Photo: Euronews

It’s like a Tropical Godwin’s Law: you know your thread has run its course when somebody throws an ¿Y tú qué propones? (What do you propose?) at you.

The line’s been abused enough to become a bit of an inside joke — what you say in a kidding-sort-of-way when you know you also don’t have a good answer.

It’s easy to see how a seemingly innocuous question like this one became a conversation-ender in Venezuela: faced with a governing clique that has all the power and none of the scruples, there’s never going to be a good proposal. Good proposals, like toilet paper, have become a luxury beyond our reach.

Even then, though, I find myself staggered by the depth of proposallessness the mainstream opposition has reached. Faced with a straight-up dictatorship, the new Frente Amplio’s main line of action seems to be… asking that dictatorship, pretty please, to be more democratic.

“Fighting for improved electoral conditions” is how this is generally framed, which makes it sound like, well, something.

But scratch beneath the surface and it doesn’t take long to figure out there’s nothing there. To the question “why on earth would a government you’ve repeatedly told us is a dictatorship agree to improved electoral conditions?” the mainstream opposition has no answer of any description.

Faced with a straight-up dictatorship, the new Frente Amplio’s main line of action seems to be… asking that dictatorship, pretty please, to be more democratic.

The only consensus the mainstream opposition has reached this year isn’t about what to do, but about what not to do: participate in an election under current circumstances. Mind you, they’re not proposing an actual electoral boycott — a series of coordinated protest actions culminating in not voting, the kind José Ignacio Hernández speaks of. They’re proposing not doing anything on election day.

Or before.

Or after.

Or ever.

The mainstream opposition has given up even the pretense of arguing that acting this way will hasten the end of the regime. There isn’t any sort of logical connecting thread between their position and the ostensible goal of driving the psychopaths who rule us out of power. Explaining to them that election boycotts almost never work misses the point entirely. They’re not interested in what works.

In ethics, there’s an old debate between consequentialism (the position that actions are right or wrong depending on the consequences they have) and deontology (actions are right or wrong in themselves).

The mainstream opposition takes deontology to an extreme: it straight up refuses to contemplate the consequences of its actions, or to consider those consequences as in any way important in judging whether they’re right or wrong. The mainstream opposition is interested in truth only, consequences be damned.

There’s a certain comfort in this extreme position: once you’ve convinced yourself that there is nothing to be done, why sully yourself with the moral compromises of staking out a consequentialist position? Why open yourself up to caricature, allow yourself to be painted as a crazed warmonger by talking about international military intervention, or as a craven appeaser?

Explaining to them that election boycotts almost never work misses the point entirely. They’re not interested in what works.

Consequentialism means wrestling with the real, nasty, disgusting realities of power politics as they actually are, away from the safe but barren ideological certainties of deontology. Deontology is “safe”, psychologically, at the price of being nakedly defeatist as a practical matter.

To me, political leadership demands consequentialism — if you want to feel safe in the certainty of your righteousness, you can go be a priest, or a social worker, or a professor. To be a political leader is to seek certain outcomes, and that implies sizing up the challenges you face realistically and proposing a course of action that brings your capabilities and goals into rough balance. In circumstances as extreme as the ones we face, it also means sizing up the compromises you’re willing to accept, understanding that they won’t be small.

Conceptually, there are really only two ways a government like ours is shown the door: por las buenas or por las malas. You can either persuade them that leaving power is in their interest, or you can use violence to seize power from them.  

In principle, the por las malas, coercion-based approach could come in a variety of guises: regime implosion, military coup, foreign invasion. Last year’s protests should be interpreted as a desperate, brave, but ultimately unsuccessful bid to set off a defection cascade leading to regime implosion. It was my favored tactic, but it unfortunately backfired: protests fizzled before the regime collapsed, strengthening it instead. A military coup could very well come, but there isn’t very much anyone in the opposition can do to influence it, and is more likely to yield a military dictatorship than a return to democracy. A foreign military intervention, for its part, remains vanishingly unlikely — and is also enormously risky: even if it was ultimately successful, it’s easy to imagine scenarios where success comes at the costs of thousands or tens of thousands of casualties, and years of war. To me, that risk is self-evidently unacceptable.

Conceptually, there are really only two ways a government like ours is shown the door: por las buenas or por las malas.

That leaves the por las buenas approach: persuading regime hierarchs that handing over power is in their best interests. This implies accepting that because Venezuela is not a democracy, what the voters think is relatively unimportant. What matters is persuading key groups currently in power that they — not the people, they — are better off handing over power.

This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Many of the groups keeping Maduro in power long ago ceased personally benefiting from the regime, simply because there are no more rents to share out. Many — in the military, in the civilian bureaucracy, even in PSUV itself — understand perfectly well Maduro has no idea how to put the hyperinflation genie back in its bottle. Even the Cubans must by now realize that a chronically unstable, impoverished Venezuela bleeding refugees across its borders, isn’t really in its longer term interest: after all, a parasite has a rational interest in keeping its host viable.

Of course, for any of this to work, you’ll need to be disciplined about lowering the Exit Costs for the current governing clique. That implies moral choices that are deontologically abhorrent: you’ll have to promise Venezuela’s torturers and state-sponsored murderers impunity, you’ll have to allow many of them to keep at least some of the money they stole from people who were hungry as they were being stolen from. There is no softballing the revulsion any decent person should feel at this prospect. It’s fucking gross.

And even then, it might not work.

To look carefully at the consequentialist avenues open to us is to realize with renewed urgency the utterly dire situation we face. When your best alternatives involve either rewarding the very worst criminals in society or possibly getting tens of thousands of people killed, you’ve more or less hit rock bottom. But rock bottom is what Venezuela is all about now, and even countries at rock bottom need leaders with the courage to size up the situation with a cold head and propose a course of action that brings you closer to realizing your goals.
Y eso… eso es lo que yo propongo.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.

149 COMMENTS

  1. “That leaves the por las buenas approach: persuading regime hierarchs that handing over power is in their best interests.”

    This implies that the “people” of Venezuela could somehow cobble together and maintain a unified “position” with respect to implementing “las buenas” over a period of time long enough to make it happen.

    I don’t think so…

    • Nah, no need for “the people” to agree on anything. As long as the leaders who handle the transition make credible promises, it could work. Once they leave the country with their money there is nothing “the people” can do.

  2. Francisco, now I think we are getting somewhere. But still it would help more to change the logo of an arepa to “a burning tire” till this regime falls.

    I agree, “the golden life raft strategy” for rats who jump ship is about as soft as a landing as we can have here in Venezeula. But they will not jump ship if they do not feel cornered like rats.

    The sanctions and international pressure are working. Yet we need to step it up!!! The gringos are doing their job, but the Venezeulan diaspora needs to step it up by hunting down more and more enchufados who are complicit with the regime–as well as bringing more public attention to what is going on in Venezeula. Veppex is doing a good job of that, but we need more.

    For boots on the grounds Venezeulans we need to step it up also. Things are reaching a breaking point soon and we better be prepared for a Caracazo 2.0. Yes, not participating in the fraudulent elections is a start, but unlike the limp dick politicians, necesitamos hechar vaina!!! (Thus the need to change the logo of the arepa to a burning tire). Guarimbas could be a part of this, so too protests (over whatever, thousands of things to protest and list growing by day)… but more than anything real men with balls need to start organizing citizen defense committees to protect homes and businesses from looting as well as taking justice into our own hands. If they see us taking down the sardinas, the tiborones might start to feel they are next…Por las malas, we will hit rock bottom (no doubt about that) and after Semana Santa we will start down the path of gigainflation. Only a massive social implosion will force some of these rats jump ship (and thus force a regime implosion). Thus barring a miracle, start prepping Venezuela, the zombie apopcalypse will soon be coming to a barrio or urbanization near you.

    All that said, I have faith. Call me crazy or whatever, but I have faith and 2018 will be the year of freedom in Venezuela.

  3. “To the question “why on earth would a government you’ve repeatedly told us is a dictatorship agree to improved electoral conditions?” the mainstream opposition has no answer of any description.”

    “I’m not questioning your powers of observation; I’m merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.” V, V for Vendetta

    ~~~~~~~~

    “Asking” an apathetic dictatorship to be less dictator-ish?

    What an awesome plan. Very subtle and cunning. I certainly wouldn’t have thought of it.

  4. I’m far away and cant really say if it is true or not, but I have the feeling that last year, the protest “fizzled out” precisely because nobody was willing to lead it to its logical consequences.

    I have the impression that a lot of people were thinking that the moment of the imposition of the ANC was the moment to start a real hard protest, to not recognize the government at all, to take the streets without return till they collapsed. And that again, a lot of people were ready for that.

    And then the leadership basically said well, we are going back to “dialog”, “elections”, etc. After basically saying, correctly, that the ANC was the end game of a self-coup that destroyed any pretension of democracy, they just went like it was just normal. And those that were energized and ready for action just felt everything was pointless.

    People were ready for the call and the MUD just told them to wait. And they just managed to lose the momentum and the support.

      • Gee, you still remember your baseball.

        But nowadays, they pulled all the fences in so you don’t have to hit it as far as the old days.

        • Wait. I just realized how stupid my post was, considering how baseball is so popular in VZ.

          I got my wife a Leones jersey right before the referendum on the ANC…it wasn’t cheap, pro quality…and she wore it as we waited hours for her to vote in Westenzuela, FL.

          She said it made her look fat, and I told her it was the arepas that make her look fat.

          But she isn’t fat at all. Just a fun way for a guy to aggravate his wife.

    • Agreed, great points Jesus. Quico, and others, write as if the mud is some uncohesive but agreeable opposition. They do have individual names. But when one actually shows they are not of the opposition, but actually complicit and gaining financially.. nothing happens. Traitors should have been outed. Falcon, HENRY for fucks sake. There are leaders who might have changed the trajectory of this disaster, but they are undercut and sidelined. CC refuses to call the traitors out by name.. why?

      BTW, there is no bottom.. the hole just gets deeper, thousands more will die, tens of thousands will leave, millions will be starved. CC could lead editorially but don’t.. why?

    • The MUD have been doing this from the get go. Every time they seem to have the regime headed towards the ropes, or even on the ropes, they back off.

      This has earned them scorn time and again, but this time I think people have had enough and are eager for some new faces with realistic goals to appear. Trouble is those faces are not appearing…….

      For all we know, the regime’s response to the MUD is to offer violence and blood should they continue towards the logical conclusion Jesus Couto F mentions.

      Anti regime protests have always featured violence towards the populace. The violence has definitely worsened as the regime has gotten further painted into a corner, and it could be the MUD is simply not willing to pay the blood price (or be seen as the ones who foot that bill).

      The thing about “y que propones tu” is that it pretty much ends in, “well, are you willing to die for your ideas, your people, your country, or not?” It’s not everyone who will seriously consider this and respond, well, yes I am willing to confront thugs and die doing it.

      And I say this because I don’t see any way this mess ends without bloodshed, even with enough incentives to make any decent person puke. Should it come to a “negotiated exit” how long before revenge killings of former enchufados begins?

      • Last year pre-ANC 120+ had died in protests when HRA/MUD rolled over for Regional elections–the MUD committed suicide, and will probably never again enjoy major support even from its own base. Co-habitation with this particular Enemy would not end well, neither for the Oppo, nor for the Country. You’re not facing Venezuelan typical hick military/political figures–you’re facing an expansionist populist ideology with solid narco military support.

    • Last year pre-ANC 120+ had died in protests when HRA/MUD rolled over for Regional elections–the MUD committed suicide, and will probably never again enjoy major support even from its own base. Co-habitation with this particular Enemy would not end well, neither for the Oppo, nor for the Country. You’re not facing Venezuelan typical hick military/political figures–you’re facing an expansionist populist ideology with solid narco military support.

  5. “A foreign military intervention, for its part, remains vanishingly unlikely — and is also enormously risky: even if it was ultimately successful, it’s easy to imagine scenarios where success comes at the costs of thousands or tens of thousands of casualties, and years of war. To me, that risk is self-evidently unacceptable”
    I have a big disagreement with that statement. At the end nobody knows for sure how this scenario can play out. Opinions !
    IMO, unlike Iraq, Venezuela just need a little push from an US intervention or maybe even a credible threat of intervention would be enough. Then followed by a short (1 year?) occupation. You can make it even easier with a real trade embargo previous to the invasion to weaken Maduro and his followers. Now, with Pompeo in as Secretary of State and Bolton back, the chances of an intervention are more realistic than ever!.
    Int the end the calculus of intervene or not will come to this. If this intervention is going to be quick and easy I don’t see why the US shouldn’t do it. Many oppo leaders have even offered to pay back for the expenses incurred. Win-Win
    If a Military Intervention is going to be long, costly and complicated then the US won’t and can’t afford do it.

    Now, there are some in the opposition proposing that this is a problem that is up to the Venezuelan army and untrained civilians to resolve, which I think is a mistake and has the potential to bring a prolonged bloody battle since it lacks the SIZE and experience of a trained army.

    The only thing that the opposition agrees now is to form a larger multidisciplinary united front (beyond the MUD) and that is what is going on now and it could take some time to consolidate. I could barely identify three different emerging groups.
    Soy Venezuela
    Frente Amplio
    And a bunch of groups calling for an US military intervention.

    I don’t think there is any peaceful option out of this, no matter how many concessions you make. They are in this suicidal mission and will remain in power until death.

    • Properly planned as I describe below, coordinating with a few select MUD and military, a 1 week “US occupation” by a few commandos and helicopters would suffice. After the mega-fraud, after the severe oil cash sanctions, gasoline embargo, complete economic choke job. 1 semana y fuera.

    • I agree wholeheartedly, and I think that’s the first time I’ve used the word in 20 years.

      After looking at past U.S. interventions, VZ has all the boxes checked for an all go. This ain’t Iraq or Afghanistan. People aren’t going to blow themselves up in the name of Allah, let alone Maduro or Castro.

      This is Panama Lite.

      What pisses me off…the bug up my ass that I can’t reach to pull out no matter how hard I try…is figuring out why the hell this isn’t getting support from ANY fucking LatAm country, let alone Colombia.

      Fucking Santos. Can’t stand the guy.

      Shit, if the Colombia army moved in, tens of thousands of Veneuelans at the border crossings would follow them to help.

      • Rubio is THE lead voice in the states on what’s happening in VZ. Him and Senator Menendez are in lock-step and in total agreement, and Trump has been listening intently. That’s why Trump has been the most anti-Chavista president ever.

        If Rubio says he doesn’t think there will be a military intervention, my guess is that means that there will be. One of Trump’s most accurate truisms is never let the enemy know what you’re really going to do. Disinformation.

        Most important, Trump…like ALL U.S. Presidents…needs a military notch under his belt. Every one has one, except that shmuck Carter who refuses to die and just go away.

        VZ is that easy notch, with minimal risk.

        Like, do you think Trump gives a shit what the left thinks when this happens, with so many innocents there dying now?

        • Really? If one reads US News is rather obvious that the Current US Administration has leaks everywhere. To the point that Trump’s newly appointed National Security Advisor is bitching about it.

          https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/03/23/john_bolton_white_house_leaks_put_americans_in_jeopardy.html

          And IIRC Marco Rubio IS a Republican and has been lobbying for action on Venezuela since at least 2014. So I don’t really follow what the US left has to do with anything. As a matter of fact the US Left are pretty damned quiet about it.

          • I’m trying to figure out what you’re trying to say, I think it makes no sense if I figured it out correctly, but here’s the point.

            And I welcome you to argue it. Seriously. I’m trying to gauge your understanding on this:

            Anything Trump does is going to be attacked by the left, even if it saves thousands of Venezuelan lives and millions from suffering and living in poverty.

            Do I have to explain this in more detail? Shouldn’t that be enough for you?

            The Left ALWAYS has something to do with it.

    • and people forget there are already tens of thousands of deaths each year at the hands of hampa. And god known how many thousands more out of preventable and curable disease.

  6. If Venezuelan were as good at whining that at doing something useful for themselves, then this shithole could be a good spot in the universes of good beaches to spend Easter Week, with a cold beer on your side of course.

    These endless litanies of reflections are USELESS.

    USELESS BULLSHIT!!!

  7. If Venezuelan were as good at whining that at doing something useful for themselves, then this shithole could be a good spot in the universes of good beaches to spend Easter Week, with a cold beer on your side of course.

    These endless litanies of reflections are USELESS.

    USELESS BULLSHIT!!!

  8. Concerning:

    “A foreign military intervention, for its part, remains vanishingly unlikely — and is also enormously risky: even if it was ultimately successful, it’s easy to imagine scenarios where success comes at the costs of thousands or tens of thousands of casualties, and years of war. To me, that risk is self-evidently unacceptable.”

    I think you are blowing waaaaay out of proportion what the consequences of such an intervention would be. I don’t think the number of casualties would be that high, and it shouldn’t necessarily lead to years of war. First of all, as a military operation, it should take only a few days, especially considering the apparently precarious conditions of military equipment in Venezuela, and the way the army has been demoralized (some regular soldiers are also losing weight…). I really doubt there will be more casualties than in Panama. See:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_invasion_of_Panama

    and in particular:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_invasion_of_Panama#Casualties

    The estimated number of casualties in the case of Panama was around 500 to 1000. I’m not saying this is a small number, but it is certainly way smaller than the tens of thousands of deaths you are talking about, and certainly waaaaay smaller than the number of deaths the Maduro regime will cause if it continues in power.

    As for the intervention leading to years of war, it will certainly lead to the thugs we call “colectivos” being “amotinados” for a while, but that’s a scenario we will face in whichever solution we find to this crisis.

    • There will be no military intervention from the US military, because the people of the United States are tired of sending our boys off to die for people who are ingrates. There is nothing in Venezuela worth dying for.

      Venezuelans won’t fight and die for their own country. Why should US soldiers die for Venezuela?

      Besides, a US invasion would give the leftist bedwetters (and Maduro) exactly what they have been suggesting all along. In addition, it would absolve the Chavistas.

      • What you are saying about the people in the USA not wanting to invade us may very well be true. But this is not what Mr. Toro was saying. He was basically saying that WE shouldn’t want it either. That’s is not so clear to me, considering that nothing is anywhere as catastrophic for Venezuela as letting these chavista thugs run the country for years to come.

        Concerning the other thing you mention about leftist talking bullshit, well, they will take bullshit no matter what the USA does, and honestly, if the United States help us get rid of this chavista plague, I couldn’t care less what these leftist fuckers say.

        • I was replying to your response.

          I was in Panama in 1989 (Just Cause). I was one of the people pointing the guns and had guns pointed at me. I can assure you it isn’t like the movies. Going in with guns blazing is going to leave real people REALLY DEAD. Maybe not a lot of US soldiers, but again, why should even one US soldier die for people who won’t fight for their own freedom? And for what? There is no end game, as any US invasion defeats the purpose… the Chavistas are absolved.

          My suggestion is that Venezuelans who care about their freedom start by making an example of the colectivos. When I read about some red shirted thugs hanging by the neck from an overpass…

      • Actually, Venezuelans have fought and died for their country for 20 years, beyond anything anyone in the US can even imagine. Real soldiers firing real bullets at young civilians, and even then the people still fought, for years. I am Venezuelan and saw it with my own eyes until I left in 2009.

        And just for the record, among countless other highly influential figures, the President of MIT is Venezuelan; the same institution responsible for many of the technological breakthroughs that allow you to feel entitled and righteous about “your boys.”

        • Fair enough.

          Don’t volunteer “our boys” to clean up your shitstorm, when anywhere between 20-33% of your population doesn’t see the problem with Marxist/Leninism.

          The “intifada” level bullshit that you might call resistance doesn’t cut it. Let us know when the colectivos are afraid to come out of their barrios.

  9. “They’re proposing not doing anything on election day.
    Or before.
    Or after. ”

    Because they want the boycott to FAIL. As they did in 2005, to force people into the fraudulent farce later after saying “We told you so”

  10. Francisco has outdone himself again , great lucid piece , paints the situation accurately but it leaves something out , when the spaniards did the aztecs and incas in , and took over the rule of those destroyed empires to create their own they were a tiny group of people surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people whom they herded and oppressed any way they wanted with almost no signs of resistance , people took it in the butt and stayed submissive for literally hundreds of years .

    We have this idea that the masses are a combustible, combative lot , capable of staging cataclysmic uprisings if dissatisfied with their conditions , from time to time indeed they can be aroused to great collective deeds of violent rebellion , but if you look at history most of the time they conduct themselves meekly and subservient to their masters , like faithful dogs , happy with a pat in the back or a throw away bone …….. So my guess is that people who are up to staging a bona fide street rebellion are in the minority and that most although loudly complaining about how opressed their lives have become and even feeling bitterly dissapointed agaisnt their political masters dont have the energy , the guts , the capacity to do anything except look for some passive way out of their predicament , for example they are now going by droves to seek a life as exiles where they can lead more normal lives …..if the Oppo leadership called for any kind of organized street action the answer would probably be …dissapointing , because people dont have it in them to mount a real rebellion be it non violent or violent ,

    So althoug I agree that all those things you suggest should be attempted Im not at all convinced that whatever myths have been created about our warlike heroic nature as a people the stark reality is that for the most part we are a bunch of spiritless dunces…. does that mean that all efforts to oust the regime should be given up…..of course not ……you cannot predict when something quite seemingly inconsequential can wake up the sleeping animal , there are deep frailties within the regime too , so one must constantly attack it on all sides with what you got , but you must do so realizing that not every one that hates the govt and wants is replaced will be prepared to do anything drastic proactive and practical to advance that proyect .. !!

    So the ball stays in the hands of just a few players who are willing and have the guts to keep it going as long as it takes , opportunities will offer themselves , and meant time any effort to put some backbone into people and organize things for when conditions are more favourable is worth pursuing ……the prize is in the constancy and grit of those who are dedicated to this much desired outcome.

    • Like what happened in Cuba, those with “constancy and grit” are those who are fleeing or already left. Venezuela will be left with a population incapable of active resistance. I no longer see much hope without some foreign involvement or intervention.

      I used to think that a foreign intervention was unthinkable. However bad it has been dealing with such an antagonistic and destabalizing government in Cuba, it wasn’t enough to warrant military action. However, to continue to tolerate such a cancer on the continent and in the middle of LatAm is also unthinkable.

      I think an intervention by a coalition (Lima Group?) is more of a real possibilty than ever before.

      • Intervention is desirable and probably much less traumatic than people figure , dont think that the regimes capacity to resist a well planned intervention is that great , a huge number of people would welcome it and those that dont will be its first supporters after a couple of weeks ……this is not a country thousand of miles away from the us logistical support structure or one people by the wild fanatics you have in those far away places , we are one hours flight from Puerto Rico , and an well targeted intervention hitting the strategic spots a piece of cake …my fear is rather that people remember the bad experiences in the middle east and the latam govt are really a comfy , timid lot with no b…s, always sold on how pious hot air is all thats needed to get things to happen…and yet I dont think anyone can really predict how things will turn out , you need to be more aggresive and focused in how you combat the regime , even if not everyone is for now sold on a more aggresive stance …..it can still happen ……..

      • “Yes, “…happy with a CLAP on the back”.”

        Which CLAP? It’s been months since they allowed people to buy one of those in too many places through the country, the situation is getting to the point where the high-ranking chavistas in control of the distribution steal all the food that was to be sold and resell it in their own little mafias at ten or twenty times the so-called regulated price.

        Now they rely on bullets and repression to keep people quiet.

    • I stopped reading when you said Spaniards, Aztecs and Incas.

      Yeah, history repeats itself, but that’s too far back to matter in today’s era of modern weaponry and international relations.

      Not to mention Twitter.

  11. Quico is absolutely correct about an actual foreign military intervention. It is a bad idea and in addition to his argument about the possibility of a protracted resistance the better argument is that it would spawn more left wing crazies in Venezula and elsewhere who will create the historical myth that the great socialist revolution in Venezuelas failed because of those imperialists from the north. A military intervention is a far stronger basis for myth building than sanctions. It is visceral and it would be memorialized in film. To Quico’s larger point that you have to grant these tyrants legal immunization, the right to keep their plunder and their civil rights , I think this proposal has much more merit than his prior suggestion about voting for Falcon. But my concern about this proposal is that the Chavistas currently have all three of these assets as long as they remain in power and meanwhile they continue to steal more money from oil sales which they do even at the cost of starving the pueblo. So until some event occurs that seriously challenges their ability to control the country why should they accept Quico’s proposition and by the same logic when that event occurs why offer them anything. I guess the response to my concern is the same as his reaction to any propsed military intervention: the notion that even when their control is threatened the Chavistas will resort to a bloody resistance.

    • Protracted resistance? Are you fucking kidding?

      Who? Why? How?

      Come on. Think about it.

      Or do you think that those wonderful old folks in fatigues that Maduro paraded in front of the media…60 and above, barely able to hold up their rifle or step down from the back of the fucking trucks…are going to last 5 minutes against the Marines?

      Ever see Hitler patting the cheeks of a dozen 15-year-old Nazi Youths at the very end of the war, expecting them to defend the homeland? While he was getting his cyanide and pistol ready for his and Eva’s suicide?

      Protracted resistance. That makes me fucking laugh, when 90% of the population would welcome the Marines, and 90% of the women would give them blowjobs.

      And maybe that’s a big part of Francisco’s problem:

      Kind of emasculating, you know?

      He would rather no one save Venezuela if it can’t be Venezuelan men doing it.

      • Ask Colombia about resistance. 60 years of guerrilleros like FARC and ELN making Colombia a dangerous place for most of that time.

        Given the ties between the FARC & ELN to those in power in Venezuela it is not a stretch to surmise they could mount a similar situation in Venz.

        Just like Santos had to sign a treaty with all kinds of hateful conditions, so might we.

        And that sucks. Big time

        • ELN and farc aren’t “resistance” to anything, they are simple criminals.

          If anything, the actual resistance in Colombia would be every person that has stopped them from becoming a goverment force in that country.

          • Call them whatever you want, it doesn’t matter in this context.

            What matters is that they were able to disrupt life in Colombia for decades.

            We could face the same thing is my point to IRA.

          • I know, but they can’t be named “resistance” because that puts them in the same moral ground of the people in Venezuela that has actually opposed the chavista regime.

            It puts their actions as if they had any shred of good in them.

            ELN and FARC are terrorists and criminals, no different than chavista colectivos and the castro-cuban guerrillas in Venezuela during the 60s (What chavismo was before calling themselves chavismo)

        • Roberto, the FARC and ELN “peasants” in Colombia (don’t know what else to call them) fighting the regime is not the same as entrenched Chavistas fighting to keep their advantageous positions.

          Totally different story.

  12. You should really understand at this point that they will never surrender.
    Tu propuesta es chévere, pero nunca va a funcionar porque estás asumiendo que la élite chavista es razonable y que tiene algún interés en escuchar tus argumentos y abandonar el poder, lo cual es completamente falso. La verdad es que estamos lidiando con criminales y con fanáticos. No tiene sentido asumir que una serie de sociópatas y de fundamentalistas con poder absoluto van a querer escuchar los super razonables argumentos de sus enemigos. La verdad es, Quico, que lo que es razonable para ti no es razonable para ellos, y que no tienes ningún poder de convencimiento sobre personas así. Ellos tienen todas las cartas. No tienes nada que ofrecerles.
    La única forma real de salir de esta pesadilla es a través de una rebelión masiva que cuente con el apoyo efectivo de otros países. Pero claro, eso sólo puede darse si estamos unidos y tenemos un liderazgo dispuesto a formar gobierno en esas circunstancias y lamentablemente no estamos ahí todavía.
    La única manera de vencer a unos tipos sin principios que están aferrados al poder y que no piensan en las consecuencias de sus actos es unirnos en torno a principios y valores para neutralizarlos.
    Repitan la consigna: sí hay golpe bueno.

  13. Good article and good debate.

    I want to explore your objection to violent means of political change. Your rejection of violence is nearly as “deontologist” as the positions of the Official Opposition.

    This is not to say that I WANT violence. Far from it. I have been shot at. It is not fun. However, I also believe that the opportunity for Venezuela to exit from this political crisis without violence passed some years ago. Regardless of whether the Chavistas exit Miraflores on foot or feet first, they still have an armed and fanatic base that will never accept the change in political power. The new government will still have to reconquer a lot of Venezuelan sovereign territory from the colectivos, the paramilitaries, and the malandros. This will necessarily require guns and violence. Perhaps it will be done under some sort of press blackout, but it will still happen. It will be a military operation, not a police one. Chavismo allowed and promoted the ascendance of barbarism over the last twenty years. This damage to the fabric of the society will not be undone eaily or bloodlessly. To think otherwise is foolish and naive.

    In fact, even if the Chavistas consolidate ultimate power, they too will have to deal with these elements of the society, because they represent a threat to the state’s monopoly on power. So, violence will come to Venezuela regardless of the decisions made by the Opposition today.

    • Exactly.

      There must be violence, because the Chavistas won’t go without a fight. Delcy has already made clear that regardless of any elections, Chavismo will remain. So, there is GOING TO BE A FIGHT. Does anyone recall the recent video made by the colectivos that Vlad tried to disavow?

      1. Arm yourself.

      Since you cannot go down to the local Cabela’s and buy yourself a rifle, you are going to have to get your hands dirty and take one from your enemy. Sorry, but this is where Venezuelans must either put up or shut up. Choose between being a victim, or someone who fights back. You need not arm 100 people. You only need to get one gun. One gun gets 2. Two guns gets 4. Get the picture?

      2. Don’t make the mistake that Perez did and announce your rebellion. The Chavistas will know when it is “game on”. So will everyone else.

      The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

      • Too late. They already laid down their arms, and willingly.

        This is precisely why I don’t think an intervention would be wise.

        First of all, VZ has nothing the USA really wants at this time.
        Secondly, the AN/MUD have proven themselves untrustworthy and insist on barking insults at the USA and POTUS Donald Trump (never tire of typing that). They hate the ground he walks on and will screw the Venny people just as badly as Chavez and Maduro.

        Lastly, where is the piece of paper or proclamation from either the AN or the exciled TSJ? Why the heck would another US soldier set foot on foreign land to fight if they are just going to get dragged into the ICC by another tinpot dictator. Put it in writing and stop pretending.

        No blood for CLAP bags.

    • If the Opposition dogmatically refuses to accept violence, then they will cede all of the initiative to Chavismo. Once the inevitabilty of the use of armed force is acknowledged, then they can design a strategy together with the international community to assure a quick and definative win to avoid a protracted struggle and needless deaths.

    • Of course no one wants violence. That is that what pisses me of. They think that just because one understand that violence is inevitable in our situation, one wants violence or is violent.
      I understand that “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent” quote, but the truth it is also sometimes the only option you have left. I am willing to negotiate, it wouldn’ t piss me of if we can buy them out. But I am sure we can’ t buy them out as it is. I am not a moralist, I am just being pragmatic here.

  14. “¿Y tú qué propones? (What do you propose?) ”

    The only solution that would work now: Seal Team 6.

    After the mega-fraud. After cash oil embargo, both from the USA and India, only $55 legal Millions/day the Narco-Tyranny gets in cash, with no more credit from China or Russia: Total economic worldwide strangulation. Wait for the summer, no electricity, no A/C, and much less bribes to the millions of pueblo-people enchufados and lower military. More frequent and bigger popular revolts would occur. La gente arrechisima. Real pissed off.

    Then a few choppers to Miraflores in the night, coordinated with some MUD and some malcontent military. The DEA and the CIA captures Cabello, Padrino, Tarek.. the rest of the Narco-Military flees like the pussies they are. Leave in less than a week, let Borges and the legal AN deal with that dead horse.

  15. “Even then, though, I find myself staggered by the depth of proposallessness the mainstream opposition has reached. Faced with a straight-up dictatorship, the new Frente Amplio’s main line of action seems to be… asking that dictatorship, pretty please, to be more democratic.”

    That’s really all they can do since they offer nothing more than chavismo-light. If there was a serious opposition in Venezuela, one that really had a clear vision of what it would take to put this country back on track, and one that could express those ideas, one that would tell the population to prepare for some hard choices on the way to recovery, it would also be clear to the population which side to support.

    Right now it’s a matter of supporting the devil you know versus the one you don’t.

  16. wasn’t this approach already attempted and failed in the Zapatero sponsored dialog? Maybe they shouldn’t talk with the Rodriguez brothers and Maduro, but secretly with the middle ranks, if so we wouldn’t find out until it’s already a thing. Unfortunately I doubt the opposition leadership possess such cunningness.

    “Many of the groups keeping Maduro in power long ago ceased personally benefiting from the regime”

    Not sure about that, there is still a lot of free gas and food to smuggle to Colombia, and a lot of Canaima still left to destroy searching for gold, not to mention the drug transit and the massive cripto mining operations with free electricity. Those groups only need Venezuela, not the venezuelans, they probably are happy with the exodus their economic policies created, less mouths to subsidize and manipulate, they may even be working out a way to steal the remesas sent by emigrees to their families still here, I guess we are just screwed.

  17. I think the possibility of foreign “intervention” needs to be considered a little more broadly. If the USA, as in the Cuba crisis, told China and Russia that it would not allow THEM to establish significant unconstitutional and colonialist-style footholds in Venezuela (especially, by keeping out Rosneft), China and Russia would lose interest in propping up the Chavistas – which would leave them with no future, and therefore willing to jump to Havana. (This kind of pressure ought to be done discretely, to allow China and Russia to save face – pity about Trump’s persona.)

    • “I think the possibility of foreign “intervention” needs to be considered a little more broadly. If the USA, as in the Cuba crisis, told China and Russia that it would not allow THEM to establish significant unconstitutional and colonialist-style footholds in Venezuela (especially, by keeping out Rosneft), China and Russia would lose interest in propping up the Chavistas –”

      Or they’d simply do it ANYWAY using the thinnest possible pretext, and then squat and DARE the US to do something about it.

      Unconstitutional and colonialist-style footholds in Venezuela like “Novorossiya” in Ukraine? Transnistria in Moldavia? South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia? The thousands upon thousands upon thousands of Han Chinese everywhere from Siberia to Tibet to almost every African coast you can think of?

  18. Blah, blah, blah. Just wait it out. Won’t take much longer. Oil production will continue to collapse as far as generating any net $$$ for those that feed off it. The oil field workers are bailing/getting out. The unpaid bond holders will divvy up Citgo and start going after other targets such as remaining tankers. The lack of personal safety, food, medicine, transportation, etc., in conjunction with hyper-inflation, will collapse what little “private” economy that may still exist. It will become Cuba, but with way more anarchy/crime/chaos. Cubakistan. Disease and starvation will really start to ramp up, along with the number of refugees attempting to get into Columbia, Brazil, and points yonder. Maybe this will force the hands of other countries to intervene. But, I’m skeptical. It’s not like Columbia and Brazil and Mexico (and a hundred other countries) don’t have their own serious problems with corruption and crime/impunity and poverty. Why should Venezuela be given any priority, especially when its wounds are largely self-inflicted?

  19. This is where, after a promising start, Francisco is totally wrong:

    “When your best alternatives involve either rewarding the very worst criminals in society or possibly getting tens of thousands of people killed..”

    1/ Rewarding the criminals.. offering amnesty to thousands of narco-military and Chavista officials would not be enough to entice them to give up power. Many get monthly checks and cash from the oil exports ($35 from the USA + $20 from India = 455 Million/day) AND from the enormous drug trade. Probably twice as much as the oil cash, who knows.. Plus the Food Trade. Huge Clap-Crap Guiso. Plus the Cadivi and Financial Mega-Guisos, to include the Klepto-Petro money laundering avenues, Gold Guisos to come.. Plus the Gasoline Mega Guisos, and countless other enormous embezzlement schemes in place.

    Sure, a few of them are already billionaires or millionaires, with hidden monies worldwide, but international hound dogs often catch them in long run. The financial trails always lead to the culprits, slowly but surely. They want more. They want to hide Gold now, in my opinion. They are desperate to launder more millions with the Klepto and other cryptocrap tools. Thus, Amnesty for the criminals wouldn’t work. Too many of them are addicted to the oil/drug cash every month. Too many still need to hide their millions.

    2/ “Tens of Thousands people killed..” This is when watching too much CNN or smoking too much Ganja impairs a soft landing back to reality. A 1 week air assault by the DEA and the Marines wouldn’t kill a dozen Chavista chickens, if that. Not if properly planned and organized, with some internal allies. Heck, even if some US forces stayed for a couple months while the MUD got a grip, no massacres would happen. The vast majority of people would join the MUD and the US intervention. Many malcontent military would switch sides. Especially after the economic choke job.

    Anyway, even if some blood had to be spilled, Deontology dictates it’s the right thing to do.

    How many die per week, per month, per year due to violent crime, humanitarian crisis, lack of medicines, abysmal healthcare? Tens of thousands, world-record, not to mention the misery, pain and suffering year after year, after year. You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. The Marines are the only option after the Tyrants and Drug Criminals refuse to go, after the economic choke isn’t enough. Palo con la baba. That’s the only way out, or it’s more Klepto-Narco Cubazuela for several more decades.

      • How many die per week, per month, per year due to violent crime, humanitarian crisis, lack of medicines, abysmal healthcare?

        Recall the uproar last year when the Health Ministry released data that showed Infant Mortality had risen 30% from 2015 to 2016.

        The World Bank now has Venezuela’s Infant Mortality figures for 2015 and 2016. Unfortunately, the World Bank also gets its data from the governments. As Chavismo fired the Health Minister for releasing the data, it is no surprise that Chavismo also sent false data to the World Bank.

        Cuadro # 27 Mortalidad Infantil
        2015 8,812
        2016 11,466

        World Bank: Number of infant deaths
        2015 8,596
        2016 8,400

        Boletín Epidemiológico Semana Epidemiológica N° 52 25 al 31 de Diciembre de 2016

  20. I was in the Philippines during the overthrow of Marcos.
    In some ways the scenario that led to his downfall is similar to Venezuela.
    Marcos called an election. Nino Aquino was his strongest opponent. He was living in Boston at the time. When he got off the plane in Manila, he was executed by a government assassin. His widow took his place in the election.
    When Marcos was declared the winner, all Hell broke lose. The street protests went on night and day. Similar to what happened in Egypt when the people removed the Muslim brotherhood from power after they rewrote the Constitution.
    The protesters didn’t protest for the day and go home in the evening.
    In the Philippines the people protected the military officers that defected. Loyalist troops refused to fire on the people and President Reagan refused to assist Marcos except for asylum.
    I hold out hope for the presumed announcement of a Maduro victory will spur the people to react in the same way.
    That is why I want to hear Falcon promise the people everything under the sun. Food, medicine, money, vehicles, Dollars, TV’s. I Phones etc..
    The people need to be convinced that they have had something taken from them and the rigged election is the reason. Apparently the regime killing kids, starving the population and committing numerous human rights violations doesn’t do the trick.
    Knowing the outcome of the election (Maduro wins) is a gift to the opposition. The opposition needs to be organizing and planning their response to provoke the rebellion that is needed. Waiting until the results of the election are announced is foolish. Every aspect of the revolt should be planned and ready to be released on the regime like a coiled spring.

    • John – you’ve lived an interesting life, as have many of the comment writers on CC. I was in my 20s in the US in 1986, and not dialed-in to international affairs beyond what the press had to say. What I remember most about Marcos was the shoes. (My wife has been “customer of the month” for Zappos, and I have nicknamed her Imelda.)

      But, I don’t get the impression that the average Venezuelan resents Flores anywhere near as much as the average Filipino resented Imelda. Resentment is a powerful political force.

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-02/imelda-marcos-shoe-museum:-the-excess-of-a-regime/7877098

      • The Venezuelan “Pueblo” will not follow the MUD anywhere. The Caracazo was spurred on by Venezuelan leftists/Castro infiltrators, in a Pueblo economic/hardship situation magnitudes less than has existed in Venezuela for the past several years.

      • I think every woman with a shoe collection gets called Imelda.
        I forget the number but it was something like 10,000 pairs that Mrs. Marcos owned.
        I’m not sure how much of her lifestyle was public before the coup. I do remember times that she spoke in public and the people reacted with bile to her comments.
        She really had a unique way of making people despise her.
        With social media, the Venezuelan people can see how the regime’s upper echelon lives.
        Ramirez and his bottles of scotch that cost thousands of Dollars comes to mind.
        Somehow the people need to believe that the reason they don’t have anything is because the regime has everything.
        Trying to get people to look at the big picture hasn’t worked.
        Falcon needs to focus on the personal benefits of the regime being removed from power. He can make any promise he wants to. He is never going to be President.
        The most recent election in the UK is a good example. Jeremy Corbyn, the Socialist Castro and Chavez supporting Labor leader promised everything from free college to raises in old folks pensions, lower taxes and spending for every special interest imaginable. Fortunately Corbyn lost, but his party did much better than expected.
        Falcon needs to convince the people that there is something in it for each of them.
        The high expectation of Falcon leading the people to the promised land is part of what winding the spring so tight is about.

  21. ¿Tu que propones?

    Yo propongo la operación #VuelvanCaras

    It would be a last minute decision to go out in force and vote, while publicly maintaining that you will not participate.

    • Groups with very real financial and political stakes in Venezuela with the strategic and tactical know-how to drag the U.S. into a decades-long armed struggle:

      FARC
      Hezbollah
      Tupamaros
      Colectivos other than Tupamaros
      Comunists in government intelligence (SEBIN, CONAS, others)
      Cuban intelligence
      Mexicana cartels
      Other international drug trafficers

      What Quico is suggesting is, I think, qua militar option, that Venezuela is a bomb. The idea is to diffuse it rather than to set it off.

  22. This needs to be said, and Venezuelans need to understand this: Sending in the US military isn’t like going to get your car washed, or taking out the garbage. It costs a lot of money, it doesn’t come without a human cost, and there are political consequences for everything that takes place before, during and after.

    Does anyone here (besides me) know what it takes just to get ONE CH-47 Chinook up and flying? The costs of fuel? The maintenance? The logistics? Because any US intervention is going to take more than just one helicopter and Chuck Norris.

    Any “US invasion” done properly is done with such force and with such overwhelming numbers that any opposition usually melts into the hills. There is no “send in a few choppers and a brigade” bullshit… that BS is in the movies. It isn’t cheap, and it isn’t easy. Just because Uncle Sam has the ability to do something, doesn’t mean he should do something. There are going to be ramifications and unintended consequences.

    Some of you people on this forum are volunteering US soldiers to do the dirty work you won’t do for yourself. What a bunch of chickenshits you are. Again, you want someone to save your bacon, but won’t lift a finger yourselves. FUCK THAT. I spent over 20 years active duty and in the reserves, and there isn’t a hair on my ass that I would sacrifice for one ingrate Venezuelan. Yeah, Uncle Sam would make any intervention a slam dunk… but then what? There is more to invading than showing up, kicking down the door of Miraflores and knocking over the statue of El Finado.

    Here is an idea. How about all them rich Venezuelans sitting in their Miami Beach condos start putting out bounties on Maduro, Delsy, Diosdado, Vlad, Elias, etc. Set up the families of some FANB officers in a Boca condo with $10,000,000 tax free, and let greed do the dirty work. For every dead Chavista honcho, a Boca condo and $10 million.

    Costs a hell of a lot less than any invasion, and gets the point across damn quick.

    • The 10MM$ + condo idea is a good one, BUT

      The idea wouldn’t work, because in typical Venezuelan fashion:

      1) Part of The 10MM$ would be spent on Ho’s, Whisky and Hot Tubs, and boats. The rest being sold at Dolar Today because someone invariably will have a line into DICOM and will want to squeeze a bit out for himself, if not outright just buying PETROS with the rest.

      2) The condo would be turned into an airbnb property.

      3) The plan would start on a Thursday. Just WHICH Thursday would be a subject for endless debate.

      4) No one would want to execute the plan until after Semana Santa, and it would have to take place before summer break. IF after summer, then after the kids go back to school, but before Thanksgiving cause that’s practically Christmas and therefore El Niño JESUS, and New Years, and Reyes, but then Carnaval and right after that Semana Santa and you know, you do have to visit 7 churches on Good Friday so……..

    • The players who make these moves need to profit or benefit.

      You’re thinking from the perspective of a foot soldier and not as a financier or political power broker.

      • True. I’m not a financier nor power broker. But I know what motivates some very rough people. (I work in the building trades… believe me, I know!) And I suspect that there are more than a few of these rough people close to these Chavistas who would take the chance of putting a dirk in the brain stem of Diosdado’s otherwise empty skull one dark night if they knew that there was a US citizenship, a home and a hefty payday at the end of the day.

        The point being, there are far more inexpensive (and efficient) ways to get the point across to the Chavistas that “it’s time to leave”. You have to play dirtier than them. The Chavistas have shown what they are willing to do. However, Delcy, Diosdado and Maduro all have cross-hairs painted on the back of their heads. They can’t hide. The Chavista hierarchy doesn’t know who is going to do them in. They can surround themselves with people that they THINK they trust… but can they really?

        They won’t leave any other way.

      • Jr.:

        There is a clear benefit to nearly every country in the Americas. The uncertainty created by the crisis in Venezuela is holding back investment and development in all the countries of Latin America.

  23. “…why should even one US soldier die for people who won’t fight for their own freedom?”

    There is no indication that the Chvistas will ever leave of their own accord. The pueblo has been turned into an ignorant mass of children beholden to dysfunctional parents – the Chavistas. They might hate them, and many do, but children don’t abandon the only parents they have. All models of self direction and sustaining one’s self through action and effort have died because the means have been eliminated. The pueblo – by and large – is now largely dependent on their oppressors. Trying to persuade the Chavistas to change course is like reasoning with a boracho to stop drinking. That’s what a raton does: drink. There will be no foreign intervention for the reasons stated in the opening quote. Fate helps those willing to help themselves.

    The question is: What can a web site like this do to help forment change?

    My sense of it is that real investigative journalism (not merely denouncing and evaluating the situation, which we all know) into the seismic fractures that must be happening within Chavismo, and making those public and viral, would go far in hastening the end of the reds. Quick mentioned “sizing up the compromises you’re willing to accept, understanding that they won’t be small. But to me, this skirts the main issue: risk. Not till people are willing to take risks will change ever occur. There is no risk-free options to oust the Chavistas. If Caracas Chronicles wants to show the way in this regards, they’ll have to dig into the guts of the in-fighting within Chavismo and make it public, and THAT is risky as hell because Chavismo keeps all of that secret.

    That’s the weak link – exposing how Chavismo is crumbling, fighting within itself, coming apart at the seams. Not is some discursive way, but actually spelling out what is going on as the rats scramble around. There’s a way to go for the throat in this regards and that is it, IMO. But that can’t be done without risk. You can’t be an observer or erudite commentator and trigger any change. All you’re doing is talking, however sage. It’s a passive game. Till someone takes the offensive against this dictatorship, it will persist. They always do. Whoever controls the media controls the battle at this point.

    Take charge. Show, name names, expose the rifts, the infighting that Chavismo is hiding. Hasten the implosion. Call people out and tie them to specific actions. Don’t merely report. Pull the curtain back on Oz.
    Do it now. But it’s gotta be specific. What’s going on WITHIN Chavismo. Stir the fucking pot.

    • JuanLargo, you hit the nail on the head.

      We are a country of habladores de guevonada unfortunately. If the personal profit is not there, hard to get anyone to move their butts and organize and work towards longe range objectives.

      Quico and CC is a great example. All gossipy pieces as of late and no meat.

      For the last 20 years we have witnessed looting and embezzlement at a global scale, and MSM and independent media is very shy to do its job. When passionate people a la Boyd do the digging, and publish the names, the schemes, the traitors and beneficiaries of the corruption, its ostracized.

      We do need many more Britos, Machados, Boyds, Ledezmas, and millions of unknown good people etc. to start to break through this systematic accomplice’s society.

      Its an structural issue in Venezuela, for the last 100 years or so, Oil and other rents have corrupted the soul of the nation and this collapse is just but predictable. The hard work of recovery is in front of us.

      We need to admit the disease, and seek all help we can , be it foreign invasion, occupation and hand holding to work through the clean up.

    • JuanLargo, you hit the nail on the head.

      We are a country of mostly habladores de guevonada unfortunately. If the quick personal profit is not there, hard to get anyone to move their butts and organize and work towards longe range objectives.

      Quico and CC is a great example. All gossipy shallow pieces as of late and no meat!

      For the last 20 years we have witnessed looting and embezzlement at a global scale, and MSM and independent media is very shy to do its job. When passionate people a la Boyd do the digging, and publish the names, the schemes, the traitors and beneficiaries of the corruption, its ostracized.

      RCTV went down fighting, EL Universal folded and ran away, one hopes to keep the fight in other levels, And the Others have been just assimilated by the hegemony. CC was a hopeful site for long, but nowadays is just a place for amateurish pieces and quico’s Agenda. (Where is Emiliana BTW?)

      We do need many more Britos, Machados, Boyds,…, and millions of unknown good people etc. to start to break through this systematic accomplice’s society.

      Its an structural issue in Venezuela, for the last 100 years or so, Oil and other rents have corrupted the soul of the nation and this collapse is just but predictable. The hard work of recovery is in front of us.

      We need to admit the disease, and seek all help we can , be it foreign invasion, occupation and hand holding to work through the clean up.

    • JuanLargo, you hit the nail on the head.

      We are a country of mostly habladores de guevonada unfortunately. If the quick personal profit is not there, hard to get anyone to move their butts and organize and work towards longe range objectives.

      Quico and CC is a great example. All gossipy shallow pieces as of late and no meat!

      For the last 20 years we have witnessed looting and embezzlement at a global scale, and MSM and independent media is very shy to do its job. When passionate people a la Boyd do the digging, and publish the names, the schemes, the traitors and beneficiaries of the corruption, its ostracized.

      RCTV went down fighting, EL Universal folded and ran away, one hopes to keep the fight in other levels, And the Others have been just assimilated by the hegemony. CC was a hopeful site for long, but nowadays is just a place for amateurish pieces and quico’s Agenda. (Where is Emiliana BTW?)

      We do need many more Britos, Machados, Boyds,…, @AngelAlvaradoR and millions of unknown good people etc. to start to break through this systematic accomplice’s society.

      Its an structural issue in Venezuela, for the last 100 years or so, Oil and other rents have corrupted the soul of the nation and this collapse is just but predictable. The hard work of recovery is in front of us.

      We need to admit the disease, and seek all help we can , be it foreign invasion, occupation and hand holding to work through the clean up.

      • I don’t know you LuisF, but I read you.. I want you to know I read your post. I’ve been saying the same thing for a while, and cut off the monthly auto donations to CC until they grow a pair again (they were the best long ago.. where is Katy?). My #1 question: since quico started taking money to run the CC operation he will not call out anyone in the MUD by name, including Faldon and FUCKING henry. Why?

        CC asked for donations and I gave. I asked for some transparency and was told it was coming.. do you remember when you could see not only how many comments, but how many people read an article? And now nothing.

        Then CC started hawking t-shirts.

        Now there is a link to donate in cryptocoin.

        Okay.. but only sad stories and no editorial line, except quico quitting because it’s hard?

        WTF, and where is Emi?

  24. I posted this a few days ago. Is the idea so fantastical? Beat me up, mock me, I am curious….

    One Last Breath….. or a Hollywood movie script

    Last year we all saw dozens of times that there is in fact a passion and fight in the Venezuelan people, IN VENEZULEA. Large and small protests, during a 4 month span, that included much death. There was real progress toward a positive change. Of course we know, the political class capitulated, and poof all the energy disappeared into what seems now as eternal despair.

    The Chronicles reports almost daily of the hardships the population endures, and though most of us sit in the safety of a foreign land, it is hard not to believe what is being written. And harder to try to understand how the population accepts it. The apathy, is astounding. It is like a slow motion view of a deer caught in the headlights. We are all yelling at our computer screens…. Move – damn-it!!

    We know, the political parties have collapsed upon their fantasies that negotiation offered change. Further, Venezuelan politics in general is based upon the promised distribution of “the mother lode” perpetual oil riches, so there is a natural hesitation to change. Who wants to blow up the system that pays you for status and not worth?

    How ever one analyzes it, and god knows, I do not understand many of the in’s and out’s, but politics through and through has collapsed.

    So now, only the people are left, and they are leaderless, and they know that there vote does not count.

    For sure, they have hundreds of ideas on what to change, but no leaders or ways to express. They know gatherings, and protests, will be met with violent reprisals from the military, collectivos and Sebin. Even so, I am sure there are many out there – underground, planning, and risking there lives.

    Well, boys and girls. Sorry, to burst your bubble. But this a’int no movie.
    This is your life, your country. It been 10 months now! Wake up.

    For gods’ sake stand up for your country, before you do not have any chance left.

    MADURO wants a VOTE – Give it to him

    You (still) have Twitter, and Social Media – a Bazooka of a Weapon.

    VOTE on May 20 – “vote with your feet” and NOT in the voting booth

    Maduro WANTS A TURNOUT.

    He wants to show the world the massive support he has. Maduro, one might guess, is planning to make it easy to vote, by giving time off work, freedom of travel, and access to as many fractions as possible on election day. Of course not to all, but Maduro’s energy will be targeted on the election, on the back-end fraud his team needs to commit on election day and before, and on his and Chavista Party’s PR, through TV and social media.

    SO THE KING WANTS A TURN-OUT? – GIVE IT TO HIM.

    ON ELECTION DAY – EVERY VENEZUELAN MUST VOTE WITH THEIR FEET.
    Something like, “mi pais mis pies” on election day. Or “2 feet beats 1 ballot” or whatever phrase that can generate a meaning for change.

    Everyone is encouraged to “vote their feet” to express wishes for a better life (Food, Medicine, Safety, Electricity), or freedom, or government, or, whatever.

    But the real meaning is that everyone needs to get on there feet and go to every capital building in every large city, and “vote with your feet” and NOT at the voting booth.

    Everyone to MIRAFLORES, in every city.

    Of course Maduro will get wind of this, if in fact it became big, and what choice then?
    Ignore it?, Delay the vote? , Cancel the vote?

    And, if there was that “one last breath”, and there was a massive outpouring of the Venezuelan people to vote with their feet on that ONE DAY to Miraflores…

    At best, the following day Maduro would be gone.

    And at worst it would be a day that all Venezuleans would remember.

    Exhale. Hope …. or lights on, please exit toward the rear.

  25. Quien llegó con plomo sólo saldrá con plomo, y aquí todos sabemos muy bien como apareció Hugo Chavez en la escena política nacional….Yo propongo cesar actitudes colaboracionistas y cobardes, y asumir el reto histórico que como sociedad le tocó a ese pueblo venezolano que vendió sus libertades por discursos populistas. Mucha sangre deberá ser derramada en las calles de Venezuela para que su pueblo MADURE y evolucione.

    • Agreed. There needs to be blood spilled. That is what the Chavists understand. They have proven that they are prepared.

      The question is if those in opposition to Chavismo has the seeds to spill not only Chavista blood, but their own.

      • The ghastly losses the opposition has taken so far leaves me relatively unconcerned about their will to spill their own blood. People willing to suffer and die in their homes and street just to say something are probably willing to die in battle.

        It’s the question of shedding Chavista blood that I wonder about. Especially with quotes like that of Quico.

        • Over the years, I have seen any number of back benchers boasting about “how I would handle them fuckers” if they were in (fill in the blank situation). All I can do is roll my eyes. There is lots of keyboard bravado out there.

          If I had nothing to lose, and I was living in Venezuela? I would probably start harvesting colectivos. But… I am not living in Venezuela, and I have plenty to live for. So its easy for me to pop off from 4000 miles away… keyboard bravado!

          But from what I am told by my wife’s family, and what I read, and what my experience has been in Venezuela in the past, I am not so sure Venezuelans are up to the task of risking everything for freedom. Maybe its their modern-ish Spanish heritage of running away from fights. Who knows? I am still trying to figure out the Venezuelan mindset/psyche despite the fact that I have been married to a Venezuelan for nearly 30 years.

          I sense that a lot of colectivos are feeling pretty brave these days, since only THEY have the guns. They have no problem strutting around in their red attire, talking tough. Maybe they have nothing to lose? Are Venezuelas “freedom fighters” willing to wage a hit and run, guerrilla war with them?

          Dying for a cause is one thing. The argument could be made that Venezuelans are up for that. Killing someone for a cause is another thing altogether. I’m reminded of a quote from the movie Unforgiven: “It’s a hell of a thing killing a man. You take away all he’s got, and all he’s ever gonna have.”

          • “Over the years, I have seen any number of back benchers boasting about “how I would handle them fuckers” if they were in (fill in the blank situation). All I can do is roll my eyes. There is lots of keyboard bravado out there.”

            Indeed.

            That’s why I try and keep myself humble. Because I fully know and acknowledge that I am an unfit as hell keyboard warrior whose greatest claim to fame is that I am a history nerd, a wargamer, and someone who did reenactment. I fully accept that I have never been within the same zip code as a true life or death battle as you have, El Guapo. So I thank you for your serivce.

            And that’s also why I am always somewhat hesitant to give mention of my warlike advice, that the Collectivos need to know fear and preferably lose some lives.

            But I feel it is still true.

            “If I had nothing to lose, and I was living in Venezuela? I would probably start harvesting colectivos. But… I am not living in Venezuela, and I have plenty to live for. So its easy for me to pop off from 4000 miles away… keyboard bravado!”

            Bingo. Same here.

            But at least we admit it, and don’t claim to be experts in gorilla warfare.

            “But from what I am told by my wife’s family, and what I read, and what my experience has been in Venezuela in the past, I am not so sure Venezuelans are up to the task of risking everything for freedom. Maybe its their modern-ish Spanish heritage of running away from fights. Who knows? I am still trying to figure out the Venezuelan mindset/psyche despite the fact that I have been married to a Venezuelan for nearly 30 years.”

            I can see it.

            “I sense that a lot of colectivos are feeling pretty brave these days, since only THEY have the guns. They have no problem strutting around in their red attire, talking tough. Maybe they have nothing to lose? Are Venezuelas “freedom fighters” willing to wage a hit and run, guerrilla war with them?

            Dying for a cause is one thing. The argument could be made that Venezuelans are up for that. Killing someone for a cause is another thing altogether. I’m reminded of a quote from the movie Unforgiven: “It’s a hell of a thing killing a man. You take away all he’s got, and all he’s ever gonna have.””

            Bingo, and THAT I think is why I the keyboard warrior noob who has never had to kill, has advocated the Venezuelan Oppo prepare to fight and plan how to kill.

            Because I don’t think the Chavistas are going to yield power until they know FEAR. Until they believe that there is no longer a straight calculation when they decide to kill people. When they realize that some of them can be some of the people getting offed.

            When citizens fear their government, there is tyranny. When government fears its citizens, there is liberty. Isn’t that how the old quote goes?

            I may never have fired a shot to save my life, and my knowledge is secondhand. But I do think the key to Venezuelan freedom- and most successful outcomes- will be making the brash Collectivos, the Military jackboots, and the Party fear the opposition.

            Anyway, that’s my two cents. Take it as you will.

          • I think you hit the nail right on the head.

            While I was an commissioned Army aviation officer, I still was Army, which meant that when I was told to, I was to pick up my gear, grab a gun and patrol. Not too often. But once (Panama) our group came face to face with some Panamanian kid with a gun. We got the jump on him, but he was scared and scared people do stupid things. He was about 18 and been conscripted a week previous. His uniform was about 3 sizes too big for him, and it was clear that he was out of his element.

            So here are two people with guns who are supposed to be enemies… and I don’t know if he was going to shit his pants first or me. He dropped his gun and we took him in. (His name was Pepe)

            I still think about him. He was someones newborn baby once. A kid in school who played soccer. A brother, an uncle and maybe a father. I don’t know his whole story. But he was someone with a past and a potential future. And here I was, wondering if I was going to have to kill him. (I was the ranking officer) Or him me.

            Killing a real live person in the real world isn’t like the movies. I haven’t had to ever pull the trigger, and I hope I never do.

          • “I think you hit the nail right on the head.”

            Thank you kindly.

            Good to know that both you and Pepe made it through that particular scare ok. And I guess that does give some hope to think about how to remove Chavismo from power without it trning into an outright charnel house.

            “Killing a real live person in the real world isn’t like the movies.”

            Quite. Or the countless games I play.

            ” I haven’t had to ever pull the trigger, and I hope I never do.”

            Likewise… but I do think there are times when it is absolutely necessary. I fear Venezeula has skipped across that perimeter long ago.

            “Stand your ground! Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a WAR let it begin here!”

          • Again, I agree. I think the time for talk is over. As I mentioned, I am safely away from the chaos of Venezuela, so I can only speak from that perspective.

            I think that the only thing that Chavismo understands is violence. They certainly don’t understand logic and reason. If Venezuelans were to take up arms and mount a real resistance, I would not only understand it, but would support their right to use violence to free themselves from tyranny.

  26. The 10MM$ + condo idea is a good one, BUT

    The idea wouldn’t work, because in typical Venezuelan fashion:

    1) Part of The 10MM$ would be spent on Ho’s, Whisky and Hot Tubs, and boats. The rest being sold at Dolar Today because someone invariably will have a line into DICOM and will want to squeeze a bit out for himself, if not outright just buying PETROS with the rest.

    2) The condo would be turned into an airbnb property.

    3) The plan would start on a Thursday. Just WHICH Thursday would be a subject for endless debate.

    4) No one would want to execute the plan until after Semana Santa, and it would have to take place before summer break. IF after summer, then after the kids go back to school, but before Thanksgiving cause that’s practically Christmas and therefore El Niño JESUS, and New Years, and Reyes, but then Carnaval and right after that Semana Santa and you know, you do have to visit 7 churches on Good Friday so……..

  27. RCTV went down fighting.

    EL Universal folded and ran away, one hopes to keep the fight in other levels, but others have been just assimilated by the hegemony.

    CC was a hopeful site for long, but nowadays is just a place for amateurish pieces and Quico’s agenda. (Where is Emiliana BTW?)

  28. CC is “Chronicles”, and does an excellent job of that. For solutions/conspiracies/et. al., one must look for/invent other venues.

  29. Well written article, not sure if the conclusion is drawn from reality. Any negotiation needs two or more parties with something to offer. I get what you are saying the MUD has to offer but why would the regime take the offer? They have proven to be unconcerned with the health and welfare of the citizens. They have denied the opening of a humanitarian channel and refuse to take any action that would ease economic pressure. Food and fuel continue to be smuggled out of the country because price controls make the arbitrage worthwhile.

    Pressure needs to come from somewhere and MUD clearly does not have the will nor the respect of the citizens to call them to action. Are sanctions enough, doubtful, I hope something is going on behind the scenes that I have not seen reported.

  30. “Because any US intervention is going to take more than just one helicopter and Chuck Norris.”

    Ok, it might take a Sikorsky, couple of Apaches and one Chinook. Chuck, Arnold and Jean Claude on Seal Team 6. Less than what it took to say hello to Bin Laden or Noriega.

    And that would be overkill, Chavistas running around Miraflores like headless chickens.

  31. I can’t help but wonder what, if any, effect the U.S. wargames/drills which are scheduled for the third week of April in Trinidad and Tobago will have in ratcheting up the anxiety level of the regime. T&T is like 10-20 miles off the Venezuelan coast I believe. May be interesting to see.

  32. Bleh.

    Starts out well- even given what i view as utterly misplaced sniping at the supporters of absenteeism but seems to be going in the right direction- but then falls apart. Utterly.

    I could go through this entire article almost word by word and pull it up, but I’ll TRY and limit my comments to what I view as the most important points.

    “Explaining to them that election boycotts almost never work misses the point entirely. They’re not interested in what works. ”

    The problem I see with this- besides inadvertent projection- is that what goes conveniently unmentioned is that election participation in a totalitarian system ALSO almost never works. ESPECIALLY without any serious guarantee that THIS TIME things will be different. Usually due to international scrutiny coupled with serious, critical fear by the regime either from the inside (like with Solidarity’s victory over the Communists in Poland) or the outside (like with the Gambian dictator that CC talked about but “conveniently” underplayed the threat of AU Military intervention if he did not yield). Preferably both.

    So let’s talk about what is to be done.

    “In principle, the por las malas, coercion-based approach could come in a variety of guises: regime implosion, military coup, foreign invasion. Last year’s protests should be interpreted as a desperate, brave, but ultimately unsuccessful bid to set off a defection cascade leading to regime implosion. It was my favored tactic, but it unfortunately backfired: protests fizzled before the regime collapsed, strengthening it instead.”

    This strikes me as a MONUMENTAL misdiagnosis, one almost completely inverted from the truth.

    The issue is, protests (Actual protests, rather than low level civil war) are almost by definition “por las buenas.” They are an attempt to obtain change by seeking to *persuade* directly, usually both the public and the regime, or at least elements in it. And this is true even in cases like Krygyzstan where the protestors literally stormed the Presidential Palace and a few others, because they were trying to Persuade the regime that it would not DARE try to shoot all of them. Because of the imminent fear of violence.

    Guerilla movements or a rebellion do not need to try and persuade the people they are trying to overthrow. They don’t strictly need large marches and big banners, though they can help. Because they’ve stopped being significantly interested in talking to the government.

    So I think the protests can fall under the heading of por las buenas. An attempt to persuade those within the regime to change course. And it failed because the regime *REFUSED TO BE PERSUADED*, had an almost unlimited will to unleash violence in order to crush dissent and keep its’ own members in line, and could prevent the opposition from accumulating enough power to force them out.

    And this is important, because successful problem solving Depends on successfully identifying the problem and the nature of the remedies.

    So, who is right here, Quico or I? I think I am obviously, but I will let you decide (with the possible chance of input from he and I).

    “A foreign military intervention, for its part, remains vanishingly unlikely — and is also enormously risky: even if it was ultimately successful, it’s easy to imagine scenarios where success comes at the costs of thousands or tens of thousands of casualties, and years of war. To me, that risk is self-evidently unacceptable. ”

    I want everybody to read and remember this part. Especially the last half of it. Sear it into your brains. Because this is why I think Venezuela IS Not Free, and will not Become Free. Until that is changed.

    Now, those of you in Venezuela, look around. Those of us abroad, go to your research and dig up news.

    Quico speaks of tens of thousands of casualties, years of war, and so forth. But how is this significantly different from WHAT VENEZUELA ALREADY HAS?

    Because to me, the main differences would be a higher proportion of battlefield casualties relative to other forms of injury and death, a HIGHER PROPORTION of those injured or killed being Collectivos rather than opposition, and some foreigners on the opposition’s side for a change.

    Since the turn of the century Chavez, his heirs, and his supporters have deployed foreign troops to help keep power, acted as patron to dozens of Collectivo paramilitaries to wage war against the opposition, and have enacted policies that have caused the deaths and maimings of thousands of Venezuelans, much like Quico describes the effects of this hypothetical foreign invasion. In fact, some regulat commentors here would go so far as to claim the entire Chavista regime is a foreign invasion.

    And yet Quico is unwilling to embrace the use of violent strife as a Possible- even if dire and unlikely- solution to this problem in spite of it being very similar. So, what does this mean? It means more people will starve, more people will be shot, more people will be beaten to death, and more people will flee as the regime continues to hold on to power. But at least that’s not war, right?

    Frankly, I have to ask what threshold of abuse Quico would find suitable to support a conflict. And I don’t say this as someone who fetishizes warfare or a US invasion- or at least someone who Tries not to. But because it seems like the reasons Quico are citing he will not accept this possibility are already here. And that my studies of history, war, and tyranny have led me to believe there ARE worse things than war.

    In a previous comment, I made a reference to Patrick Henry asking “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? ”

    To this, Quico has answered quite clearly “Yes.”

    Which is why I think Venezuela will continue to have chains and slavery. Because the regime does not have enough of an incentive to change.

    “That leaves the por las buenas approach: persuading regime hierarchs that handing over power is in their best interests.”

    This relates to something I have touched on in my own prior comments, about trying to make the regime’s leadership or at least people in it be convinced that giving up is the best possible way. Though I imagine my tack on the approach is much more coercive, militaristic, and threatening than Quico’s.

    In essence, it involves trying to mobilize and if need be militarize the opposition, push the regime into a corner by violence or the threat of violence, made to feel fear, and then be given a choice. That they will either leave “Through the Door or Out The Window.” That they can leave power like Husak, or they can leave power like the Ceaucescus, but ONE WAY OR ANOTHER THEY *WILL* LEAVE POWER!

    The effect of this is paradoxically that the opinion of the regime’s leadership and members is Comparatively unimportant. What they think is comparatively unimportant. The only question is whether they will voluntarily acquiesce to a fait accompli, and how ugly they want to make the outcome.

    “This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Many of the groups keeping Maduro in power long ago ceased personally benefiting from the regime, simply because there are no more rents to share out.”

    This strikes me as a bit optimistic. NEVER underestimate the attraction of weilding power for power’s own sake. Orwell got some things wrong, but he did point out that in 1984 the Inner Party’s members lived modestly, almost a monkish middle class existence. Their great luxury was not in the riches of the Indies or the rents they gathered. It was in the ability to use unlimited power to tyrannize and destroy their fellow man. The main economic focus they had was not on sharing out rents, but on finding a way to DESTROY the wealth that is within rents in order to better keep their hold on tyranny.

    This is, I think, a lesson we should all consider. Not every functionary- or even most of them- will be like this, holding onto power for power’s own sake. Even many of those I believe are irreconcilable would stand for power on behalf of their twisted ideology.

    But some of them will be.

    “Even the Cubans must by now realize that a chronically unstable, impoverished Venezuela bleeding refugees across its borders, isn’t really in its longer term interest: after all, a parasite has a rational interest in keeping its host viable.”

    I’m sorry, no.

    If I merely THOUGHT that Quico misdiagnosed the status of the protests, I KNOW this is one.

    That “surely” the Cuban government “must” realize that “a chronically unstable, impovershed Venezuela bleeding refugees across its’ borders isn’t in its long-term interest”?

    Except that is an EXACT DESCRIPTION of what the Castro regime has turned CUBA into, and how they have run it for the past nearly three quarters of a century. So I think it is safe to say that this assertion of Quico’s can be safely dismissed when they clearly view it in their long-term interest to have THEIR OWN HOME COUNTRY suffer in such a way.

    “Of course, for any of this to work, you’ll need to be disciplined about lowering the Exit Costs for the current governing clique. ”

    Reading this makes me think to thee excellent film, Darkest Hour. And a particular line from there in Churchill.

    “”WHEN WILL THE LESSON BE LEARNED? You cannot reason with a Tiger WHEN YOUR HEAD IS IN ITS MOUTH!!!!”

    The opposition not only has its’ head in the Chavista tiger’s mouth, the tiger has been BITING DOWN on its Neck.

    In order to negotiate a hostile takeover, you must negotiate from a position of STRENGTH. That is why I talk so openly and boldly about militarizing the opposition, making the Collectivos fear for their own miserable lives, and so forth. Because without the fear from expecting a hostile reaction, the regime has NO reason to consider “Exit Costs” at all because they recognize that they are unlikely to be exiting any time soon. And by the same extention few regime members will be inclined to do similar with the discrepency only coming from fear about being singled out as a scapegoat and hounded in some internal purge.

    So forgive me if I find talking about “Exit Costs” or how to negotiate the peaceful withdrawal of a totalitarian regime that lauds itself for living on a war foooting PREMATURE AT BEST.

    “That implies moral choices that are deontologically abhorrent: you’ll have to promise Venezuela’s torturers and state-sponsored murderers impunity, you’ll have to allow many of them to keep at least some of the money they stole from people who were hungry as they were being stolen from. There is no softballing the revulsion any decent person should feel at this prospect. It’s fucking gross.”

    Since we’ve already come to accept a need to talk about deontologically abhorrent ethical choices, how about this one.

    The Opposition accepts- as you said- that Venezuela is not a Democratic Republic and has not been one for many years.

    The opposition not only accepts that abstaining from elections is unimportant, but so is participating in them.

    The opposition furthermore accepts that Venezuela is living in a purgatory that is flat out Worse than many military conflicts, and is physically dying from starvation, medical collapse, and so forth.

    And so the Opposition commits itself to the idea that the Chavista dictatorship and its’ Cuban allies MUST be overthrown.

    It furthermore commits itself to the idea that Chavismo the Ideology MUST be destroyed and utterly discredited.

    It furthermore commits itself to punsihing- at minimum- all of the leadership in the regime when it is overthrown except those who beat feet out of the country REALLY FARQING QICK.

    And it furthermore commits itself to the idea that the former three resolves are necessary regardless of the cost.

    And so it prepares to start organizing. And planning on a military level. To present itself not just as the legitimate opposition, but also as the just defenders of Venezuela and people willing to Kill for that freedom in addition to die. And to grasp that freedom by any way possible.

    Hopefully in peace, but if need be by shedding blood.

    And then it goes back to the offer I put forth earlier. Do the Chavistas wish to lose power in the way Husek did, or in the way the Ceaucescus did?

    “When your best alternatives involve either rewarding the very worst criminals in society or possibly getting tens of thousands of people killed, you’ve more or less hit rock bottom. But rock bottom is what Venezuela is all about now, and even countries at rock bottom need leaders with the courage to size up the situation with a cold head and propose a course of action that brings you closer to realizing your goals. ”

    Sorry Quico, but I’ve studied the Khmer Rouge. I’ve studied Maoist China. I’ve studied the DPRK. I’ve studied the Third Reich, the Second Reich, Derg Ethiopia, and a host of other tyrannies. And I’ve helped a few refugees from Cuba, Russia, and so on emigrate to freedom. While I have a German friend who specializes in helping North Koreans.

    So I hate to tell you that this choice isn’t rock bottom.

    Rock bottom is when you no longer have the means to Make that choice. When you lack the means to reward the criminals Or kill thousands. Because the regime holds all the levers of power and reward in its’ own hands. The result is something like North Korea or Cuba.

    Is that what you want for Venezuela? I’m guessing not. So, what are you willing to do to stop it? What are you willing to do to Turn This Ship Around before it hits rock bottom and there is NOTHING you can do?

    That’s the ultimate question. And I have a sinking feeling you already gave us your answer. Which is why I believe if left up to you, Venezuela would quickly turn into another Cuba, or worse another DPRK.

    I don’t say this lightly, but i feel I have no choice but to draw that conclusion.

    And here’s the kicker: Rewarding the very worst criminals in society IS A GREAT WAY TO GUARENTEE That tens of thousands of people WILL be killed. Especially by way of peaceful transition. It’s no coincidence that the failure to “DeSovietize” Russia and elsewhere by treating the KGB, GRU, the CPUSSR, other regime elements like the terminally corrupt entities they were helped lead to the rise of Vladimir Putin- a mid level KGB pencil pusher- to totalitarian power a few short years later. It’s no coincidence that the failure to De-Ottomanize the Ottoman Empire following WWI helped give way to the twin tyrannies of Kemalism and Islamism.

    Because let’s face what message this is giving off in the long run. Not just to the goons we cut a deal with THIS time- assuming they’re even inclined to take it- but to all the other Second Rate Officers, Prison Philosophers, and other natural coup leaders down the road.

    I don’t know about you, but getting a decarde or so to run a country with an iron fist and pilalge or kill at will in exchange for a golden raft or parachute letting me flee my crimes with little repercussion sounds like an AWFULLY beneficial deal for me. Ironically the only possible breaks on that are sentimental- attachment to my country or some people- or ideological- attachment to my beliefs. So how do you propose to deal with these aspiring tyrants down the line, and prevent them from trying the exact same swindle only with even more cynicism?

    That’s the problem I see with this. And why I do think the regime must be destroyed.

    • Hey thx for this! It’s substantive and well-informed and I don’t think we disagree anywhere near as much as you think we do. I thought the part about how protests last year really count as “por las buenas” is especially well put — I’d definitely write that part differently if I had another chance.

      I don’t think we disagree on a point of principle, I think we disagree on the political calculus about the feasibility of different alternatives: I just think as a practical matter “militarizing the opposition” is totally unfeasible. I mean, this was Oscar Pérez’s approach, and Caguaripano’s approach, and we see how well that went. We don’t have the people, the training, the money, the weapons or the logistics to sustain a rebellion like this. We don’t have any realistic prospect of developing them, either.

      Consequentialism is about bringing goals and means into some rough form of balance. It requires judgment, including a clear-eyed judgement of your own capabilities. If I thought we were anywhere near in the vicinity of the ball-park of acquiring the kinds of capabilities you describe I’d have a conversation about it. But as it stands it’s a fantasy, totally divorced from realities on the ground. It’s just an escapist fantasy — which, admittedly, is sort of what we’re reduced to — because our capabilities right now are shit.

      But thanks for the comment!

      • Thank you kindly for your words Quico. And it’s godo to know that for all of our differences- I being an American Rightwing Trump Neocon Republican and you being (from the best I can guess) a Venezuelan Left wing Social Democrat- are still on the same side regarding Tyranny.

        “Hey thx for this! It’s substantive and well-informed and I don’t think we disagree anywhere near as much as you think we do. I thought the part about how protests last year really count as “por las buenas” is especially well put — I’d definitely write that part differently if I had another chance.

        “I don’t think we disagree on a point of principle, I think we disagree on the political calculus about the feasibility of different alternatives:”

        fair enough.

        “I just think as a practical matter “militarizing the opposition” is totally unfeasible.”

        Perhaps, I certianly beieve it will be difficult as heck. And that the consequences for it will likely be ugly.

        But I do think it is possible; we saw some of this in the case of Portugal during the Carnation Revolution and Syria, where protests and a concentrated influence game helped sway many military units over. And while using Syria as a point of positive comparison is about as iffy as can be, I think it is still worth considering.

        Firstly, that when people are pushed to a wall- and I mean really pushed to a wall- even some limited help can have a massive impact.

        and Secondly, that as ugly as the ramifications can be- and they could be anything from a Carnation Coup to a Syrian style nightmare- they are likely less ugly than allowing the status quo disintegration to continue until someone in the regime finally discovers a conscience and stops it of their own accord, or it grows weak enough to reform itself out of existence or be overthrown.

        If people can send money and goods to people to buy basic necessities, they can send money and goods helpful for struggle. It’s a matter of difficulty- often great difficulty- but not really type. Harder still to build something capable of threatening the apparatus of terror from scratch, but again not without precedent.

        “I mean, this was Oscar Pérez’s approach, and Caguaripano’s approach, and we see how well that went.”

        I think the problem with Perez and Caguaripano is that- at the root- not their decision to try and organize a rebellion but what form they took. In the 19th century and early 20th century- especially when talking about Venezuela’s mother country old Espana- there was a type of coup-cum-revolution called a “Pronunciamiento.”

        Basically, one element of the Armed Forces stood up, did some act of symbollic defiance, and declared it no longer regarded the existing state as legitimate while calling on their comrades to join in defiance. So this group of troops stood up and declared they were opposed, this group stayed loyal, and at the end of what amounted to a show of force the losers went into exile or a prison.

        I think this is Very Similar to what the last military rebels tried. But the problems are twofold. For one, since they were military in nature they needed some groundwork with the civilians. That didn’t happen. And for two, they underestimated the nature of the regime. That if the regime would not cede totalitarian power to a vast mobilization by civil society in the streets and at the ballot box, they were not going to be afraid of a handful of (let’s be honest here) Mutineers. In short, the regime didn’t play by the rules the Spanish government and others did.

        Which isn’t surprising since those governments tended to be anything from Quasi/pseduo constitutional monarchies, to democratic republics, to strongman states rather than a totaltiarian regime.

        At the risk of talking about the unsavory, I think we need to look at something other than a civilian protest or a military Pronunciamiento.

        We need to look at something like what General Mola planned and did just before the launch of the Nationalist coup attempt that started the Spanish Civil War (the big one everybody remembers). Which involved a massive, massive attempt to get not only the army on the side of the rebels, but also large chunks of civil society and the public (mostly the right wing and Castillian nationalists) and foreign support. And when Mola and his fellows moved, they didn’t do it in order to make a statement, they did it to make a Killing. Trying to strike well before people realized.

        That ruthless, thorough planning is one of the reasons why Even Though the plan was detected and failed, it ultimately paved the groundwork for the Nationalist and Fascist victory in the Civil War.

        Now obviously, this is going to be a heck of a lot harder. For one, Mola was a totalitarian targetting a left wing democratic republic. We’re democratic republicans targeting a totalitarian state. Mola also knew he could count on the support of vast parts of the military. We can’t. And he was used to violence and terror both from experience and by inclination. We ain’t. He was also a military man and had easy access to training, arms, high ranking officials, and the like. We cannot assume the same.

        So we’d have that much more to make up for.

        But I do think the basic lessons are worth talking. There are things to do and times to mug the camera and we should keep doing that. But there are also things we should be doing in the shadows to Prepare. To try and recitfy our woeful inadequacy compared to the dictatorship in terms of poltiical capitol, capacity for violent force, and ability to disseminate news inside.

        “We don’t have the people, the training, the money, the weapons or the logistics to sustain a rebellion like this.”

        Which is very, very true.

        And not something I mean to downplay. I mean, when Patrick Henry said his words he could count on the support of vast amounts of veteran Virginia milita to help stand up to the Crown. Here the most active militias are collectivist jackboot fans.

        No easy task to rectify. But it is easier than dealing with the prospect of another decade starving?

        I don’t know.

        “We don’t have any realistic prospect of developing them, either.”

        I’m more skeptical of this. But even if it is true, there is always the Unrealistic.

        Since Bolivar and his ghost hang like a funeral shroud over all this, I think it’s worth talking a bit about him. When the revolutionaries began to gather throughout Hispanic America, there was probably far less prospect of developing the means of armed resistance than there was here. Instant messages and the like were centuries in the future, and communication and trade were controlled (at least nominally) with a strict hand by the Spanish viceroyalty authorities. As was military matters. Not just the dispositions of regular and militia troops, but also everything right on down to gunpowder production, which had to be shipped in. Hispanic America was purposefully isolated from the wider world by a system of trade controls.

        And of course, concepts like democracy, human rights, and liberty were much more controversial and less embraced then.

        The big gaps I see between them are threefold, and some of them are big ones. For one, the Spanish authorities didn’t have anything quite like the pervasive surveilance that the Soviets helped forge, Castro picked up, and the Chavistas now have. Which is one reason why they were caught off guard so badly.

        Secondly, there was the not very trivial problem of them being invaded by freaking France at the height of its’ power (and thus triggering the wave of supposedly loyalist rebellions/secessions). Which obviously tied down military resposnes in a big big way.

        And thirdly: there’s the issue that a lot of regional authorities in the “Old Continent” were used to a lot more autonomous government and defacto independence due to the logistics and whatnot. That tradition of local government is what the Chavistas and their allies have been slowly destroying with their centralization and vote rigging, like the fraudulent postiioning of their lackies in state governments.

        And all of these things would have to be dealt with in any situation that uses force- or even the credible threat of force- to try and bring these animals either to the table or into a coffin. And they are going to be veyr hard to do. But I do think they can be done.

        How I don’t exactly know and even if I did I’d be hesitant to say in public. But if there’s one benefit to the misery the Chavistas have brought to the country, it is that the very rampages of their favorite Collectivos and economic suicide have undermined the regime’s ability to keep a tight grip on all matters of state and society.

        “Consequentialism is about bringing goals and means into some rough form of balance. It requires judgment, including a clear-eyed judgement of your own capabilities. ”

        Agreed there.

        “If I thought we were anywhere near in the vicinity of the ball-park of acquiring the kinds of capabilities you describe I’d have a conversation about it.”

        Fair enough, but ball parks can be crossed.

        ” But as it stands it’s a fantasy, totally divorced from realities on the ground.”

        Well, let’s go with that assumption.

        It’s not divorced from reality on the ground in a couple importants way. It recognizes the fact that the Chavista regime is responsible for the deaths and maiming sof hundreds of Venezulan people, people as dead as any killed in war. It also recognizes that trying to negotiate them is unlikely to succeed, at least as things stand. We saw this with the Hispaniola Talks resulting in a failure to get any headway with Maduro (no surprise there) and a lack of mass defections in the rank and file of the state.

        It also recognizes that “Team Marines” are not on the ground, and cannot be relied upon to enter. Intervention May or May not be a Good Thing, but there’s no evidence that it is even going to be a Thing. So we must plan without.

        So we get into the issue of this. How would we go about planning for this escapist fantasy to become reality?

        Or for that matter other escapist fantasies, like a return to the great big protests of yester year?

        That’s where contingency planning comes in hand.

        “It’s just an escapist fantasy — which, admittedly, is sort of what we’re reduced to — because our capabilities right now are shit.”

        Which is what I’m also touching upon. If you’re really pushed into the corner, you have to start considering Whatever means you can. Even far fetched and unsavory ones. To (accurately) paraphrase Machiavelli, one must always consider the ned result.

        This doesn’t mean the end result will be easy. Or that the ends will Necessarily justify the means (this is one thing people inaccurately translating him get wrong). But it does mean one has to ask: How do we get from Here to THere?

        And at least as importantly: How do we get *Them* to go from where they are now to where we want them?

        That I think is the big one, and why I am willing to talk so openly and in such detail about this. Because I feel that until the opposition has some Credible ability to threaten the regime or at least a lot of its’ hanger ons with the loss of life and limb, I don’t think they have the incentive to leave at all. Whether in the way of Pinochet, Husak, or the Ceaucescus.

        So the question is: how do we start getting them to *just maybe* reconsider?

        To make them think that there might be deadly repercussions if they pull the trigger on more dissidents, and not just for the people they’re shooting?

        I think that will be an important step towards getting these people Out. Whether violently or peacefully. In order to encourage these mofos to walk out the door, they have to have something to feel Encouraged by. Carrots help, but we need to think about a credible stick. In no small part because it’ll make the carrots we offer more credible.

        (“Hey, Nicky, if you promise to go away we promsie to let you keep ONE BILLION QUADRILLION BOLIVARS and a house in Paraguay!”

        “You mean what I can get any given day by sitting on my rear and having my henchmen shoot any of you trying to speak up?” )

        “But thanks for the comment!”

        You are welcome.

    • Turtler,

      Bravo!

      Quico,

      The Opposition is unprepared precisely because they have never considered it necessary. This is a failure of imagination as well as leadership.

      Much of the leadership of the Opposition is already in exile. Perhaps it is time to form a true government in exile to go along with the TSJ. This would give them much more freedom to plan and act, as well as coordinate openly with foreign governments.

      • “Turtler,

        Bravo!”

        Thank you kindly Roy.

        “The Opposition is unprepared precisely because they have never considered it necessary. This is a failure of imagination as well as leadership.”

        Broadly agreed except for “necessary.” I do think it is VITALLY important to consider it as important, but I don’t think we should consider it Necessary, at least yet. One of the main thrusts of my argument is how even being prepared for war will give the oppo a much better chance of concluding this peacefully on honorable terms. And frankly if one’s locked into thinking it’s Necessary it can impair flexibility just as much as being unwilling to consider it at all. Having a hammer, seieng nails etc.

        But I do think we should seriously consider it.

        “Much of the leadership of the Opposition is already in exile. Perhaps it is time to form a true government in exile to go along with the TSJ. This would give them much more freedom to plan and act, as well as coordinate openly with foreign governments.”

        Indeed. They certainly have done a decent job acting like one in some ways, like how they helped strengthen the embargo and cut off Maduro’s credit. It only makes sense to try and further develop that.

        As anybody who has read the news or comments can see, people feel there is an acute crisis of leadership in the Opposition. This would go some ways to fixing that.

        • John Bolton is alive and well, love it.
          Did not read Quicos article ( i have no time for him anymore)
          Turtler, wisdom and knowledge is always enjoyable to digest, so thanks for that.

          • @Crusader

            “John Bolton is alive and well, love it.
            Did not read Quicos article ( i have no time for him anymore)
            Turtler, wisdom and knowledge is always enjoyable to digest, so thanks for that.”

            Heh, thank you.

            Though as for Quico, well…maybe you might be surprised. I had a civil convo with him, and his comment to me was that he quite liked it.

            But I am flattered.

        • Turtler, always enjoy reading your comments.

          Would you agree with the concept that part of the problem for the Venezuelan opposition is that, at the end of the day, their views about how to manage the country’s wealth and economy isn’t really all that different than chavismo’s?

          I’ve often said that Venezuela’s “far right” would still be considered left-of-center politicians in the US. I personally think what’s missing is a truly opposing viewpoint of how to lead the country to recovery.

          I do fully agree with the idea of forming a government in exile. As mentioned in your discussion with Quico, Julio Borges and others have done an excellent job of convincing the other governments around the world to tighten the financial screws on this regime. Perhaps the effect of hearing that they were also in talks with other governments about forming an armed resistance would be significant.

          • “Turtler, always enjoy reading your comments.”

            Thank you kindly.

            Likewise to you, MRubio.

            “Would you agree with the concept that part of the problem for the Venezuelan opposition is that, at the end of the day, their views about how to manage the country’s wealth and economy isn’t really all that different than chavismo’s?

            I’ve often said that Venezuela’s “far right” would still be considered left-of-center politicians in the US. I personally think what’s missing is a truly opposing viewpoint of how to lead the country to recovery.”

            Well, I haven’t been to Venezuela so I don’t claim to have a crystal clear nderstanding of Venezuelan politics and beliefs. Or even that great of one. So I’d ultimately defer to your greater knowledge. But my gut feeling has by and large been “Yes.”

            I don’t think Chavez could have come to power- certainly not by a free election!- if he didn’t tap in to a major contituency or previous trends. And I do think it has paralyzed the opposition. especially during the glory days, but also before. And it’s REALLY hard to win back freedom once it is lost.

            “I do fully agree with the idea of forming a government in exile. As mentioned in your discussion with Quico, Julio Borges and others have done an excellent job of convincing the other governments around the world to tighten the financial screws on this regime. Perhaps the effect of hearing that they were also in talks with other governments about forming an armed resistance would be significant.”

            Indeed, though I am honestly a bit disturbed that we haven’t seen notable armed resistance form spontaneously, like we did in plenty of other cases (Sandinistas and Castro come to mind, what with the El Oriental War in Cuba and the Contras). It was usually afterwards that a government or coordinating body in exile- like Charles De Gaulle- began to unite the scattered bands of resistnace.

            But Ido think some kind of coordination is important. Especially if it would help provide support to rebels and would be rebels.

        • Turtler,

          I am enjoying reading your comments. You write lucidly and coherently.

          Please allow me to explain why I used the word “necessary”. In Venezuela today, the lawless sectors of the society have expanded to represent a significant fraction of the population. These include the “colectivos”, the paramilitaries, the warlords (for want of a better word) in the Arco Minero, and ordinary criminals. I would estimate that Venezuela has 300 to 500 thousand hardened criminals and thugs that can never be reformed and integrated into civilised society. Furthermore, I estimate that 10 to 20 percent of Venezuela’s population live in zones that are not governed by Venezuelan sovereign authority.

          No sovereign government (democratic or dictatorship) can tolerate these conditions for long. The very definition of a state is that it has a monopoly on the use of force. The lawless zones and sectors of the population will have to be nuetralized. So, it doesn’t matter if it is by the Chavistas or by an Opposition government. Violence will come regardless.

          Of course, if this is managed by the Chavistas, they will use the opportunity to purge the country of Opposition at the same time. On the other hand to be given a fair chance to reestablish the institutions, restore the economy, and govern, the new democracy must begin after the country has been pacified and order restored. So, my preference is that the violent neutralization of lawless elements occurs under a transitional government. This would provide the nascent democratic government a cleaner slate and the best chance of success.

      • They are not ready because they are corrupt. I mean, we have to find it out who is to trust and who isn’t before se even plan anything. We need proper Intel.
        Those who are not corrupt are cowards and idiots of the worst kind.
        We can’t go to war if half our leadership is compromised and the other half is incompetent.

  33. Reading most of these comments, and watching the ‘bravo pueblo’ stand in line for their Clapcrap and Carnet de la patria bullshit, perhaps what Kleptozuela deserves is 6 more full years of Maduro, Delcy, Cabello and future First Lady of the Rebolusion Bolibabanana, the delightful, elegant and refined Mademoiselle Iris Varela.

    Six more years of even worse economic crisis, much worse humanitarian disaster, vandalism, massive embezzlement, Defol, decimation of all gold and oil reserves left, plus bloody failed protests, increased repression and political prisoners, less electricity, even more hunger and unprecedented crime, even by Kleptozuelan World-Record previous standards, with tens of thousands more dead.

    Perhaps that’s what it will take for the ‘pueblo’ people and the world to wake up, and BEG the US Marines to have mercy and please, please, please save their sorry asses one day.

  34. “decimation of all gold and oil reserves left”

    Don’t know about the fate of the gold reserves as I’ve never worked with the stuff, but rest assured there’s a right way, and a wrong way, to produce each individual oil reservoir. Not following proper production methods can result in much higher volumes of what otherwise could have been recoverable reserves being left in the ground as opposed to being available for sale at the surface.

    For example, many discoveries, especially in the east of Venezuela, were of relatively “light” crudes meaning they had high gas-oil contents (gas in liquid form) and high API gravities. And again, I use the word “light”…..meaning in terms of Venezuelan oil, most of which is even heavier than water.

    Anyway, this gas in solution allows the oil to flow more easily through the pore space (the reservoir rock) as well as aiding in lifting the oil to the surface without secondary production methods. And don’t think of the average reservoir rock as a piece of swiss cheeze with all the holes, think of it as a piece of concrete with the holes so small you can’t see them with the naked eye. It takes enormous pressure to force the oil through those tiny pores during primary production. The lighter the oil, the more easily it flows.

    To make the concept of gas-in-solution a bit more simple, imagine shaking a sealed coke bottle vigorously and then popping the top off. As the coke comes flying out of the bottle, those bubbles you see are CO2 in solution in the liquid “flashing” to the gaseous phase. The effect is much the same with natural gas in solution in the oil when the pressure is released too quickly.

    Now, when producing the well, opening the production valve too widely, (trying to increase overall production to help pay for the good deeds of the revolution, for instance), that in-solution gas flashes out of the oil, not just on its way to the surface inside the production tubing, but within the pore space of the reservoir itself away from the wellbore. Since gas is less viscous than oil and flows more easily through the pore space than does oil, at the surface the ratio of gas to oil production increases and continues to increase as long as the reservoir is “pulled” so hard. In a nutshell, more gas, less oil at the surface.

    What’s left behind in the pore space, the reservoir itself, is an increasingly heavy (more viscous) liquid oil. Some percentage of those heavier barrels of oil left behind in the reservoir will be recoverable eventually, but likely at much greater lifting costs (less money for the good deeds of the revolution, of course).

    With the military and political appointees running the current PDVSA shit show, I wonder if they’re following proper protocols to avoid the loss of originally-caluclated recoverable barrels or damaging the reservoirs themselves?

  35. En serio…. ¿ustedes creen que sus opiniones valen de algo? ¿Aquí? ¿Creen que todavia tiene sentido esta página del primer mundo para “rescatar” a Venezuela. Iddio. Realidades, varones. Olvídense de Venezuela.

  36. I think ‘por las buenas’ ya paso.

    As some have pointed out in the comments, the win of the National Assembly, the frustrated recall referendum, the useless negotiations in Dominicana were all “por las buenas” attempts.

    Chavistas and the Fuerzas Armadas de Ocupacion Bolivariana are people that range in the spectrum of fanaticism and criminal opportunism. So ‘por las buenas’ is something they have proven that they will not do. Someone has to shoot them out of power and I don’t think any foreign force will spend blood and treasure on this task.

    The only way out is that the military cabrones realize that the cost of holding to power is too high for them. The situation in Venezuela is just getting worse by the day and as Haussman explained over in Prodavinci, Venezuela is materially $$$ incapable of changing the tendency without external financing (let alone Chavistas are ideologically and intellectually incapable of addressing the problem).

    Street protest, strikes and the like would certainly help by forcing the military to perform the unpleasant task of cracking skulls for the sake of the regimen. Say what you may, but not everybody in the core is a sadist. Moreover, making the situation even more agitated would force the question again to the military on choosing to defend a criminal government or cashing the dictator for their absolution in front of the people.

  37. Sometimes I just wonder if people like Quico have been too far too long… first: in a foreign military intervention “success comes at the costs of thousands or tens of thousands of casualties, and years of war”… esteee… pana, we ARE at war. crime levels in critical and populous urban areas of this country have death counts as bad as any war in history.
    Second: you haven’t sern these guys at work, have you? If you offer them something, they will TAKE, and feel absolutely NO OBLIGATION to give anything in return, even if its written in contract. They are not people one can enter deals with, remember Kennedy’s quote that says something like “You cannot negotiatiate with people who think that what is their is theirs and what’s yours is negotiable”. That.

    • “Sometimes I just wonder if people like Quico have been too far too long… ”

      Indeed, sometimes I consider it too. But let’s face it: we will need our “old fighters” in this cause if we are to win, the veterans.

      “first: in a foreign military intervention “success comes at the costs of thousands or tens of thousands of casualties, and years of war”… esteee… pana, we ARE at war. ”

      Agreed there.

      “crime levels in critical and populous urban areas of this country have death counts as bad as any war in history.”

      Uh, sorry, but as a history nerd and wargamer I have to object. There have been PLENTY of wars in history that are much, Much worse. And I don’t say that lightly, because I have tried to study extreme murder rates. Like the ones in Juarez and now Caracas. They are ghastly.

      But they ain’t nothing compared to the stuff of the World Wars or what the Mongols did. Or the Chinese Civil Wars. Not just the most prominent/recent Nationalist v. Communist One. You ever hear of the Taiping Revolt?

      Nightmarish. If you want a good idea of the horror of civil war, take a gander at that.

      To think of millions upon millions of people being killed off every year is no small thing. That’s why even though I have apparently become CC’s resident War Hawk and do emphasize the horror of the present regime, I freely accept that stuff CAN get much worse before it gets better.

      I just believe it is the lesser evil than allowing this dictatorship to flourish.

      “Second: you haven’t sern these guys at work, have you? If you offer them something, they will TAKE, and feel absolutely NO OBLIGATION to give anything in return, even if its written in contract. They are not people one can enter deals with, remember Kennedy’s quote that says something like “You cannot negotiatiate with people who think that what is their is theirs and what’s yours is negotiable”. That.”

      Exactly. That’s the point I tried to make. THough I used a film quote. “You cannot reason with a Tiger WHEN YOUR HEAD IS IN ITS MOUTH!” Darkest Hour, very good one.

      Ultimately, if we ARE going to make any deal with these people, there needs to be sufficient incentive to make them STICK to their end of it. And I think the main way to do that is deterrent force. The possibility that if they do not comply, they will suffer worse and be destroyed.

      • Turtler
        I agree with much of what you write and compliment you on your insights.
        It will be much easier for any intervention to be assisting an organized opposition, than to be the invading force.
        In Panama the civil and military structure for the most part remained in place after the removal of Noriega.
        In Iraq, Bremer’s De-Baathification policy left a power and service vacuum in every aspect of the country. Not only were the regime’s collaborators removed it also negatively impacted all functions of civil servants.
        An organized and disciplined resistance that will be capable of assuming the duties of power production, transportation, policing etc., needs to be ready and waiting in the wings.
        When General Patton was criticized for employing former Nazis in civil service positions, he dismissed his critics by comparing them to Postmasters in the US that needed to be members of the Democrat party in order to get their jobs. Although Patton was correct, the press had a field day claiming that Patton compared Democrats to Nazis. Patton countered the criticism by saying that the trains were running on time.
        The taint of corruption and incompetence that is so deeply ingrained in Venezuela requires some sort of government that has people ready to hit the ground running to assume the functions of every aspect of civil society.
        Venezuela may not have the people that have the ability to make the trains run on time.

        • ” I agree with much of what you write and compliment you on your insights.”

          Thank you kindly.

          ” It will be much easier for any intervention to be assisting an organized opposition, than to be the invading force.”

          Agreed there.

          ” In Panama the civil and military structure for the most part remained in place after the removal of Noriega.
          In Iraq, Bremer’s De-Baathification policy left a power and service vacuum in every aspect of the country. Not only were the regime’s collaborators removed it also negatively impacted all functions of civil servants.”

          I agree. However, I will probably go against the grain by saying that as poorly managed as De-Baathification was, I still think it was important and necessary in a way it never was in Panama. Because very much unlike Noriega, Baathism in Iraq was a totalitarian ideological movement. Sure, it was ALSO a thinly veiled veneer for a family dictatorship like the kind Noriega ran, but it had far older traditions than Saddam. And under Saddam’s tulage it had thoroughly corrupted the government and civil society.

          That is the kind of situation where I really do think you need a clean flush and then once it’s done consider who you are going to let in. I don’t pretend that doing this all at once or how it was done would be the best move, it clearly was. But I also think it was highly important to crush the Baathist institutions to pave the way for something better and avoid the kind of scenario you saw after WWI with the utterly unreformed German Reichswehr. Who quickly began planning for the next great war.

          “An organized and disciplined resistance that will be capable of assuming the duties of power production, transportation, policing etc., needs to be ready and waiting in the wings.”

          Oh absolutely.

          I’ve primarily been focused on writing about preparing for a violent struggle for power against Chavismo, in large part because I feel that is one of the aspects few people have focused on. In part because it is horrible. But armies march on their stomach and soldiers are people too. So there needs to be planning for what will happen AFTER Chavismo, and civil planning to go with the military ones.’

          “When General Patton was criticized for employing former Nazis in civil service positions, he dismissed his critics by comparing them to Postmasters in the US that needed to be members of the Democrat party in order to get their jobs. Although Patton was correct, the press had a field day claiming that Patton compared Democrats to Nazis. Patton countered the criticism by saying that the trains were running on time.”

          Heh, yeah I remember. Though I do think it is worth noting that this was still during and after De-Nazification and was quite important.

          (Also ironic, since after the war the trains had a better record of running on time than before it).

          “The taint of corruption and incompetence that is so deeply ingrained in Venezuela requires some sort of government that has people ready to hit the ground running to assume the functions of every aspect of civil society.
          Venezuela may not have the people that have the ability to make the trains run on time.”

          Well, we have to at least plan for it. I do think Chavismo is its own horrid thing, but at the same time was in many ways a mutation of problems that already happened.

          If the absolute worst came to worst, you could probably plan to incorporate foreign advisors and leaders into this provosional government in exile’s comand structure, to help round out the manpower issues of having people either too corrupted by the ideology or too inexperienced. But I do think that Venezuelans must ultimately plan for this fight to be fought by Venezuelans.

          • Well we had a sort of de-Baathification of our own with the Carmonazo. It failed for a similar reason as in Irak: a change so radical of a governing style that, in our case as in Irak’s, stems from old traditions and is entrenched in opposition to masonic democracy requires a depth that can hardly be achieved in short time or by single-minded imposition.

          • @Eñe “Well we had a sort of de-Baathification of our own with the Carmonazo. ”

            Doesn’t really strike me as comparable. The Carmonazo at msot strikes me as the start of what MIGHT have eventually lead to something like Denazification or Debaathification, but which never actually got that far. As The Chavistas counterattacked.

            “It failed for a similar reason as in Irak: a change so radical of a governing style that, in our case as in Irak’s, stems from old traditions and is entrenched in opposition to masonic democracy requires a depth that can hardly be achieved in short time or by single-minded imposition.”

            Sure, but while both were much too short and shallow Carmonazo strikes me as being orders of magnitue more so. If anything it underlines just how cataclysmically this was not Debaathification or something like that, because the Military remained Chavista and quickly backstabbed the new government.

            There was never this sort of time when the would be de-Chavistaficition champions had utterly and completely crushed their enemies like the Baath Party and the NSDAP were before the Coalition on the former and the Allies of the latter, and so those enacting it could hold the whip hand in which *NOT* stomping on someone’s throat would be an optional act of mercy.

            A Greater remedy is needed.

        • “Venezuela may not have the people that have the ability to make the trains run on time.”

          I have thought about this previously. The brain drain in Venezuela has been devastating. I think that one of new government’s policies will have to be to provide strong incentives and promotions for skilled and professional people of all stripes to immigrate to Venezuela. When the dust settles, we may not recognize the new culture that rises from the ashes. But, even at the risk of losing it’s unique identity, Venezuela will need a transfusion of new blood.

      • Quico? One of our “old fighters”?

        Christ! I remember Teodoro Petkoff was the “old fighter” and Quico was the young blood.

  38. Groups with very real financial and political stakes in Venezuela with the strategic and tactical know-how to drag the U.S. into a decades-long armed struggle:

    FARC
    Hezbollah
    Tupamaros
    Colectivos other than Tupamaros
    Comunists in government intelligence (SEBIN, CONAS, others)
    Cuban intelligence
    Mexicana cartels
    Other international drug trafficers

    What Quico is suggesting is, I think, qua militar option, that Venezuela is a bomb. The idea is to diffuse it rather than to set it off.

  39. Diffusing Socialismo is a good idea but is there any evidence suggesting that this can work? That the Chavistas will ever simply step down owing to international pressure and worsening conditions? A passive approach SOUNDS good, but is toothless. It also avoids all risk, which in a way is expecting something (change) for nothing. To Quico’s point, it’s absurd to either imagine arming the pueblo or to curry for international intervention.

    So what, specifically, are the options? Negotiation is out. It’s unlikely you’ll ever vote Maduro out of office. Blah blah blah.

    Lots of political analysis here and it’s sage and erudite. But where is the strategy – with realistic specifics – to force change? As is, much of this commentary seems, as Borges once said, “like two bald men arguing over a comb.”

    And nothing changes…

    • A strategy exists… but you’re not gonna like it.

      As someone said above: repudiate eleccions up to the last minute. Then show up en masse and vote.

      The only man in Venezuela today able and willing to give PSUV incentives to peacefully transition has a last name that rhymes with Cartón.

  40. It’s amusing to see people thinking that falsón is even touching that band.

    Also, it’s a pity this doesn’t have english subtitles, because the content is pretty good:

  41. As T says, political negotiation with the CC Beast (Castro-Communism) wont work–and, it’s not about individual figureheads, always expendable, at least in Venezuela, which has no single great charismatic figure at the moment, but about a populist ideology needing near-total control as it fulfills its expansionist destiny to the targeted needy/impoverished/unwashed tens of millions throughout LA. CC has invaded/controls the Venezuelan military at critical flash/troop management points, as well as key civilian areas (personal ID/property registry/passports/customs/elections/etc.). CC has refined its techniques of control for 60 years, and is financed not just by Venezuela’s declining oil income, but by immense narco transit fees similar in size. The risk to the U. S. geo-politically of the spread of the CC cancer to LA neighbors/Region is huge, and the cost of eradicating it later, rather than sooner, grows with every passing day. Massive emigration of the best/brightest simply favors CC in Venezuela, as it did in Cuba. The Venezuelan Pueblo, only one generation away from subjugated mostly peons working on coffee/cacao plantations, are not your European/Muslims/Asians used to centuries of wars/hardships/hunger/hard weather against which to rebel. The preferred solution to the Venezuelan miasma would be the traditional Golpe militar, and would have happened by now, except for CC control. That leaves probably the not-so-preferred/but necessary solution of U. S. armed intervention (with tacit/probably not explicit support of LA neighbors) as the only, but very necessary, solution, which shouldn’t probably cost FT’s extra 10’s of thousands of lives, which are being lost and more by the CC Venezuelan holocaust anyway, with every passing year, as so aptly pointed out by T.

    • Of course. Maybe Francisco will correct his galactic “10’s of thousands would die” (if the US sent a few choppers for a couple weeks) next year, after 10’s of thousands DO die because the US Marines did not intervene. Maybe next year the pueblo-people itself will be begging the US to save their assess, instead of dancing for electric rain and surviving on Clapcrap. “Que llueva, que llueva, que hase calol y quiero vel la novela” “Que vengan los gringos polque Maduro no se va y tenemo hambre”.

  42. “That leaves probably the not-so-preferred/but necessary solution of U. S. armed intervention (with tacit/probably not explicit support of LA neighbors) as the only, but very necessary, solution…”

    Nope.

    Get it out of your head now, because its only wishful thinking. There is nothing in Venezuela for the US. Nothing going on that requires that one Devil Dog get so much as a stubbed toe on a rock on a Venezuelan beach. Unless Russia sets up a military base at Amuay, there is zero likelihood that the US will intervene unilaterally or as leader of a coalition.

    Venezuelans need to take up arms and take back their own liberty.

      • Are you Venezuelan, or a US citizen?

        Let me ask this from a US citizen perspective. What is in it (a military intervention) for the United States? What is it that the US has to gain by invading Venezuela?

        • ElGuapo, you do a good job of differentiating Panama from Venezuela in terms of what is on the ground reality. Also important, in my opinion, the circumstances of the day. We, the US, were going through the crack epidemic (nightly news) and the War on drugs was being militarized both home and abroad. Add to this that the Medellín Cartel and Pablo Escobar were household names.

          Today many/most? would say the war on drugs has been a failure. How many have heard of the Cartel of the Suns? Who is the face of C/S to the US public? (Godgiven is an unknown here.). I just do not see where public support would come from other than to counter the military base mentioned by yourself and Bill Bass previously.

          • I’m just curious as to the perspective. What makes a Venezuelan think that the United States would even want to invade Venezuela? I certainly hate Communism as much (probably more than) as anyone. I still can’t justify intervening in Venezuela, especially if 20-33% of the population is perfectly satisfied with what Chavismo has brought them. It certainly isn’t the duty of Americans to fix stupidity.

        • ElGuapo, you do a good job of differentiating Panama from Venezuela. Also important, in my opinion, the circumstances of the day. We, the US, were going through the crack epidemic (nightly news) and the War on drugs was being militarized both home and abroad. Add to this that the Medellín Cartel and Pablo Escobar were household names.

      • Al Quds (suspected) paramilitary types hanging around in tourist bars isn’t exactly the same as having an Iranian barracks and airstrips on the island.

        If that were the standard, the US ought to invade Mexico, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.

          • So, sending in the Devil Dogs is going to do what? Root out the hidden Hezzbollah terrorists? What is the end game, if the US is going to send in the Marines whenever some POS shows up in the news?

            If the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has an airstrip and 20 Su-37’s in fortified bunkers on the Paraguaná peninsula, then I’m sold. Send in the Marines. Russians have set up a military base outside of Caracas? OK… send em in. But malandros (either Middle Eastern or Venezuelan) who are being a pain in the ass on Margarita Island?

            Venezuela isn’t worth a drop of American blood. Prove to the parents of an American soldier that their kid ought to pick up a gun and save the bacon of ONE starving but otherwise ungrateful, chickenshit, Chavez-voting Venezuelan. They won’t save themselves. America owes them NOTHING.

            Let us know when the streets are red with colectivo blood first. Then we’ll talk. But I doubt it. Venezuela’s poor might be starving to death, but they love Saint Hugo with a passion. Let a couple hundred thousand starve to death, in His honor. That ought to clear out the cobwebs.

          • @waltz “That document seems questionable, kinda like the circular citation of intelligence that led to the second invasion of Iraq.”

            As someone who actually has a friend who helped manage that particular situation, circular citation of intelligence didn’t lead to an invasion of Iraq any more than Czech government bigotry against ethnic Germans and Slovaks led to the conquest of Czechoslovakia. At most it might have made it MORE likely, but it was not the root reason.

            What led to the second invasion of Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s BLATANT violations of the terms of the Gulf War Ceasefire, up to and including the carte blanche inspectors were supposed to have, as well as the stand down of military operations against groups like the Marsh Arabs and Kurds.

            Ultimately, it wasn’t the international community’s job to help Saddam Hussein keep his power. It was his job to comply with international law and the terms put forth for his continued existence, and he unquestionably failed it on every level from supporting terrorists to obsessively hiding even degraded chemical WMDs (as another friend of mine- a Kurdish-American captured in the mid 1980’s during the Iran-Iraq War and who was forced to dig up pits to dump the weapons in).

            Iraq trooferism needs to die in a fire.

          • “But malandros (either Middle Eastern or Venezuelan) who are being a pain in the ass on Margarita Island?”

            There are already former colectivos joining to ELN to slaughter colombians, so yeah, malandros are a pain for everyone.

            “Prove to the parents of an American soldier that their kid ought to pick up a gun and …”

            And who told you that we’re asking american soldiers to come and become target practice for chavista colectivos, dude? You seem to think that wars are still waged like 20-30 years ago.

            “…save the bacon of ONE starving but otherwise ungrateful… America owes them NOTHING.”

            Who the pogo-bouncing fuck is talking here about that “some country OWES anything to Venezuela”?? Drop that stupid pretense already, man, we’re talking about THE INTERESTS of the countries in the region, and YES, KEEPING TERRORISTS REDUCED TO A MINIMUM IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE COUNTRIES IN ALL AMERICAS, DEAL WITH IT.

          • Ulamog, are you Venezuelan or a US citizen?

            The US has no interest in Venezuela. The oil sucks. Their people are largely Socialists who love Saint Hugo. While I care what happens to the people, the people have the government they wanted. You can’t fix stupid. So, no… if Venezuela is spiraling down the shitter, that is their business.

            If terrorists were a priority, then the US should have boots on the ground in Iran, Lebanon and Syria.

            That’s how I deal with it.

          • “The US has no interest in Venezuela.”

            US had no interest in Iraq either.

            It’s good to know that hillarists like you aren’t in charge of state policy in US.

            “If terrorists were a priority, then the US should have boots on the ground in Iran, Lebanon and Syria”

            Funny, since the internet and every news source is bombed with those whining of how US is trying to choke Iran’s sovereignity, trying to hand Lebanon to the “sIonIsTz” and methodically killing every pregnant woman and little child in Syria to “wipe their country from the face of Earth”

  43. With 143 comments so far, I think this is one of the most commented posts on Caracas Chronicles History. Ironically titled “¿Y tú qué propones?”. Beyond that, there´s a model to take into account. It´s Mexico. Here, I´ll give you the link with an answer to that useful question about everyone´s proposals. It´s in spanish. It´s from newspaper “El País”, from Madrid. I hope this could be a model for Vzla as well:

    https://elpais.com/cultura/2018/03/29/babelia/1522324430_798909.html

  44. Toro wrote: “after all, a parasite has a rational interest in keeping its host viable.”

    Nonsense.

    Next time a mosquito bites you or a garapata (tic) latches on or a Chavista demands a bribe, ask them nicely to have rational self interest to keep you, their host, viable.

    Parasites don’t care one iota if the host they suck the life blood from lives or dies. Parasites will always willingly suck their host dry, and then move on to a new host when the original is no longer viable.

    There is only one way to rid of nasty parasites: forcibly remove them from the host. This can be done by making the parasites suffer where the volunteer to detach and leave or be killed. Venezuela is long over due for a thorough parasite cleansing.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here