Would you like to get Haier than you’ve ever been in your life?

Amazingly, some bits of Bolivarian bureaucracy actually do work properly. Among them is the system for giving out passports, which has morphed from insane, Kafkaesque ordeal to freakishly quick and stress-free tramite in the last few years: a 10 minute web form, some copies, a bank deposit, and then you wait a few days for an email giving you an automatically-generated appointment at a Saime office. Easy pleasy.

Alas, my appointment turned out to be in Ocumare del Tuy, about an hour and a half southwest of Caracas. No problem, I trekked on out there, parked, and set out across the Plaza Bolívar to the Saime office.

Except, something seemed to be going on in the Plaza. A bunch of olive-green tents were set up, with people queuing to get to rows of lap-top enabled operativo workers. Soldiers with AKs guarded the whole thing. From the center of the square, we were soon treated to a rousing recording of Chávez – yes, Chávez – singing the National Anthem, followed by a recording of the PSUV party anthem at full blast.

Some kind of incestuous PSUV-Army-Pueblo clusterfuck, no doubt – but I had no time for it, I needed my passport.

At the Saime office I really had to pinch myself to believe I wasn’t dreaming it all or back in Quebec somehow – official paperwork was never meant to be this straightforward and hassle-free. It’s unvenezuelan, if you ask me.

Ten minutes later, tramite done, I’m walking back across Ocumare’s Plaza Bolívar and notice the preliminaries are over. An MC has taken up the mike and is in the middle of the square. With his best fake VTV Telonero voice, he starts announcing, “and now, we proceed to assign this brand new washing machine to Mrs. Fulanita De Tal”. Only then do I notice the big lines of huge Haier cardboard boxes in the middle of the square.

“Ah claro,” I think to myself, “they’re giving out appliances!”

Welcome to Misión Mi Casa Bien Equipada: the government’s Chinese appliance clientelist spree. Chávez claims some 3 million appliances, TVs and AC units will be distributed at knock-down prices through the misión before the year is out. (Consider: there are 6 million households in Venezuela.)

Everything on offer is Haier branded and, I suspect, the operational face of the infamous, hyper-opaque $30+ billion Export-Loans-for-Future-Oil deal with the Chinese, where Chávez gets paid for tomorrow’s oil barrels with today’s clientelist goodies.

At first I thought the Misión was a straight-out giveaway, but poking around online I see it’s more like a subsidy within a subsidy. You do have to pay for your Haier products, but the government sells you the stuff at deeply discounted prices, then lets you pay over time at very low interest rate loans from state-owned banks, but only if you’re in the “qualified” category.

As you can already intuit from that, there’s a nightmarish amount of bureaucracy involved in getting the appliances, complete with the inevitable baffling bureaucratic holdups and corrupt scams that can’t fail to spring up when you start selling 10 bolivar bills for Bs.6.

After all, if the government is going to sell you  a 42″ flatscreen TV for Bs.3,327 and that same TV goes for Bs.6,500-10,000 down the street, why wouldn’t you just turn around and re-sell it? And if you were a Misión worker living on a Bs.2,500 monthly wage and your job consisted entirely in handling out those TVs, wouldn’t you be tempted to cut out the middleman and cash in on the deal yourself?

In fact, it’s when you start getting into the numbers that you realize just how insane the Misión really is – because those same 42″ Haier flatscreens that the government sells for a low, low Bs.3,327 retail for $450 on Amazon.com.

But wait, at the official exchange rate, $450 is less than Bs.2,000!

There’s more. A 12 cu.ft. Haier fridge sells for Bs.2,628 at the Misión. At the official rate, that’s $611. But go Stateside and you can get that same fridge for $499.

In other words, the Misión’s products aren’t actually cheap at all. They seem cheap, though, but only because the rest of Venezuela’s economy is so pathologically distorted.

Those $499 gringos have to pay Amazon.com for that fridge buy close to Bs.4,150 on the parallel market, which is what the same fridge ends up costing in private shops here. The misión price is only cheap compared to the insanely inflated cost you face if you’re shut out of access to price-controlled dollars.

Really, that’s all a convoluted way of saying that the government isn’t really subsidizing the appliances, or even the credit for the appliances: what they’re subsidizing is the dollars that buy the appliances.

(Or, rather, they’re subsidizing the government’s access to the dollars that buy the yuan that denominate the swap for future oil shipments that buy the appliances – nothing is simple with these people!)

The galloping opacity of the set-up is both the point, and totally beside the point.

From the beneficiaries’ point of view, all that’s visible is that the turco coño’e’madre especulador in the shop down the street wanted to charge me Bs.4,150 for a fridge whose  “fair cost” is just Bs.2,628, and the one reason I can take it home is that Chávez really cares about me.

The politics of manipulated resentment and manifactured loyalty are that straightforward.

How the opposition begins to disarm the heady-cocktail of petro-largess and emotional attachment chavismo has built through misiones like this one isn’t at all clear. The one thing I note is that from the beneficiaries’ point of view, the key shortcoming to the system is obvious: to hop onto the Misión bandwagon, you first have to jump through a neverending set of administrative hoops, hoops that make no sense to people and shut out many who feel legitimately entitled to the stuff on offer.

Promise to make access to Misión Mi Casa Bien Equipada as straightforward and hassle-free as getting a passport, and you might just get somewhere with them.

54 thoughts on “Would you like to get Haier than you’ve ever been in your life?

  1. I was’nt so lucky with the passport! It took me 11 months top get an appointment, last November went to the Miami Venezuelan Consulate, took all the necessary steps and was promised to get my new passport in mid-December….I am still waiting for it, but the Consulate is closed, there is no way I can communicate with them, the electronic SAIME page states that my document was “sent to the Office (Miami)” so I can’t get another appointment with them neither start again in another Consulate….and I need my passport!!
    Sound more Kafkian than Kafka !!!!


    • The Miami Consulate had major problems for years. Stupid ones. Couple of years ago-for six months they claimed they had no special paper for passports. The scheduling was a mess.
      and I know people who just showed up there, paid bribes and got their paperwork done right then..


  2. I can see a point I made about life in Venezuela not long ago, out of hard experience and comparison with life elsewhere, not of wit or vision.

    Of course, it’s obvious why the govt. is trying to restrict access to freebies. Just as it happened with CADIVI at least in the beginning. It does not have that much money to begin with.

    The propaganda effect, and the creation of new hopes is achieved when somebody you know, or yourself can show and tell about their new discount appliances. Only the most determined and better connected, honest or otherwise, get the goods. Then, people who actually want a discount appliance, honestly enough, for their own use have had enough humiliation and give up.

    Whenever a govt. or other entity tries to restrict access without hiking up prices, you see this. For example: immigration bureaucracy for many countries is nothing short of insanely complicated. No freebies but the govt. tries to restrict access for everybody but the most determined and with most monetary means, honest or otherwise.

    It’s also obvious that this is a tremendous conundrum for the opposition. Any benefit of bringing down inflation, producing political stability and economic growth, even of giving oil revenue directly to people, will take longer to explain and produce less directly visible benefits than the pure populist approach.

    Which has another advantage for the populist, who can have cake and eat it too. in setting up the conditions for the “turco” to have exorbitant prices, and coming up as a savior offering below-cost goodies. Yes, and in decreeing huge periodic salary raises, that the “turco” will eat up with price hikes: just what’s needed to make him look like an utter bastard.

    Only problem, it’s the Republic’s finances that lose the cake and the nourishment. Populism and aforesaid conditions, if continued shall completely bankrupt the whole country and not just the Republic.


  3. Water cooler chat at the Minpopo
    “Hey boss, I just received a web form for a passport for a Francisco Toro; I think he’s the one of the CcsChro blog”
    “Good. Just in case, send him to Ocumare del Tuy; if he shows up, speed up the whole process”


    • I must say that if you pick the office carefully (probably the reason Quico had to go there), you can get an appointment in a reasonable time. Had Quico attempted a Canadian consulate of the main office in Caracas, this post would be very different.

      However, the process, once it starts, is fairly straightforward, easy and cheap.


      • Actually, I got my passport in Vancouver in less than 2 months, and I had to wait “that” long only because it takes six weeks for the “valija diplomatica” to arrive with the new passports. Some of my family in Bogota also went through the same process and it took them 2 months as well (from the day they applied for an appointment to the day they picked up the new passports).

        Al pan pan y al vino vino, getting a passport is relatively easy in most locations (if we consider we are dealing with Venezuelan bureaucracy). The ones that take the longest, like Miami or Madrid I am guessing, are not as quick only because they have a low-capacity induced bottleneck, and mainly because for a year or so they were not giving out new passports because they were transitioning to the new Saime system (at least this was argued in Bogota).


        • Or actually, I should not generalize that it is easy in most locations as I am not aware of how long it takes in most parts of Venezuela. I am just defending the Venezuelan Consulates in Canada because I have never had any issues with the Vancouver and Toronto ones.


          • If you ask for an appointment in a main metro area, it can be several months, however, pick up a pueblito close to you, and it’ll be faster.


  4. The description of the Haier phenomenon is excellent.
    You may need to consider if the ease you had to get your passport is anecdotal, though.
    “Vino ese Toro? Dásela, no joda…que se vaaaaaaaya”


  5. The government have no reason to be in the domestic appliances business, IMHO.

    My experience with the passport wasn’t bad as I predicted, but can improve a little bit.

    About your recent tweet, HCR should carry it like a badge of honor. If Teodoro is attacking him, he’s doing something right.


  6. I just heard a story about some people in a small fishing village getting a Bs.60.000 credit to buy new fishing boats… She also tells me that PDVSA is not paying to contractors because they need the money for the presidential campaign.
    It’s demoralizing, to say the least…

    I wonder, would it be possible to create something like a wiki to track down all these small or mid-sized give aways?


    • Sure. Why wouldn’t it be possible? You could start. I am blogging tracking down just things about weapons, Russia and “magnicidios”, others blog with other interests.
      Si esperamos que otra persona lo haga…


  7. Quico: excellent analysis. But there’s a critical factor missing. And that is the cost of shipping the Haier products from ‘el país de origen’ through a local distribution network vs. having local Haier manufacturers distribute these products at a much lower cost than importing them from abroad. As I’m sure you are aware, there’s a BIG difference on pricing, when considering both scenarios. You might want to address that, in this post, and in future ones when you compare the cost of goods sold between two countries.


    • Well, that didn’t take long: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haier
      Haier decided to build a production facility in the United States at Camden, South Carolina, opened in 2000.
      Currently Haier has entered into a joint venture agreement with the government of Venezuela and long queues to get the extremely cheap imported goods have been reported in every major Venezuelan city at the Government stores “Abastos Bicentenario”.

      There’s your answer, Quico. How come you missed it? And I don’t even have a B.A. in economics.


    • The cost per unit produced for building a factory in Venezuela will depend on the number produced there. The Venezuelan market, I imagine, is somewhat smaller than the U.S. market. (The BIG difference in pricing might end up working against the customer.) Perhaps they could export some, but you also have to account for the tremendous difficulties of doing business with old Hugo around. (See some of the comments two posts back for that side of things, including in the industrial area.)

      I’ve got a feeling the Haier folks have alerady done the math. So unless you see a Haier factory coming to the llanos, I’m going to conclude this is the way to get cheaper appliances. Or at the very least, if manufacturing in Venezuela just maybe could be cheaper, the uncertainty factor makes it an untenable option. Por ahora.


      • The point of my preceding two comments, AIO, has to do with:

        (a) The lower price point of Haier products in the U.S. (via Amazon as the retailer) because of Haier’s manufacturing base in the U.S.; and

        (b) the comparatively higher price point of Haier products in Venezuela (via Misión Vivienda Bien Equipada) because:
        (i) of shipping/import costs
        (ii) MVBE is more than likely less efficient/has fewer economies of scale than Amazon.

        For Quico to make a big deal of the difference in pricing of the same products, without taking into account certain market realities, smacked of manipulation. At least to me. And no doubt to those who are familiar with Entrepreneurship 101, Accounting 101, Finance 101…. You see?


        • It’s six-of-one, half-dozen of the other. I can’t imagine sea transport costs account for more than 10% of the price of a washing machine. And if PDVAL’s distribution network is hideously inefficient, whose fault is that?


          • You need some practical experience, Quico, in importing container-load of goods. Then you can write about the comparative cost of Haier products from one country to another.
            Of course, the exercise will likely deflate any cutesy creativity in titles. But given your lack of experience, you may just need to get Haier than you’ve ever been before.


        • Ah, I see your argument now. But I do think a key point of Quico’s stands:
          “The misión price is only cheap compared to the insanely inflated cost you face if you’re shut out of access to price-controlled dollars”

          The government sets up an unfair system, skirts the system because it can, and claims to be serving the people by doing so. Never mind that by doing so they are undermining the currency further, and continually destabilizing the economy of the future. That’s true even ignoring the price difference in the U.S., and I believe is the real problem in this scenario.


  8. Agree on the more streamlined process of obtaining/renewing a Venezuelan passport. I renewed mine in 2007, through the Venez consulate in Toronto, at a time when the streamlined process may have entered the morphing continuum. Zut, alors! What a difference to the process of even a decade earlier. Unvenezuelan, indeed.


  9. Francisco,

    Look at this (awful Chinese>English) machine translation:

    Mainly in pi-yin English:

    “Beginning of the year, many South American countries to protect their own manufacturing, the machine gradually restrict imports of digital products. The introduction of the restriction of imports, prompting Venezuela local digital businesses to respond quickly, one after another transformation in response to market changes and needs. As Venezuela’s most influential digital enterprises, and Haier customers to achieve first order is also in this process of change, found an opportunity of cooperation, so as to achieve a cooperation.

    The best way to deal with import restrictions is to purchase pieces of semi-bulk, self-assembled in its domestic sales. As the precision manufacturing of digital products, the export of the past are taking the whole way, and no precedent for self-assembly. It is because of this reason, leading customers around the world, where many manufacturers run into a wall. ”

    And Chavismo will say “así alcanzamos de nuevo autoabastecimiento e independencia en cuanto a productos electrodomésticos”

    I actually remember I bought a high-fi “made in Venezuela” in 1994, out of “patriotism” (qué pendejo). The owners of that company must be now in the US unless they became importers in Venezuela of Chinese hammocks or Belorussian maracas.


  10. Great post, and a sad story. In fact THE story.
    how do we show this largesse is all fake, and designed to control and manipulate the votes in roves.

    How do we tell a story that shows how could things be different and better in apopulist feed society.

    chavez has not done anything differently, but rather improved in incumbent clientelist and populists schema of ADECOPEYANOS..

    Qien venga a ofrecer trabajo, esfuerzo y mertocracia tiene un gran reto por delante en este pais…


  11. why on earth ocumare del tuy? i was asked what what office i wanted, and i did, so…why on earth ocumare del tuy?? maybe it’s my hora del burro lag,


  12. Quico, I find it funny that you describe “hassle free” going down to Ocumare del Tuy to get a passport when you are staying in Caracas. It is the equivalent, in Qubec’s terms to go get your passport in Granby if you are in Montreal….61 Kms, according to Google Maps.


  13. I didn’t mind going to Ocumare largely because I’m looking for ways to get out of Caracas. As this post shows, getting out of this valley pays off in terms of getting a different view. (I could’ve done it through a Caracas area office, but the processing time might have been a bit longer – couple of weeks, say, instead of three days.)

    Tomorrow: To Parapara, and beyond!


    • You say the processing time might have been longer. I say it will have.
      Every Venezuelan city with an international airport serving actual international flights (Caracas, Maracaibo, Valencia, Porlamar) has their respective Saime offices full of passport requests. The demand in other cities is actually below maximum throughput, so you get the fastest service by choosing your more convenient Saime office in the countryside.
      My gut will not bleed by stating the fact that the Chavez government has won the fight against domestic bureaucracy of civil registry services. Of course they didn’t do it for our own sake… they need us to be well registered in order to become part of the active electorate who can be persuaded to vote for Chavez. However, I wonder if this rare instance of chavista efficiency is going to last after a new government hopefully takes office.


  14. Has anyone asked themselves why the fuck do people living in ranchos need 42″ LCD TVs? I mean, come on you surely can spend that money in shit you and your kids really need (food, books, A FUCKING HOUSE MADE FROM ACTUAL BUILDING MATERIALS). I’m not saying they shouldn’t spend anything in entertainment, they’re human with very hard lives and need it as much as everyone else but these people should get their priorities straight.

    Also, is it me or this is just the rrrregimen promoting consumism? Not exactly one of the pillars of socialism. Bah, this rant is pointless really, the thousands of DirecTV antennas I see in every photograph of a barrio.

    Forgive me for all the cussing but I’m young and stupid, so cursing is freedom for me.


    • A really good question.

      Here where I live, I found a 30″ CRT (tube) TV in the dump and used it for some months with a universal remote. Then I moved and gave it to the new tenant. Then we bought a 19″ flat screen at a used shop for less than $40. Might as well wait for a sale to get a bigger one, but we are not that into blowing our money away. And we a much greater surplus than any barrio dweller or than many professionals in Venezuela. We don’t need a car and won’t be buying one. A good bicycle suffices here.

      Of course all of this might have to do with the fact that any kind of security or independence (financial, personal, etc.) is now impossible in Venezuela, and that you feel tempted to blow away your Strong BS (BsF.) before they become they disappear like BS is bound to do.


    • I was thinking about this too, how socialist this is…
      Give the people kitchens, refrigerators at a low price, ok, but 42″ LCD TVs? That show the populist character of this. Pan y circo…


      • Why bicker about 42″ LCD TVs? Refrigerators, ACs and other appliances. including TVs, are real or perceived necessities. The question is how and for long can you, government, subsidise electricity gloggers and, at the same time, demand much needed reduction (though you levy stiff fines when those who actually pay will not or cannot do so).


    • OT and without being a MCM fan, I must confess I was impressed by the letter. May be a cuestión de almanaque — I think I see Gustavo Tarre and others of my generation hovering nearby — but certainly worth reading.
      Comandante Fidel Castro
      La Habana, Cuba
      Sr. Castro,
      Me dirijo a usted en la oportunidad de responder a las alusiones que hizo de mí en sus Reflexiones sobre “La Genialidad de Chávez” del 26 de enero pasado.
      Me referiré a dos aspectos de su escrito: el que se refiere a mi intervención en la Asamblea Nacional y el relativo a sus opiniones sobre la política venezolana.El presidente
      Chávez intentó usar su presentación en la Asamblea para dos propósitos muy evidentes. En primer lugar, para mostrar un país de paz y prosperidad que no
      existe. Venezuela, con todos sus recursos humanos y naturales, vive los embates de la pobreza, el crimen y la humillación; en segundo lugar, quiso utilizar a los diputados
      de la oposición para mostrar al mundo un juego democrático que ha sido vulnerado por su gobierno, mediante el control abusivo de todas las instituciones del
      Estado y la represión hacia la disidencia.
      Frente a esta manipulación y la indignación que me produjo, tomé la palabra para denunciar que no existe ese país que describió Chávez y que, por el contrario,
      está signado por la escasez y el racionamiento, el crimen desatado y la acción vil e impune del Estado, que roba la propiedad privada mediante la figura
      de las expropiaciones. Por eso, cuando pronuncié la frase “expropiar es robar”, los venezolanos en su mayoría, sobre todo los más humildes, se sintieron expresados.
      No fueron frases que pusieron a prueba, como usted dice de Chávez, “su caballerosidad y sangre fría”, sino su engaño y el teatro que escenificaba hasta
      el momento de mi exposición.
      Usted asegura que “solo él fue capaz de responder con serenidad al insultante calificativo de ‘ladrón’ que ella utilizó para juzgar la conducta del Presidente
      por las leyes y medidas adoptadas”. Yo dije que expropiar es robar y lo sostengo. Fue el propio presidente Chávez quien se autocalificó de “ladrón” al
      asumir personalmente la responsabilidad de las expropiaciones, que son robos apenas revestidos de un barniz jurídico en el régimen actual.
      Tan importante es la propiedad que después de medio siglo, Cuba, de la mano de su hermano y Presidente, la ha redescubierto en su programa de reformas.
      Tampoco es verdad que, como usted asegura, Chávez “respondió a la solicitud individual de un debate con una frase elegante y sosegada “Águila no caza moscas”,
      y sin añadir una palabra, prosiguió serenamente su exposición.”En ese momento el presidente Chávez perdió la compostura, su manoseada frase sobre águilas y
      moscas es una grosera manifestación de desprecio hacia sus interlocutores, que fue aderezada con una expresión según la cual yo no tengo “ranking”
      para debatir con él. Sólo un déspota considera que un parlamentario elegido por el pueblo no tiene credenciales para discutir con el presidente de su país.
      Pero en el fondo tiene razón el Presidente Chavez: él y yo estamos en niveles muy distantes en cuanto a la moral y los principios.
      Lo que usted, señor Castro, elude, es que mi interpelación al presidente Chávez expresó lo que un país hastiado de un régimen autocrático quiere decirle. Estas opiniones
      suyas no pasarían de ser la consabida lisonja que usted suele prodigar de tiempo en tiempo a Chávez si no fuera porque se atreve a incursionar en el debate
      político venezolano, como muestra del intervencionismo sistemático de su gobierno en los asuntos internos de mi país.
      Señor Castro, usted intervino en Venezuela en la década de los 60, cuando personal militar a su servicio pretendió imponer un régimen en Venezuela
      como el que usted impuso en su país. Las autoridades civiles y las Fuerzas Armadas de entonces lo derrotaron a usted, del mismo modo que las democracias
      latinoamericanas lo hicieron en toda la región. Su agresión causó muertes, incluyendo la de tantos jóvenes venezolanos que se hicieron ilusiones con su
      revolución. Más adelante, una vez derrotado y abandonado por la Unión Soviética, los demócratas latinoamericanos le abrieron a su régimen las puertas a la comunidad
      regional a condición de que iniciara un proceso de democratización. Uno de los que le facilitó ese reingreso fue el presidente Carlos Andrés Pérez, con quien usted
      se solidarizó cuando ocurrió el golpe de Estado del teniente coronel Hugo Chávez. Los venezolanos recordamos la carta suya al presidente Pérez en la que le
      decía: “En este momento amargo y crítico, recordamos con gratitud todo lo que has contribuido al desarrollo de las relaciones bilaterales entre nuestros
      países y tu sostenida posición de comprensión y respeto hacia Cuba. Confío en que la dificultades serán superadas totalmente y se preserve el orden
      constitucional, así como tu liderazgo al frente de los destinos de la hermana República de Venezuela”.
      Así se desmarcaba usted del golpe de estado de Chávez y expresaba su solidaridad al entonces Presidente, cuando su interés era retornar de algún
      modo a la comunidad latinoamericana debido a que los soviéticos habían dejado a su país sin oxígeno.
      Sin embargo, más adelante encontraría un nuevo auxilio. Usted se prestó a darle una credencial revolucionaria a quien no habría pasado de ser uno más de los militares
      golpistas de América Latina a cambio de recibir colosales recursos de nuestro país que le son negados a los ciudadanos venezolanos. Si en los 60 usted
      invadió a nuestro país en contra de la voluntad de su liderazgo civil y de las FAN, ahora lo hace porque el gobierno del presidente Chávez le ha entregado
      nuestra soberanía. Su ataque a Rómulo Betancourt no puede ocultar un hecho que está inscrito en la historia: Betancourt lo derrotó a usted política y militarmente,
      su reconcomio por esta fatalidad es evidente.
      No podía esperarse en sus consideraciones nada distinto al reconocimiento al general Henry Rangel Silva, recientemente promovido al cargo de ministro
      de Defensa de Venezuela. Es un militar cuestionado nacional e internacionalmente; en el exterior por supuestos vínculos con la guerrilla y el narcotráfico;
      dentro de Venezuela por haber amenazado en no reconocer el triunfo de las fuerzas democráticas en las próximas elecciones. Este oficial no representa
      a los militares institucionales de Venezuela, ni la protesta mayoritaria de éstos en contra de la invasión cubana a nuestra FAN.
      Usted ha invocado muchas veces como razón de su rebelión en la década de los 50 la intervención de los EEUU en su país durante más de la mitad del siglo XX.
      Usted ha sido crítico de la forma en la que los soviéticos, a sus espaldas, negociaron a Cuba en el marco de la Guerra Fría. Muchos cubanos todavía resienten la
      grosera participación de los soviéticos en la dirección del Estado cubano durante tres décadas. Usted, que sabe eso, podría imaginarse la indignación que produce
      a los venezolanos ver a cubanos enviados por su gobierno en las más altas esferas del Estado, en las instalaciones militares, en el Palacio presidencial,
      en los cuerpos de seguridad, en registros y notarías. Imagine la humillación que sienten los oficiales de la Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana al recibir
      órdenes de extranjeros como los oficiales cubanos, quienes invaden nuestras instalaciones militares.
      Venezuela ha sustituido a la Unión Soviética como sostén de Cuba, mientras aquí hay miles de refugiados que vieron sus viviendas destruirse y el gobierno no ha
      hecho nada para remediarles su situación. Su gobierno recibe –que se sepa–más de 110 mil barriles diarios de nuestro petróleo en forma de regalo, supuestamente
      compensado con servicios que no valen lo que cuesta producir el petróleo. Su régimen hace triangulaciones de negocios que encarecen lo que Venezuela importa
      y les permiten a ustedes una grosera e innecesaria tajada de comisiones. Chávez y ustedes han logrado que lo que ha sido la tradicional amistad entre cubanos y venezolanos,
      hoy esté atravesada por el resentimiento y la sospecha. Esa amistad volverá pero una vez que cese la invasión de funcionarios de su país al nuestro.
      Usted invocó en su revolución la necesidad de luchar contra los cipayos que en su país propiciaron la intervención foránea durante décadas. Nosotros hoy luchamos
      contra los cipayos que en Venezuela han propiciado la intervención del gobierno cubano en la dirección de nuestro Estado y nuestra sociedad.
      En el futuro seremos países amigos pero jamás aceptaremos la permanencia del status-quo que les ha permitido la anexión institucional de nuestro
      país al suyo. Tenga la seguridad de que mi gobierno estará comprometido con el pleno retorno de la democracia a Cuba.
      Comandante Castro, deje de intervenir en los asuntos internos de Venezuela. Hágalo de buen grado o las fuerzas democráticas de Venezuela se lo volverán
      hacer entender como hace 50 años.
      María Corina Machado


      • Ajá, le dijo sus tres vainas a Castro: El Cafetal ruge!!!!

        María Corina’s ego may actually be bigger than LL’s. Her visceral need to express her (largely justified) contempt for the guy drives her entire campaign. She prioritizes her need to express herself over and above the need to win back power, steer the country back to sanity, and start a wrenching but needed process of natural reconciliation.

        Personally, I agree with much – if not quite all – of what’s in her letter. But you can agree with what she says and still find her tactics irresponsible. A leader who adopts this kind of hyper-confrontational stance cannot lead a stable transition. Dios nos libre!


        • agree on all points.
          I also immediately thought of Castro and how he must still be *shaking in his boots* after reading that letter. Like he gives a damn…


      • I think the point is she doesn’t care what Fidel thinks of the letter.

        That letter is for the Venezuelan Public, not Fidel, or Cuba, or even Chavez for that matter.

        I get your point Quico, but on the other hand, she doesn’t have anything to lose if she’s in third place, does she?

        Her message has not been like Capriles'”Imagonnaloveyouevenifyourojorojitonojodapues”
        She’s been pretty clear: Chavez sucks, Socialism sucks, Fidel Sucks and the PSUV sucks too, y la tuya porsia.

        Grandstanding? A bit.

        It’s gonna play well to El Cafetal et al (and yes, I’m from El Cafetal, Santa Clara!), but it will also play well in Parapara because here’s a WOMAN, coño, telling not only micomandante but telling HIS BOSS, to go jump in a lake. I hope she keeps this up after the primaries too.


        • Sure: the many Internet users of Parapara are twitting the news about her. And the thousands of people in Parapara who buy El Universal or El Nacional in one of the many newspaper stands in one of the shopping centres there read the news about María Corina and jump with joy.


  15. It is a sing of a floundering campaign when she finds the time to write a searing-yet-thoughtful, carefully-written response to Castro instead of … going out to meet with voters.


    • Phew, for a moment I thought MCM had produced a libretto. But now I see that song has nothing to do with MCM’s efforts.

      Playing the devil’s advocate here, but can’t MCM do both? Can’t she write a letter to Castro at night and tap-dance for voters during the day?

      I want news on Parapara. The people you meet, the food you eat. Toíto.


      • Sign, shoulda written sign. Damn keyboard.

        And yes, I guess she can do both. I was being snarky.

        Parapara is coming, as soon as we let the experience marinate a little.


    • I think she did the right thing. He attacked her personally after the eagle & fly comment and this letter was a response to that.
      Repercussions? None than gaining more admirers. Castro is going to wipe his ass with it.


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