148 thoughts on “Capriles’s vision

  1. Good article. I liked the way who detailed how Capriles’ view and those of his advisers are 180 degrees different with the image Chavez and his media machine will present of HCR. Great.

  2. The conclusion in this article reflects what I felt was the best route for Venezuela and other Latin American countries. Social democracy as opposed to populist socialism. There’s a good paper on the subject entitled “Declining Inequality in Latin America: Some Economics, Some Politics.” It lays out the case that Brazilian and Chile-style social democracies are more effective at reducing poverty and bringing the living standard up for all than populist socialisms. It does not get into the reasons for it (just a data analysis). I think more that cronyism thrives better in populist systems. From the point of view of a westerner, though, HCR would be a flaming radical leftist. Which is what makes it oh so more amusing when “leftists” here (in the west, USA) claim he’s a right wing fascist trying to take Venezuela into a place of poverty and despotism.

  3. This is a very good article, it is also very exact. I do agree that Capriles is more pragmatic than ideological, and that would be one of the best things for Venezuela right now. We need efficient management instead of more ideological rhetoric. I also agree with the perception that Capriles is seen as more right of center, perhaps indeed for the wrong reasons such as religiosity and some party links to the PP. But nonetheless I also think that to Teodoro’s point about Capriles being right of center, I also think Teodoro thought that Pablo Perez was easier to sell to the slums because of his lower/middle class background rather than Capriles, which I’ve agreed with the argument and that’s what made me vote for Perez even though I felt Capriles spoke more to my ideals and aspirations for Venezuela. However since I’ve been watching Capriles as a candidate I do feel there’s something of a super-star there that can captivate the masses in a different way, more like a rock star which could be as powerful as a political “messiah” such as Chavez. I almost feel now that there’s something magnetic about Capriles youth, straight simple talk, simplicity and charm, that can mobilize all groups. I hope I’m right, but I’ve been getting that sense ..of course I don’t live in Venezuela and its hard to get all perceptions right.

    • irpo i couldn’t have expressed it better myself, and i do live here… and by the way you also nailed it on TP´s reason for backing up PP instead and he was wrong and admitted so. HCR has magnetic charm in a different way ( thank god) and has been already compared to a super star, even though his rhetoric or speeches charisma wise aren’t sooo mesmerizing as chiabe at the beginning, everything you describe turns him into a breath of fresh air after all the grandiloquence, palyacting, insults and drama of these past 13 years! you should see the smile on the majority of venezuelans since sunday…

    • Irpo, I also couldn’t agree more with what you wrote. I also voted for PP for the same reasons, while simultaneously being frustrated and disappointed with his lack of intellect and vision (go figure). Since Sunday though, I’m liking Capriles more and more. The simplicity you mention could become an enormous asset, as it may help neutralize attacks based on his wealth and upbringing. It also makes him look.., well, criollo.

      But I also agree with Quico and Juan’s assessment of the acceptance speech. There is a lot of work to do…

  4. I completely agree with all the above comments. I’d love to actually read some of the original points myself, do you a PDF copy stashed somewhere JC? The links were mostly broken.
    Keep up the fantastic work!

  5. Very good presentation of Mr.Capriles via your article. You know I am
    happy and you mentioned so many are happy. Obviously, many
    are very unhappy with Chavez and have been for a very long time…

      • Certainly, Brazil is such a failure these days, just look at it, Lula failed so badly that DIlma did not get elected, the people are starving in the streets, their education and science system is broken…

        I’d hate to live in your parallel universe

        • Sorry but getting re-elected (or that whoever the president supports gets elected) is not sufficient condition for claiming success. Just look at our own country! Do you consider Chavez a success? I guess not.
          Also, being against Lula’s way, doesn’t neccesarily imply one considers it was a complete failure. It just means one considers that there are better ways.

          PS: Not the same Manuel who has posted a couple of comments below. I tried to use a different name (Manuel T) before and for some reason my comments don’t show up. So I decided to stick with my original CC’s name.

          • Right, OK, that’s not a good argument. But, Brazil is growing (7.5% in 2010), the economy seems strong, they invest a lot in science (their scientist are really well paid, AFAIK), their education is improving, they have social plans that work, they have a country without our governability mess. I’d say this is a good role model.

            My point is, don’t be a fucking asshole, Ricardo. You might not like Lula or the left, but at least give arguments, be pragmatic, if it works, it works, no matter if Lula claims to be a Raelian. We do not need any more blind partisanship.

            As for being in the opposition, I am going to be in opposition since day 1. No govt is perfect and I will criticize anything that I see as wrong.

        • I’ll accept your lecture on Godfather Lula and Brazil if you accept any lecture from me on Lester and Mérida, of which I know nothing about.

          Praising education in Brazil? Permíteme que me ría.

          • Well, my point is: Give arguments. I’m all ears. I love to trash myths, you know.
            Education might be not great, might actually be bad, but it’s better than Panama and Argentina, according to PISA, and the growth is there, the numbers say. The social programs might be overhyped, but that’s not the perception outside.

            It makes a ton of sense to use Lula as role model in a country like Venezuela: Brazil is growing without any Paquete from FMI with hrash budget cuts, AFAIK, and there is an emphasis in helping the poor using CCT and other mechanisms. Our problem was that we did not have equal opportunities and the poor felt neglected, the money was not getting there to help, or that was the perception. See what happened later.

            So, a more constructive debate would be to dismount this myth of Lula and explain what’s so wrong about 7.5% of GDP growth.

            • I saw your comments. I saw everybody else’s replies. I agree with most of the replies. I ceratinly agree that lot of it might be hype, but running a campaign based on that is a good thing. If Lula and Dilma are that bad, I guess they are not so bad, since their house of cards hasn’t collapsed yet, despite a global recession.

              And, when even the Economist agree with them…

              Now I see your point better, and I apologize for my previous snark, however, it really seems that things are not as bad as you claim. And they seem to be improving. That’s a lot of what we need here, so don’t blame us for looking at our neighbors.

  6. Venezuela: a good look Capriles Radonski, opposition candidate(read: thug and terrorist) against President Chavez

    by Jean-Guy Allard (special to ARGENPRESS.info)

    The right-wing leader Henrique Capriles Radonski, who, amidst the coup d’etat against President Hugo Chávez in April 2002 , led the assault on the Cuban Embassy in Caracas along with Cuban-Venezuelan terrorists, and who was unmasked by Wikileaks as a collaborator of the USA Embassy in Caracas, will be the candidate for the presidency that will confront President Hugo Chavez in next October elections.

    As was anticipated in view of the alliances between candidates, Capriles won the majority of the votes in the election carried out last Sunday by the so called Democratic Unity Table (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática) or MUD. According to observers, its campaign commanders were characterized by voting delinquencies such as illegal party propaganda near the voting centres and the buying of votes.

    Capriles is the leader of the party Primero Justicia and was born on 11 July 1972, in Caracas to one of the most privileged families in Venezuela. His mother, Mónica Cristina Radonski Bochenek, of Jewish (Russian-Polish) origin, is the owner of a well-known cinema chain. His father, Henrique Capriles García is from a Jewish-Dutch family from Curacao.

    Both families have interests in the media, own various industries, services and real estate. Capriles Radonsky graduated from the conservative Catholic University Andrés Bello (UCAB) in Caracas, and also studied at Columbia University, New York.


    In reports published by the USA State Department on Venezuela and published by Wikileaks, Capriles was linked to the assault on the Cuban Embassy in Caracas, and as a suspect in the assassination of the Venezuelan Prosecutor, Danilo Anderson.

    The documents demonstrate the complacency of the USA Embassy in Caracas towards this leader of the Primero Justicia Party of fascist bent and whose role in the assault to the Cuban Embassy and other illicit activities has been censured in the text.

    These documents show that the USA Embassy not only recognizes Capriles, who is now the governor of the state of Miranda, but also offers him cooperation and the many paragraphs that are blacked out by the censors in Washington reveal collaborations that is beyond what they are prepared to confess.

    On April 12, 2002, during the most tense hours of the coup d’etat, the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba was assaulted by a group of extreme right demonstrators that were led by two individuals identified in Venezuela to terrorist acts against Cuba, they are Salvador Romaní and Ricardo Koesling. These two were soon after joined by Capriles and the former commissar of the DISIP (former secret police), the assassin, Henry López Sisco.

    They cut the electricity and water supply to the diplomatic headquarters, they destroyed the vehicles of the diplomats and they surrounded the embassy so that no one could leave it. Capriles Radonsky was caught on film by the Venezuelan TV stations climbing a ladder and jumping over the embassy fence, then enter the embassy and threatening the Ambassador of Cuba in Venezuela, Germán Sánchez Otero, with more violence if he did not give up the Venezuelan officials whom they thought were hidden in the Embassy.

    On that same day, April 12, Capriles -who was then mayor of the municipality of Baruta where the Cuban Embassy was located- not only refused to take measures to stop acts of violence, but witnessing on site the violence, insisted on “inspecting” the Embassy, something completely against international conventions, and then made provocative statements.

    Capriles Radonski was also an accomplice in the arbitrary detention of Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, then Minister of Justice and the Interior and took part in the illegal sacking of his home.


    After many lies and spins of the right concerning the circumstances of the assault, on March 16 2004, the prosecutor Danilo Anderson, in charge of more than 400 cases of people suspected in the coup d’etat of April 2002, issued an order of arrest against Capriles, accusing him of violating the fundamental principles of international law, violating private property and of abuse of power. While these proceedings were going on, Capriles was kept in detention until September.

    On November 18, the young prosecutor died when his car exploded, destroyed by a bomb that contained the explosives C-4, a powerful artifact the type that has been used en in numerous occasions by Cuban-American terrorists.

    A list was published of the intellectual authors of the assassination, among whom was Salvador Romaní, a Cuban lawyer, along with the financial swindler Nelson Mezerhane, shareholder of the private TV station Globovisión, the journalist and supporter of the coup d’etat Patricia Poleo, the traitor Gen. Eugenio Áñez, and Henry López Sisco. They are almost all now living in Miami.

    Another accomplice of this gang, Ricardo Koesling has been linked with Cuban-American terrorism since the 1970s and was even an accomplice in helping the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles escape from the Prison San Juan de los Morros, in 1985, while at the same time he was a very high placed collaborator of the government of Venezuelan President Jaime Lusinchi.

    Henry López Sisco, fomer commissariat and torturer of the secret police ex “DISIP”, worked for years along side the terrorist Posada.

    Among the suspects –all of whom are linked to Capriles – that sought sanctuary in Miami- is another former “DISIP” official , Joaquín Chaffardet, who, along with López Sisco was trained by the intelligence services of the USA in the infamous School of the Americas.


    In 2000, Capriles formed the political party Primero Justicia, along with Leopoldo López. The policies were developed with financing and assessment of USAID through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), that have provided experts of the Republican Party of the USA who design its political platform and communicatin strategy.

    USAID has this year given a donation of five million dollars to right wing Venezuelan groups under the pretext of “supporting democracy”. This measure which was announced in Miami by Mark Feierstein, head of the US organism for Latin America, violates the Venezuelan Law of Political Sovereignty and National Self-determination, which since 2010 forbids foreign financing of Venezuelan poitical parties. venezolanos.

    Capriles Rodonski belongs to the same extreme right wing ideological group whose main leader in Venezuela is Alejandro Peña Esclusa, who was arrested in Caracas carrying 900 grams of C-4 and detonators, having been denounced by the Salvadorean Francisco Chávez Abarca, a specialist on C-4 who was trained by Posada, and was extradited later to Cuba.

    • Greene, you just posted the same garbage elsewhere, what is it “Garbage Day”?
      Go away, troll. You lie-and probably don’t even get paid…

    • Now I understand… Jean-Guy Allard (1948, Shawinigan, Quebec – ) is a Canadian journalist who as editor and reporter worked for Le Journal de Montréal and Le Journal de Québec from 1971 to 2000.[1] He retired to Cuba, and now who writes for Granma.[1]

    • Every time I read this kind of crap I’m more convinced that we are in the right track with Capriles. Nothing will stop me in making him our next president. I’m so tired of hearing and reading lies from Chavez and his well paid acolytes

    • I’d love to run a piece dissecting this piece point-by-point the way a gringo newspaper fact-checker might. It’d be a bit of comedy of the absurd, sure, but…

      One thing that doesn’t cease to amaze me, though, is that the propaganda machine doesn’t even have enough respect for the Venezuelan judiciary to note that it was a rojo rojito court from the Republica Bolivariana de Hugoslavia that acquitted the guy on the Cuban embassy rap. This fact has just been excised from the record like a murdered early bolshevik leader from a 1918 photo. Cute.

      • Don’t even bother, Quico. They are hurt. They are irrational. They are vulnerable.They are desperate. It will get worse. But they can’t hide their anger about this number: 3.059.024

            • This quote is beyond cynicism: Why such secrecy? The always anti-Chavista BBC speculated that there “were also fears that those who voted could face government reprisals” without, of course, citing any evidence of that fear or quoting anyone, nor citing a single electoral incident in the past where something like that has happened.

            • Yes, I think I wasn’t clear enough, I’m quoting that from the Pearson article, to show how is beyond cynicism to say that the burning of the cuadernos is suspicious considering the apartheid that the Tascon list was,

            • Oh, sorry. I didn’t follow you properly. Pearson…that woman is pathetic. I found better journalism in the Soviet Pravda of the mid eighties than in anything that woman has to say.

            • And by the way, am I the only one who thinks that the MUD hasn’t been strong enough in expressing that the commitment to burning the notebook was due to what happened with the Tascon list and how many people lost their jobs? Here in the US, when friends read these news about Venezuela they always ask why we get so riled up about the commitment to burn and I have to tell them the whole Tascon story,

            • CACR,

              I think that the Tascon List is so infamous in Venezuela, that here, it simply goes without saying. In the context of Venezuelan politics, it simply is not necessary to explain.

            • No. It’s OK. Message discipline: Avoid direct confrontation when possible. Their actions speak very loud, no need to go Marialejandra.
              Focus on the country, on the poverty, corruption, lack of opportunities, not on petty battles that are red meat for our base. We already have those votes

      • In regards to the Cuban Embassy event. I was there. The funny thing was that when HCR climbed the wall to try to calm people down I thought, brother do not go out of your way to stop the crowd, these Cubans deserve a little you-do-not-rule-here fear. But HCR indeed went way out of his way to stop the not-so-out-of-control crowd and after a while he jumped inside the embassy to talk to the whoever was inside to, I guess, assure them that everything was going to be all right. That was his mistake, to me it was clear that no one was really going to go tearing down the walls, everybody knew that the embassy had armed guards inside and no one wanted to be shoot down for nothing.

        I am sure that the Cuban ambassador loses sleep over the fact that HCR has been in jail for going out of his way to defend him and he has turned his back and said nothing at all.

        • “he jumped inside the embassy to talk to the whoever was inside to, I guess, assure them that everything was going to be all right.”

          You guess? Well you see there exists this thing called actual “witnesses” who were inside the embassy, and that isn’t what Capriles actually did. He demanded to search the embassy, as the opposition leaders were carrying out a witch hunt of Chavista officials.

          I suppose this is what Capriles means when he talks about “democracy” and “progress”.

      • I love how no one here, including Quico, can come up with a decent response to all of the undeniable facts about Capriles in the above article.

        Hey Quico, wasn’t that the same court from “Hugoslavia” that determined that what had happened on April 11th wasn’t even a coup?? Very rojo rojito indeed.

        • It wasn’t the same Court, because after they strayed from Hugo they packed with the new law in 2004, and the decision of the Coup was overruled by the brilliant and independent judges of the Sala Constitucional.

          • So they packed the court with rojo rojito officials, yet those same officials ruled that Capriles was innocent?

            If you can’t see the contradiction here, well I’m not going to explain it to you.

            • I’m just saying that the TSJ actually never ruled that there was no coup, that decision was overruled, you state it as a fact and thats incorrect, the coup decision lead to the Court Packing, is misleading to quote that decision as evidence of its independence. An even politically control court rule in both ways, if you really want to analyze the Court, lets do a balance of when the Court has ruled in favor of the opposition and the government and see how independent and not rojo rojito

        • Lets see the “undeniable” facts of the article:
          Among the suspects –all of whom are linked to Capriles – that sought sanctuary in Miami- is another former “DISIP” official , Joaquín Chaffardet, who, along with López Sisco was trained by the intelligence services of the USA in the infamous School of the Americas.
          So the article says that this people killed Danilo Anderson, funny that a government that
          controls all public powers hasnt been able to prosecute them, but even assuming that they killed Anderson, how you substantiate the claim, related to Capriles, and even if they are somehow related, how does that prove that he was involve in the killing?

          • The article doesn’t say he was involved in the killing. It only states the facts. Nowhere did you show how any of those facts are incorrect.

            • Looks like geha714 can’t show where any of those facts are incorrect either. Sign of weakness, not strength.

            • Not only the facts the article is clearly trying to imply that he was involved in the killing by stating your an unsubstantiated theory of who killed Anderson, and then relating the alleged killers to Capriles, about the financing you quote a 2010 law that prohibits this, and the donations of NED to Primero Justicia were alleged well before this to actually avoid this practice, that’s misleading too

            • The article clearly says that the financing was given AFTER the 2010 law prohibiting it.

              I just love watching you guys twisting and turning to try to deny the facts.

            • You keep saying they are “facts”.
              If they are “facts”, provide actual proof. It’s not up to us to prove them wrong, justice doesn’t work that way.

              For me, the actual proof is that Capriles is free, in Venezuela, and running for president. Your rojos rojitos never could provide enough proof to keep him in jail, to disable to run for governor and now, to run for president.

              By the way, a random article in the media is not a proof.

            • Carolina,

              I would gladly provide you with proof, but first you’ll have to tell me which facts you think are incorrect.

              Your friends up above have tried and failed miserably so far…

            • Capriles is free of chrage, and running for president. Is that enough fact?
              For me it is. And I am a voter too.

              BTW: I didn’t vote in the primaries, so add mine to the 3MM

          • Capriles Radonsky was caught on film by the Venezuelan TV stations climbing a ladder and jumping over the embassy fence, then enter the embassy and threatening the Ambassador of Cuba in Venezuela, Germán Sánchez Otero, with more violence if he did not give up the Venezuelan officials whom they thought were hidden in the Embassy.

            So where is the video of Capriles threatening the Ambassador? that’s what the article says, that he was filmed threatening, If that’s not a distortion

            • All we have is the testimony from the Cuban Ambassador himself, who blames Capriles for making the crowd even angrier by telling them that the ambassador would not allow him to search the premises.

              Whether or not he threatened the officials is beside the point. He was engaged in a witch hunt of officials from a democratically elected government, and was clearly playing a leading role in the witch hunt instead of denouncing it.

              Telling the ambassador that you want to search the premises while outside the embassy there are hundreds of angry and violent protestors might seem a little “threatening” don’t you think?

            • Is not besides the point, when you state as a fact that he was filmed him threatening the Ambassador that’s a gross distortion of what happened, first the article was undeniable, now you say that the distortions are beside the point. I’m not in any way condoning what happened in the Embassy, just that the article uses distortions to deliberately paint a dark portrait of HCR. If he wasn’t involved in the killing of Anderson why bring it up in the first place in an profile about him, its obvious that its trying to establish a relationship of him as related to the murder, and that’s what any uniformed reader would infer, so associating him with a killing in a profile is not a distortion?.

            • So the only fact that you can prove wrong is that it says he “threatened” the Cuban embassy, and in your opinion he didn’t.

              But leading a group of angry protestors to find out if there are any Chavez officials inside the embassy is pretty “threatening” if you ask me.

            • No, my point is that the article is misleadingly trying to portrait him as the leader of the angry mob who wanted to attack the embassy, you said yourself that he was trying to help, and links him as having responsibility in the killing of someone with no evidence, regarding the testimony of the Ambassador, he has contradicted himself and there was the testimony of the Norwegian Ambassador, http://www.eluniversal.com/2004/07/13/ccs_art_13279A.shtml that was the prime evidence to acquit him,

            • funny how these marxists try to jig a square peg in a round hole (smell the desperation!) when someone threatens their ideal of a dominated public (in another country for which they have no interest to experience). With simplistic intellect, they squeeze all semantics out of the word ‘threaten’ and apply it liberally to a perceived adversary. But they are unwilling to apply that same word to a government that threatens ordinary citizens from expressing their free will in any referendum, primary, or electoral procedure.

              Maybe the putative radical, Cort Greene, Slave Revolt, etc., might be able to explain the latter phenomenon.

            • CACR,

              Capriles clearly was representing the interests of the angry mob by demanding that he be allowed to search the Cuban embassy.

              If he were not in agreement with the group he would have denounced their violence and illegal witch hunt and would have ordered the police to detain them for breaking the law. Instead he helped carry out the aims of the group by demanding an illegal search of the embassy. So it is hardly an incorrect portrayal to say he was one of the leaders of the group.

              The article does not claim Capriles was responsible for the murder of Danilo Anderson. It simply states that he has connections to many of the suspects.

            • To think I spend time away from my children to write a blog so some blowhard can come and hijack the comments board to discuss something as inconsequential as the Cuban embassy incident.

              Si vale, invadiò la Embajada, whatever. Can we talk about the election? Ladilla.

        • Funny, there is a video of the Cuban Ambassador contradicting what you say. Saying that Capriles only was there to help.

          How come you have a different version?

          Just wondering.

          • there is also Court testimony by two Ambassadors (One was Norways or Sweden’s) saying that they called the Cuban Ambassador to offer help and he told them not to worry that Capriles was there helping calm down the situation.

            • Right, because instead of denouncing the despicable witch hunt of Chavista officials and ordering the police to disperse the crowd, Capriles instead decides to go inside to see if he can find out if there are any Chavista officials.

              Yes, Capriles wanted to calm down the situation, but he did in a way that legitimated the witch hunt in the first place, instead of denouncing it.

            • “Los votos? 3 million? That’s not even half the votes Chavez got last time he was up for reelection.”

              It’s more than the votes cast in the last PSUV primary. Which is why you and yours are running scared. You know what those three million votes can extrapolate to in the context of a presidential election, and you know you can’t fight them with anything but threats and clumsy attempts at intimidation. And so here you are.

            • Get a clue/Organ grinder’s monkey:
              Los votos? 3 million? That’s not even half the votes Chavez got last time he was up for reelection.

              Does someone feed you to compare a primary electoral result with that from nationwide elections? Or do you follow (Chavez) scripts for free?

              This is basic first-grade training (one of these things is not like the other).

            • Escualidus Arrechus,

              Take a look at any of the polls done so far. Chavez is smashing Capriles. What is stupid is trying to make guesses about the outcome based on how many people came out for a primary election.

              • Chavez is not smashing Capriles. Stop spreading misinformation. Besides, there have been no polls done after his primary win.

            • A poll by Juan Scorza a contributor for Aporrea?, come on Get a Clue, you need to have something better than that, I’m going to bring one by Maria Alejandra Lopez from Chiguire Bipolar

            • Funny JC, you say its not a real poll, but the results are very similar to other polls that have been done recently. I just love watching you guys keep trying to deny the truth while staring it in the face. It is really fascinating.

            • Man, and why would we believe the ambassador of a dictatorship? Piss off, it’s a waste of time to speak to you. That ambassador is the supporter of a murderer. Piss off.

            • Sorry Toro, but Im having a hard time finding where the ambassador says that Capriles was there to help. Could you point that out to me, or admit that the video you posted does not say what you think it does.

            • Also, I should point out that nowhere does this video contradict what the Cuban ambassador said about when Capriles left the embassy and riled up the crowd by telling them that he was not permitted to search the embassy.

            • So, if there are other polls not performed by Aporrea bloggers, by ghost firms that know one knows that give the same result as that one, post them,

            • tell us, jackass-looking-in-all-the-wrong-places-for-issues-where-there-are-none, where the Cuban ambassador feels threatened by Capriles’s presence, inside the embassy, where German Sanchez Otero feels that Capriles was not helping..

            • He doesn’t feel threatened by Capriles himself, but by the massive crowd he is there to represent, which is exactly why at about 4:15 of the video he tells him that he has the responsibility to find a solution to the problem and to assure that the angry mob doesn’t continue to attack the embassy.

              Funny because this footage was obviously edited to only show certain parts of the conversation, but even at the beginning you can hear the ambassador demanding to know who cut off of the water and electricity to the embassy. So he obviously felt that Capriles was there representing the mob.

      • “… the propaganda machine doesn’t even have enough respect for the Venezuelan judiciary to note that it was a rojo rojito court from the Republica Bolivariana de Hugoslavia that acquitted the guy on the Cuban embassy rap. This fact has just been excised from the record like a murdered early bolshevik leader from a 1918 photo..”

        Quico, I’ve talked to several Venezuelan chavista friends who did not even know Capriles had been acquitted! They were convinced he had been found guilty, and served his term. (I had to convince them of the contrary by showing them Aporrea articles with the news). So by all means, go ahead and write your rebuttal. It will help to have the evidence all in one place!

    • This is my favorite part of the rant: “the many paragraphs that are blacked out by the censors in Washington reveal collaborations that is beyond what they are prepared to confess.”

      We don’t have enough facts, so we’ll just make them up!

      I mean, it’s not like they could have found the very same cables on Wikileaks and gotten the missing text. Or perhaps they did – and because it wasn’t what they wanted it to be, just put in the above? Either way, it’s fiction. Either the text is completely made up, or the pretext that this person is a real journalist.

      Or both.

      • Hell, if they can’t compare apples to apples on primary results, we’re evidently dealing with low and overcompensated IQs.

  7. What a load of (anti-semitic) crap (above) Cort Greene. Mr. Nagel, thank you for your informative article.

  8. A really nice article. Are you going to publish it in Spanish? I have a few observations, though.

    Was not PJ related to the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (CDU, right-center in Germany)? In my opinion there’s nothing wrong about that, but if that’s the case that would justify saying that PJ is a right-center party, doesn’t it? There’s nothing wrong with being center-right and moving out of political pragmatism to the center. Caldera did that. Merkel did that (“Wir sind die Mitte!”). The Republican candidates in the US election do that, too.

    I believe that the hardest part is to explain to foreigners about our left-leaning political system, in which the right-wing is nothing but a minority that hides inside the political parties out of political convenience, à la Sarrazin in Germany. You can find them among the MUD parties, but also inside Chávez’s PSUV (remember Ceresole?).

    However, such fringers are nothing but a mere 5-10%. The most important thing is that, regardless of Capriles political affiliation or PJ’s worldview, the MUD is a broad coalition that includes also traditional left-wing political movements such as Bandera Roja, Causa R and center-left parties like Podemos, AD and MAS (members of Socialist International nonetheless). Furthermore, the policies proposed by this coalition (plan de gobierno), that Capriles agreed on are clearly of center.

  9. I love the way they are talking about Social Security, but i am really dissapointed about taxes, i dont wanna sound like a Republican but Venezuela already have enough taxes (at least in corporate tax) as an example, Chile has 17% Venezuela 15/22/34%, Hong Kong 16.5%, Brasil 34%, we should cut taxes.
    I am not saying that we should have taxes as Chile or Honk Kong but we can at least have a 24 flat rate as Lithuania (flat tax rate of 24%).

    I am one of those people who think that the amazing performance of the brazilian economy is coyuntural and not structural, so i am not very happy about the brazilian model, but is better that Cuba.

    Maybe i am wrong because taxes is not something that the article talk about, it only says “In calling for greater tax revenues, they envision a model similar to Brazil where a large, social-democratic state cooperates with the private sector.”

    By the way i dont want a State in the economy, i want a State were it should be in education, health, and security matters.

    PD: Please take note that we have a tax of 34% Royalties from patents and licences, if we want a more innovate country we need to give better incentives.

    Taxes around the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_around_the_world#cite_note-kpmg-1

    Taxes in Venezuela: http://www.itrworldtax.com/Jurisdiction/126/Venezuela.html

    Flat Tax: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_tax

    • I do agree corporate taxes in Venezuela are way too high. But what we mostly need is that everybody gets awareness of the fact they have to pay taxes, even if those taxes are symbolic. Even those who don’t pay taxes need to get a paper from the tax office saying: “you, CI, 123223211, have to pay 0.0 because your income was below …”. The amount of people who do need to pay taxes should be increased, even if what they will pay is just enough to cover the paper sent to them with the tax information.
      We don’t need to be like the US where half the population, according to what I hear, don’t pay taxes at all. We don’t need to pay taxes as in Sweden. But what we need is awareness of who has to pay for the very basic undergraduate education, for roads, for basic health (we all) and how we have thus to see the state as employees for us.

      When most people realise they are tax payers, even if they have to pay 10 BsF a year for their carrito de helados’ sales, se van a arrechar y comenzarán a exigir del gobierno.

      Venezuelans were not paying taxes for their own work, ever. We had the quinto real for the Conquista, we had diezmo for the church, but we really never had a relation with the state…ever. Governments had to get money from tolls since the Guipuzcoana time or earlier and that was the case in the XIX century as well…and that’s how the state was always broke and no one care about it but about himself.

      • You are right, (isnt this what MCM was talking about in her campaing?), anyway this is the reason I want a flat tax in Venezuela even if you salary is small you will pay taxes, a small amount of money but you are paying.

        The main problemn is that a least 48% of venezuelans work outside of formal economy, and this affect tax revenue, the problem isnt simple but i will love if someone in the capriles campaing will talk about fiscal policy or about employment(without public employment of course), so i can sleep better in the night knowing what is planned happen.

        • Manuel, we don’t need a flat tax. Venezuela is not the US. The reason is simple: there are some basic needs you need to cover first.
          1) A teacher in Venezuela cannot pay for renting a small flat AND food and transportation and clothes.
          2) the percentage going for the absolute basics for a poor is much higher than that for a rich person. It is simply not fair you have a poor paying 10% of his salary when he is paying 40% in food alone, 50% in rent and transportation, and someone who is ultra rich is paying 10% as well. The funny thing is that most of those who are for flat rates are not in the production sector but in “renting houses for others” or “betting on shares to go up or down”.

          • I am not saying, this should be right now, the economy has to be a better performance to introduce a total new fiscal policy, and you could use the flat tax only to people who has a appropiate income level, that allow to that person pay for what he needs and pay taxes, lower then that and you dont pay taxes.

            Is not fair that one sector should pay more taxes that another one (Of course if you are hurting the enviroment you should pay more, because the goverment needs to repair that damage), it doesnt matter if you are in the production sector or the “renting houses for others” or “betting on shares to go up or down” sector, the goverment should see all the sector the same way.

          • Kepler, a flat tax system can very well stipulate that only people who earn more than X amount pay a (flat) tax rate, otherwise you’re exempt and pay 0 taxes. So, obviously the poor would be exempt. In any case, whether we need a flat tax or not, it’s a quantitative question which cannot be answer here. We would need to do serious research to settle that.

            I also think that raising taxes (what taxes exactly?) is not going to make much of a difference as long as evasion is still a big problem. In fact, higher taxes would probably increase it.

          • This discussion of taxes in Venezuela is interesting. I’ve never been able to understand or get a clear picture of how people are taxed.There is a whole pile of literature out there that says that petro-states suffer from a democratic deficit because of undertaxation (or under compliance with taxation). If I understand it Kepler, that is what you are talking about. That unduly low taxes or underenforced taxes create a negative incentive for political participation and accountability. What is odd for me is that, as I understand it, Venezuela has a fairly high consumption tax (IVA), which is regressive (i.e. consumption taxes overburden the poor). Is this right?

            • Not that I’m saying I’m against the flat system. It has pros it has cons. But, this discussion is pointless unless we’re talking about a constitutional reform. Taxes in Venezuela are progressive as per the Constitution. Look it up.

            • That’s not right, vsalomon. Let me explain. A flat tax system is progressive is a fixed amount of income is tax-exempt. For example, consider four individuals who earn $10, 25, 50 and 100. Say that the flat rate is 10% and the taxable income is max(0,total income-$20). So, each individual gets a tax exemption of $20. Let’s see how much taxes and the effective tax rate each individual pays. The first guy (the poor one) pays 0 taxes (effective rate 0%). The second individual pays 10%(25-20)=0.50, which implies an effective tax rate of 0.5/25=2%. Third person pays $3 in taxes, equivalent to an effective tax rate of 6%, and the fourth individual pays $7.50 for a 7.5% effective tax rate. As you can see, the effective tax rate is increasing in income. Hence, this flat tax scheme is PROGRESSIVE!

            • vsalomon, I disagree. A flat tax is progressive in the sense that, the richer one is, the more one pays, in quantity, though not in percent. If a flat tax is complemented with social spending policies that benefit the poor more than the rich, then the net is also percentually progressive.

            • Canucklehead, the problem with the Venezuelan petro-state is that the oil constitutionally belongs to all citizens equally, yet the government spends it as though it were money derived from taxation. This implies that the bulk of goverment spending from oil is regressive, because it is the same as if it had taxed every single citizen the same amount, regardless of income. So no amount of progressive taxation makes up for such an amount of regressive oil spending, thus creating greater inequality the higher the price of oil.

              Both the taxation and the oil spending have each a simple solution, but there are strong paradigms preventing their implementation. Reality will force these solutions in the end, but it’s been a long road, and there’s still a long way to go to implementation.

            • Guys, “a flat tax that has an exemption” is not a flat tax. It’s a progressive tax. From zero income up to x amount the effective rate is 0%. From X income plus 1 and up the rate is x%. That’s progressive = as you earn more income you pay more.
              En espanol, el principio de progresividad del impuesto sobre la renta indica que la tasa aumenta a medida que aumenta el impuesto.

              El problema ahora no es constitucional sino de semantica. Lo que tu describes, es plenamente constitucional.
              Ahora, ademas de semantica, creo que tambien habria un problema politico. En Venezuela, la mayoria de la gente le gusta que los que ganen bastante dinero, paguen mas impuestos que los que ganan menos. Por lo tanto no creo que la unidad se vaya a meter en un tema que pueda ser politicamente inadecuado en este momento.

        • “he reason I want a flat tax in Venezuela even if you salary is small you will pay taxes, a small amount of money but you are paying.”

          LOLwut? That’s a textbook example of non sequitur. You can have a minimum tax for everybody and increase it from there. You can create a tax culture without a flat tax. If all you want is everybody paying taxes, fine, we can work on that, but a flat tax is not necessary for that goal.

          • You are right, you can create a tax culture without a flat tax, but i not only want everyone pay taxes, i want a fiscal policy that would discourage increased spending by government. The reason for this would be that any tax increase would affect all taxpayers.

            In Addition to this it simplifies the tax code and the benefits of making taxes simpler would probably raise compliance rates, by reducing both inadvertent and intentional nonpayment of taxes, and illegal tax evasion. To some extent, people do not pay taxes because they do not understand the tax law. Clarifying and simplifying tax rules can only help to make people understand the tax law better and would likely make it easier to enforce the law as well. My personal experience suggests that people are more likely to evade taxes that they consider unfair. People who cannot understand tax rules may also question the fairness of the tax system and feel that others are reaping more benefits than they are. This may make them more likely to evade taxes

            Of course you can make the tax code simple without flat taxes, but in addition to this you eliminate a variety of loopholes and others that just are a distortion of the economy.

            • Well, then we enforce tax evasion. We give them teeth. The IRS is feared in the US.

              As Kepler said, there are really good arguments why a flat tax is not a good move. Specially in the country of El Caracazo. You need social peace to keep moving and with a flat tax you won’t have that. Plus, many countries have progressive taxes and they are doing well, actually, listed among the most competitive countries in thwe world by Forbes.

            • As i said before, this shouldnt be right now, as gasoline prices, we will have to wait to have a better economy to make the changes, there are many policies we need to make Venezuela a better country that are unpopular, but that doesnt mean that a goverment shouldnt applied that policies because the people is gonna be mad.

              The flat tax is a option, as you said many countries have progressive taxes and they are doing well, actually, listed among the most competitive countries in the world by Forbes, but Venezuela is not like many countries, we could have a progressive taxes, but we wont have the control in the gubermental spending, and our politicians are venezuelans, not canadian, not swiss.

              As Ricardo López Murphy said “Tenemos impuestos suecos, con contribuyentes sudamericanos, y servicios africanos.”.

              We need a better fiscal policy if we want to make Venezuela a better place, and flat taxes are my answer to that. ( By the way the most countries that have flat taxes come from a communist regime and it seen to work for then).

            • Well i did not read the vSalomon comment, it is true in Venezuela are regressive taxes by the constitution, flat taxes arent a viable option for Venezuela.

              But Capriles is a lawyer specializing in taxes, and has several courses of the IBFD International Tax Academy, so he must have a plan for the nation’s fiscal policy.

            • Can’t follow thew paper, sorry. I’m allergic to Bayesian stuff.
              However, I was expecting more a plot of Gini comparing flat tax countries vs progressive tax countries.
              You might have a point, however, it’s deeply anti intuitive that taxing the same from my grandma as from Capriles is sane or fair.

            • There are no Bayesian stuff in that paper. In any case, it’s not that counter-intuitive. Personal tax rates can be progressive if a fixed amount of income is tax-exempt.

      • Quick note on the US and taxes: The “51% of Americans pay no taxes” thing is a nasty bit of propaganda. Basically, if you look at the quotes, the people saying it (i.e. conservatives) say “51% of Americans don’t pay federal income tax” and the it gets repeated in the form you repeated it (“pay no taxes!”). It’s true that lots of poorer people pay no federal income tax. But people do pay income taxes – notably the social security and medicare taxes which are assessed on all wages (less extremely limited exceptions for students) and state income taxes (and sometime muncipal taxes). The 51% number is also cherry picked to be the highest figure in a long time – it’s from the depths of recession-driven income collapse and temporary tax cuts. (The propaganda function of this construction is to muddy the waters on who pays taxes and how much to stir up anger at imaginary moochers)

        I think the US fits more the mold you’re looking for fairly well (even if the US tax system is, as you can see, overly complex).

      • There is a distortion in corporate taxes: Banks, they pay almost nothing. The reason? Venezuelan Government bonds are tax exempt to anyone that owns them and so is the interest, It is a Catch 22 situation, the Government does not want to remove the tax exemption, because it needs to sell them.

        The second big loophole is global taxation, while the law was passed in 2000, there is little the Government is doing to make people pay it, including not providing data about foreigners who make money in Venezuela to those countries that have bilateral tax treaties with Venezuela.

  10. Toro,

    I have to say that your article on Capriles doesn’t really say anything about the important policy issues. Who really cares what kind of health system Capriles likes best? Who cares what he thinks about the pension system? These aren’t important policy issues, they are secondary issues that can only be resolved through more central economic policies that promote economic development.

    Where does he stand on policies that are central to promoting development? Will he continue with agrarian reform? Will he maintain regulations on credit? Will he maintain import quotas? Will he maintain OPEC quotas and keep PDVSA under state control? Will he continue to foster strategic alliances and integration efforts? Does he support free trade like Mexico’s PAN with whom you say he has connections? What about FDI? Where does he stand?

    Without knowing where he stands on these things it is really irrelevant whether he likes the UK’s or Canada’s health system. You can’t have a first-world style health system unless you can promote some serious economic growth and development.

    • Mario,

      The article is not about Capriles’s proposals, of which he has provided little detail. The article is about the ideology behind his main advisors, which suggests what his world view is. What you mention is important, but that’s another article altogether. BTW, it wasn’t Quico who wrote it, it was me.

  11. The increase in troll activity here, suggests that the Chavista budget for media manipulation has just been been given a large injection of cash.

    I am recalling the media campaign that was launched against the government of Honduras during their constitutional crisis in 2009. That media campaign got ahead of the government of Honduras and it was weeks before cooler heads realized what was really happening. Even though this campaign against Capriles appears absurd to us, if the Opposition campaign doesn’t get out in front of this, we could see the same sort of backlash.

    The MUD needs to mount its own counter-disinformation campaign to un-mask the original source of all articles that get inserted into the mainstream media. Is someone collecting all these pieces and chasing down the sourcing to build an org. chart and trace down the funding?

    Well, this is not really my area of expertise, and all I have to offer is half-baked ideas, but I have not forgotten how powerful their media machine can be when it is ramped up.

      • Syd,

        While I can’t prove it, I just can’t see these guys lurking and posting in a clearly anti-Chavista site just for fun. I am guessing that they are paid. It probably isn’t much, but enough to keep them in the game.

  12. Quico, remember that fake pollster you mentioned last October: International Consulting Services (ICS). Well, they’re back, baby! AVN is pushing a new poll indicating the same pattern that Chavez likes so much, 60-40 more or less. And yet, ICS doesn’t even have a website. #FAIL


    Roy, you’re right, the increase of troll activity, the use of fake pollsters like this one or the increase of “cadenas”, like the one happeing right now, shows who’s really nervous.
    #GuerrilaTrollicacionalEnAccion. Estan picaos!

    • Geha,

      Yes, perhaps it shows they are nervous, but my point is that we should not just dismiss it. As absurd as it is, it represents a real threat which must be addressed and nullified.

  13. Great article, JC.
    Just a couple of somewhat marginal points.
    1) “Villasmil blames these policies for causing a political crisis that included the Caracazo riots in and around Caracas in 1989 and the 1992 coup attempt led by Hugo Chávez”. I don’t know if the connection between the policies and the coup d’etat is made by Villasmil or yourself but we need to be careful. This is the exact same point Chavez himself has long made to sort of “justify” or “legitimize” his coup d’etat, particularly among the international community not familiar with his background. However, there’s well known evidence that his military “logia” (the Comacates) had been plotting (and attempting) coup d’etats for at least 10 years prior 1989.
    2) At least to the general public in the U.S., any political stance in favor of a strong state (even if it only means effective regulation as opposed to increased regulation) sounds like communism. For instance, when I complain about Chavez’ economic policy among conservatives here, the reaction I usually get is “oh, that sounds much like what Obama is trying to do here” (lucky them…no han visto llagas sino peladuras and, therefore, can’t tell the difference) . So, I always joke that I’m a liberal in the U.S. but a conservative in Venezuela just because of that sort of relativism. All this to say that it adds to the difficulty of explaining to non-venezuelans what HCR’s “progressive pragmatism” is all about.

    • Well, I assume that people who read Americas Quarterly know enough about Latin America to understand how far left the center is.

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