Contradicting Viewpoints on the Transition: Liberalism Must Come First

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Photo: La Patilla

Harvard economist Ricardo Hausmann just published the strongest retort to the idea of a transition led by a “light chavista” who forgets the crimes of those in power:

Given the humanitarian crisis, Venezuela needs a rapid economic recovery, which is unlikely unless property rights are credibly reestablished. But how is this possible in the context of majority rule? What will prevent a future electoral majority from grabbing assets again after the economy recovers, as happened in Zimbabwe during and after the 2008-2013 cohabitation agreement? And how can the system create relatively permanent property rights without entrenching the narco-bourgeoisie’s claims to the booty it has amassed under Chávez and Maduro?

[…] In Venezuela today, it will be impossible to reestablish liberal democracy if the current regime is allowed to return and expropriate again. Venezuela’s recovery depends on its capacity to translate the current catastrophe into a set of new social norms of the form: “never again shall we…”

Even Quico has given up on his Venezuelan transition ideal. He wants to punish chavista leaders (to watch them suffer), but is willing to trade that for an economic recovery. What a way to miss the point!

No, Quico, the reason we shouldn’t be okay with an uncertain transition organized around the needs of chavista leaders isn’t to please our desire for schadenfreude. It’s because we need to hold them accountable, to move forward as a liberal democracy.

Hausmann and I have one poignant question for you: what happens when an openly anti-liberal party with a lot of money is allowed to stay around with no consequences?

Liberalism is non-negotiable. We need to guarantee free speech and property rights, and work out some transitional justice — for the stolen bounty and crimes against the people. Else, even if Falcón were to muster the votes and convince the military to honor them (a big if), we will find ourselves facing powerful, wealthy, illiberal, chavista foes 5 years from now — or sooner.

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45 COMMENTS

  1. Glad Alejandro picked up on the the Hausman critical article I linked yesterday here, responding to Francisco pathetic post.

    Furthermore, Ricardo is pro US Military flash invasion to save Klepto-Cubazuela, something those Muddy UCV dreamers and many other nationalistic clueless clowns with their foolish pride still don’t get.

    • I can easily understand why any non-chavista Venezuelan would be praying for a US military intervention.

      Can you help me understand how the case for such a thing would be made to a war weary, indebted, thoroughly disinterested US electorate?

      • “Hombre Araña,”

        Presumably, you’re joking? The Venezuelan tyranny eminently fits into the vital national security concerns of the United States. To name but four factors:

        (1) Oil is an essential resource for US military and civilian needs; many of our refineries are equipped specifically for heavy Venezuelan crude; the collapse of Venezuelan output is not only a human catastrophe for the Venezuelan people, but it also hurts our economy and our security needs.

        (2) Maduro (and Chavez before him) have never hidden their alliances with Iran, Syria, Russia, and various other terrorists and US adversaries. Intelligence shows criminal schemes have included supplying passports to Hezbollah jihadists and working with Iran to import thousands of tons of cocaine into the United States. (Obama specifically did nothing to counter the latter example, out of fear of upsetting the massive payoff to Iran called the Iran Deal.)

        (3) Remind me, who is the leading global power in this hemisphere? When millions of starving families spill out across South America and Central America, destabilizing already-precarious local economies and polities… who do you seriously think will be called upon to help restore order? Must we again wait until the damage is done and thus end up paying even more?

        (4) No one wants to die for Maduro. The front-line soldier in Venezuela is intimidated and starved into submission, but he is not an idiot. He is looking for an excuse to break free of the tyranny. VERY few soldiers would risk their lives knowing with 100% certainty they would quickly lose the war. That means it would be extremely easy to topple the regime. The expense would come afterwards: cleaning up the corrupt police and military, restoring order on the streets.

        • Greetings Brian. Not joking in the slightest.

          I share your hatred of chavismo and would love nothing more than to see Maduro, Cadello, El Aissami, et al clad in orange and being led off to a super max in CO. However the question is whether the points you make would be persuasive to a majority of the US electorate. I do not think they would be.

          I can easily see most of my friends responding to your points as follows:

          1) “we can get our oil from elsewhere”
          2) “I was not aware of that, are you sure it’s true?”
          3) “Very sad but not our problem”
          4) “Toppling the regime in Iraq was the easy part, right? It’s what comes after that’s hard and could turn into an endless, bloody quagmire – like the one we recently got out of after 9 years, spending $1 trillion for crap results”

          Please understand I am not defending these responses (excepting #4). Most people in the US don’t know that much about Venezuela, and I am confident you could easily refute these answers but that is not the point. The point is that the US will not engage in a major military operation without popular domestic support for it. That does not exist at this time.

          Also, I would draw your attention to the penultimate paragraph in the Hausmann article. He states that post-transition political reeducation in Venezuela will not be easy, because many Venezuelans blame Maduro for their problems but have not rejected the underlying philosophy of chavismo. That means there is a significant risk that the US could invade Venezuela, defeat the regime, accept US combat casualties, inflict collateral damage, end up staying much longer than planned, spend another trillion dollars, and restore democracy…only to watch in horror as a chavista-style candidate wins the first post-invasion free and fair election. All this while being pilloried the whole time by the UN and most other democracies for having intervened.

          Every quagmire begins with an operation that is going to be quick, clean, and cheap. The generals told LBJ we could win decisive victory in Vietnam within 6 months of committing combat troops. Iraq was supposed be a 2 year commitment and come in around $90b. And don’t even think of coming at me with Panama, a small country of 4mm people, where we already had military assets, and which didn’t have 100,000 armed civilians in addition to their formal military. Venezuela is 2x the size of Iraq, which we needed 250,000 soldiers to occupy. Do you think the US is up for committing a like number of soldiers to an occupation force in Venezuela?

          I think this all might make for a tougher sell to the public in Gringolandia than you seem to think.

        • Brian

          Let me remind you that the United States has over the last two decades involved itself in various “nation building” exploits, all under the guise of “national security”. And what do we have to show for all of the blood spilled for others treasure?

          They hate us. And we resent them.

          I am ex US military. I was in Panama (Just Cause) in 1989 and saw the blood being spilled for ingrates. (not a lot of blood, comparatively) I imagine it hasn’t improved in the last 30 years. The fact remains that people who aren’t willing to spill their own blood want US soldiers to do that for them.

          I say BULLSHIT. If Venezuelans want freedom (which NEVER comes free) then they and their back bench cheerleaders need to grab a gun, cut some throats and man the barricades. This intifada crap (Molotov cocktails, rocks, etc) that happened last spring doesn’t cut it. Colectivos need to be hanging from trees, and dragged behind cars. When Maduro calls out the military (from their barracks and into every street) where they are exposed, and the blood starts running in the streets, the clock can start ticking on when US intervention MIGHT occur.

          Don’t be caught in the lie that nobody in Venezuela will die for Chavismo. There are plenty of Kool-Aid drinkers who think that having next to nothing is OK, so long as that what they get was taken from some achievers. I still get enraged when I think of the starving old Chavista bitch who said she MIGHT not vote for Maduro again if she didn’t get more free stuff. F*CK THAT. Let a few thousand Chavista faithful die for Chavismo. The US military sure isn’t going to change the heart of a Marxist-Leninist. When the Chavistas start fighting Chavismo, THEN the game is on.

          If a US invasion did take place, the VZ military would fold like a cheap suit… but then what? An invasion is EXACTLY what Maduro and the liberal bed-wetters want… that way they can say, “SEE? THEY WANT OUR OIL! WE NEVER HAD A CHANCE!”.

          Not ONE US soldiers drop of blood is worth ANYTHING in a country that doesn’t care to fight for its own freedom.

          • ElGuapo –

            I hear you and I basically agree with you. I am very disappointed that only Oscar Perez and a very few Venezuelans were willing actually to fight for their freedom. Some of it might be cultural, some of it might be the proverbial frog in the water that slowly increases in temperature until it’s too late.

            However, even if more young Venezuelan men SHOULD have had the courage to organize an armed resistance, and Colombia and Brazil SHOULD have helped supply guerrilla movements, that still doesn’t fundamentally alter the U.S. interests at stake as outlined above.

            hombre araña –

            Compare the U.S. occupations of Iraq after 2003, Germany or Japan after 1945, and Panama after 1989. Every case was radically different, depending on the local culture and religion. Luckily, there is no reason to believe that Venezuela would be more similar to Iraq than to Panama. There is no Sunni-vs-Shiite type division within Venezuelan society. The socialists are marginalized and discredited and they should be suppressed by the future government and prosecuted for their atrocities.

      • We’re hardly war weary in the states. Hell, no one even gives a second thought about Iraq or Afghanistan, unless affected by having family or friends in the military.

        By indebted, I don’t know what you mean. Money owed? If so, when did that ever matter or stop us Gringos?

        Finally, disinterested. Do you think the average American gave a shit about Grenada or Panama? As there any kind of backlash against it? All it takes is the administration presenting the conditions and reasons for the actions…SUCCESS in those actions (that’s the biggie)…and all is forgiven, and start singing Yankee Doodle Dandy here.

        You don’t seem to understand how the main current of U.S. military foreign policy flows, especially when we have dying babies on our side of the argument.

        • Greeting Ira.

          Do you really think that Grenada and Panama are comparable cases to Venezuela?

          The devil is in the details. US public will care quite a bit if we take siginificant casualties, get stuck in a quagmire, or end up spending an inordinate amount on this project.

          • You didn’t answer any of the three simple questions I asked.

            The fact that you claim the American public will care quite a bit about a military intervention is wrong by its very premise, or in a way…totally correct!

            We’re talking about saving dying babies, and you don’t think the average American would support THAT!?

            You can’t be American or have ever lived here for a substantial enough time to understand not only our mentality, but what is going on here now politically.

            Trump could walk on water, and the Democrats would complain his dirty feet are dirtying the ocean.

            We have a divided populace here, where if you like Trump, you’ll usually give him the benefit of the doubt.

            If you don’t like him, you’ll NEVER give him the benefit of the doubt, and you’ll go even further, by comparing him to Hitler.

            Yes, this is how fucking stupid liberal media is, and CC is glad to become part of it!

            God Bless Trump, but I just wish he was much more of the maniacal war-monger that his opposition claims him to be.

            Because Venezuela sure as hell needs it right now.

          • “Do you really think that Grenada and Panama are comparable cases to Venezuela?”

            Nope, Venezuela is MUCH worse than Panama and Grenada.

  2. Toro’s defeatism is incorrect for several reasons.

    For one, he completely neglected to include in his analysis the ongoing implosion of the economy in Venezuela. The military narco-nobility will not indefinitely support a strongman who is incapable of rewarding their complicity with favors and parasitic rights to resource extraction.

    For another, he assumes that because street protests failed in 2017, therefore there are no other threats to the regime and the tyranny will continue indefinitely. Obviously, that is not the case. Continued international pressure will exacerbate the dynamic cited in the previous paragraph. Colombia and Brazil will not passively allow themselves to be overrun with fifteen to twenty million starving migrants. The internationally media will not silently sit by as the regime commits future atrocities. The millions of young men who have fled Venezuela will not forget the dozens of precedents for refugee populations returning as an armed force to seize power and liberate the nation.

      • I think both Quico and Hausmann positions are somewhat valid. But I’m curious about your thoughts on this:
        “Hausmann and I have one poignant question for you: what happens when an openly anti-liberal party with a lot of money is allowed to stay around with no consequences?”
        He is saying this as if there’s going to actually be a mud government with enough power to allow or not allow these kinds of things. Which is not realistic, or even recommended since 25% or so of the population still are chavistas.

        Chavistas didn’t have this kind of power overnight. It took them years and years to corrupt the state apparatus to ban parties and opo figures that were involved in the 2002 coup.

        Plus, at this point I agree that economic recovery/stability should be prioritized.

    • I’ll tell you where Francisco Toro is wrong. He picked the wrong country to compare us with.

      Why compare Venezuela with Burma when you can compare it to the obvious…. Cuba.

      They have survived economic collapse, military intervention, international media, embargoes, isolation…hell, they were even thrown out of the OAS.

  3. I find it very sad that this kind of discussion should take place in Caracas Chronicles, supposedly a place of dicusion for the Venezuelan intellectual elites. A discussion on whether a chavista soft landing should be considered? A discussion on why not Falcon? A discussion on the pragmatic aspects of such a possibility?
    What about ethics, principles? This whole thing is pretty sad.
    It is incredible how political fossils such as Eduardo Fernandez are being reborn as followers of Falcon. What a tragic desire to recover some of the fame/notoriety of past years! The old tale of intellectuals as servants of dictators, Gil Fortoul, Villanueva, Pedro Emio Coll, etc. repeats itself today.
    Francisco Rodriguez, intelligent but unprincipled, is the first but not the only one in the line behind the new Chavez.

    • Gustavo, I am disgusted by a Falcón presidency, but see the piquiña electoral eventually winning the hearts of most Venezuelans. Principles is exactly what this piece is about – we’re stuck in a bad equilibrium, and I’m just reporting.

    • Agreed Coronel.. how to convince the opposition to grow a pair of principles? I’ve been disheartened by the MUD for a long time, but CC is spiraling now..

  4. “It’s because we need to hold them accountable, to move forward as a liberal democracy.”

    Sums it up nicely

    An example has to be made.

  5. (3) Remind me, who is the leading global power in this hemisphere? When millions of starving families spill out across South America and Central America, destabilizing already-precarious local economies and polities… who do you seriously think will be called upon to help restore order? Must we again wait until the damage is done and thus end up paying even more?

    ——–

    That, in my opinion, is why Rex Tillerman was trowling around South America to gauge the sentiments of countries surrounding Venezuela should Trump pull the trigger on an oil embargo — that is, to get some idea what to do since no matter what action is taken, or not taken, it will cost Columbia and Brazil et al fortunes to compensate for the collapse of Venezuela. And if the US pulls the plug (the 40 or so million a day the US pays for petro imports is apparently all that is keeping Maduro afloat), THEY will be on the hook to cover the recovery because an immediate crisis is certain to follow.

    Years ago, before the Communist block fell, those Reagan’s staff and military advisors were urging action since their long-time cold war opponent was so weak. Reagan apparently said, “Don’t worry. They have no money.”

    Even Maduro cannot survive without plata. Cuba is different in this regards because of a much smaller population and all the remittances and tourism that keeps the old Castro gig in business, if only barely. At this point I see it as an economic corner Maduro is in and there seems no escape because as the woman once said, “Socialism is fine … till you run out of other people’s money.” Not only has Maduro exhausted his options in this regards, those who are owed billions are now coming together to force payment on defaulted loads. Venezuela is by any definition a failed state. Maduro will fall without a push because nobody survives sans funds. But in my view it is essential that any transition that lets Maduro and others off the hook, in any way, is itself a crime against mankind and against the future of Venezuela. Lest people are held accountable for the heinous lies and profligate thievery we’ve seen over the last decade and more, future tyrants have little to dissuade them from busting out another political experiment, tanking the country, then walking away with stolen fortunes.

    A transition that is done on Maduro’s terms is treason.

    • “it will cost Columbia and Brazil et al fortunes to compensate for the collapse of Venezuela”

      Colombia, Brazil, PetroCaribe, Bolivia, et all have made fortunes from the largesse and now demise of Venezuela, at the expense of Venezuelans. Nothing is free.. if they now have to repay, in cash or blood so be it. Maybe in time they’ll grow a pair of principles and stand up to the next tyrant.

  6. https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/neighbor-nations-cant-bear-costs-of-venezuelan-refugee-crisis-alone/

    The world is probably fine with letting Venezuela implode. But once that implosion starts costing the rest of the world real money, expect a big push back sooner than later. The refugee crisis is likely the trigger in this regards, as run down in the link above. As is, the longer Maduro muddles along, doing the same things with the country going into full melt down, the cost of recovery on other countries (especially Brazil and Columbia) skyrockets. It is no longer just a political and social disaster. Maduro can essential impoverish, if not bankrupt, everyone in their immediate orbit. A big step will be if the UN officially declares fleeing Venezuelans as refugees.

    Gonna get hairy real soon here I reckon. Maduro has dragged in his neighbors now in a huge way.

  7. It is quite disturbing on the parallelism of Chavismo and the Nazi party. An histrionic populist clown fails at a coup, the intelligentsia dismisses him and he reaches power and coopts all branches of the government to lead his nation to a fiery destruction with people willing to die for the charade up to the last day.

    But given the absolutism and violent tendencies of Chavismo, Venezuela will probably need a plan akin to denazification.

    Likewise, estos hijos de la gran puta no se van por las buenas. Someone is going have to shoot them out of office.

  8. Disappointingly short post.

    In any case, it did not address the point of the post it responds to: it isn’t about what should happens, but what can happen.

    Hoping for a military intervention is the real claudication, because having set one’s mind to that goal, real paths to a transition are ignored.

    On the other hand, and I think Falcón sees this, maybe certain people from the opposition being so dead-set against a viable option helps, is even essential to the plan, because no transition can take place without the hearts and minds of disaffected chavistas.

    Still, it does seem important that high caliber intellectuals get on board, lest this new arrangement of power (low as its probabilities of succes are) lack their valuable input.

  9. Alejandro Machando…All of us, wherever we live need to take to heart the three compelling words you wrote:”Liberalism is non-negotiable”.The current trend I fear is to sacrifice liberalism for expediency and that is what Quico did in his astonishing concession to Chavismo. In his defense I assume he means he is willing to forego liberalism in order to restore the economy in order to bring a quick end to suffering. But Venezuela has already suffered greatly and may well be closer than Quico thinks to the end of your nightmare. I say, admittedly from my perch here in the US,, consider in the name of all you have invested in this struggle, to pesevere a while longer and not negotiate liberalism. After all the Chavistas, based on everything I have read here and elsewhere will never willingly restore your basic rights as human beings. Thank you for your excellent work. You are a wise man.

  10. In the event of any intervention, I think you can rule the UN out. How much is owed to Russia and China off the books? They would surely veto any action. This means regional actors, which countries would be willing to send forces to “keep the peace” and run the country while it gets back on its feet. Brazil and Colombia certainly have sound reasons but can they afford to pull the forces required from policing their own countries? It may be easier from them to try and close the border.

  11. Some are talking here about a US “military intervention” as a complex, long-lasting “war” deal. Not at all. What I envision is a Noriega style brief assault, Seal team 6 and such, with some covert local support, removing a few key Narco figures, notably Cabello and/or Padrino, a couple shots if necessary, that’s it. The Kleptozuelan Guardia Nazional would shit their pants faster than Cabello pissed on his during the CAP coup. Then rapidly install Borges and the real AN, and get the hell out, with very few forces if any left behind. A flash surgical operation, Grenada style. Heck, Osama Bin Laden style, 3 choppers with some local pre-arranged local support, International support they already have, that would do it.

    At this point I agree with Ricardo Hausman: it’s probably the only way out. By force. Because even after severe economic sanctions, including zero cash for oil, the Kleptocracy would survive on drug money and more repression. Even when the economy gets even worse, they don’t care if more people starve or die.

    Now why would the USA do it? Plenty of reasons, some already mentioned some of them here. Klepto-Narco-Cubazuela ain’t no little Cuban isolated island in the Caribbean. Geo-politically and economically it’s a much bigger problem in the entire continent. The USA always strikes worldwide when necessary, even far away, Bosnia, etc, covert ops with the CIA.. So when Rex and friends decide to strike in their own backyard, it won’t be no ‘Bay of Pigs’ little fiasco. It would be fast but furious, much better planned and effective.
    Sadly, it’s the only way to save whatever’s left of the former Venezuela, so forget about that pathetic nationalistic pride and just be thankful if they do. Heck, people should be BEGGING the Gringos to come and save Klepto-Cubazuela from itself. But no, many are so dumb and “proud”.. well, if that’s so, then enjoy the daily miseries of Cubazuela II, only worse, for several more decades to come. As if 19 years and the failed protests last year weren’t proof enough that no MUDcrap can save that mess.

    • Assassinations are best done with a small covert team of 2 or 3 at most. Watching the targets daily activities and planting a remotely activated bomb is highly effective. It would also be difficult to find the persons involved especially if they could blend into the country with passports and local knowledge.

      A professional black ops is certainly worth a movie but the assassination can be done covertly and effectively.

      • The very tip of the spear may be 2 or 3, but right behind them would be several hundred of the best, with many hundreds of millions of assets on the ground and in the air.

        Before the green-light there would be mock-ups, fake outs, four star and cabinet level involvement. Misinformation, disinformation, alerts and stand downs.

        To take out the VZ leadership could be done, yes, but I remember how fing complicated it all is…I can still smell the fuel.

        Venezuela is not Grenada.

        • Virdona,
          Yes it would be impressive to have $billions of military assets and soldiers in the fight, but this would be counter productive and unnecessary. A covert operation would leave doubts about who to blame. This deniability would make the remaining Chitvistas paranoid about insiders leading to splits within them.

          At a cost likely under $300k with few personnel, the human risks would be minimal. Remember that the Cubans likely have spies within the U.S military that could give warnings to Maduro. Keep it simple stupid.

    • Consider a less costly and bloody possibility? Park the USS Eisenhower offshore before May elections.. just sitting. Chavismo blows a gasket.. whatever. Post fraud international community rejects results. US gives x days for Maduro y combo to step down with free passage to Havana. x day +1 and every day after 1 tomahawk missile to Miraflores, Fuerte Tuna, etc. Different target everyday. Only military and government target. No boots on ground, etc. or some variation.. Worked to defeat ISIS.

  12. Because even after severe economic sanctions, including zero cash for oil, the Kleptocracy would survive on drug money and more repression.
    ———
    Repression alone will feed nobody and drug money is not enough, nor yet would it ever go, to the pueblo. They have been turned into beggars and while they apparently haven’t the wherewithal to mount enough push back to topple the Chavistas, I wouldn’t expect them to simply roll over and die without SOME kind of fight. So I just don’t see Maduro muddling along in much the same way once the screws are really turned on him, much as Castro(s) did to the northwest. The man’s a cockroach, able to survive a direct nuclear blast, but he owes billions on outstanding bonds and amigos, the bus driver ain’t gonna squelch on that debt without the vice clamping shut on his balls. Citgo is as good as gone. The Petro is jive and he’s got no viable way to raise funds save mining and so forth, little of which he or the country will ever see.

  13. I think that you are all getting ahead of yourselves on “Transition” plans. Before any other political or economic measures, dominion and order need to be restored in the large swathes of territory that are not currently under the control of government authorities. There are, on the order of, a quarter of a million to a half a million Collectivos, Criminals, Mafiosos, and thugs who will never accept governmental authority. These are currently in a rough alliance with the current regime. Before any real transition can take place, these elements of the population will need to be nuetralized.

    For those who want to discuss a peaceful transition, please explain how you will nuetralize the armed power of these groups peacefully.

  14. Good point, Roy. So much for a quick military strike fixing Venezuela. Social order has been so eroded that some kind of peace keeping outfit will apparently have to help manage the rogue and outlaw population who will be scrambling for power once the funds dry up and Maduro’s leverage is gone. And where should these and other marginalized people find a place in society where productions is shot, institutions are gone, and education has long been considered a bourgeois luxury. What will all these people DO?

    • Since when is an invasion a quick military strike?

      You go in, disarm/arrest/kill the colectivos as the case may be, and case closed. They’re just simply combatants, not even properly trained combatants, who will drop like flies under U.S. Marine boots. (Hell, they’re not even suicide bombers.)

      This is the easy part.

    • My point was that, just about any way you look at it, Venezuela will likely be under some form of martial law during a rather bloody transition political period, during which not much progress will be made on economic policy.

  15. Falcon is doing a disservice to the people of Venezuela.
    The only candidate that should run against Maduro is one with broad popular support that once the candidate is cheated out of the Presidency, nationwide civil unrest will ensue.
    Maduro needs someone to run against to try to give the election some type of legitimacy. Falcon is doing Maduro’s bidding.
    Vote Falcon, he doesn’t suck quite as bad should be his campaign slogan.
    If none of the above was a choice, it would take 90% of the vote.
    A candidate that promises everything to everybody and leaves the electorate convinced that they have had everything stolen from them when the CNE ratifies the certain to be fraudulent results may be the spark that ignites the powder keg of pent up resentment that will blow the regime out of office. Anything less will play to Maduro and his criminal cadre.
    It does appear that “free shit” is the only thing that the electorate cares about. They need to be convinced that something for nothing is imminent with a change of government. Promise them new vehicles, Iphones, HD TV’s, unending food and medicine, security, high welfare payments, unicorns farting skittles and anything else they desire.
    The humanitarian aid that awaits permission to be distributed in Venezuela will take some of the sting away from the reality that it will be a long trek back to where the country was before Chavez and Castro began the looting spree that continues to this day.
    For all of the times Maduro has outmaneuvered and surprised the opposition, this is one time that everyone knows what the regime is going to do. In essence the opposition has the opportunity to look into the future. Using this knowledge to your advantage is the only thing to do. Ignoring it and somehow believing that the elections will be fair and honest is idiocy.

  16. Anything that isn`t a liberal democracy Is NOT a transition. (or a liberal dictatorship, we already passed the threshold for kidding ourselves)

    Transition is only possible if we change direction, anything less is continuation. Reforming chavismo from within is not a transition to anything but more chavismo. Traditional gatopardismo criollo

  17. Alejandro, “what happens when an openly anti-liberal party with a lot of money is allowed to stay around with no consequences?”

    1990 Chile happens. By no means perfect, in many ways repugnant, but not the end of the world. It offers a foundation to build upon.

    • Chile didn’t fall into communism again because Pinochet did what he had to do, and the foundations of the state his cabinet left are so strong that many aspects of it remain up to this day.

      Also, Bachelet is trying to cling to a constituyente too, seeing that she might not have a chance to grab the power once again.

  18. Venezuela must be cleansed and purged of the state interventionism and state-forced monopolies for the very simple reason to avoid the mass starvation and extreme poverty that afflict the country today.

    In other words, “THE STATE MUST ALLOW THE PEOPLE TO WORK IN PEACE”

  19. You are extremely confused about Chilean history and its contemporary politics.

    Chile lived through an extremely corrupt 17-year long military dictatorship where ‘enchufados’ got rich while crime and poverty levels hit record highs and somehow you cannot see the parallels to modern day Venezuela… no, those were the good guys because “communism”…

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