The Saturday Shuffle

The power and the money

The power and the money

The next big date in the charade that has become the transition process in Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela is January 5th. This is when the National Assembly reconvenes to select a new President for the year.

The date is pivotal for several reasons.

When Chávez dies (please excuse the bluntness, but this is no longer an “if”), elections will have to be called. Chávez himself has ordered so.

In the interim , there is a high chance that the President of the National Assembly will hold temporary power. Nicolás Maduro’s term as appointed Vice-President ends on January 10th, and until a new President is sworn in, he cannot be in charge. He is basically out of a job after that date.

Article 233, paragraph II, is clear: if the President Elect does not show up, the President of the National Assembly runs things. Diosdado Cabello, Nicolás Maduro’s main succession rival, could well be re-elected to head the National Assembly. But that’s far from a sure thing.

If Cabello is dumped for someone else (chavista firebrand Blanca Eekhout is being mentioned), this would point to Maduro wanting to consolidate power and not trust his candidacy to Cabello, who would control the purse-strings during the transition. It would suggest tensions within chavismo are high.

However, even if Cabello is re-elected, Maduro could still be President and candidate at the same time. For that to happen, the TSJ would have to swear Chávez in (obviously in Havana) and Chávez would have to appoint Maduro Vice-President again.

This is all speculation, of course. It’s still possible that Cabello is re-elected AN President, holds temporary power while Maduro runs, and nothing happens. That may point to a smooth transition within chavismo – smoother, at least, than some people think. Or a consensus candidate for AN President could emerge.

I have no clue what’s more likely at this point, and I feel no shame in admitting it. It stinks to the heavens that thinking about our country has been reduced to Cubanology of the highest order, but there is no point in dwelling on this.

That’s the name of the game, and I guess we all have to play it.

133 thoughts on “The Saturday Shuffle

  1. My sense is that if Chávez dies in the next day or three, they will just ignore article 233, paragraph 2 altogether and keep Maduro on. Unconstitutional as hell, but hey, there’s always room for one more stripe on that tiger…

    • That would be a coup in my book. But yes, they’re not beyond trying that. It’s unlikely, though. I don’t think Cabello would let his chance to be President – if only for a few months – slip away that easily.

      • But Diosdado has been one of the most steadfast proponents of not applying article 233 and saying that the sworn in ceremony is just a formality. Being interim President is not his game.

        • I think he’s shown flexibility as to what happens if Chávez doesn’t get sworn in. But he’s never said “I don’t want to be President in the meantime.”

        • If I’m Cabello, I’m thanking my lucky stars Chávez didn’t leave me in charge of passing the paquetazo that’s coming. He’s in it for the longer haul – his play comes in the second half of 2013 or in 2014, when Maduro (or Capriles) proves totally unable to deal with the wave of popular discontent that flows from emergency fiscal measures, and Cabello is in a prime position to slam him for “betraying” the legacy revolution and pass himself off as the REAL heir to the chavista legacy.

          I full expect this kind of semantic game, with various factions squabbling to claim the mantle of The Real Chavista as they vie for power, to continue through 2053 or so.

          • Incidentally, whether Maduro ends up with the coroto or Capriles does won’t turn out to make much of a difference. Without Chávez, Venezuela is not governable over the next 24 months. The ring is a poisoned chalice.

            • I think so too. Being the transition post Chavez President is not a job you want to have. I almost got killed by some friends for saying this, but, repugnant as he is, at least Diosdado is not a crazy communist Cuban government puppet, as Maduro is.

              • I think Diosdado has a bigger chance of succeeding in the long term. He is not close to the Castros , he is not really not an ideologue and has more malice to control the chavista apparatus.
                I am guessing that his game would be to make some pact with several economic groups (getting rid of the most regressive and disastrous macroeconomic policies i.e. firing Giordani) while maintaining a tight grip on the institutions and keeping the regaladera for political support.
                I think that a sensible fiscal reform might be possible without turning the country ungovernable, but the government that undertakes it is going to suffer some political cost. However, I think chavismo might survive the cost, whereas if Capriles does it with a Chavista National Assembly, a chavista TSJ and 20 chavista governors, he wont be able to survive . My point is that at this point the country is ungovernable for the opposition.

            • Chavez is such a selfish megalomaniac, he could do an invaluable service to Venezuelan politics by ordering fiscal sanity now. Instead he told Giordani to delay any correction and leaves his successor with a ticking time bomb, a bomb only he could have defused. His love for himself and his legacy far exceeds any care he supposedly has for the good of Venezuela.

            • Agreed. I don’t see Cabello making a public division in Chavismo right now, no way. One of the things that has made him such a disliked -mainly for corruption suspicion- but high ranking chavista is his pragmatic way of working: waiting for the right time and acting with admirable tenacity. I think he will wait for a less crucial time, possibly next presidential election, arguing how he kept it together but now thinks the revolution needs an important refresh.
              He was not the chosen one by HCh so he can prove everyone who thinks he will divide chavismo wrong and earn some needed credibility points and score big in a few years.
              Diosdado is a smart guy, he won’t gamble on a short term ultra-high risk play for a long term medium risk one

          • If I were Cabello I might accuse Maduro of pulling the plug on the life support, and crown myself king. Do I care what I have to do to stay there once I’m there?

          • True that. If Maduro ends up being president and has to do swallow the whole paquetazo, resulting in an eventual Cabello presidency the phrase “le echarón el muerto” would acquire a more trascendental meaning.

            • I don’t buy the story about el paquetazo being imminent. Chavez survived the 2008 crisis and oil prizes aren’t low. I think the paquetazo will happen but not this year

              • I also have my doubts about the inevitability of the paquetazo. Somehow, we always land on our feet. CAP was forced into the paquete because oil was worth nothing back then. Not the case now.

              • The “paquetazo” is already happening, with the unmentionable rate doubling in the last few weeks, and a large % of imports depending on this rate, due to the drying up of ever-scarcer Cadivi $, due to ever-lower total oil income from Chinese future oil sale income already spent. The $100 dollar oil is already reflected in current crumbling economic conditions. A large Bs. devaluation, necessary soon, will only give temporary relief to the Bs. side of the ledger.This will simply cement in/increase the already recent large consumer price increases felt everywhere at all but the way-below-cost Mercal/lying national statistics levels. New debt can still be issued to some extent, but at punishingly high yields, with a current Debt/GDP at well over 100% at a realistic Bs./$ exchange rate. No nation usually sells gold from reserves, as Venezuela has done several times recently, unless it’s scraping the bottom of the barrel. The Paquetazo lives, is being implemented more slowly than if oil were not at $100/bbl.

  2. >>> … I have no clue what’s more likely at this point,

    Junta… haggling … military spokesmen, politicians angling for advantage, economic gofers looking for ready cash. In short, a national consensus.

    • It doesn’t necessarily mean the new piece is wrong, but it would be much more credible if it was coming from a different source. ABC just isn’t that careful in its Venezuela reporting, and it could well be Cuban disinfo…

  3. I just read the article that Francisco Toro gently post for me. Si bien el uso de la informaciòn fue muy imprudente y sensacionalista, la información es màs o menos exacta. In my work we were summoned after voting for congregation in one specific point. Attendance mandatory, an if someone voted in another country should follow specific instructions. Wheapons were there, and the hypotetical use of it were discussed, if Capriles desconocia los resultados de las elecciones. Asi que, no pierdo las esperanzas que este rumor tenga algo de verdad, no en el fallecimiento, pero sì en aclarar la situación del presidente. Y bocaranda sin decir nada….

  4. Francisco summarized it with pinpoint accuracy: “Without Chávez, Venezuela is not governable over the next 24 months. The ring is a poisoned chalice.”

    Indeed, over the next 24 months, the country is a hot mess. But more importantly; what after that?

    Chavismo is not only Chavez, but the mass of people that support it. Some have financial reasons, some ideological reasons, some have no reason at all; but they all support it in some way. This mass of people is not dying with Chavez, and unless there is a time for reflection and a social about-face, the country will go in the direction of Chavismo, even with Capriles as president.

    In “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements”, Eric Hoffer masterfully offers profound insights into the nature of “mass movements” and the individuals behind them (in our case, Chavistas and Ni-Nis). In applying Hoffer to the Venezuelan Chavismo, questions must be asked and addressed concerning the Chavismo doctrine, program, project, fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance that has permeated Venezuela as a nation during the Chavismo-republic.

    Also, we cannot forget what Tocqueville said about tyrannical movements (like Chavismo): “Their moment of greatest danger is when they begin to reform, that is to say, when they begin to reform.” And the reason for this danger is that in “reform” times, there is a chance for popular mass revolt, or smaller fractioned uprisings, and system-wide antagonism –that is the social apathy that can destroy any nation-state– when certain groups capitalize in seizing control.

    “Solo el cáncer pudo curar el Cáncer en Venezuela.”

    • Fe de Errata. The de Tocqueville quotes is: [on tyrannical movements] “Their moment of greatest danger is when they begin to reform, that is to say, when they begin to show liberal tendencies.”

      • These were not that tyrannical. Really.

        More than anything they were, and were accepted as kleptocratic and clientist. “Spoils above all”. Their motto. Resentment and sense of entitlement of their followers? Over being passed over in the distribution party for (oil) spoils, really.

        Look for the crumbling of their spoils and clients system as the moment of greatest danger. Like, when they begin to be forced to tell their clients to get a decent business, a decent job, a life. Specially the now rich and powerful ones.

        • The article’s photo and its caption should be illuminating enough about what’s to come. The biggest jackal of them all. Captioned “The power and the money”. And the spoils!

  5. May I ask…

    Everyone here speak about a paquetazo. Which Paquetazo? Oil prices are steadily high, and they can still issue debt as they have done so the last ten years.
    Are we on denial as we were with the numbers previous 7O?

    I know the point has been made that while this telenovela is going on, it’s impossible to concentrate on other, more important issues. But, we have had devaluations since 1982…

    Which Paquetazo???????

  6. The fix may be in but don’t count out the grassroots and rank and file militants, they may have their say also.

    And what of the VP, Foreign Minister and his erstwhile talks with the US. I have never trusted that scumbag, he’s a sellout…

    Rojo Rojito
    Cort

    • Cort, this is where your musings become a little bit interesting. The true believers- guys like Jorge Rodrigues- are apparently not in this game. They are ideological baubles decorating a corrupt pile of shit.

    • Dear Cort.

      We not only expect you guys will react, we are the one benefiting the most with YOU GUYS stabbing each other…

      Of course he is talking to the US, and guess what, he is sending you GUYS a message: “I’m in control now”.

      Not respecting the memory of your Coma Andante in Chief? How dare you!

      Escualidisimo,
      Mayke

  7. I don’t understand very well the “24 month ungovernable period”. I can understand how unpopular economic corrections can lead to mass discontent a la griega. But, Venezuela, although with less money every day to spend, still has a lot. Oil prices are not going down, and there might be a lot to be done if money is spent efficiently. This was JC’s and FT’s mantra prior 7-O and the economic panorama has changes very little. Aside from adjusting the exchange rate the currency and a more efficient spending (that doesn’t necessarily means cutting on social spending) we could about a fiscal cliffs slowly bur surely. Venezuela has a lot more debt capacity and there are tons of rooms for improving spending efficiency. Particularly if we can issue debt in more beneficial terms.

    The second part I don’t understand is the pulled our of a hat 24 number. Why 24? A gut feeling? What exactly leads this country back to governable after that period?

    • Wow… horrible writing on my part. Let’s try again.

      I don’t understand very well the “24 month ungovernable period”. I can understand how unpopular economic corrections can lead to mass discontent a la griega. But, Venezuela, although with less money every day to spend, still has a lot. Oil prices are not going down, and there might be a lot to be done if money is spent efficiently. This was JC’s and FT’s mantra prior 7-O and the economic panorama has changed very little. Aside from adjusting the exchange rate and more efficient spending (which doesn’t necessarily means cutting on social spending) we could avoid a fiscal cliff slowly bur surely. Venezuela has a lot more debt capacity and there are tons opportunities for improving spending efficiency. Particularly if we can issue debt in more beneficial terms.

      The second part I don’t understand is the pulled our of a hat 24 number. Why 24? A gut feeling? What exactly leads this country back to governable after that period?

      • Surely the place where massive change is imminent and inevitable after the announcement of chavez’s death is …Cuba.

      • I’ll write more about this in days to come, but the point is really about the sustainability of the rate of increase in public spending. Oil prices are high, but they’re not rising, while public spending has been rising, and fast. Already the country’s running a humongous fiscal deficit (12-20% of GDP, depending on whose estimate you believe – consider that in Greece the shit hit the fan because they reached 16% of GDP deficit) and paying insane interest rates on new debt issues AND drawing down foreign reserves fast (liquid reserves are at just $3 bn. now, which is like 3 weeks worth of imports).

        The thing that makes it tricky to estimate the actual timing is the damn secrecy surrounding Fonden. We just don’t know if they have $1 bn. left in the alcancía or $10 bn. or $100 bn., because they don’t publish Fonden’s balance sheets. The time when the money just plain runs out obviously hinges on that.

        Francisco Rodríguez, who’s done the Yeoman’s work on estimating Fonden’s remaining assets, figures they’ll run out sometime between June and December this year, depending on what happens to oil prices. Say he’s off by a bit (either way) and it’s really April to February 2014. Whichever way you look at it, the point is that the time is now clearly coming when the government needs to raid your pocket book to balance its books.

        The precise form that that raid takes – whether it’s a gas price hike or a devaluation or tax increases or cuts in popular spending programs, or a bit of all-of-the-above – matters less than the overall shape: soon after Chávez dies, a whole bunch of purchasing power currently in the hands of private households is going to be transferred to Miraflores, and people are going to be pissed off about it.

        • Thanks Francisco.

          Venezuela’s debt classification has not changed dramatically since Chavez started having the oil bonanza, which means the government is still borrowing in the same conditions as it was 5 years ago. Moreover, a massive chunk of the debt in in national currency; if I remember well, you just publish a post about Venezuela’s bancos, and how rotten they are on their parasite businesses in Venezuela.
          Everyone was praying, as Chavistas are now for their leader, that fracking in the US and poor oil demand will do us the favor of putting the Chavernment in a hurry. I still think these is all wishful thinking…
          Although I did not elaborated it sufficiently, I mentioned that Venezuelan’s are sadly accustomed to economic adjustments in miraculously stoic ways. Since our black Friday (18 feb 1983) we have been victims of what you call “transferring purchasing power to Miraflores” So what? they will devaluate, increase the minimum salary, slow down a little bit Gran Mision Ranchos de Venezuela, blame capitalism for the crisis, and the BCV will say we grew 5% in the meantime.
          Rolling over imminent crises is a national sport in this country. If you don’t believe me ask Lusinchi, the one to be blame for the Caracazo, no CAP.
          Thanks anyway for hinting at the economic issue. We all love the telenovela, but for the sake of sanity we need other subjects.

          • My sense is that adjustment RIGHT AFTER Chávez dies will be very easy to portray as a massive betrayal of the Chavez Legacy by whomever is trying to undermine the next president. Remember that the narrative about the successor betraying the legacy of the fallen hero is baked right into Bolivarian ideology (i.e. Bolivar -> Paez).

            This is what’s so tragic about the timing of Chávez’s demise – in a only-Nixon-could-go-to-China kind of way, only Chávez could have gotten away with the coming adjustment. Instead, the fucker’s going to die on us right before he’s forced to…

            • Fiscal deficit is at 8% of GDP, but feel free to keep making up your own numbers to suit your nonsense predictions. Lord knows you’ve NEVER been wrong with your imminent sky-is-falling predictions in the past…

              • I agree with you, I don’t remember the deficit to be over 10%.
                But would you elaborate more on the Malabar of economic policies in the Post-Chavez’ Venezuela?
                Sorry, provided you’ve heard the bad news anywhere…

              • The actual deficit number is a matter of conjecture, purely because – as I’ve noted probably 10,000,000 times on this blog, but GAC still hasn’t quite grasped – over half of public spending is secret, carried out without A.N. approval, in clear contravention to the constitution’s mandate. Still, as the WSJ put it the other day,

                “The difference has grown between what Venezuela’s government takes in and what it spends, according to investment banks, which estimate the gap at 12% to 20% of annual economic output. The estimates vary because Venezuela has many large, off-budget spending items.”

                http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323635504578215912091228472.html

              • I know that the public debt is hard to determine because PDVSA’s and BANDES (read fondo chino here) debt is not counted a public debt because bother PDVSA and Bandes are S.A. even though both debts are backed by oil reserves that are actually public and not by their own assets (toal shenanigans by the way).

                Is this the case too for public spending? For instance, spending coming from PDVSA and BANDES that is spent directly by the respective companies is not accounted by the BCV as public spending?

                As a disclaimer, it is accepted here and elsewhere to not count PDVSA’s debt and alike companies as public since they are defined as independent and not part of the government, even though they are own by the state. Nonetheless, here in Venezuela, both BANDES and PDVSA’s autonomy is pretty much non-existent and the fact that they are backing up their debts with public assets and not their own tells me that conventional practices do not apply.

              • Yes Toro, because quoting the Wall Street Journal’s predictions does a lot for your credibility. As we all know, they’ve been right so many times in predicting Venezuela’s imminent collapse in recent years.

                You could look for more credible estimates, but they wouldn’t fit your agenda. Take the IMF’s estimate in October of 7.4% deficit in 2012. Or maybe Bank of America’s estimate of 8.8%.

                Your 20% number comes from Barclays… yes, the same Barclays that said before the October elections that the opposition was likely to win… If you keep taking your pointers from the same sources, you’ll keep getting it wrong over and over again. Funny how you never learn this lesson.

        • Funny, I wonder how Toro would respond to similar adjustments under an opposition government. Obviously he would be cheerleading it and celebrating it as the actions of a “responsible government”! (Kinda like his favorite media friends were saying while CAP was massacring people in the streets after the paquetazo of 1989).

          All this hyperbole about a coming devalution. Oh no, they are going to have to devalue the currency!!!! They haven’t had to do that since…… 2011…. Oh my god!!!

          • The important thing is how people in Venezuela are going to respond to such an adjustment and its consequences (which will depend on how nasty they are, of course). I know the answer to that if Chavez is around: people would just accept it and nothing much would happen. Now, with someone else in the drivers seat, whether it’s someone from the opposition or from chavismo, I don’t how people would react if the consequences of any coming adjustment are a little more than mild.

            Some chavistas are saying that a devaluation would be something unacceptable. Look at this article:

            http://www.aporrea.org/actualidad/a156832.html

            I quote from the article:

            “No a la devaluación

            Me niego a creer que luego de 14 años en el poder y de 40 años del ciclo inflación-devaluación, volvamos a caer en lo mismo. ¿Dónde están los cientos de economistas, ingenieros, administradores, planificadores, contadores, técnicos y analistas de MinFinanzas y BCV? Si el gobierno nacional vuelve con el cuento del Acuerdo Cambiario para clavarnos una devaluación del bolívar, explícita o disimulada, se derrumbará el apoyo a la revolución bolivariana. Llevamos muchos años de aumento tras aumento tras escasez y tras desabastecimiento.

            Cualquier cosa habría que hacer menos ceder ante las inaceptables pretensiones de Fedecámaras, el mercado paralelo y sus aliados, quienes se alegrarían muchísimo observando la destrucción de Venezuela mientras ven crecer el poder adquisitivo en bolívares de sus $400.000.000.000. No a la devaluación, bajo ningún pretexto.”

            • OH really!

              Is this an AD government then???

              Asi me gusta revolucionarios de pacotilla, no dizque revolucion pacifica. Siganse dejando meter el palo por sus mesias.

              • Are you calling ME a “revolucionario de pacotilla”?

                If so, please change your drug dealer, because he is giving you some adulterated crap that is making you see things that aren’t real.

                On the other hand, if you were simply referring to the guy who wrote the article I quoted, then just ignore the last paragraph.

          • Hold on…
            I don’t think neither Toro nor anybody is really concern with devaluation per se in this blog. As far as I remember you guys are the ones concerned with neoliberal policies and the like. If an oppo government would take “similar” measures I would immediately walk out to denounce we’ve got another AD-PSUV conspiracy running.
            As for the Caracazo I wonder where were you as to make such an authoritative comment on that. All I can see is that you swallow very well all the shit this government tells you to do so. This narrative construct according to which IMF measures and CAP II recklessness
            are the culprit of Caracazo can just be believed by someone who does not know one inch of history of Venezuela, particularly contemporary history.
            What it makes particularly boring this government, from my point of view, is its similarity with AD previous governments, particularly CAP I. What was the innovative approach this time? Oh yes, revolution… Give me a break. All these bullocks about independence is exactly the same CAP referred to when he nationalized the oil and iron sectors…
            If you’d just have the balls that Allende’s economic cabinet had and do something revolutionary from an economic point of view… And, of course, to assume the consequences later on. You are just another bunch of Whiskey-sippers-yuppies-blackberry-holders-Columbia-Hard-Rock-Cafe-wanabe, this is what we used to say of ADECOS and COPEYANOS. Scum.
            Whenever you have something really revolutionary to say, please, let me know, I’d kindly spit on you…

            • That was a good rant Mayke. It almost made sense.

              As for your media friends and their comments during the 1989 massacre, they are easy to find on YouTube. Take a look, you just might learn “one inch of history of Venezuela”.

              • My media friends? Youtube? What else, Wikipedia?

                I kindly asked you, after the rant, to write something worth the space.

                I would also like to know where were you that day?

                I thought we were going to entangle on an argument about post-modernism, developmental narratives, peripheral take overs, Gunter Frank, Enrique Cardoso, I would even accept from you Maza Zavala.

                Not Habermas, Zizek, Fanon or Said??

                Did you really send me to Youtube?

                Nothing provocative at all? To be a Chavista who speaks English, I expected you to have left behind some of the ignorance that tarnishes the whole movement… To no avail…

              • If you want to see what your media friends were saying (yes, the same media friends who you all so servilely defended when the government sanctioned them), then the only place I know of that you can easily see that is on Youtube. Here’s a good place to start, but there’s much much more:

                If your only response to that is “are you really sending me to Youtube?” then the answer is yes. I’m not sure what else to say to someone who willingly refuses to look at the evidence?

  8. Quico, I’m really skeptical about the imminence of the paquetazo, I say it again…under such perilous public finance circumstances a severe macro adjustment is the only option AND the only responsible thing to do..unless, of course, you DO have other options since you are NOT responsible…

    Really, in my top ten of irresponsible things to do to close a fiscal gap they are not even halfway. If you thing they are out of options, you are dead wrong

    • The corollary to the ‘poisoned chalice’ theory is that the opposition wait around until conditions are perfect and no difficult decisions have to be made before making a serious go at governing. Which would be: never. I am convinced that more incremental change and reform is possible. The Capriles campaign had it right.

  9. @ Get a Clue:

    What you posted is framed under propaganda terms. I’m not going to post a long paper here just to prove my point, simply because you have been a star avoiding engagement.
    I was a kid of 10 years when the bloody mess exploded, guess where I used to live? Petare. Have you ever been to the biggest shanty in Latin America? I have, for most of my childhood. And you are going to show me a video, after I had to sleep for ten days under my bed due to the reign of terror malandros imposed, sorry, shall I call them the martyrs?

    Believe it or not, the man did not have any other alternatives.

    GET A CLUE as to why:
    Dependency theory
    ISI
    Stagflation
    Volcker Shock
    LatAm Debt Crisis
    The Lost Decade
    RECADI
    Recognizing internal debt with private sector at a exchange rate of 4.30 Bs per dollar.
    Oil prices at US $ 14.87 (1988) and equivalent to US $ 33 of today’s.
    IMF negotiations unavoidable due to the level of oil prices and the mess behind.

    Now go and switch on TELESUR and open widely your mouth.

    • Great arguments Mayke. Maybe next time you could try to make sense? Let’s see if I understand what you are saying here:

      1.) actual footage on YouTube of what the major media was saying on February 27th, 1989 is “propaganda”

      2.) You are from Petare, so that automatically means you are right about everything, and we should just take your word for it, without any argument or actual evidence.

      3.) You list a bunch of things like dependency theory and ISI as explanations for why CAP massacred people in 1989??

      You win the prize for dumbest argument of the year, hands down. I don’t even have to wait until the end of 2013, this is as dumb as it could possibly get.

      • The dumbest argument of the year is comparing Human Right abuses committed suppressing uncontrolled mass violent looting (which lawfully had to be repressed, what was illegal was the means) with the calculated genocide of millions of persons only because of the race, an argument that diminishes and simplifies the magnitude of something as horrible as the Holocaust.

        • Well, you might win the dumbest award, because I wasn’t comparing the two abuses. I was using the Hitler example simply as an illustration to show how stupid Mayke’s argument was. Please grow a brain before commenting.

          • You were trying to guilt trip Mayke using a Holocaust argument, which is never used by accident, you did it to compare the evilness of CAP with the horror and perfidy associated with genocide, the Holocaust is never used only as an illustration (Ironically, coming from someone who supports a government with very strong antisemitic undercurrents with several Holocaust deniers among his rank and a from someone who in a past discussion said that the Chinese that weren’t mass murdered by Mao loved him)

            • Dude, as much as you try to tell me what I was saying, anyone can just scroll up and see what I was actually saying. Haha!! Funny how that works…

              • If this is not comparing…
                Exactly! So Hitler had no other choice but to massacre the Jews, just as CAP had no other choice but to massacre Caraqueños…
                Now we have a Chavista and Mao apologist guilt tripping us with the Holocaust because the army abused its power in the middle of rampant looting and chaos in one day. God the irony

              • I think I don’t need to convince anyone of the hypocrisy, ideological incoherence and opportunism of most of your arguments here. Its pretty self evident.

  10. Dear GAC.

    Thanks for your lightening answer.

    Your point about the Media is one of the most ridiculous I ever heard in my life. This was the same media that a La Casona and Miraflores. Is that media the culprit of Chavez ascendancy. They destroy CAP government all the way through, no mercy. Now you are telling me that that same media, who helped to build this illusory state of bienestar among ex adecos is a proof of CAP massacring people on the streets.

    Well, if you bother to say where were you in 1989 (the sad thing is that you are not even Venezuelan) I could tell you that I am a witness, like or not, with a better account of what you received through YOUTUBE, CNN, OR TELESUR.

    “You list a bunch of things like dependency theory and ISI as explanations for why CAP massacred people in 1989??”

    YES!, FOR GOD’S SAKE, YES!

    I am sorry for having assumed you’d have understood the line of my argument.

    If you’d have a clue about what I am talking about, YOU WOULD BE THE ONE WHO’D FEEL DUMB…

    What did your government during April 2002? Throwing flowers when the strikers arrive to Lecuna st? Several deaths were caused by army ammunition; and most of them from paramilitary groups, including chavistas casualties.

    Instead, what would you have done? Wait for the city to be incinerated and then ask for calm?

    All yours,

    Mayke

      • Try harder GAC, try harder…

        Probably one day, thanks to wikipedia and youtube, you’ll understand what I meant.

        • Right, don’t make an argument, just tell everyone that they should keep trying to understand what you mean… This is brilliant.

  11. Así me gusta…

    Dying for an engagement…

    It is true that the dependency theory was phased out in the late 70s. Although not before Venezuela embarked upon one of the most ambitious development programs ever dreamt in Latin America.
    Oil and Iron nationalizations, Gury Dam, Puerto Ordaz and the iron complex, several motorways and Power stations, etc… With the Yom Kippur war and the oil embargo, oil prices skyrocketed and banks receiving that surplus started to worry about how to circulate that capital. The answer were cheap loans, particularly to nations, with almost zero % interest. It made perfect sense then, as it is now, to borrow so cheap.
    Unfortunately, the effect on the developed world was the opposite. Deindustrialization, union partisanship pushing salaries high up, were thinning profits. Solution? Outsourcing. Unemployment and high salaries, along with low productivity, were creating a phenomena called stagflation. This fed economic stagnation.
    High oil prices fed inflation. Neoliberals had a solution in mind in two chapters. First, getting back the control in factories, second causing a shock to bring down inflation. Paul Volcker arrived to the FED to fulfill the latter, while Reagan and Thatcher commenced the offensive against the factories.
    In the meantime, Venezuela lived the oil dream; progress was a matter of time, just around the corner. Nobody foresaw that Volcker could rise interest rates tenfold, and that all our loans in foreign currency were in the hands of American banks. With interest rates at 18%, the country started having problems to pay back.
    Then the country would embark upon two of the most terrible administrations of our republican life: We chose Luis Herrera Campins, who with the problem of balance of payment would create RECADI, the biggest corruption scandal until you guys created CADIVI (to emulate them I guess), and not happy with that, recognized government’s debt with the private sector at 4,30 Bs per dollar, instead of at the real price. It’s like you guys now paying all the internal debt you hold at 4,30 BsF… All these in a country severely affected by shortages and paralyzed by lack of currency. Then, when we thought the worse was over, we chose Jaime Lusinchi, a pediatric doctor, who avoided real reform by creating COPRE and fighting to get full control inside AD. Also fighting with the press. The last thing he did was to govern. By 1988 we had double our poverty indicators due to the repercussions of the Latin American crisis and political mismanagement. A serious adjustment was necessary, but nobody had the balls the carry it through. We kept subsidizing gasoline, agrochemicals, bus tickets and imposing the PVP (precio de venta al publico), RECADI was not dismantle and corruption was rampant. All in all, the country was like it is today, but without high oil prices. We were struggling to rise bonds because we could not pay the debt we already had, the exchange control didn’t stop the bleeding and billions were taken out of the country. Economic recovery was not possible because our labor market was one of the most expensive and rigid in the region, industrial output was highly dependent on subsidies like tariffs, which in time were protectionist measures. This was all well before CAP took over.
    Lusinchi was CAP’s enemy, despite the fact CAP supported Lusinchi’s candidacy, because he would loss complete control over the party with CAP as president.
    Conclusions: Internal debt unbearable, external debt almost halted, paying interests but not being able to renegotiate.
    The country at the brink of collapse.
    CAP wins, takes over.
    Reforms are not only needed. He cannot avoid them.
    IMF says country has opportunity to renegotiate external debt if Washington consensus rules are implemented (fiscal austerity).
    Measures are announced along with social programs.
    First adjustments are implemented and the peripheral areas of Caracas explode amid a insignificant rise in the price of gasoline. The unrest spread rapidly amid motorbikers and commuters between Caracas and Charallave and Guatire.
    The government had been sworn in on Feb 2nd. Protests commenced between 27th and 28th, less than a month.

    Did you see how Raul Prebisch contributed with the Caracazo?

    • Mayke, with all due respect, Venezuela dug its own hole, and only began to get out of it due to the then-U.S.Treasury-backed plan to re-negotiate the Region’s virtually worthless debt, along with necessary internal economic adjustment measures. Prebisch didn’t contribute to the Caracazo, Venezuela’s own irresponsibility/incompetence did, both of which have been carried in the last 12 years to a new level exceeded only by certain African nations.

      • Net.

        There is nothing between what I wrote and you wrote that contradicts.
        I’m not blaming Prebisch for anything. Can you imagine Venezuela without all these industrialization? But most of debt in LatAm by 1980 was due to ISI, and it was worthless because external causes like the Volcker shock. The mismanagement came after these, not before. Nobody could, as I said, foresee Volcker’s spike. When you read the chronicles you realized that it was very common to say that getting all these cheap loans was the best option. Now if you have a better explanation, there you go. Just type it.

        • I agree with most of what you say. I believe the Ciudad Guayana White Elehants “industrialization” were a very costly mistake, and have bled real-cost-accounting red ink virtually from the beginning. The massive/mostly-unplanned external debt buildup of the mid-to-latter 1970′s was a mistake, as lying/greedy investment bankers descended on financially ingenuous/corrupt Venezuelan politicians on the theory that any debt, no matter how local (I remember a municipal debt near Puerto Piritu for some $800 MILLION or so) would be considered “Sovereign’, and would be recognized/paid by the National Government (as was the PP one!). Poor little “rich” Venezuela, with many people still thinking this is a “rich” country.

    • Your whole argument relies on the hilarious assumption that any government that carries out ambitious development projects is a direct result of Raul Prebisch and dependency theory, and that any government that carries out ambitious development projects must inevitably end in the same result!!!

      What you completely ignore is that a government can be development-oriented without having anything to do with dependency theory. Take a look at Japan, or South Korea…

      But nice try explaining away all CAP’s failures, and being a completely servile apologist for mass murder.

      With your logic we could explain away the holocaust by starting with WWI reparations!! It wasn’t HItler’s fault, it was those reparation payments!!

  12. “Your whole argument relies on the hilarious assumption that any government that carries out ambitious development projects is a direct result of Raul Prebisch and dependency theory, and that any government that carries out ambitious development projects must inevitably end in the same result!!!”

    This is your argument, not mine. Neither Japan nor South Korea relied on foreign currency for their development projects at initial stage. Most of Japan cash came from Marshal like loans, after 1945, and as you must remember, these were development plans cheaply financed by the US government, far away from stagflation in the 70s. And when they did indebted themselves in foriegn currency, as in the 1990s, they did have a massive crisis (1997). LatAm was a different case, and is not a coincidence that most of its countries had problems to pay the debt after 1981. That’s why it’s called the LatAm debt crisis. All of it came from Volcker shock’s exposure.

    ” What you completely ignore is that a government can be development-oriented without having anything to do with dependency theory”

    So what do they have to do with? Monetarism?
    You can kill your confusion reading Ha Yoon Chang.
    Dependency theory is a much alive subject in academic circles, but in third world academic circles, not Japan’s. The Singer-Prebisch Hypothesis has not been proof wrong. Japan is a developed economy which you cannot simply compare with an oil producer third world economy.

    “But nice try explaining away all CAP’s failures, and being a completely servile apologist for mass murder.”

    I am not ADECO as your comrades and I don’t give a dam about CAP. My point is that his sins belong to his first mandate. He did paid for them during his second term. As for the second mandate itself, his is wrongly blamed for all the evils, including army intervention. Responsibility for these human right abuses should haven been established individually. You government not only repeated the same medicine, in a lesser scale because the person in charge for the implementation of plan Avila, opposed himself to activate it, but also liberated 4 criminals and put in jail several policemen, and many opposition figures. We are still waiting to know who were the snipers in public building’s roofs, and who killed Danilo Anderson for example.

    “With your logic we could explain away the holocaust by starting with WWI reparations!! It wasn’t HItler’s fault, it was those reparation payments!!”

    You cannot explain the hatred of Jews with the Versailles Treaty. But it´s a matter of fact that these impositions gave way to WWII, and therefore to the holocaust. A small exercise of historical determinism.

    Any other comments?

    Or rather, any meaningful text? Other than your vain rebukes?

    Kind regards,

    • ” it´s a matter of fact that these impositions gave way to WWII, and therefore to the holocaust. A small exercise of historical determinism.”

      Exactly! So Hitler had no other choice but to massacre the Jews, just as CAP had no other choice but to massacre Caraqueños…

      Thanks for so beautifully demonstrating how utterly retarded your argument is.

      • “Exactly! So Hitler had no other choice but to massacre the Jews, just as CAP had no other choice but to massacre Caraqueños…”

        No my dear friend. Hitler had his opportunity because French, English and other idiots thought that it was more important to humiliate Germany and its people than to settle the dispute once and for all. The result? Hitler.

        • Oh, so the massacre of the Jews is not Hitler’s fault, it is the fault of the French and English idiots!!! I think you have beaten your previous record of dumbest argument of the year. That is amazing!

          • My dear GAC.

            Is not enough to hold the line at any price. You complaint about leaving the other one to guess what one had meant. Stop your laziness and give me some food for thought.

            Nobody will interrupt us because they all think I´m even more Marxist than you are, so this is between old comrades I guess….

            • Food for thought? I’m simply trying to understand your ridiculously stupid argument. What I’ve got so far is that Hitler is not guilty of massacring the Jews, and that CAP is not guilty of massacring Caraqueños…

              • This is your theory, not mine. I have never said Hitler was innocent of anything. It was you who brought such a tricky subject and now doesn´t know what to answer to your own mess…

      • We will have to be in vigil because I’m just warming up, and there’s nothing else to do in this poor weather.

        Anywhere says the snipers were the Policia Metropolitana.

        Actually, La Nacional building was taken because everyone saw snipers there. Much before PM took over.

        Where were you that day my dear gringo? I can tell you where was I. Between Av Universidad and Av Sur 8, just two blocks away from Miraflores.

        ¿Me vas a mandar otro videíto?

        • Oh really? Because that’s not what the PM say on their own recordings. They say they had INFILTRATED the building DRESSED AS CIVILIANS, and that they are “neutralizando los talibanes”.

          Oh, but you were there! So we should listen to what you say, not what the evidence says!! Hahahahaa!!! This is one of the most hilarious discussions I’ve had in a long time. Thanks for the entertainment Mayke…

          • Evidence?

            You call evidence the show trials of Puente Llaguno?
            Let me guess what is next.

            Gunmen from Puente Llaguno were defending their own lives against the brutal aggression of the PM, and no one killed in La pedrera were their victims but instead PM infiltrated in La Nacional. Qué arrecho eres tú de pana.

            • The evidence is the recordings of the Policia Metropolitana.

              You can call it a “show trial” if you want… but that doesn’t change what the PM said on their own recordings.

              • Yes????

                Since you are ubiquitous can you synchronize these record tapes with the time in which events happen?

                Because obviously PM took over the buildings to neutralize Talibanes, who were in a security zone directly managed by the Praetorian Guard of Palace. I don´t really think so the GH would have the PM to take over early that day to massacre people.

              • Nope, because the recordings substantiate the testimonial evidence. Several witnesses inside the building testified that they saw the PM officials firing down at people on the street. Nice try anyway!

      • The snipers were placed on rooftops all along the “Zona De Seguridad” in front of Miraflores on the morning of April 11, and were seen by a relative of mine as he drove down the Avenida there. Another relative, long-time DIM, witho other DIM members, distributed handguns/ammo to all takers on the street there that same morning. And, there are those who feel sorry for Chavez???

        • Right, we shouldn’t listen to what the evidence says, we should listen to what some random person told NET… Brilliant.

          • Your evidence is flawed.

            “venta pa’ca. El efectivo que penetró que esté pendiente, yo estoy apuntándole a la azotea.”

            Why would be a police be aiming to the rooftop if he was the KILLER ATOP of it?

            • Listen to the recordings, or read the transcript. There was confusion among the PM about the officials that had penetrated La Nacional… hence the need to explain it on the recording. You aren’t very smart are you?

          • Evidence?? Eyewitness evidence, as used in any rational (non-Chavista) court of law. GAC, as an ideological apologist, you are complicit in stupidity. As a murder/murderer apologist, you are complicit as an accessory after the fact (at least intellectually, if I can use the term so loosely, as in your case).

    • If Chavez gave the order I would. You see, I’m not like you Mayke, I don’t pretend that governments aren’t guilty for the violence that they carry out.

      Are you ready to admit that Hitler was to blame for the holocaust yet? Or that CAP was to blame for the massacre of 1989? So far you’ve just tried to deny it.

      • But we know you lie, because unlike CAP, who blundered into a bloodbath amidst a crazy, unplanned outbreak of anarchic violence which he had to deal with jet lagged from a trip on 48 hours without sleep, Chávez meticulously planned, over more than a decade a massacre that left dozens of innocents dead on February 4th, 1992, and you celebrate that as a revolutionary exploit!

        It’s not 1984, dude. Eastasia has not always been at war with Eurasia. We have not forgotten. You cannot change what happened.

        • Oh yes, poor CAP’s massacre was due to….. wait for it……. jet lag!!! That poor thing.

          I don’t celebrate Chavez’s coup, but I also don’t deny it, as you have denied FOR MORE THAN A DECADE the coup that your heroes carried out in April 2002.. And might I add, they killed a HELL of a lot more people than were killed in 1992. Human Rights Watch reported as many as sixty dead on April 13th due to repression from the Policia Metropolitana.

          Chavez’s coup was not the way to go, but at least he had the excuse that he was trying to overthrow a regime that had been responsible for the massacre of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent people.

          What was the excuse for youR coup Toro? Talk about 1984!!! Gimme a break.

            • Like always, when you can’t actually respond to the argument, just come back with a cute little nonsense response.

              Funny, the guy who outright DENIES that a coup took place in April 2002 talks to me about 1984!! Down the memory hole right Toro? Oh, and CAP’s massacre, toss that down there too! It was just jet lag!!!

              • Hee hee, and once more we remember why I generally bow out of these insane little pissing matches – Chris, you’re not just wrong, it’s much worse than that: you’re boring

              • Is that the reason you bow out Toro? Or is it because you simply have no coherent argument… (“you’re wrong” isn’t an argument, hee hee!!)

                I think we all know the answer.

              • Hey, I know I can’t compete Toro, not when I’m talking to a guy that gets an erection conjuring up bullshit stories about adjustment packages that never arrive, and Venezuela’s imminent collapse that never occurs…

              • You’re not only wrong, its much worse than that, you’re pathetically immature.

                Hey, but since I’ve got your attention, we should take a little stroll down memory lane, just to remember a few more things that have gone down Toro’s memory hole.

                Remember when your political heroes went on a witch hunt arresting and beating democratically elected government officials? Down the memory hole. Remember when Leopoldo Lopez sat there on TV with the coup leaders talking openly about how they had planned the coup several days beforehand? Whoops, down the hole. Remember when Otto Neustadtl explained how the coup leaders knew that deaths would occur the night before the coup?? Whoops, down the hole. And remember when Mayela Leon confirmed what Neustadtl had said? Whoops!!

                Oh, we could keep playing this uncomfortable game, but frankly its a waste of time. Thanks for the fun though Toro. Far from being boring, I find it fascinating that people like you even exist.

      • With widespread vandal looting/burning literally reaching the bottom floors of residential apartment buildings, as well as widespread looting/destruction of commercial property everywhere, Italo Del Valle Alliegro forced a Cagado CAP to call a curfew, impose martial law, and call out the troops, as would any nation of the world under similar circumstances. Those in the streets who didn’t get off them deserved the consequences.

  13. >>> …The next big date in the charade that has become the transition process in Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela is January 5th.
    New Year Resolutions -
    i. call jan 5 off
    ii. unanimously honor and name the suffering patient the unique – indispensable shining star of Avila. Award him with the highest honors pre-humously in the biggest imaginable bonche that beggars the imagination.
    iii. blame one and all, and especially the evil empire for messing with his health
    iv. call for the definitive council of clerics, soothsayers, wizards and others to gather at his bedside for a el llantonaso of the year.

  14. Feliz Año a todos!

    JC and Quico are right – Chávez will die but when? We are all going to die…..sometime…..but they have to make the assumption that it will be very soon to suit their agenda and speculative arguments. This is pathetic in itself.

    Cabello will not betray Maduro. Think about it. The only reqson he would do that would be to split the vote in any possibloe presidential elections and must therefore be in the pay of the State Department.

    Until the political situation is clear no major economic decisions will be taken. Paquetazo al estilo de CAP – forget it. Anyone who prejuduces Chavez0s legacy and way of doing things economically, socially or otherwise will be out on their ear. Still, as blinded opposition you cannot understand that.

    Quico – no one will violate the Constitution – yes, we all know that is what you want to be able to scream “coup d’état- but it will not happen. Chavismo will control teh situation as the opposition HAS NO POWER in Venezuela except for media noise.

    Chávez is not showing signs of dying in the short term and my guess if that the swearing in date will be postponed as temporary absence for up to 180 days (as long as Chavez does not die or deteriorate too much) and the TSJ will swear him in…….in Havana. Date to be decided.

    It is important to keep Chavez there until at least May 26th so that we can wipe the floor with the opposition again.

    Watch the video of Heinz Dieterich’s interviw with Janiot on CNN from January 1st. He says EXPLICITLY that Madure would defeat Cpariles and get around 56% of the vote. Schemel indicates the same. He also says that Chavez will not be able to return since the illness will have taken too much of a toll on his health. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KH6VlnXFGNE

    Keep on speculating. Get a Clue, Cort Green and Arturo will have a ball watching you guys squirm in your own fantasy and verborrea.

    • “It is important to keep Chavez there until at least May 26th so that we can wipe the floor with the opposition again.”

      Are the generators for the morgue in Havana reliable enough to keep Chávez preserved that long?
      Anjá. So now you’re sporting the royal pronoun (pluralis majestatis)? La muerte de Chávez los tiene locos.

      • GRAMMAR FAIL!

        I do not enjoy making fun of someone who may have learned (or tried to learn) English as a second language. But I find it equally plausible, syd, that you are a native English speaker whose grasp of basic grammar has been impaired by a fanatical hatred of Chavez–or, more likely, by a desperate need to outdo NET as the most obnoxious ‘opposition lackey’ in CC’s comments section.

        Arturo is not “sporting the royal pronoun” in the sentence you cited. The royal pronoun is used when a person–usually of high office–uses the first person plural ‘we’ in place of the singular ‘I’. So, unless Arturo is saying that he plans to defeat the opposition by personally competing as a candidate in over 300 local electoral races, his use of the pronoun ‘we’ in the sentence simply expresses identification with Chavista candidates, politicians, etc.!

        It is true that Arturo’s use of the pronoun ‘we’ implies an antecedent that is missing from the sentence. But any reader who is not an idiot should be able to correctly guess at the implied antecedent. I guess that excludes you. ;)

  15. Schemel/Dietricht/Arturo et. al., say,”Chavez is not showing signs of dying in the short term”–Of course, neither does a vegetable, or frozen meat….

  16. The 2nd sentence of article 231 seems to make it possible (and constitutional) for the President-Elect to postpone the swearing-in ceremony on January 10th, and to take the oath of office before the TSJ (rather than the AN) at some later date. Even Capriles acknowledges this.

    • “Do you promise to abide by the Constitution, as (once again) newly elected President? If so, the hand that isn’t lying limply on La Bicha, please raise in acknowledgement. (ZZZZ-sound of electric current, and an involuntary jerk of the other hand). So be it, the TSJ, of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, here in this cold room of the Isla De La Felicidad, duly witnessed by those pillars of international impartiality, Fidel and Raul Castro, by the powers invested in us by the whorecruxes pueblo of Venezuela, do hereby declare you President for another 6-year term.”

  17. Personally, I’m rooting for almost anyone but Cabello to become the next president. I just have a natural suspicion of men with military backgrounds, not to mention that ten to twelve military men won regional seats a couple of weeks back. The politicization of the Armed Forces is just too dangerous and it needs adequate civilian oversight.

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