On the bright side

Now Chávez is going to swallow his own paquetazo.

Here’s how I put it back in July…

Jaime es como tú*
*by “tú” we mean “Hugo”

  • How would Venezuela be different if the constitution had allowed Jaime Lusinchi to be re-elected president in 1988?
  • If instead of leaving a new administration without a penny in reserves, forcing a new team to own the arithmetically unavoidable, socially explosive adjustment, the old adeco nomenklatura had had to face the music?
  • What if it’d been Manuel Azpúrua going cap-in-hand to the IMF for a rescue package? Matos Azocar negotiating gas price rises with the bus-driver unions? José Angel Ciliberto ordering the army to put down riots?
  • What lessons would our body politic have learned, collectively, that it didn’t learn because this didn’t happen?
  • How would our collective memory be different? What if what had passed into conventional wisdom was the memory of the same government that made the crash inevitable then having to pick up the pieces?

Discuss…

47 thoughts on “On the bright side

    • I must admit I always had that post on my mind during the entire campaign. Sooner or later, reality hits back and it will do so hard. Things happen for a reason somehow.

  1. Quico. A chavez lo unico que le importa es quedarse en el poder hasta que se muera. Tan simple como eso. Los que se van a tragar el paquetazo son todos los venezolanos.
    Pero ei. Hay un camino, capriles y el cancer… Algun dia

  2. Or he’ll die before he has to and he’ll get to live on as the loving spectre of Venezuelan blob-o-cracy.

  3. Let’s not get snarky. There’s a lot to see, analyze and understand. Half of the adult population spoke clearly today, and HCR is to be commended for the yeoman’s work he pulled off. Remember: demography is destiny, and this election had a lot more voters than those of 2006, 2000 and 1998. Clearly something changed, and it wasn’t precisely for their own good.

    Oh, and pollsters deserve the guillotine… I’ll be following Iñaki’s blog.

  4. Although I would have preferred for Capriles to win, I hope it will be healthy for the chavistas to swallow the upcoming devaluations and debt crisis well-knowing that these were caused by Chavez himself. Maybe it is wishful thinking to believe that the mass of the chavistas will learn anything useful from such an experience but it works for cheering me up… Many chavistas live in a fantasy world denying that there are consequences to their actions. So far new debt has masked those consequences, but six years is a long time.

  5. The REAL Bright Side: Quico won’t have to fold up his Blog, and has a bright foreseeable future ahead, as things go from bad to intolerably worse in Venezuela!! (And, Trolls won’t have to go back to their dark, dank habitats, for now).

  6. How long until the downturn happens? Because Chavez probably doesn’t have much longer. Maybe a year, maybe two tops just to be generous.

  7. Bravo, get a clue…… You win…in fact, I‘ll give it to you… YOU win. Pretty brave to spout your shit from somewhere, behind that oh-so-precious nom-de-plume. How about the sincere individuals who love Venezuela and offer their ideas and dreams on this blog, agree that, from now on you, YOU and those who voted for El Fumbles own and are responsible for each bridge collapse, each heartless theft, each senseless murder, and each tragic explosion. I have two Venezuelan friends that we have lost through murders. Shall I send the families to you. It’s called responsibility, son…that’s what votes and support come down to. Oh, and you’ll also be responsible for each bundle of millions that go to some propaganda-laced snake-oil chavista scheme or program that’s meant to hide more theft from those poor families who expect something more from this complete failure of a president. And don’t come back with discredited crap from long, long ago. Fourteen years is long enough to over come what was before…for real presidents. Your boy has over a million sets of helpless bollas in his pocket that he squeezes for votes. You know that, don’t you…but you want to throw our efforts to make everyone’s lives better in our faces tonight. OK, then you have it…you have all the responsibility and blame from here on out. Each time someone cries “why?” because of a murder, its your’s dude. Where do we come to claim restitution? YOU? Shit, you’re just a freekin’ loser with access to a computer and the dream to be a bully. But, like I said, you’re gonna have a busy next six years answering for all the crap you just voted for, again. Where should we send the bill, punk?

    • Send the bill to the Venezuelan people, who continue to reelect the same government because their lives keep getting better. How many times do the people have to speak before you’ll get that?

      • do you live here or are you one of those who wants everyone else in the world to live your communist dream for you. Most Venezuelans are not better off, how can we be with inflation eating up the pay check. How can the workers live on minimum wage. if Chavez REALLY cared he would raise his workers pay so that they did not have to starve. havent seen that happen on any of the new government owned industries…they cannot even discuss pay raises. I guess I will just have to fid a way to milk chavista contractors so that I can live like them AND get my part of the pie. got to get creative.

      • Really? Do we buy your hallucinatiory image, or the simpler explanation? That Venezuela is a modern version of the Hydraulic Despotism called the Petroestado, and that whoever controls oil, controls Venezuela. That Chavez is not unique and that he’s not as competent as his predecessors in populism, just the most unscrupulous of the lot…

  8. It is truly sad to read so many people looking for confort in (a) “Chavez wont escape from the (economic/financial) bomb he himself has built” -and hoping it explodes- and/or (b) “Chavez has very little time left and the opposition will have a better chance again soon”.
    Think about which portion of your society would be most affected in either of these scenarios, and you will be realising why it is that Chavez has so much “apoyo”. Surely Chavez must have loads of defects, but I am sure that a chavista (as a true peronista here in Argentina) would never long for something that would/could have a devastating impact on the day to day life of the most vulnerable.
    I always find it astonishing when I hear/read people pontifying about the mid/long term whilst ignoring that in our countries there are hundred of thousands (maybe millions) which dont know what they will be eating in a month (not so long ago it was a week here in Argentina).
    Oh… and by the way. I believe Chavez is already your Perón. For decades you will have a “chavista” as an electoral option, drawing on the collective memory of these 2 decades. Not saying it is good or bad, just pointing out it most probably will happen.
    Best regards from Buenos Aires and all the best for our brothers in Venezuela.

    • It is truly sad to read so many people looking for confort in (a) “Chavez wont escape from the (economic/financial) bomb he himself has built” -and hoping it explodes-

      I agree that there is some cynicism behind this view, but that’s not the reason why it fails. The assumption that voters learn from their mistakes in a long-term window is demonstrably wrong. We have plenty of counterexamples, and we know that you can always be in worse shape.

      and/or (b) “Chavez has very little time left and the opposition will have a better chance again soon”.

      That doesn’t follow. Chávez’s timely death will mean very little in the end, unless you happen to believe that those who will succeed him will just dismantle whatever he did for the most vulnerable. In any case, the onus probandi is not on me.

      I am sure that a chavista (as a true peronista here in Argentina) would never long for something that would/could have a devastating impact on the day to day life of the most vulnerable.

      Political affiliation in Venezuela is extremely opportunistic. I hate being this cynical, but most people –except for a committed minority– aren’t really down with socialism or whatever ideology the current elites profess. The most vulnerable will support those who help them salir de abajo, whether they are socialists or liberals or Christian democrats. And the boli-bourgeois are some of the most morally bankrupt people I have seen in my entire life—probably worse than your stereotypical Wall Street “master of the universe.”

      Sure, I’m certain that there are many chavistas who would never long for something like that and have a deep concern for the poor. But that’s not precisely because they’re chavistas. It comes from somewhere else. We can, of course, pontificate about Fulano and Sutano who are No True Chavistas, but why bother?

      Oh… and by the way. I believe Chavez is already your Perón. For decades you will have a “chavista” as an electoral option, drawing on the collective memory of these 2 decades. Not saying it is good or bad, just pointing out it most probably will happen.

      Yeah, those things stay for a while, but they morph into some weird ideologies that bear little resemblance to the original article. The Ks are definitely not “peronistas” in the same sense that a late 1940s labor leader used to be. And the “chavistas” of 2030 will probably be quite different–after all, the ones we have to day claim to be Bolivarian and Marxist (despite the fact that Bolivar was a classical liberal and that Marx loathed him, go figure).

    • ‘It is truly sad to read so many people looking for confort in (a) “Chavez wont escape from the (economic/financial) bomb he himself has built” -and hoping it explodes’

      “I am sure that a chavista (as a true peronista here in Argentina) would never long for something that would/could have a devastating impact on the day to day life of the most vulnerable”

      I think you got it backwards. We have never wished for that ‘bomb’ to explode and affect the most vulnerable, that’s why we support and voted for Capriles. He represents the best chance to remedy a situation that it’s constantly deteriorating. Actions have consequences, the effects of the current chavista mismanagement are going to be felt even more in the future, we are not wishing it, we are saying it’s inevitable unless some big changes are made, the sooner the better. We already have many examples of the result of chavista mismanagement in the past: constant blackouts, one of the world’s highest murder rate, high inflation, explosions in Amuay and El Palito, food scarcity, expropriations, corruption, property invasion, national industry and agriculture in shambles, brain drain. It’s a long list and keeps growing.

      (b) “Chavez has very little time left and the opposition will have a better chance again soon”

      This is just a high probability scenario due to his illness. His possible death coupled with the fact that he has no viable successor would mean a good chance for the opposition and an opportunity to remedy the grave situation our country is currently in. This would be a good thing for those that are more vulnerable, it’s usually them that are hit harder by the consequences of chavista mismanagement (see list above).

      Regarding Chavez already being our Peron you’re probably right. But I think we can very well live with chavismo as a political force, it’s Chavez himself that has done a lot of damage to our country.

    • Sadly, that’s what I feared and your take is on the spot. Chavez will become our Peron. Probably he will pass like Evita, and there shall be elections in a few months. It’s highly probable.

      But the damage is already done.

    • “Surely Chavez must have loads of defects, but I am sure that a chavista (as a true peronista here in Argentina) would never long for something that would/could have a devastating impact on the day to day life of the most vulnerable.”

      You are so naive… a “true” peronist? hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  9. Quico, those were exactly my thoughts as the votes hit the fan. It’s about time Chávez starts to harvest politically what he’s sown in the economy. He may or may not live to see it, but I’m afraid we will see plenty of macro-devaluations, Amuays, inflation and many other Esteban induced plagues.

  10. Capriles fought a hard campaign and did everything right. However, it just goes to show that in a petrostate if you control the methods of production you’re pretty much set for life. I hope Chavez reaps what he sows but Venezuela already has double digit inflation, PDVSA is maxed out and….people still elect him? Something doesn’t compute and I’m not sure what it is.

  11. Not that I’m not disappointed, but this is not the end:
    -Chávez has to fulfill all the promises, the economical burden will come (no podrá correr más la arruga…)
    -There is nearly half/half, this legitimates the opposition, now it is time to use that potential, taking the initiative. Governors and mayors are to be elected, and then it would be at least even.
    -Chávez is by no account in good health, new elections are more than a possibility in the next 1-2 years. He probably hoped for 70%+, allowing for solutions a la Putin, for example (with a constitution reform). This is yet not possible.
    -Capriles grow in the job, he could only do better in the future.
    At least that is what I see and hope the best for the future.

    • -Chávez has to fulfill all the promises, the economical burden will come (no podrá correr más la arruga…)

      Sorry, compadre, but this won’t fly. With all the failed promises until today, it is preposterous to expect voters to change their minds after more failed promises. They won’t. They like what they’ve got, they like the man and that’s it.

      -There is nearly half/half, this legitimates the opposition, now it is time to use that potential, taking the initiative. Governors and mayors are to be elected, and then it would be at least even.

      Now this I’m down with. Everyone has to remember that Chávez is always more popular than his governors, mayors and congressmen. He might’ve won in Zulia (gulp!) but I don’t see Arias Cardenas getting there in December.

      -Chávez is by no account in good health, new elections are more than a possibility in the next 1-2 years. He probably hoped for 70%+, allowing for solutions a la Putin, for example (with a constitution reform). This is yet not possible.

      Well, there are good chances of that happening, but people shouldn’t bank on it. HCR’s campaign brought a lot of momentum and now the opposition should take time to think about the latest election, internalize it, and move on with the lessons it learned.

      -Capriles grow in the job, he could only do better in the future.

      Absolutely. In all fairness, it is actually impressive that he managed to scrape almost half of the vote with that manipulated tarjetón, an uneven campaign with a lot of ventajismo for the other side, and a media machine that did its best to smear him as a snob, spoiled brat, homosexual, caricature of a conniving jew, etc.

  12. Even though it wasn’t enough for this elections, it’s clear that Capriles’ message it’s reaching the people. Look at the numbers:

    From 2006 to 2012:
    – the REP grew 19% = 18,903,937 / 15,922,003
    – Chávez grew 13% = 8,223,598 / 7,273,823 (extrapolating)
    – the opposition grew 57% = 6,680,786 / 4,266,937 (extrapolating)

    If for each 20 Venezuelans just one changes his mind the balance is even.
    Think about it.

    There are new elections coming:
    – December, governors
    – March, majors
    – Deputies

    And we don’t know when the next presidential elections may come.
    Hay un camino, arriba ese ánimo.

    • Yeah, this is why I’m not so pessimistic in the end HCR did yeoman’s work. Dios premia la constancia.

    • Capriles did an impeccable job, but the difference is just too large. I don’t think there is much space for hope here.

  13. I posted this over at daniel’s blog, but I also wanted to share it with you:

    I was revisiting the old “chavez advantage in the 3 key states” and I think we have to be optimistic for the regional elections:

    Chavez made a recovery of 13% in those 3 states from 2010 to yesterday, and he dropped about 10% from 2006 to 2008.

    He won because the electorate went to vote for him, because HE was the one that was at stake and we have now confirmation that, historically, the chavista will defend chavez but not as much his henchmen.

    The oppo won 3 states:
    Merida: 52-48
    Miranda: by 0.03%
    Tachira: 56-43

    I’m rounding chavez national advantage in the 7O elections to 10%, so this are the states in which chavez won by less of that (nationwide) margin:

    Zulia: 53-46
    Amazonas: 52-46
    Caracas just lost by 0.06% more than that, I’ll include it anyways
    Anzoategu: 51-48
    Bolivar: 53-46
    Carabobo: 54-45
    Lara: by 0.3%
    Nv Sparta: 51-48

    Those are the states where the oppo has a shot at, and if you look, except for monagas, aragua and falcon, those are the most important states for the economy and education of venezuela.

    The oppo HAS to keep fighting to win those states, because one thing is that chavez ignores 4-5 states, but half the country? specially with the most important half? that’s got to be tougher for him

    He managed to win the presidentials because it was HIM at stake, he won la reforma in 2009 because it was HE at stake, now he is not, and las bases are very very pissed off with some of their leaders, and it’s not about chavez anymore.

    To all of you that voted for capriles and feel lost and dissapointed, shake that up because the game is still on, and now, it’s a much better shot than yesterday’s, if you let chavez get away with the governors, just like on 2006 regional, you’ll be completely and utterly S-C-R-E-*-E-D, but if you stand up to the challenge and win the states listed above, the fight will still go on and the camino will be closer.

    As CcsChrnicles said: hay un camino, just not tonight, but it’s one that all have to walk

    • Knowing the kind of governor Lester will be, I do not want him to win. He’d be a liability for the opposition. And a nightmare for the people of Mérida. If either way we are having a nightmare, let it be the one not supporting us.

      • Thanks for your input, I wasnt aware of that.

        However, my overall point is still valid: the oppo has got to go out and vote like if it was presidentials all over. It cant afford to repeat regionals 2006…

      • The only thing Lester and Díaz Orellana know how to do is turn the word Merida into its shameful anagram.

    • Excellent analysis kernel_panic.
      We have to look at yesterday’s election as a station in a long road the we have to continue on.
      ‘Roma no se hizo en un día’.
      It would have been very fortunate if Capriles would have turned enough of the population around in time for the elections, but he came very close. Like I said before if only one in 20 changes his mind, the forces become balanced. So it is going to take longer, and the next milestones are very close by: December and March.

      It is very important to avoid what happened after the Referendum Revocatorio when people became apathetic and did not vote in the governors elections. If we can keep the enthusiasm as high as possible the results can be very positive.

      I think it is Capriles duty, cementing his new position as leader of the opposition, to show people the way. Hay un Camino. He showed us how to campaign, how to do politics focusing on people’s needs. He also showed us that it is possible to triumph even when losing. Now he needs to raise us from this depression and lead us to the polls to vote enthusiastically for governors in December.

  14. Very well said. From my friend the Chavista street-level organizer, the Oppo will win all Governorships–the problem is, Chavez will try to neuter them (a la Ledezma) with the Consejos Comunales.

  15. It is important for the politician and the public as well not to see elections as the be all and end all of politics. A do or die event. For sure, elections are defining events and they gather, require and generate enormous energy and resources from the candidates and the people. But the political work is a continuous sustained work.

    Now that Capriles has raised a lot of support from Venezuelans and has become known by everyone, he has become a reference for a large sector of the country. He needs to take that political capital and use it to raise the spirits of his followers and inspire them to participate in the next upcoming event: the governors elections.

    In 2004 after the Referendum Revocatorio was lost the opposition was leaderless and rudderless and only a small percentage of those that voted in the RR people voted in the governors elections. Chávez and his people decided to do an encore this time around when they decided to separate the two elections. It may work just as well this time or it may not. It all depends on the attitude of the people, if they feel defeated they wont participate in December but if Capriles succeeds in lifting their spirits and the candidates do a campaign following the model that Capriles demonstrated in his campaign, then great triumphs are possible.

    That’s why it is important to look ahead and keep going. A little mourning time and then keep forging ahead. Those coming elections are the most important ones, they will determine if the political capital that Capriles created is squandered or if it is increased.
    Remember politics as life is a continuous process.

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