party-state structures.
    So translated to Venezuelan terms, the Romanian scenario would just mean that Maduro and his closest collaborators would be removed and replaced by some second- or third-line chavistas. And rest assured, that in this case the new Venezuelan Iliescu would be as unwilling to do a wholesale “purification” of the society and the political system as the original one was. (Even though the most absurd Madurist policies would be discontinued of course, the same way Iliescu abolished the most absurd policies of Ceausescu. But it was done also for reasons of political survival, not a deep seated democratic or pro-capitalist conviction)

  21. Upon re-reading this utterly pathetic post from Quico, it’s nauseating:

    “At some point, once you fully internalize the reality of a regime that’s now encysted, you have to let go of the beautiful dream. You have to seriously consider that a transition will either be on their terms, or it won’t come at all.”

    Disgusting weasels like Falcon, Allup or Padrino could say the same crap.

    Thankfully, Venezuela did produce a few excellent analysts. It’s no coincidence that both Ricardo and Leopoldo Lopez are Harvard educated, and both call for “la calle”, even military intervention, and the complete extirpation of the Castro-Chavistoide plague.

    Read and weep, learn something Francisco Falson:


  22. I will stick with Haussman on this one.

    You’re a leftie at heart and it clouds you, even if you do want what’s best for Venezuela.

  23. Or maybe given the expertise from Cuba there is no peaceful transition that you can make a cardboard sign in protest to stop and venezuela is at the beginning of 50-100 years of poverty, socialism and totalitarian rule.

  24. Nothing will happen until El Pueblo decides that they have had their fill of starvation and despair.

    When the bodies of the Chavista faithful (~ ten thousand) start piling up in the gutters, when it is “every colectivo for themselves!” and they start firefights with the PNB/GNB and other colectivo groups, ONLY THEN will Maduro and his ilk decide that the time is ripe to vacation in Havana.

    The Chavista faithful have to start dying. Otherwise, nothing is going to change. And if history is a guide, it will be when these barrios and favelas (or whatever the Venezuela equivalent) start going up in flames that you will be able to start the timer. History has shown that it won’t be middle class or elite neighborhoods going up in flames from the rioting… if anything, angry poor people LOVE to shit in their own oatmeal first. Watts/South Central LA. East St. Louis. Detroit. Newark. Chicago.

    When the smoke starts pouring out of those Chavista neighborhoods, you’ll know its “game on”.

  25. So many made great points here in response to Quico’s capitulation to the regime. As I wrote several times before, I believed this was the blog to go to know what’s going on, and with recommendations and plans, support to fight Chavez. Since el galactico passed.. this blog has devolved into sad stories, no plans, no resistance (even from distant and safe Quebec). So, I’ll ask again Quico, why? Where is the MUD? What is this new Frente with the same tired old HRA and Falcon? No comment on Falcon’s NYT trashing? Is this a business or a resistance? You think the regime can hold on, with sanctions, indictments, collapsing oil production, fleeing or dying masses until when? Pointedly as someone else wrote, the results of Syria with no opposition or resistance. Where is the opposition, and where do you, Quico, count yourself? You may ot like it, but you put yourself here like 15 years ago, but good reason.. but.. is it a resistance or a business, and who else is paying so you do not criticize the muddy?

  26. I will vote for Pinochet as my choice. Just gather all the rift raft into a stadium (or Miraflores) and don’t let anyone leave. Then hire somebody that knows how make things works.

    • Yes there is. The bottom is reached when you fall into Black Hole or you realize that CLAP container did not come with TP and you forced to use leaves. Either one applies to Venezuela

  27. Oh well the long-awaited-peor-es nada-lets-vote-for-Falcón-my-mate-may-be-economy-tsar post.

    You know what …whatever.

  28. I keep saying, their end will come when the masses no longer get their internet fix. You watch. How that hasn’t already happened has surprised me. Also, this site needs a like button.
    My first cousin and her father are off to another country soon! Thank god! But so many more cousins, aunts and uncles won’t get that luxury. The Chavista ones don’t complain to me about anything. Funny that.
    I can’t wait for the day it’s safe enough to go back.

  29. This pathetic post reads like a prelude to an oncoming post about Francisco Toro jumping onto the Henri Falcon train along with his buddy and EconGuru F-Rod. It’s a dream coming true for CC’s Editor.

    If I had to bet on some outrageous outcoming of the Venezuelan mess, here’s what I’d put my money on:

    – Maduro/Diosdi let Falcon win after they make a backroom deal for a de facto amnesty, probably creating a legal and physical bubble for Chavista high honchos somewhere in the country. After all, those poor corrupt hijos de puta need a place to live beyond Uncle Sam’s justice system.
    – Maduro/Diosdi have a ton of dirt on Falcon, so Henri abides by the deal.
    – Falcon either goes full dolarización and/or eliminates all price controls. Inflation skyrockets even more at first, but then the economy stabilizes and people start eating three times a day again.
    – Falcon being a Socialist, keeps subsidized handouts to the poor. They fail to fully integrate to the economy. The country basically goes into 4ta-República mode again. Some of those who left will go back. Most of those who went to 1st-Word countries will not.
    – Venezuela goes on as a shithole from where nobody writes home about for decades, until yet another Socialist campaigns on “chavismo wasn’t really Socialism” and wins in a landslide.

    • Yeah, the Henri Falson Horse of Troy scenario, where Chavista crooks are allowed to flee and hide their millions, some blending in, slowly mutating pal centro, leaving that Kleptozuelan dead horse for the MUD to enjoy. Unlikely but possible if the USA doesn’t lay down the hammer.

    • I wouldn’t count on that scenario, though it does seem plausible, but not likely.

      If Maduro “loses” to Falcon, a shitstorm will erupt. Whether Maduro is gone (exiled) or not (pardoned), the cancer (Chavismo) will remain, and that is when the Chavistas in the military will step up to put out the fire. Nothing changes unless Falcon is bold.

      Unless Falcon rolls back every Chavista paradigm (and gets logistical support from the UN/EU/US and neighbors) nothing will change. The cancer has to be cut out. The word has to get out loud and clear that Bolivarian Socialism (BS) is dead. This Falcon will balk at… he loves BS. But, lets fantasize a bit!

      The first order of business is getting rid of the TSJ, the CNE and the ANC. New, FREE elections scheduled

      Then, the military has to be choked. (Hide the distributor caps to the tanks, planes, boats and missiles)

      Then, cut off their funding. (Venezuela becomes Costa Rica)

      Whoever replaces Maduro and wants to right the ship, they need to get the support of the US/EU and UN prior to anything else. The threat of the Big Stick needs to be there before benevolence comes in.

  30. What Spanish I still speak is not rooted in Venezuela. I wish CC had an index of Venezuelan phrases translated to English for people like me. Just in these comments…
    (peor-es-nada.) “Worse is nothing?” That can’t be right.
    (arrechito murió cagando.) Something met an inglorious end, but I don’t understand arrecho in any of its forms.
    (ARRECHERA.) Another arrecho spawn. The state of being awesome and/or freaking pissed-off?

    That’s just 3 out of hundreds over the last few years. I try to look them up and rarely get anywhere.

    • Ha ha, sorry for laughing but when someone asks about arrechito murio cagando, I just have to laugh.

      Look, first things first.

      ARRECHO is one of those words whose meaning varies with context.

      You could be pissed off. Estoy ARRECHO. I’m pissed off.

      You could admire something. Ese carro si es ARRECHO. That car is awesome.

      You could state someone has really got the nerve. Tu si eres ARRECHO. You really have some nerve.

      Which brings us to Arrechito murio cagando. As in “that guy who thought he was a brave, bold dude, died shitting his pants. A less “colorful” way would be to say that posturing gets you nothing.

      And yes, peor es nada makes perfect sense to a Venezuelan. Because even having diddly squat is better than having nothing at all. This attitude certainly has a lot to do with why we are still where we are.

      You may want to peruse this site, which while not translating to English, does define in “plain language” what Venezualisms mean.


    • Ah, the Venny colloquialisms. My wife is full of them. We’ve been together for over 30 years and she still “pulls one from the ether” (a local colloquialism) several times each year. I am fortunate that she can translate what I don’t grasp. She has only been stumped by a few. Must be the younger generations…

      Spanish is easy. I’ve got a pal who is from the NorthEast of England. A “Geordie” from Newcastle. Their English speaking skills (despite being able to read and understand the spoken word) is rudimentary at best. Gibbering baboons are easier to understand.

  31. I am no longer reading this idealist democrats bullshit anymore.
    If you want to know why Venezuela is screwed, then Quico need only look in the mirror. I hope that he never returns to this country.


    The youtube autotranslate in english is ok…but Jose Colina talks fast, so you might want to do at speed .75.

    Please youtube this francisco falson

  33. Quico got totally body slammed, suplexed and pile-drived by all the arepa heads on the message board today. A complete and total WWE smackdown!!!

    But he is laughing because Henri Falson must have deposited a vast sum of dollars purchased at dicom 4 tasa of 43 bolivares fuertes to the dollar.

  34. “…and that’s not a gap you can bridge via wishes or fond hopes.”

    But… Hausmann…! The dying people.

    My moral sense of superiority!!!

  35. “Hate the crime, not the criminal” vs. “I hate the fuckers”. What’s your choice?. F. Toro chose the second, apparently withouth realizing or thinking about what a nation of hate-fuckers would be.

  36. I had not stopped by here for years.I came because of a tweet from one of my followers and wow has this gone south.The vitriol the all caps name calling.Pathetic.Reminds me of the same 10 teenagers bickering on 4Chan.The article has well reasoned arguments some of which I agree and disagree with.The Burma comparison not really because all the surrounding states are essentially authoritarian regimes anyways.However the part of the transition being on their terms or none at all rings true.

  37. What the regime counts on in a a cuerda de lambucios of th eMUd accepting their own terms transition in exchange for a chance to run el coroto. Nothing different form the guanabana years when power shifted back and forth between a few groups of enchufados.

    Many chavistas look a honorable Ambasador diego Arria, for example and say, well why can I be him?

    This Falcon move has deep tradition in venezuela, let us stay put with all our winnings, and new its your turn to run the government…

    IMO its an exhausted model that only deteriorates over time, and furthermore, the chavista cycle was compounded with foreign interests and despicable social control and human right violations. The regime just wants to break up the populations spirit, have emigres and have people in anomic survival mode.

    These criminals, as opposed to the former, went too far. Their goal was not to turn over the coroto again, and so far they have succeeded. Some of the hostages and emigres seem to be accepting, stockholm syndrome like, that they will make the terms for their transition out.

    My position is clear, I am not saying that this is not the case, and that they will have their way in attempting and completing such maneuver, but it is morally and ethically unacceptable for any venezuelan patriot to collaborate and be silent against their intentions. After all, this is already the last turn we got and the chavistas managed to sink the nation in a 100 year backward drive… No justice, and More guanabana and we go back to the century of guerras civiles.

  38. After reading this and giving it due consideration- probably far more consideration than Quico would give me as an American Neocon, a capitalist, an anti-Socialist, a (reluctant) Trump voter, and even an occasional browser of dread unintellectual blogs like Breitbart (though honestly I find that particular site not to my taste unlike some who supported the Guarimbas and opened himself to the chages of “Chickenhawker”- I feel like the definitive refutation of Quico and this article has already been written. Nearly 300 years ago.


    With the key passage being:

    “It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace, BUT THERE IS NO PEACE. THE WAR IS ACTUALLY BEGUN! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, OR PEACE SO SWEET, as to be purchased at THE PRICE OF CHAINS AND SLAVERY? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!”

    Or perhaps the answer was even older, thousands of years before.

    “Let Justice be done though the Heavens Fall.”

    To be honest, I think this is the key problem with Quico and those like him in the opposition. They were not committed to the just destruction of the regime under any situations, or to freedom by war rather than slavery by peace.

    Now, some may criticize me for what I am about to write, so let me lay all my cards on the table. I am a fat Californian Neo-con who has only ever shouldered a weapon in re-enactment. The most risky thing I’ve done was visit Russia and try to do charity work, or face off against assorted hate groups like Antifa and the Klan in protests. I am however a history nerd, and particularly a student of warfare and espionage. In part because I am a wargamer. I have never been to Venezuela. The most I have done was lobby hard against Chavez well before most in the US . I have not done what Quico has done for the cause.

    So some may call me ignorant of the country, a coward who calls for blood or glorifies warfare while safe in a foreign land confident that barring tragedy I will not have to take up arms in THIS particular fight, let alone do so under the conditions the average protestor- or if we may be blunt, Rebel- will have to do. That it is petty to pick on Quico for this.

    There may be shades of truth to those, but it does NOT mean that the arguments or claims I make are false. And personally, I am knowledgeable enough about war to have studied its’ hideous cost and realize almost anything else is better.

    But I also know a thing or two about it, and I have studied totalitarianism to learn that Essentially Nothing is Worse.

    So I’m left with the distinct feeling that the problem with Quico, with MUD, and with most of the people like them in the opposition was that they were never committed to victory at any cost, which in the face of psychopathic evil was a recipe for failure. That when talking about a “Peaceful Transition” they prized the PEACEFUL part of the matter over the “Transition” part, and now realizing years too late that the former is not in the cards- probably never was- they have despaired.

    Now it is PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE to despair. It is the LOGICAL, MORAL Thing to do, because nobody wants to imagine their country, their society being torn apart (further) by conflict, bloodhsed, death, good people and innocent bystanders perishing.

    But the problem is, Quico and co have despaired so much that they have SURRENDERED THE IDEA OF TRANSITION. They have GIVEN UP the central objective that this Dictatorship Must Go.

    Now, again, it’s EASY to critiize from the outside looking in, it’s easy to attack me for attacking poor Quico and co without facing the murderous snipers, or personally encountering the forces that made him despair and give up hope. And again, there’s some justice to that. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong, and frankly a lot of good crisis management strategies INVOLVE getting feedback from someone on the outside, someone who isn’t tied up in the ground and in the fog of war and who can thus analyze and give suggestions from the outside looking in. That doesn’t mean they’re always RIGHT, or that they know everything better than the people actually on the ground floor.

    But it has endured as such a respected strategy for so long for a reason. Because it often WORKS. It is Helpful.

    And so here I am.

    Frankly, the opposition needs to accept one key tenant regarding the regime.

    The Regime Must End By Any Means Necessary. Period. Full Stop.

    Not “The Regime must end by any means necessary So Long As It’s Peaceful.”

    Not “The Regime must end by any means necessary In a Vote.”

    Not “The Regime Must End by any means necessary With International Help.”

    The Regime Must End. Freedom must be Restored.

    If you cannot accept those two tenants and back them to the hilt, I think it is safe to no longer classify you as truly a member of the Opposition, because your opposition to the regime is Conditional. You are willing to allow it to enslave the country and endure in certain circumstances.

    Quico writes

    “I hate the fuckers who’ve done this to my country, and I want them to suffer: anyone with a modicum of democratic sensibility should, too.

    Because I think regime collapse was the best option for us, I supported last year’s mass protest movement, the four months of incredibly brave street demonstrations were our last, best hope of provoking it. I cried bitter tears for our fallen day in and day out. Pernalete, Neomar, each of them.”

    I have no reason to doubt him as a reader of this blog for years, even during the odious and hysterical anti-Trump articles.

    But if I may dare to scratch the golden calf, perhaps Quico did not hate them ENOUGH to accept no other outcome save their deposition.

    Frankly, I think the truth is that outside of the carnage, the bodies, and the like, Quico shared more affinity for Chavismo or at least some policies tied to it than he cared to admit. He is a man of the Left, in the same way I am one of the right- and that is fine, because many people of the Left have been staunch fighters for freedom like George Orwell and Georges Clemenceau. What separates these men from Quico ar.e..well, a number of reasons, but also the fact that they got shot.

    And they were fighters. Not just in the metaphorical meaning of the term but Actual ones. Orwell was a soldier, and Clemceau was more than willing to shoulder a rifle if it had come to that (though it didn’t). And both believed in the necessity of fighting a just fight to the Bitter, Ugly End so that evil did not Prevail.

    And I think that is the key thing here.

    Let us state the obvious. Chavismo will not yield power voluntarily. To me this realization came relatively early, when I heard the anecdote that Chavez was originally boycotting the election he ultimately won because he was sure the Republic would never accept the results if he won, and he had to be convinced otherwise by an old hand Communist Party member. This struck me as psychological projection, that he was analyzing the Venezuelan Republic and mainstream parties using the only mental template he had, HIS. And that HE KNEW he would NEVER yield power peacefully and neither would the party he created in his stead.

    Though that analysis is just conjectural and may be wrong, but in any case he and Maduro handily demonstrated that they would never give over power legally.

    Now let us talk about another Near Universal trend:

    Totalitarian states are deposed by force, or the credible threat of force.

    Authoritarians (even ruthless ones like Pinochet and the various South Korean Juntas) can yield power and retire more or less voluntarily. Not all of them DO or WILL, and it helps to have some hefty pressure, but it is possible.

    Totalitarians do not, in part because of the very nature of the totalitarian ideology. You have to uproot it entirely.

    The German Empire of WWI was beaten to a pulp militarily and then had its’ mutinous sailors and solders depose of the Emperor and the Military Junta at bayonet point.

    The Third Reich was all but atomized by utter brutality.

    Paraguay in the 19th century WAS all but destroyed in the War of the Triple Alliance.

    Grenada saw “Team Marines” put away the revolutionary Junta.

    These are all obvious cases where the regime was overthrown by direct, violent force, where more powerful and skilled people with superior force beat the regime and outright ripped it out. But this is not always necessary, because sometimes the THREAT of imminemt force is enough.

    The Warsaw Pact dictatorships- like Czechoslovakia, which Canucklehead took part in toppling over- were economically backwards, facing rising dissent, and-this is crucial- Isolated by Soviet malaise and the ultimate decision that the Soviets would not deploy troops into these countries like they had in ’53, ’56, ’68, and the like. EVEN IF it meant losing them.

    Which meant that the various Mini-Brezhnevs and so forth were left hanging in the wind, forced to deal with an increasingly angry populace and international tension with only the modest resources they could muster under their own flag.

    Likewise, The Gambia (something other CC Doves and anti-absentee hardliners adored) saw its’ dictator be shown the door by not just a ballot return, but the popular support that produced it AND The imminent Threat of African Union troops deposing him by Force.

    The Carnation Revolution was an outright MILITARY COUP in Portugal that got public support and was almost entirely bloodless, but that was based on the knowledge that the core of the anti-dictatorship movement were TRAINED SOLDIERS who could take the carnations out of their rifles and if need be shoot it out, while the public could be expected to support them.

    And I could go on. But this is what most opposition strategization regarding Venezuela- at least here- lacks.

    Now, Canucklehead has spoken extensively about the ability of Unions and Strikes to help overthrow dictatorships, and how they played a role in the Velvet Revolution he experienced in Czechoslovakia. And he believes they can topple the Chavistas. He has a point, but I do not support his analysis because I have studied plenty of cases where a sufficiently ruthless and powerful dictatorship will simply drown strikers in a flood of blood and resume work as normal with red wet spots still on the wall.
    This does not mean we should not plan a national strike or that it would do no good. I think it would. but I think we need to look at another factor. How to safeguard the strikes from simply being crushed brutally. How we get nearly as powerful as the dictatorship.

    If you’ll suffer me putting in another quote, from John Basil Barnhill, “Where people fear the government, there is Tyranny. Where the Government Fears the People, there is Liberty.”

    The key ingredient to give Venezuela liberty back is missing, because the regime and the various oligarchs and strongmen tied to it from the military bases to the financial sector DO NOT SERIOUSLY FEAR THE PEOPLE. They believe that they can do almost anything they want and the people will suffer and if need be DIE with little more than a funeral protest or the occasional browbeating.


    The opposition needs to start thinking about Violence. How to make these thugs Fear them. You should start by gathering what weapons you can, trying to drill with them, and smuggling in what others you can, if need be by underground. And fully expect and be willing to Use them to kill, destroy, and eliminate the regime and its’ supporters.

    Before you stop reading this, I don’t say this lightly. Again, I’ve never been in a life or death fight myself and I know enough about war to understand some Extremely Small fraction of what is awful about it. And I am under no illusions that if blow came to blow and battles had to be fought against ruthless Collectivos, paramilitaries that have already killed hundreds, and hardened Cuban shocktroopers by mostly unarmed or lightly armed protestor-guerillas, THOUSANDS will die.

    But not everyone will. And I do think if we’re serious about seeing Maduro, Falcon, and co be overthrown, This is what needs to happen.

    You need to have “El Pueblo”, the Venezuelan People, angry and tired and starving enough to be willing to bring down this government by force of Arms, and willing to tear apart anybody trying to uphold the Chavez legacy to do it. This is a tall order and a ghastly thought, but not unthinkable. And if I’m brutally honest, it is the lesser of two evils compared to letting this thing Metastasize like Castro did in Cuba!

    Ultimately, freedom will come when you not only want it, but are prepared to fight for it. When the dictatorship and its’ supproters live in fear, and are made to realize that they cannot Kill, Cannot Bribe, cannot Bullocks hard enough to escape the fact that they will leave power. The only question is whether- to quote It’s a Wonderful Life- “Through the Door or OUT THE WINDOW!”.

    Because then you will force these goons to ask themselves how far they are willing to go- how much they are willing to sacrifice- in order to keep Maduro, or Falcon, or the like there.

    And here’s the best thing about it: You MIGHT, JUST MIGHT, not to actually throw the punch.

    It is quite possible that having millions of people Stand Up with the willingness to do violence, telling the Army, the people more wedded to their greed than Chavista ideology, and so on that They will Not Win This Fight, and if they Try they will only make thing worse for themselves, it would likely splinter the regime, demoralize it, and help pave the way for its’ collapse or a negotiated surrender like in the Velvet Revolution.


    You just need to make these people understand that if they do not accept the fate of Hoenicker, they will accept the fate of the Ceaucescus. But that one way or another, Chavismo WILL Be Thrown Out. Maduro will not keep power, and neither will Falcon or any of the other Chavista clowns Get it. That they will not be able to “democratize” like the Burmese Junta did (which by the way is only dubious at best; I’ve always been somewhat suspicious of Aung San Kyi’s democratic credentials given who her father was and I’ve only been reinforced in that belief so far).

    The only question is how bloody they will make it, and whether they go out the way of the Portuguese troops in the Carnation Revolution or the Swiss Guard at the Tuilleries.

    And this resolve must come from the Venezuelan people.

    I’ve seen a lot of people talk about “Team Marines” and Rex, and so on. As an American Conservative I am flattered, and I have hope they can help end this nightmare favorably. BUT YOU CANNOT COUNT ON THEM. YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO FIGHT BY YOURSELVES, because you should prepare for the worst case scenario.

    Do you think I like writing this, or these conclusions?

    I do not.

    But I write because they are the impression I’ve honestly gotten having observed (however imperfectly) Venezeula and history, considered (however compromised by my biases or personal experiences- and lack thereof), and analyzed some counterparts.

    I hope I’m wrong along with Quico. That some kind of grand Palace Coup or Velvet Revolution will happen tomorrow and it is still a way to topple the regime.

    But I no longer have faith that such a thing is possible, and even if I did I think it would be important to plan for it. To quote a certain other dictator, Oliver Cromwell, “Trust in God but keep the Powder Dry.” (The powder, of course, being gunpowder like that which sparked the American Revolution when the British Army occupying the colonies tried to disarm the colonial governments only to be confronted by the Minutemen on the road to Concord).

    This Regime Must End.


    It is more important that it end soon than it end peacefully.

    Is the Venezuelan opposition- or the Venezuelan people- willing to make this resolve?

    Because I think it will determine whether or not Venezuelans can enjoy their freedom, or if Venezuela will drift into the red abyss of indefinite tyranny like Cuba did.

    Is Quico willing to make this resolve, regardless of what it might take? Even if it might be civil war? Who is willing to truly be the Venezuelan *opposition* rather than mere critics of the regime?

    I don’t like typing this, but these are the conclusions I have drawn and I think it is important to do so. I let the audience here judge.


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