Painting the Grey Lady Rojo Rojito

"The claims that Venezuela has a deficient democracy and that current protests represent mainstream sentiment are belied by the facts." -Nicolás Maduro

“The claims that Venezuela has a deficient democracy and that current protests represent mainstream sentiment are belied by the facts.” -Nicolás Maduro

So did you hear the one about the tinpot dictator who wrote an OpEd in the New York Times?

Maduro’s inaugural romp in what is arguably the world’s newspaper is filled with the usual half-baked, SIBCI-tested propaganda that’s been shoved down our throats in hundreds of cadenas over recent months: the protests are violent, they are tiny, and they are funded by the U.S. government. Rinse, lather, repeat.

We could do a point-by-point debunking of Maduro’s bulllshit claims (he created universal health care???), but that would not the best use of our time here. The real question isn’t “what” Maduro is saying, but “why?”

Maduro’s piece is more than just a well-written-yet-ultimately-doomed attempt at damage control. It signals a dramatic departure from Chávez’s self-assured, outward-looking line. Whereas Chávez used a supposed external threat as an instrument for internal domination, Maduro is turning the formula on its head: taking internal conflict abroad for international validation.

Maduro wants to convince the world that he’s the good guy. The only plausible motivator for this is that he feels he’s being portrayed as the villain. What’s weird about this is that he actually seems to care.

Consider this quote:

“Those with legitimate criticisms of economic conditions or the crime rate are being exploited by protest leaders with a violent, antidemocratic agenda.”

LEGITIMATE? Legitimate is not a word Maduro has ever used when speaking to the Venezuelan public about the protests. Yet he (or, rather, his ghost writer) chooses to portray discontent as legitimate to a foreign audience. While he admits to the world that “the government has also confronted serious economic challenges,” he hammers the point to Venezuelans that our shortages and inflation are the result of an opposition-led “war on the economy.” (BTW, Maduro, kudos on the super classy advertisement for SICAD II).

Democracy also receives an inconsistent treatment by Maduro on both fronts. He makes a point to address “claims that Venezuela has a deficient democracy […] represent mainstream sentiment,” invoking that very word no less than seven times throughout the text. Maduro admits to the world that democracy in Venezuela has been called into question by Venezuelans. Has anyone ever heard such a thing from the man speaking in Spanish?

Credit his OpEd writers for trying something new and adapting to their audience, but they are playing with a losing hand here and, deep down, they know it. They address the claims made about his commitment to democracy in a sort of vacuum, without any reference to the blatant affronts to separation of powers and popular sovereignty we’ve seen in recent weeks: the persecution of an entire political party, the imprisonment of two elected mayors, or the dismissal of a congresswoman, y pare usted de contar.

Maduro’s treatment of human rights issues in his article merits another post altogether, though I’ll just comment on the fact that, in sequential order, protesters are blamed for damaging property, then declared directly responsible for fatalities (investigation shimvestigation), and only afterwards, is a feeble admission made about “a very small number of security forces personnel […] accused of engaging in violence.” We’re in Chigüire Bipolar land here.

Maduro saves the best for last, closing with a heartfelt appeal to the American people so that they may be guided by the truth in rejecting legislation that would impose sanctions on Human Rights violators. His plea is for the Venezuelan people, who “do not deserve such punishment.” Never mind that those who face sanctions, if enacted, would all be Venezuelan officials and those associated with the government, y’know, the ones that actually do the Human Rights violating (although, now that I think about it, perhaps Maduro, the big softie, means to spare the protesters from retaliation, since they’re the ones perpetrating crimes on humanity).

He ends with a majestic call for using diplomacy in resolving the crisis.

So what are we to make of this piece? Why does Maduro display such concern about international public opinion, while putting on a show about being so above caring about his domestic popularity?

Chávez battled external demons fictional or not – usually fictional – to give himself ammo for his political battle back home. With Maduro, it’s the battles on the home front that are being submitted to the court of international public opinion for international validation.

It’s like he doesn’t actually grasp that, in accepting Venezuelans’ discontent only in a foreign tongue to a foreign newspaper and then blatantly ignoring those complaints in his actions, then pleading with gringo readers to be spared from the consequences, Nicolás Maduro is only incriminating himself.

110 thoughts on “Painting the Grey Lady Rojo Rojito

  1. It doesn’t matter what he thinks. It does matter what we do with his words when speaking to an international audience (I am not going here into what we can do in Venezuela, which is another matter).

    We need to state to the whole world that we are absolutely open for an open, live, repeated debate between Maduro and us.
    Maduro will avoid it like hell. Everyone on his side will and quite a few on our side.
    This is because most people with power or potential power just abhor transparency and what a real open debate means. They love closed doors.

    I am not for a “dialogue”. This is just such a fuzzy concept. I am for an open debate on a permanent basis, with neutral people doing the moderation. The Allups and all Boligarchs of this world will oppose that.
    Let’s show that that is so.

    • “Dialogue” implies respect. You want to hear what the other say, you admit that they have both the right and legitimate reasons for saying it, you are willing to meet them at some point in the middle, at least theorically.

      What Maduro wants is that the opposition engages in talking to a wall while he calls them all the insults he can, but hey, no protest in the street because we are having “diálogo”

      For starters, the place to have “diálogo” would be the Assembly and see how fast you get thrown out of it the moment you have something different to say…

      • Well, I agree with that. That’s why I say: let’s challenge them to a permanent debate within a very clear framework and international moderation. Any democrat would agree with that. Maduro would not.
        Commies or military regimes left or right or anything like that have never ever accepted real debates of the sort.

        I don’t think we will have any debate at all but the purpose is to show how Madurismo would not accept one. Talking about “dialogue” is very easy. Talking about a permanent, live debate is completely unknown to them.

        • Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, aka Lenin, was a decent speaker. And even he was completely against real debates. Between the time of his arrival to Russia from Switzerland and his coup against the real revolutionaries there were several occasions in which the others wanted to have a debate in the Russia’s Assembly. He abhorred that like hell and saw to it that his mobsters aborted those debates. He said under no circumstance should that take place. They never accepted and they never will – if the debate is REAL DEBATE, if it is OPEN, permanent.

          Chávez pretended to accept one only to recant as he saw Vargas Llosa was really meaning it.
          He talked about a “debate” with some minor figures talking to Vargas Llosa, etc. Unfortunatelly, we haven’t been persistent or consistent about this kind of things. Vargas Llosa was more than any Venezuelan politician and he is not Venezuelan!

      • Understand, a “dialogue” in the real sense of the word is impossible in this situation, anyone with “cuatro dedos de frente” can tell you that. What I get out of Keplers words is that we should just play the same game this government plays, as Mike Shinoda puts it ‘gettin dirty with the people throwin the dirt’ (Linkin Park, anyone?). Ok, so basically if it’s a show what the government wants to put out, it’s a show we’ll give them. The key word in Kepler’s comment is ‘international audience’, we already know by heart that a debate in function of an internal audience is near useless (for now), but if Maduro is focusing on the outside then it’s could be our chance to gain simpaphy, given the proper conditions.

  2. Now that’s funny!! Hehe
    The communist mandrill who runs the dictatorship in Venezuela is supposed to be coherent enough to actually write a piece in the NYT?? Oh dear, mire usted con lo que se encuentra uno!

    • It is actually a very well written article and very effective at touching each and everyone of the key talking points that liberals use to defend the government and that appeal to American liberals (i.e., Carter, 1%/99%, dialogue, etc).
      It is all complete BS of course, but this was obviously written by a professional. Maybe some US PR firm hired by the government.

      • That is exactly my point… it is just a propaganda piece paid with the same money they use to buy weapons to kill and repress unarmed venezuelans.

      • Btw, I’m always confused with the use of the word liberal in the US… I think commies, reds, socialist would be a more acceptable term

        • Not really, unless you think that Carter (or Obama, or Robert Reich, or even Bernie Sanders) is a commie, Red, Socialist.

  3. Did anyone notice that each paragraph contains at least one lie? I also had to wonder how much it cost to get someone with communication skills to write this. Perhaps the ghost writer was Eva. It certainly was not Maduro – the one who has trouble stringing two words together.

    • I did read it. Castro Ocando is a serious investigative journalist but, unfortunately, this book which shows an extensive and well documented series of corruption acts mainly: Oil Conspiracies, Electoral Frauds, Finance Scandals, Narco Networks, Guerrilla & Terrorist conspiracies and the huge Venezuela’s Lobby “dirty” players and its tentacles; lacks ONE major component: It doesn’t explains why the U.S government has been so “mute”, “permissive”, “accomplice” and non punitive towards must of the described incidents and corrupted players of such serial acts?

        • The title of the book is very clear…”Chavistas in the Empire”. All the described events, very well referenced and sourced, took place in The US of A. Hence, as a reader, after finishing the book, it left me with such interrogative. Therefore, I actually think it lacks that major piece of information. Nevertheless, the narrative and compilation by the author, of so many details, it’s very good.

      • Thanks all. I think that is very good. It is not so much what we might know but how we can use this book.
        And this is how I will:
        I will add at least a couple of dozen references to it in the Wikipedia articles on Venezuela in German and Spanish. References to books are much more likely to be kept willy-nilly.

  4. This piece is a clear sign that Venezuelan protests and its repression have brought unwanted interntional attention on the govts failed policies and its dictadorial profile and conduct. such that they feel its seriously hurting their image and requires them to engage in a large scale media disinformation and manipulation effort to contain the damage.

    They are clearly concerned that their public image is taking such a beating before international opinion that its creating conditions for external govt bodies to take punitive action against the govt and its minions. They know that these measures can escalate and hurt them economically and practically at a time of high vulnerability.

    They can still use their oil largesse to gain some battles in certain fronts such as the OAS but this is at a formal artificial scale while at the public opinion scale their barbaric conducts is not much more in the limelight and inspiring heavy criticism and condemnation such as didnt exist before .!!

    There will always be a cohort of foreign faithful who true to the romantic revolutionary agenda of their youth will excuse any conduct and believe any lies which the govt tells.

    The time for lies in Venezuela is clearly over , they fool very few with their disinformation and barrage of outlandish lies only those who must desperately believe any lies because their fanatic fealty to the govt goes beyond any respect for reality .!!.

  5. Maduro is crazy….like Chavez….nobody can expect US readers( other than a few fearful self hating idiots) to feel supportive of a government who repeatedly blames the US for everything and denominates the US as the evil empire.It’s a an easy win to scapegoat others, and scapegoating the US will not get them very far.

    To me Maduro shows fear of losing….because finally International attention is beginning to sway.I say ” beginning” because many Socialists out there are still reluctant to turn, both in the US, and ever more so in some European countries.

    My husband just talked to his brother in England who spoke of how aggressive the Socialists are there.One cannot speak openly about anything.

    A bit of that goes on here, but to a much milder degree…of course I care not.I speak anyway.

    The” political correctness” these people often embrace give them a false sense of moral authority.

  6. I think this is really about Maduro trying to avoid US sanctions. Years of petrodiplomacy managed to give him support in the OAS, but the fact remains Venezuela, now more than ever, is dependant on the US economically. Not only is the US a reliable source of $, it is also the go-to country whenever Venezuela has to make emergency imports (Electric plants, gasoline, food, toilet paper, etc).

    Venezuela would not be able to survive a US boicott, even if it’s a partial one. Nor would it be nice for those in power to have their money/properties confiscated in the United States.

    • PM: I think you’re right.
      Maduro and especially Cabello have a LOT to LOSE — personally (for that is ultimately all they care about) — if the US applies the recently tabled proposal to confiscate the assets of Venezuelan government officers, in the US. I say, bring it on. Burst open the corruption, which just might ground the starry-eyed and fantasy-prone as to the sham they’ve been supporting, for years

    • A U.S. boycott or blockade on Venezuela is barely on the table. The topic has been sanctions against high ranking officials.

      Therefore, Maduro seems to think HE won’t survive if a bunch of generals, party officials and members of the Bolibourgeoisie are suddenly unable from doing business with the US, take their vacations up there and use their US-deposited savings.

    • I side with all of you guys. Given how successfull boicotts have been in the past, it is unlikely that the US will sanction Venezuela economically. Prosecution of bolibourgeois, however, would definitely hit them where it hurst, especially if it’s the corrupt military, as Jamil says

  7. Probably to appeal leftists abroad – the kind that likes to oppose the US foreign policy and say that Chávez was a good president; because due to the protests, not even his status as Chavez’s successor can save him. As it goes: “No puedes tapar el sol con un dedo”.

  8. Emiliana,
    What a triumph for the Venezuelan Students; What a triumph for the Venezuelan oppressed society, who has been brutally prosecuted and been killed by government forces. Nicolas Maduro’s concerns of his “public” image before the U.S.simply shows a milestones of these protests. Would it be conceivable possible to think that “FINALLY” the U.S. will openly, forcibly and fairly act against the Human Rights Violations & Atrocities carried out by Maduro’s government (with the huge help of Cuba)? I still don’t believe it. But as they say “There is no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst”.

  9. What’s interesting to me are the comments following Roy’s (?) Op-Ed in the NYT. You have the usual kumbaya types who have swallowed the propaganda hook, started by Chávez-Cuba and continued by Maduro-Cuba, through paid agents abroad. But you also now have many, many more who “get it” and can respond factually to manipulative verbiage in foreign newspapers, which are only too eager to pay for and print controversial Op-Eds from dubious presidents of beleaguered countries.

    So among the smorgasbord of comments, mostly against the government of Nicolás Maduro, one finds one comment that was picked by the NYT as “the one”. It calls for the US to back off. I wonder if Roy (?) had the opportunity to choose that “NYT Pick” comment from the perspective of ensuring the near-future of his job.

  10. Isn’t this a response to Leopoldo Lopez Op-Ed a couple of weeks ago about “Venezuela’s Failing State”?

    I love how he uses the 1%/99% argument which is so popular in the US currently and applies it to Venezuela in a completely incomprehensive and baseless way. I see what they did there ….

    What a joke of an Op-Ed.

  11. “We have built a participatory democratic movement from the grass roots that has ensured that both power and resources are equitably distributed among our people.”

    Yeah.. right…

    • “our people” ≠ Venezuelans.

      “our people” = friends and family of the politically connected and high ranking members of the PSUV.

      Tricksy semantics there, methinks.

  12. “According to the United Nations, Venezuela has consistently reduced inequality: It now has the lowest income inequality in the region. We have reduced poverty enormously”
    Based on numbers the government reported.

    “— to 25.4 percent in 2012, on the World Bank’s data, from 49 percent in 1998;
    Based on government reported numbers.

    “in the same period, according to government statistics, extreme poverty diminished to 6 percent from 21 percent.”
    -Excluding of course, Maduro’s term which include 2 devaluations plus one weird liberalization and several prices hikes on price controlled items that repressed inflation. In 2 weeks public transit fare is also going up.

    • That poverty number is the only thing they can really cling to. It’s really all they have, flimsy as it may be. Ultimately, it’s a fiction – take away the 6.3 figure and the poverty numbers change dramatically. It’s like measuring poverty in the number of barrels of gasoline a poor person can buy in Venezuela.

      • Precisely. What does poverty looks like when the 6.3 turns 50. Also, say that you measure it in PPP, with the last changes to essential items and bus fare the picture looks bleak.

    • Rodrigo,
      I went through this exercise of calculating Poverty & Inequality based on UN figures ; nevertheless, the distortion of the Venezuela’s currency market, where you had an official BsF parity to the US$ anchored at at 6.3=1, against the real exchange rate for most of the commodity / staple imports, and for PPP analysis as well, at a ratio of 13 to 1 at one point, completely distorts any conclusive and valid results. All these figures, then, are simply BOLONEY.

    • Still prefer The Economist to be honest. Although someone said the Castro-chavista regime was going to buy it??? Probably BS… but with this guys you never know

      • Not likely. It is a PLC with Pearson (a particularly large and vile company, in my opinion – think the PDVSA of education) owns 50% and the rest of the shares are largely held by other vast MNCs or longstanding wealthy families that would have no interest in selling.

    • This is the opinion real estate in the paper…

      They gave space to Leopoldo, too.

      Anyway, the thing to do is to subscribe to both…

  13. Anyone have a subscription to the Financial Times (UK)?

    Thanks to HT Miguel Octavio’s tweet, I could only extract (through google) the following:
    “Venezuela Finance Minister Rodolfo Marco Torres on charm offensive”
    By John Paul Rathbone in Sauipe, Brazil
    (cutline below photo of peaceful protesters reads:)
    “Venezuela’s new finance minister is on a marketing drive to convince investors that all is well in his country’s socialist economy. Despite street protests, galloping inflation and widespread shortages, some believe him….”

      • Precisely , the charm offensive very likely signals a need to borrow USD from international markets and use it , for example, to attend to the SICAD 2 demand .!! The cost of such loans will be tremendous , specially considering the little credibiliy of the regimes capacity to handles its financial woes with any sense . !!

      • In NYTimes’ defense, there is a distinction between its editorial line and its Op Eds. But it does get the blood boiling, reading all that.

        • well, if the NYT issues a “NYT Pick” on “Maduro’s” Op-Ed, then the paper’s editorial line and its Op-Ed have reached synchronicity.

              • The story I’ve been told (of which the veracity is unverifiable) is that this was the result of the recent articles that have been harsh of the government and its policies, in which some cases the backlash was sufficient enough to cause corrections (which the NYT hates running) to be made.

                As an olive branch, an “equal time” article representing the government’s POV, which apparently was a highly manufactured prop piece from reading the Maduro op-ed, was put on the table.

                Yup, the Revolution is delighted to use the fair play arrangements of others that they wouldn’t dare allow the opposition to use in Venezuela itself.

              • And as predicted:

                http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/03/dicey-language-in-the-times-a-view-from-venezuelas-president-and-coverage-of-womens-basketball/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

                With the money quote:

                In a recent post on coverage of the violent conflict in Venezuela, I disagreed with readers who thought The Times’s news coverage has been biased. But I agreed with those who thought a broader mix of Op-Ed views would be worthwhile, including some that represent the view of the administration, as well as the opposition. An opinion piece by President Nicolás Maduro appeared this week, and should help to balance the scales.

                Like I was saying, a lot of pressure from interested parties regarding the “bias” of the NYT. Go VIO, CEPR, Gollinga and friends.

            • I don’t know how opening up space for a giant turd creates “balance” with honest reporting, but whatever…the NYTimes can go back to reporting again now…

      • The FT article (free for viewing with free registration) acerbically hits the meeting-to-meeting moves of Marco Torres, who finds cozy alignment with the delegation from Argentina, another government that has just devalued and which seeks rapprochement with international investors.

  14. and the best wry observation on the subject of this post goes to (drumroll):
    Elizabeth Fuentes ‏@fuenteseliz
    Sí Maduro hablara español como “escribe” en inglés…

  15. “we have created a flagship universal healthcare and educational program, free to our citizens nationwide”

    Isn’t that stealing someone else’s credit? Education has been free and universal since Guzman Blanco. I actually don’t know when did free healthcare start but it is pretty old.

  16. Gustavo Coronel has commented on the NYT Op-ed.
    Example:
    Maduro:

    According to the United Nations, Venezuela has consistently reduced inequality: It now has the lowest income inequality in the region. We have reduced poverty enormously — to 25.4 percent in 2012, on the World Bank’s data, from 49 percent in 1998; in the same period, according to government statistics, extreme poverty diminished to 6 percent from 21 percent.

    Gustavo Coronel

    Commentary: According to the United Nations document quoted in the letter, see page 43, Venezuela has a higher poverty rate, close to 30%, than Peru, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Argentina, in spite of its enormous income. Economic equality, as claimed in “Mr.Maduro’s letter , means that all Venezuelans, the poor and the middle class, now lack the most essential goods, including toilet paper. Recently a rationing system was introduced, almost identical to the Cuban and the Chilean (Allende), rationing systems. For a country with such a huge income rationing is inexplicable.
    Etc. Read it.

    http://lasarmasdecoronel.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-letter-signed-by-nicolas-maduro-is.html

    • And while “experts” on “experts” on “experts” opine, those actually living in poverty in Venezuela have a muted voice.

      When I talk to them,none seem to feel their burdened lessened in anyway…all the contrary.

  17. I ask that everyone who has a few minutes go on and comment about the blatant lies and distortions in that op-ed.

    Also, it is worth replying to some of propaganda/ignorance spewed by some in the comment section. The lies must be addressed. Many people, particularly people who have little background knowledge of the topic of the article, read comments to get a more complete sense what is really going on.

    It is worth a few minutes of your time to respond. This is the NY Times, which gets millions and millions of unique hits a day. Personal stories of the reality in Venezuela work well and are hard to refute or obfuscate and can convey more than dry statistics or references to human rights reprots.

    • I would recommend posting links to articles, photos, tweets, and other sources about the reality in Venezuela, even if they are in Spanish. I can tell you that there are LOT of people reading the comments to gauge U.S. opinion on the issue, and how to respond.

  18. Putin’s OpEd for the NYTimes- you could believe he wrote it. This one….not only was the pretense of authorship unbelievable, that the author is from this planet is questionable.

  19. OT, but this deserves our attention: Ramírez has finally put a number to the amount of gasoline/other oil products that is smuggled out of Venezuela (mostly to Colombia, but as I could plainly see in Santa Elena this december, to Brazil also). It’s 100,000 barrels per day.

    A barrel of gasoline is priced at around 100 dollars. So we can call it 10 million dollars per day in revenue from smuggling gasoline across our borders. 3.65 billion dollars a year. That’s a pretty penny, isn’t it?

    And who controls all that smuggling? Well, it’s fragmented, sure, but if you follow the line up and up it’s the military (mostly national guard) that is mostly in control of all this.

    Talk about incentives to maintain the status quo: they’ve got literally millions of reasons to keep everything as is.

    Here’s the link: http://noticiaaldia.com/2014/04/ramirez-100-mil-barriles-de-petroleo-diario-se-van-por-la-frontera-de-contrabando/

  20. Someone needs to translate the op-ed piece into Spanish and disseminate it broadly in Venezuel so people can see how Maduro is the master of talking out of both ends of his mouth at once, saying one thing to the international press and the complete opposite to Venezuelans.

  21. Thank you for sharing this article quite interesting and, hopefully true happiness rays began to warm our hearts, when we can share it with sincerity. Greetings from Gede Prama :)

  22. For those who speak German, Bernardo Álvarez, a Chavista apparatchik once ambassador and now ALBA man, gave an “interview” to a German newspaper called Tagespiegel

    http://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/venezuela-krise-der-sozialismus-ist-nicht-gescheitert/9692748.html

    You can also enjoy the comments. A German journo told me the Bavarian TV interviewed the Linke (Extreme Left) recently about the Venezuela events but I haven’t watched the programme just yet. It seems the journalists confronted the commies with some scenes from our beloved guardias nacionales
    beating the hell out of our people.

  23. This is a very well-written Op Ed, way beyond the abilities of Eva or “Roy” (Chaderton?).–a U. S. highly-paid PR firm effort. E. g., “As a former union organizer (sic), I believe profoundly in the right to association and in the civic duty to insure that justice prevails by voicing legitimate concerns through peaceful assembly and protest.” Obviously, this statement alone deserves rebuttal by those in the know about what’s really happening in Venezuela. I believe, apart from the need to counter international news coverage damage about the protests to the Regime’s “reputation”, this NYT missive shows Regime real fear of sanctions to high-ranking corrupt Govt./especially military U. S.-based assets/freedom of travel, and also fear of eventual international human rights punishment for those high-ranking Govt./military ordering the gross human rights abuses in Venezuela (the Hague is calling some day–I hope).

  24. I don’t think Maduro (or the PR firm the Venezuelan government hired in Washington to these effects) wants to convince the world that he’s the good guy. Most people in the U.S. and the anglophile world know preciously little about what’s going on in Venezuela, despite all the efforts made to increase attention to the collapse of democratic rule and the slid towards authoritarianism in our country.

    The idea, instead, is to point fingers at the ‘bad guys’ in this picture: The rich, the wealthy, the old oligarchy, the anti-democratic ‘1%’ who don’t want change and abhors progress. That rhetoric is very popular in many places and resonates well with the image many people have about Venezuela, and Latin America in general, as a place where a select few landowners and fat-pigs exploit and oppress the rest in the name of capitalism. Chavez knew this, just as the Cuban regime knows this and has successfully used this as a ploy to deviate the attention from the brutal, repressive nature of its regime. Factoids and statistics aside, that’s the core of the article.

    If we fall into the trap of dismantling one by one the article’s many lies, we feed the rhetoric of ‘us vs them’ that Chavez, Maduro and their acolytes overseas have been fostering for 15 years. Instead, we could limit ourselves to emphasize that they have been in power for all this time, and that basic rampant problems, such as the lack of basic safety, the world’s highest inflation and scarcity, have been piling up to an unbearable point (after all, this is actually the case). The current government does not have a good answer for that.

  25. Traducción del MINCI del artículo de Nicolás Maduro en el NYT

    http://www.minci.gob.ve/2014/04/articulo-del-presidente-maduro-en-el-nyt-un-llamado-a-la-paz-desde-venezuela/

    En Inglés:
    “our new MARKET-BASED foreign exchange system, which is designed to reduce the black market exchange rate.”

    En Español (para los medios Venezolanos)
    ” un nuevo sistema de cambio de divisas que ya ha reducido la inflación durante las últimas semanas”

    Parece que omitieron “accidentalmente” aquello de “Market-Based” y, a pesar de tener dos semanas en operación, ya le atribuyen resultados que no existen.

    En Inglés:
    “The protesters are, we believe, directly responsible for about half of the fatalities.”

    En Español (para los medios Venezolanos):
    “Los manifestantes son directamente responsables por más de la mitad de las víctimas mortales.”

    Parece que omitieron “accidentalmente” el “we believe” y “confundieron” la expresión “about half” por “more than half”

  26. My two cents:

    1. I think I recognize the talking points of Mark Weisbrot in this. Could he be the ghost writer?

    2. As for motivations, sometimes I think we look for deeper meaning that just isn’t there. A few months ago, Vladamir Putin had an editorial published in the U.S. press. Could it be that Maduro just wanted to follow suit out of vanity?

  27. The chart on the top of this thing is a joke. Why did they poll far more opponents of the government? And there are many more people in classes A/B/C than in D (and where did “E” go?).
    Seems to me the chart proves the point Maduro is trying to make. The opposition is using distortions of numbers to try to claim it represents the majority and is the victim.

    • Those charts came from IVAD. Apparently that’s how they do things.

      Ellos definen A=alta, B=media alta, C=media baja y D=marginal.

      By they way IVAD has always shown results biased towards the government. Not that they are progovernment like ICS or Chacon or Hinterlaces. By biased I mean that their results has always predicted a better outcome for the government than what it actually was.

  28. Do not miss…”This is why the protests have received no support in poor and working-class neighborhoods.”. A rather blatant admission that the rest of the people have plenty of reasons to protest or to agree with the protesters but do not agree with the methods ( guarimbas, violence of some).

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