Friday, January 13, 2017

The maelstrom is forming

For readers of this blog it should not be a surprise that the regime has chosen naked repression. The nomination of Tareck El Aissami as vice president was a clear indication of that. The man is a born killer, in search of a vengeance as early as his days in college.

It is not that Tareck IS the man, he is just the willing agent, the front of the "civilian" radical wing of chavismo, the one closely tied to Cuban interests to which Maduro, Jaua and some other belong. They may or may not be die hard communists, some do not have the intellectual baggage to know what Marxism is truly about. But they all have a mean anti system streak and if they have joined totalitarian regimes from the left side it is strictly a matter of historical moment.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

2017 perspectives

Certainly it is a fool's errand to make any predictions for 2017, even if it is this time of the year when pundits dust off their crystal balls. Yet, this week has seen enough action that we can confidently describe the engines that will drive the political year. With a 97,63% odds for the country to crash in a wall.

The regime is cornered. So Maduro, trying to rise above chavismo divisions and his fears that the military may not be fully behind him, did his ultimate provocation: to name a radical cabinet where the intentions are clear. Those are to break anything that is not already fully controlled by the regime. The short list is the opposition leadership, the rump private sector still existing (least they would fund a political campaign for dog catcher), universities and private education. That is all I think, there is nothing else left.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

And the year starts with a bang

Today the National Assembly sessions for 2017 started, without the regime dissolving it. Actually chavismo representatives attended though they denounced that the Assembly was illegal, and that they would not even bother naming their whip. The chair for this year sessions is Julio Borges, replacing Ramos Allup. In his inaugural speech he took no gloves. He said that the objective of the Assembly was to find a way to get rid of the terrible government of Nicolas Maduro. And he demanded that the army faced up to its responsibilities: either support Maduro and its narco state, going down with him in infamy, or force him to accept elections and restore constitutional rule. Borges could have not been any clearer, and challenged the regime just as this one named the most leftist, castroite, communist narko cabinet since 1998.

So let's see what this all means.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Maduro names the cabinet from hell

The news came as a surprise. Not that a new cabinet was unexpected: around January 10 everyone expected Maduro to name a new Vice President, the one that would succeed him as president if he resigns, or is resigned. But no one expected Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah to become that vice-president. This is truly awful. And if you look at who is being named along to some key portfolios it gets worse.

So let's start with our Tareck boy.


Monday, January 02, 2017

A vision of 2017

While Diosdado Cabello was scheming to dismiss once and for all the National Assembly, on January 3 while on a flight to Punto Fijo a plane mechanical problem forced him into emergency landing in Curaçao. During the protocolar routine registry of the plane weapons and money were found, forcing Curaçao gouvernement to hold Cabello in the island and giving time to the US to officially demand extradition on January 5, with a duly request to the Netherlands. On December 6 the Venezuelan Navy decided to blockade Curaçao but as the first ship arrived in view of Willemstad a US fighter dropped a charge a few hundred meters ahead showing that they were determined to get their man this time around. This coupled, of course, with the US Navy receiving orders to protect the shipping lanes to and from Curaçao. On December 10 Cabello was flown to the US as relations were totally severed between Venezuela and Canada, USA and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile in Caracas the MUD opposition broke over supporting Diosdado Cabello since the US had released evidence against Cabello and by a one vote majority installed as a new chair to the National Assembly that refused to support Cabello. The regime declared the National Assembly in treason to the fatherland and on December 19 the TSJ high court dissolved it while the army seized the National Assembly at night.

Monday, December 26, 2016

And now what?

I have been avoiding it, but it is time to think about what these last weeks mean for Venezuela. Whether we like it, political tectonics are at work and January announces itself as a very difficult month, though January may start before December 31. To try to simplify this a little bit let's start with what apparently not even tectonic forces can change.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Such a sad Christmas

This is the saddest Christmas I have ever seen in Venezuela. Admittedly Christmas may be sad for some according to family or health issues, but the country as a while still somehow manages to get into the spirit. But this year people gave up. They just gave up.

How could it be otherwise? People do not even have enough cash, literally, for shopping the Christmas essentials. In Venezuela that would be to build up an Hallaca, the Christmas dish. And even if you had enough banknotes, or a well furbished checking account, there are so many staples that cannot be found or are so far out of reach that many this year will have no hallaca on their plates. And many will simply have little on their plate. Period.

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