Photo: Javier Liendo

Chris Rock has a joke about Vegas tigers going crazy and attacking performers: “That tiger didn’t go crazy, it went tiger.” Crazy would have been for it to act any other way than its nature tells it to.

Well, that same principle applies to chavismo.

The sick thing about the shitshow they performed yesterday is that it’s old as dirt. If we expected Nicolás Maduro to win last night, it’s because at this stage we know exactly what the reds are going to do. A distinguishing feature of chavismo (which is the cult of Hugo Chávez in power and not an actual theory, like Leninism or Maoism) is a double standard about elections.

This goes all the way back to when Hugo was skinny; do you remember where Jacqueline Faría comes from? April 14, 2009, she was directly appointed by Chávez himself as “Chief of Government for the Capital District”, a post that stripped the elected metropolitan mayor, Antonio Ledezma, of all his powers and faculties, effectively rendering the will of the voters null. Two years earlier, El Comandante had a televised temper tantrum because he wanted to be president forever and we said no. He repeated the election despite Constitutional prohibition, winning this time. This is the man who placed Jorge Rodríguez, a sworn enemy of Acción Democrática, at the head to the National Elections Council and then named him his freaking vice-president. During his government, we had the CNE rearranging electoral circuits to make sure PSUV retained power despite the actual votes, and the birth of travesties and abuses that today are expected on any election where chavismo is involved. Barring opposition leaders from public offices wasn’t invented in the Maduro era, y’all.

A distinguishing feature of chavismo (the cult of Hugo Chávez in power and not an actual theory) is a double standard about elections.

Hugo got away with it because he had charisma and huge bags of money that he spent on himself, by the way (this is one of the reasons the nation looks like it does today). Nicolás’ posse lacks these ingredients, though, so it might be uglier and more blatant now, but the script is the same. Manipulating the rules of democracy has always been at the heart of the Revolution. The tiger went tiger.

What we just witnessed, to me, wasn’t an election. It was a council of soviets deciding the line of the party: they could remain Brezhnev, preserve the status quo and keep power despite severe criticism from everyone on the planet, or go Gorbachev, embrace perestroika and present a façade of democracy that’s harder to assault because, after all, “the other guy won.” That’s why the right attitude was not playing ball, because if you call the farce for what it is from the start, then it doesn’t matter if Tibisay Lucena announces a total voters’ tally of eight million people, or five million, or ten, or whatever: this wasn’t an election. Results can’t be recognized.

There ain’t much we can say about Henri Falcón. He joined the major opposition coalition, decided it wasn’t for him and sat down with the government for “negotiations” last year, the protests be damned. We knew his plan was to present chavismo with an attractive way out, convinced that moderation was key. He ran for his perennial governor post in Lara, lost, but took it lightly because his sights were on a bigger prize. What made him think he could be president when the dictatorship kicked him out of Lara beats the hell out of me, but this is a dude who really believed in honor among thieves. He thought he was special and the dictatorship would speak with him on a same-ground basis. Suffice it to say that he got fewer votes than Manuel Rosales in 2006, and the speech in which he rejected the results challenges logic. How can you ask for new, fair elections, when these mobsters just cheated in your face?

If the reds did what they did yesterday, it’s because they don’t give a fuck about the guarantees. They are doing what they’ve always done.

Now, the election idea isn’t his. Henry Ramos Allup has asked for pretty much the same (in December, instead of October), in a proposal that was already agreed on inside the MUD, or Frente Amplio or whatever fairy-tale name they wanna go as now. I understand the general idea: there’s huge economic pressure, almost all governments everywhere reject these results and the only shot chavismo has at legitimacy is in running elections again, this time with normal guarantees. So my question is: how are you going to force the regime to play by the rules? The only way to make it happen is with internal pressure. Nicolás Maduro must be forced to play fair, and you can’t do that without backing from the people here, inside Venezuela, something that will evade the oppo until it proves, with facts, that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to break the dictatorship’s back. If the reds did what they did yesterday, it’s because they don’t give a fuck about the guarantees. They are doing what they’ve always done: fleeing forward and braving the sea, the goal is to retain power no matter the cost.

I now expect, at least, coherence from the international community. If pretty much every country everywhere says they won’t recognize this election’s results because they’re a sham (like Chile, Costa Rica, Panama and the U.S. already did), it means that today, right now, Nicolás Maduro is occupying that chair illegally. You cannot trade with the guy, you cannot play diplomacy with the guy and everything he offers other than resigning his illegitimate post is unacceptable. Diplomatic missions inside Venezuela must be retired and Venezuelan ambassadors everywhere must be expelled. Of course, this means that if the legitimate government is not in the executive branch, it’s in the legislative, so our deputies will have to take the bull by the horns, run some huge risks and provide a leadership that serves the people’s best interests, instead of it being an excuse to make businesses and chill.

You chose this career. Act like you mean it.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. “Of course, this means that if the legitimate government is not in the executive branch, it’s in the legislative, so our deputies will have to take the bull by the horns, run some huge risks and provide a leadership that serves the people’s best interests, instead of it being an excuse to make businesses and chill.”

    The AN needs to be the tiger and constantly act against the executive branch. Bring in the 3 missing representatives from the last AN election, get a super majority, and attack, attack, attack. Damn the supreme court and attack them too. Disqualify Maduro for political office- he has committed mass murder, caused starvation, stolen $billions, and acted unconstitutionally. Make and enforce laws to get the country back.

    This article is on target.

    • Yes, on target, but should have been done before–sabotaged by HRA, then JB, who just now mentions the 48% participation figure as legitimate–with Oppo friends like this, who needs enemies?

  2. So how does this work? Did Maduro’s current term end yesterday? I mean, the TSJ in exile fired him already and nothing happened. Besides the international scorn, what will be different next week than last week?

    • Well, if nobody recognizes your victory, then there’s a constitutional crisis, right? I think the TSJ in exile can’t do much if they’re not in Venezuela.

      The problem is the AN, they will probably session this week about mining rights or some other topic that’s not that important and when they get around it, it will be too late. They should be already sessioning….

      Then there’s China and Russia.

    • Regardless of what resulted from last night’s farce, Maduro remains “president” until January of 2019.

      Which begs the question, WTF would have Falcon done if he was allowed to win? Wait until January?

  3. The massive fraud yesterday was the beginning of the end of the Regime–only the who/how/when are yet to be decided….

  4. Agree with you, but I think there are subtle details to all of this.

    For example, yes, we all know the CNE numbers are, basically, whatever the CNE wants to, which is whatever the Chavistas want to.

    But… if that is the case, why not keep a consistent lie? I mean, they already lied with the ANC 8 million, why not say the same here? Same with abstention numbers – everybody think they are much higher than the CNE says… but the CNE still puts the worst participation numbers ever.

    So, even for consumate liars with absolutely no shame, there are limits. Announcing that Maduro won with say 10 million votes and a participation of 80% is something they dont feel strong enough to attempt. The lie has to keep some kind of link with the truth because if not the effort to keep it is too much. They have to more or less put it in the realm of “we know you lie but bah”. They know they will piss on the population anyway, but still cant be just say whatever they want and force everybody to repeat it. They need the excuse of some degree of plausability for their shrinking base and not enough affront to really really get the rest completly annoyed.

    So, Maduro lowballed it to ask just for 5 million votes, they give him 5 million votes, still “acknowledging”, as much as they can, the downward trend.

    Question is when they are going to find no margin at all between what lies the people will take with resignation, and the lies that will insult them too much – and that depends on the receivers of this bullshit.

  5. “…the goal is to retain power no matter the cost.”

    See? Chavismo gets it. They don’t care how many people flee, or get sick, starve or die.

    THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT VENEZUELA. They care about staying in power. And they will do anything to stay in power. ANYTHING.

    So the question becomes, “What are the freedom seeking people of Venezuela willing to do? Are they willing to be like the Chavistas and do anything? ANYTHING?”

    ???

  6. “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. . . . Power is not a means; it is an end . . . not power over things, but over men. . . . In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. . . . There will be no loyalty, except loyalty toward the Party.”

    George Orwell 1984

  7. the real challenge is not these sham elections the real challenge is trying to run a country with all sources of income cut or dwindling to minimum amounts , The US just anounced new sanctions . and they arent the worst that could have been taken , meantime the country oil industry is breaking to pieces and the creditors are hounding and scratiching at the door …..!! Don t see russia or china come as shining knights to save the situaton ……., the real challenge is yet to come , we aint seen nothing yet …!!

  8. Bill Bass—Are you aware if China renewed the payment agreement that expired about a month ago? If not PDVSA will likely be losing money in months if not currently.

    Anyone else having problems with their comments going through?

    • No, China will eventually confiscate shipments of crude from Venezuela. Maduro will pay in kind, with oil about 40 or 50% of Venezuela production. There was an article on this subject in the FT not long ago.

  9. I am astonished about the number of bloggers living in Venezuela with such a master of English language. How is that possible? You cannot belong to the 90% poor, you’re on the top. Hum, wouldn’t you be part of the beneficiaries of Maduro’s class? You’re the real predators of a bunch of ignorant. Please don’t answer with your ridiculous ”you’re a Russian troll” – tell the truth to the other bunch the USA bound. All as equally ignorant and naive.

  10. The chineses are making a virtue out of necessity , they are not going get paid anyway even if they insist on getting paid so might as well treat the extention as a voluntary decision which it clearly is NOT, know for a fact that they are not happy about not getting paid on time , they continue to recieve the interest and the last time they extended the payment period they made it conditional on the payment not recieved being used to pay the private chinese contractors and suppliers whats owed them …….they dont support the regime , they are struck with it after having put so much money into the country ……..they are countless leaks from Chinese figures talking in private about how dissapointed they are with the regime ……., they ve been very blatantly critical in their direct private exchanges with the regime ……they might invest some money on certain very specific oil projects where they are already heavily involved but otherwise they would rather use their money to advance their interests in places like irak or africa ….., they are discreet but they are not the least bit supportive….!!

    • Bill—Thanks for the clarification, I could not find any mention of the current status anywhere. PDVSA will continue to supply the regime with some foreign currency for a few more months but the deterioration seems set in stone at this point.

  11. “it’s in the legislative, so our deputies will have to take the bull by the horns, run some huge risks and provide a leadership that serves the people’s best interests, instead of it being an excuse to make businesses and chill.

    You chose this career. Act like you mean it.”

    Your joking right … the cunts of the “opposition” have no honour, no guts, no balls and are only their for their own interests. And to make matters worse Venezuela has a population that has no honour, no guts and no balls either. It’s a perfect match, they deserve CubaZuela … they probably want it this way. Let’s close the door and watch it sink further and further into the black hole. They don’t give a shit so the rest of the world shouldn’t give a shit either. He who, after all these years of misery, doesn’t want to come out in to the streets by the millions doesn’t deserve ANY HELP!!! Why bother. … el COBARDE PUEBLO doesn’t!!!!

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