Maduro’s “mi comandante” problem

Praying for a miracle

Praying for a miracle

If you search the words “mi comandante” on Twitter, you’re likely to run into a long series of prayers from concerned chavistas. Almost in unison, they hope for Hugo Chávez’s full recovery by talking about him as “their commander.”

This is a problem for Nicolás Maduro.

The term “mi comandante” is much more than a moniker. It signals both a direct line of command – it doesn’t get more submissive that “mande, mi comandante” – as well as a certain posession, an intimate relationship between leader and follower. He is “my” commander inasmuch as I let him be mine.

The problem for Maduro is that he is not “my” anything to anyone, except his immediate family. Have you heard him called “mi vice”? How about “mi príncipe heredero”? “Mi canciller”? “Mi chofer”? “Mi conductor”?

This is but a sign of the increasing difficulty the President-in-waiting will have in keeping his base united. As much as he may try to pull at the strings of mournful chavistas, he is not “theirs,” and they are not “his.”

When chavistas voted for Chávez, for “mi comandante presidente,” they were in essence transferring their sovereignty to him while at the same time expressing that he (He?) belonged to them. This was part of the brilliance of Hugo Chávez – emphasizing the people’s sovereignty, however false it may have been, while convincing them to give it to him. This mutual co-dependency is firmly established – “Chávez es el pueblo, Chávez eres tú.”

That is why so many people are so concerned about the health of somebody they do not even know. It’s not just any leader that is passing, and it’s not just his policies. If Chávez dies, a part of them dies with him. In praying for him, they pray for themselves – the people as horcruxes.

Maduro doesn’t have anywhere near the same emotional connection to his voters. Getting the same number votes as Chávez is going to be an uphill battle for him.

60 thoughts on “Maduro’s “mi comandante” problem

  1. I have no doubt that the people will remain faithful to their commander’s final wish of voting for Nicky Mature, and I’m willing to put a few bucks on it… no, no, the chavernment’s problems will start a few months down the road (God bless the Venezuelans’ nonexistent memory).

  2. Not quite different from a king, originally a military figure, and as kings go the king never dies. The question is then, what kind of “nation” we can get from this brew? In a way, sadly, I guess, it does not differ that much from Europeans who thought of sovereignty as a concept that needed an exception: the head of state. “Sadly” because it took them centuries to topple a few of their cowned cretins.

  3. After his interview last night, those who bet Maduro will get all chavistas vote, will have to rethink their thesis. It‘s not that clear and definitely not easy.

  4. Re our Nicky’s latest TV appearance, it will be remembered that Napoleon said, as a maxim, “Never interrupt an enemy while he is making a mistake”, on which note, any Divinely Donated folk out there would seem to do well in refraining from comment at this point in time…

  5. Maduro’s “Mi Comandante” problem is real, but it’s not an electoral problem, it’s a governing problem. In the hyper-compressed timeline of Article 233 – a 30 day campaign, the first 10 of which are a funeral – I think chavismo will find it easy to mobilize to elect his guy.

    Maduro’s Mi Comandante problem will come into play later, when he has to push through an adjustment package and has none of the personal connection with his constituents it would take to credibly ask them to make sacrifices for the good of the revolution.

    • You still give for granted the famous adjustment package that nobody else seems to see as obvious as you do…
      Pure wishful thinking

      • I think it is a bit disingenuous to say “nobody else”. Most of the people in the finance and business community certainly expect this. Definitely those working in LA debt and forex markets. There have been numerous “notes” released by various banking firms hinting, if not outright mentioning that this package is a necessity.

        Why?

        There is a significant structural imbalance with the currency. A devaluation is a must, if for no other reason than to address this imbalance. If you follow the price of green lettuce and its recent drop versus the dollar, this becomes all the more apparent. The finance ministry has tried to “stealth” fix this by ramping up the creation of currency in M1/M2, but this simply spikes inflation and creates only a temporary fix while the problem lags behind as the currency flows into the pockets of consumers; then it explodes again with consumer driven inflation (or is it speculation?).

        Even so, this isn’t a real fix. The cash situation kills Venezuela because the imports have to be paid for in dollars making each month’s imports that much more expensive in real currency terms despite nominal controls. When there are huge subsidies (domestically: food in the Mercals, gas, social programs, building materials, appliances; foreign: oil to ideological allies such as Cuba, Nicaragua or Bolivia), the government pays for those in dollars (or euros, rmb, or whatever) even as it collects much of its non-oil income in bolivars. Do you begin to see the problem? The situation is okay as long as the price of oil is high and expenditures remain constant, but what happens when the first declines or the second increases significantly? One of the two has already happened this year.

        They have no choice but to adjust it. Whoever does so will be politically odious in Venezuela, and lacking real leadership at this time, it won’t happen which only exacerbates the problem. There is a fiscal paralysis in the country at a time when it needs more financial help than at any other and the way its going, Argentina will be kids play by comparison.

        Indicators of problems:
        Exploding parallel rate – es caro tener conejos.
        Swap market volatility – recently.
        The bolivar is unavailable on short-notice calls at major banks in the U.S. – carry cost is too high/risky.
        Dropping foreign reserves to <$4 billion – Ciao CADIVI and SITME.
        High domestic inflation – the recent drop in the CPI is a governmental constraint, not real.
        Spikes in governmental expenditures – you didn't think that pre-election stuff was really free, right?
        Capital flight – for the last dozen years.

        So how does Venezuela fund itself if it continues on the same path? I've said it before, and I'll say it again, "You can run with a negative net income, but you cannot run with negative cash flows."

        • Hi Pitiyanqui.

          Thanks for your thorough explanation.

          I still think that words like “imminent paquetazo” run hollow. Your description about economic imbalances are not only accurate, they also describe structural problems of Venezuela’s economy that are not, by far, a creation of this government. In fact, the most accurate description of this government is that of a pumalaca, red outside, white inside. This is another AD government. Nothing revolutionary but, very very developmentalist. Probably the only time in which Venezuela was not under those structural problems was during few days of CAP II, just before two coups and AD rats jumping from the sailboat would render that government a mockery.
          No ones put in doubt some adjustments are necessary. In fact, this government has been very conservative regarding dates and economic adjustments. They haven’t done anything yet because obviously they have a massive political crisis to deal with first.

          Moreover, I am surprised you seem to put aside the political element of “running out of cash” on the streets, namely dollars. This is a totalitarian element that has been present since they invented CADIVI to inflict real pain among the old apparatchiks and the middle class, the core of Venezuelan opposition.

          Adjustments are part of political life in Venezuela since 1983, technicians in the Ministry of Finance are not new at all. some were very painful, some have not even been noticed. In my opinion, they have a massive room to improve finances without even mentioning social expending cuts.

          Your turn,

          • Some little room, if they would/could be rational, no room if not. Massive debt(much probably non-accounted for currently);high debt/GDP ratio at a realistic exchange rate; almost-prohibitive $ borrowing costs; declining oil production; declining oil income due to Chinese future oil sales(with proceeds already spent) and 150M approx. bbl/da. imports of oil/derivatives/gasoline at intl. market costs to cover internal deficits due to refinery fires and problems at Curacao; probably largely phantom Fonden reserves in line with this phantom revolution; BCV intl. liquid reserves at below-critical level; Country dependency on massive food imports (est. 3 weeks-only supply on hand), with virtually all/more future oil import $ in 2013 necessary just to barely keep the Country afloat economically; 0 foreign confidence in any Chavista Government’s capability/willingness to even attempt to solve these problems; and, finally, a minimum wage at a realistic exchange rate that only a Cuban would envy.

          • I left out the political/ideological stuff and dwelt solely on the dire financial situation. If that seems odd, consider this: one of the hallmarks of failed states is the inability of the government to sustainably fund itself. Expenditures > Revenues = Political Instability.

            Granted, it isn’t that simple, in practice…but given the huge financial problems, the erosion of the various branches of government into more or less a single cult of personality, while the form of democracy is strong in Venezuela, I do not believe the institutions themselves are per se.

            I’ve mentioned previously the political issues brought up by the finance situation and potential infighting within chavismo. Like Mr. Toro, I think that once President Chavez is gone, within a few months, the country will be more or less ungovernable for 1-2 years as the financial and political crises combined destabilize any office holder. (This is also the crux of my argument why the opposition should make a strong campaign, but run not to win and why Cabello will patiently wait in the wings for whomever is in office to fall.)

            Despite the varied feelings about CAP, I think he was headed in the right direction with some of his reforms, but alas, he was not allowed to see them to fruition. Even so, past performance is not an indicator of future success; that old saw and all…I think the situation in Venezuela is much worse than in previous iterations. Why? Because, in governments, as in businesses, when you run out of money, you have three options: Raise revenues or cut costs or borrow. Politically cuts, while direly needed, are not feasible and this is particularly true in areas where they are most needed (i.e. gas subsidies). Raising revenue, which in this instance is oil money, seems a non-starter since production has declined despite repeated attempts to increase production (which even the dysfunctional/half-assed oil countries in Africa have been able to do) in addition to the ridiculous amounts of oil that is simply being given away which further reduces available revenue growth.

            So, borrow, borrow, borrow. This has been going on for the last few years and even so, there’s not enough funding available so the government has resorted to extra-market forms such as the deals with China for oil. That’s a pretty bad sign, when you think about it, given that, in personal finance, this is an indicator of faltering ability to pay…when was the last time you thought of a serial pawner as being a good financial risk? Isn’t that what’s going on? Pawning oil wealth at a discount for currency/goods/infrastructure contracts now? Despite the rally in bonds, the market is all over the place on any given day and political instability will make the market for VZLA debt dry up like water on the sands of the Medanos de Coro.

        • -¿Una devaluación?

          -No creo que haya una devaluación, pero sí creo que será implícita permitiendo que se desplace el Sitme y abriendo a otros sectores, y permitiendo que se desplace Cadivi para garantizar que el mercado se reabastezca rápidamente, porque vienen cambios políticos. Maduro, que va a ser el sustituto de Chávez, se podría ver en aprietos si se ve envuelto en una macrodevaluación o en una escasez brutal en Venezuela. Por eso van a colocar más divisas en el mercado oficial, resolver el problema del Sitme, colocar más deuda para poder abastecerlo y probablemente hacerse de la vista gorda en el corto plazo en el mercado no oficial para que se restablezcan ciertos equilibrios de abastecimiento.

          Luis Vicente Leon (Datanalisis)

          • Oh, I’m prone to agree with this in the short-term. They’ve been stealthing this in, as I mentioned, with expanded money supply in the M1. That’s why I mentioned this above. (see here: http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/VNMSM1:IND) This chart is a little inaccurate from what I’m seeing and I trust my data more, but this is more of a public source.

            The longer they sit on this “unofficial” devaluation, the more expensive things become for the government vis-a-vis imports. Its simply a backbreaker for them and they have no choice but to create an “official” devaluation eventually. When it is politically expedient. That makes it a bit of a conundrum, seeing as it might not be politically expedient for a while as long as there is a potential succession war brewing and thus causing even more chaos on the financial side of things.

            Look at the M2 and you can see a bit of the problem. Little is held in any mid-term deposits, which makes sense given inflation and future expectations – liquidity of cash or convertibles is important, which is also indicative of issues within the country, its just not anything new. http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/VNMSM2:IND

            I know either the three gentlemen of this blog, Mr. Octavio, or Mr. Southam have covered this at some point, but I’m lazy this morning.

    • Toro likes to play this fun game where what he calls “pushing through an adjustment package” is actually just doing a run-of-the-mill devaluation, like they do every few years.

      Its a fun little game where Toro pretends that the country is teetering on the brink of collapse… He’s been playing it for years, while the rest of us watch and laugh…

      • I don’t see what’s funny. While you bother about the insignificance of whether FT is right or wrong, we continue to live in a horribly managed nation that, as you say keeps a “run-of-the-mill devaluation, like they do every few years.” And for some reason it continuous to get support.

        I really don’t get the joke.

        • And I don’t get the point of your comment. If you don’t find it funny its because you are on the other side of the joke… obviously.

  6. Oh and talking about Maduro’s delirious Telesur interview last night, I also think that, looking down the road, Maduro might be blundering by being too obviously and too publicly Fidel’s man for the job. Again, this is all material Diosdado can work with as he tries to build a coalition of more military, less communist, more nationalistic chavistas to do the guy in. But again, this is all down the road – it’s a long game.

    • Yes, and we should all take Toro’s long range predictions seriously, since he’s been right so many times in the past…

      • Toro’s probably secretely hoping that Maduro isn’t Stalin in disguise.

        The important point which this oppo crowd have never grasped is that the tangible achievements of the revolution are the principal reason for a decade of electoral victories.

        As long as Maduro continues in the same vein, he is guaranteed similar adulation.

    • I also think that, looking down the road, Maduro might be blundering by being too obviously and too publicly Fidel’s man for the job.

      (With concern in her voice, one woman coming out of the mercado, presumably in Caracas, says to the interviewer and camera, before the new year: “No sé por qué se tuvo que operar en Cuba.”)

      Keep wondering, doñita ….

      Outside the flipper-flapping sycophants of the Cuban revolution, the rest of us, and that includes the pueblo with a Chávez fixation, already see Fidel’s obvious imprint on Maduro. Hard not to miss in Maduro’s two televised appearances, of recent days. Telling were Maduro’s two attempts to interweave the history of both nations as one. Me dió asco. With Maduro at the helm over the long-term, it would not surprise me to see Cubazuela become much more visible, much more official.

      May this dim-witted liar not last long in government.

  7. >>> …This mutual co-dependency is firmly established – “Chávez es el pueblo, Chávez eres tú.”

    That’s so 2012 …. time to leave the hysteria behind. It’s 2013, time to break a few mirrors. walk under a few ladders, open a few windows, clear the cobwebs in the mind. Since when does the universe revolve over a single living corpse?.

  8. vota maduro, pa que se jodan a juro :p

    not that I support the guy, but right now is the worst possible time for the opposition to get to power, not to mention how incredibly difficult that would be, especially after what we saw from 7-O onwards.

    People are charmed with chavez, it’s beyond rational, and we know how irrational people can be, whoever wins will have to carry on chavez work, at least at first, if he/she wants to survive 2013, the only exception to this would be if godgiven stages a successful coup and uses fear as means to control the masses using “every means necessary”.

    now, you may say “ok, you’re right Egghead McDouche, now tell me, when wll be a good time for the oppo to run things?”

    I think not this term, I think the oppo would do so much better if it grows some cojones and call things for it’s name, grow up and not just develop, but (SUCCESSFULLY) EXECUTE a plan to restore venezuela, fingerpointing who should get fingerpointed, doing what needs to be done, and specially, not get stomped on by the government, chavez is not anymore, and we as a country must move on, a recall referendum could be the chance if the oppo aces on this job, if not, let’s just hope that in another 6 years, things have changed for the better.

  9. Excellent post. I would add that it is not so much Chavez’s brilliance in creating the “mi comandante” trope; that is standard for those who aspire to use charisma to establish leadership and legitimacy. Some communist-oriented movements have tried to make the Party the vessel of charisma; (“the Party is always right”) but fascist groups have stuck with the personalized charismatic connection to the leader/ il duce/ der fuhrer.

  10. Sorry guys, a big mouth and plata don’t make a Siegfried, and a Wagnerian Götterdämmerung farewell scene just isn’t in the works for this two-bit bully. A renzied grief-ridden mob will still be just that.

  11. I don’t think Fidel has a thing to do with it since he is on the outs and his brother has reverse direction towards a market economy and capitalism, maybe Cuban and Chinese military and bureaucracy. Maybe…

    But to me, Nicolás Maduro is the victory of ” DE LA DERECHA ENDOGENA ” in league now with part of the opposition, the bureaucracy counter revolution, the Boli-bourgeois and willing to make a deal with the US.

    Rojo Rojito
    Cort

    • You’ve been complaining about the boli-bourgeois for a long time, without realizing that asking for a bolivarian revolution without the boli-bourgeois is like asking for a hot dog without the sausage.

    • Where? Ever? Were the revolutionaries in control?

      Would you mind to enlighten us about what the hell is Derecha Endogena???

      Or you mean Rebuznalucionarios wearing Columbia shirts and using Blackberries???

      If this is what you mean by Derecha Endogena estás tú y los demás revolucionarios bien jodidos. Porque eso es lo que hay.

      • what the hell is Derecha Endogena???

        All these parroted phrases (“derecha endógena”, “mundo pluriplural”, etc.) are nothing more than a way for so-called revolutionaries to establish their elitism.

        When the phrases are not redundant, they’re either oxymoronic or totally empty of common sense. But no matter, so long as they serve these snivelling revolutionaries to differentiate themselves from the masses with whom they purport to identify, yet only confuse; and to never, ever soil their hands working alongside them.

        As such, these *revolutionaries* are the biggest and the most delusional snobs of any elite group I’ve ever run across.

        And you can take my words to the bank, Arturo, GAC, Cort Greene and rest of your ilk.

    • It pains me to imagine the event of the “victory” of the side you support in Venezuela. An image comes to mind: Mario Silva denouncing X (can be a member of the Derecha Endogena or just plain Opposition) on TV a la Marat, and the Army dragging this X to a summary trial, and summary execution.

      • In that case everything would be much easier for both sides.
        We would have our own little civil war, and Mario Silva would have been the very first victim of the mega car bomb exploding in front of his armored car leaving no traces of him…

  12. The revolutionaries have saved the revolution on many occasions, the coup, the oil non strike, your little flare ups in the streets you could not hold and countless elections.

    Maduro is part of the endogenous right ( you must not be Venezuelan or you would have heard of the term) and false left. Real socialists don’t like the Boli-bourgeois and those who pretend to be Rojo Rojitio.

    As for hot dogs, I think you mean hot dogs and buns but I’m more a Brats kind of guy.

    • You would have to conceptualize “revolutionary” in order for us to grasp the meaning of your sentence.

      Elections are not a matter of real revolutionaries. Or at least this is what I learnt from Lenin, Bakunin and Marx manuscripts. You know why you do elections? Because you fear to awake Leviathan. You fear to incite a coup like the one in Chile. You don’t really want to face the ire of the Empire, do you? You still send oil there, and issue bonds in Wall St. You don’t really want to take class struggle to another level. Because you know you would not survive such Armageddon.
      Your words are void my friend. THERE IS NO REVOLUTION IN VENEZUELA!!!
      If you refer as revolutionaries to the hordes of Sans-Culottes, they don’t do revolutions, they follow suit. Guess from whom? From the bourgeoisie; and in Venezuela, the bourgeoisie is in full swing and control. It was not a problem of real structural changes, but instead, one of quitate tú pa ponerme yo. The revenge of those put aside by the Pacto de Punto Fijo. No one ever though about changing the distribution of the rent, or dismantling the monopoly of the state over the nation´s wealth. What for? If you could just “inherit it”???

      You want to look for a real revolution? Go to Bahrain.

      • Cort Greene won’t be going to Bahrain, or to Venezuela, anytime soon. He lives in the US. Comfy, too. Though he has spouted a few unconvincing wishes of staying at el 23 de enero. Kid you not.

        • For God sake. We won’t let you. We are evil rightist disociados. But we don’t send our contenders to the most dangerous shantytown in Caracas, and governed by a bunch of traffickers who call themselves Colectivos.

          • you are way more of an “evil rightist disociado” than I am. I say: “Let them eat arepas and stay at the 23 de enero.”

            Naturally, I know that ‘en el fondo’ these whiners are nothing more than dreaming do-nothings.

    • Maduro is part of the endogenous right ( you must not be Venezuelan or you would have heard of the term) … if it sounds like verbal diahrea, if it looks like verbal daihrea, if it smells like verbal diahrea, then that’s what this shit is.
      Cort – do you even know how to parse?

    • We have heard about the derecha endogena. But rather than “you must not be Venezuelan or you would have heard of the term”… One surely isn’t one of the Venezuelan nutjobs that comment on Aporrea if one has not used it as if it was a real concept. You see, we have heard of it, and of the tooth fairy too! What you nutjobs call “derecha endogena”, we call the real face and the real power of the fake Revolution.

      You really don’t even figure. You will see how important you really are once Chavez is out of the picture.

  13. And that’s why the reign of Cabello and Maduro might be short. They are nothing for chavistas, ok, maybe they are the corrupt and incompetent fu**-ups chavistas routinely accused of not allowing Mi Comandante to bring paradise to the masses by his miraculous touch. Unless they reverse this (and again, this is partly the fault of El Comandante) and become his heirs and his anointed, their future hegemony is dead.

    And that’s why the “Socialist Revolution” so dear of the PSFs shall become an empty word at the rate that the Leader’s body reaches room temperature. Really, that part of Hugo Chavez’s message did not connect with most people who loved him for a Messiah. Now he will be gone and Jaua, Giordani and other Marxists will be out of a job and of a Revolution.

    And that’s why there will be tremendous confusion, with the assistance-ialist, populist and demagogic policies of Chavez (mainly Misiones, but also gas subsidy) becoming synonymous or at least associated with Socialismo, with his life work, and (wished they) chavismo.

    And that’s why the opposition should limit itself for the moment to insure that a) Nobody inherits the mantle of Hugo Chavez, b) Proposing much better policy than the Misiones. Making people forget about Socialism is a given, for most did not even know what it might be.

    There will be ample time to deconstruct Hugo Chavez the legend. A vastly improved situation in Venezuela and a decade or two will be necessary. Let the religious chavistas mourn their loss. And by mourn I mean accept that the guy is gone for good.

    • In the 1920s the Soviet Union post civil war was gradually rebuilt with a mixed economy including important elements of capitalism (kulaks), while the communist party maintained a monopoly on politics and the state.

      At the end of the decade the regime was stretched to breaking point by an economic crisis and the market economy threatened to break out of state control. Economic laws always assert themselves eventually. The only option was to surrender to market forces and stop the price controls on grain.

      Most expected Stalin to do the obvious thing. The Stalin-Bukharin regime of the 20s was pragmatic, realistic and seemed to be pro-kulak (small business). What else could happen anyway?

      Stalin broke with Bukharin and in a year or so, completely liquidated the kulaks and (literally!) destroyed all traces of capitalism – i.e., private property. A complete 180 degree turn.

      The pro-capitalist, or Kulak forces had the finances and were favoured. If Stalin had picked the obvious road, might he have done well out of it personally? Perhaps, but one thing is clear – he would end up, in the most favourable scenario, second best. The only thing he had going for him, due to his background, was to mediate between the communist “base” (e.g. workers and city dwellers that depended on the cheap grain) and the kulaks/peasants. If the former drifted into inactivity then the latter would not see the need for his mediation services.

      On the other side, the active but dwindling communist base in the cities was being taken over at ground level by Trotskyist ideologues (left opposition).

      “The kulaks have the money and staying power. If we leave things alone, they will gain by default. Their political power is minimal right now. But once they get enough, then it could be game over for me, as they have connections to the old money, and behind them (horror!) – foreign governments…

      “The communist activists make the most noise and can swing the masses behind them ideologically. I know many of them from my earlier days – known quantities, and not scary like the men of money. If I now run hard with their rhetoric and policies, I can soften their opposition and crush the kulaks (who right now are the *real* danger) in one move. I’ll deal with these guys later…

      “Just one thing: does collectivization, full steam ahead (as the Trotskyist ideologues keep blabbering on about) actually work? I guess we’ll just have to find out…”

      Stalin cast off the mediating role and liquidated the more dangerous side. The Bolshevik revolution was over a decade old and the old spirit of revolution was dying out among unfulfilled promises. Lenin had passed away some time ago. But there was enough heat left to fan the flames for the final solution.

      Whether collectivization actually worked was debatable – things got off to a bad start with a famine. But the regime survived.

  14. I do know about that comfort of the US, just a working guy and y’all have more than I do for sure but I am a Marxist and I know a revolution when I see one( Venezuela is still in the middle of one not completed) and Bahrain does need one (- US 4th Fleet also), as do the Saudi’s, Iran, Syria is having one, Russia, the US, China all need one too, as do most countries.

    And it’s not over till it’s over with or without President Chavez.

    • Yes, Cort, I remember you–wasn’t it the Cable Guy in Weston when that hurricane blew the antenna off my mansion; or, was it the only non-Cuban that parked my car at the re-inauguration of the Fontainebleu–please illuminate me, because I can’t seem to place you???

    • “y’all have more than I do for sure”

      why would you assume that? Don’t tell me you’re one of those resentful folks that go through life, thinking that others have it better than you. Is that why you joined a Marxist group, so that you could find fellowship? That is, among those who use double-speak to convince themselves that they’re alleviating the conditions of the poor, but do diddly squat about it, certainly never get their hands dirty in the process. Oh no. Or does your membership in this elite group a means to even the score in your personal index of resentment?
      Crikey, mate. Think about it. Btw, instead of following revolutions in countries that have nothing to do with you, why don’t you start a revolution in your own country? “Down with the Indebtedness to the Chinese!” might be one rallying cry. Go ahead. I challenge you.

      Newsflash: the era of President Chávez is over.

  15. If Venezuela is a revolution then it is a revolution fed from a 100billion dollar a year baby bottle ( from its oil income) , some revolution!! the only real revolutions are those that are able of feeding themselves on what they produce ( not Cubas case either). There are of course revolutions which feed on the bloated fantasies of those that find proud pleasure in seeing themselves in the roles of ‘fiery hearted’ revolutionaries. Phat itiyankis explanation of Venezuelas growing economic woes and their implications are spot on . Thats not to say that they will lead to inmmediate breakdown of the post Chavez regime !! but they wont make Maduro’s job any easier and in time who knows where the dissapointment from those growing woes will lead to !!

  16. Juan, I agree. There is no question that Maduro is no Chavez substitute. He is not even a “poor copy” insofar as it implies that Maduro is trying (however unsuccessfully) to fill Chavez’s shoes. Maduro may (or may not) succeed Chavez in office but Chavez was never a mere office-holder.

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