Evil Old Twins: Teo and JVR

Teodoro Petkoff editorializes in today’s Tal Cual that President Hugo Chavez has “copied and considerably worsened” the economic model that caused the Caracazo 21 years ago on 27 February 1989. However, this claim is demonstrably false.

There are absolutely no similarities between the Chavez’s regime’s policies and the policies that former President Carlos Andrez Perez (CAP) tried unsuccessfully to implement with a group of academic economists who had good ideas but zero political experience.

Chavez has been shutting down, centralizing and dismantling the Venezuelan economy for over 11 years and transforming the Republic of Venezuela into an outpost of Cuba – call it Cubazuela – while CAP tried to open up Venezuela’s economy

But CAP screwed the pooch in two critical respects. First, CAP foolishly believed in his own legend. He sincerely believed that the Venezuelan people would follow wherever he led them. And, second, CAP tried to open up Venezuela’s economy, but left the financial system intact at the urging of his longtime corrupt cronies Pedro Tinoco hijo and Gustavo Cisneros. New economic rules + old financial rules = financial collapse in 1994-1996.

A good source of historical perspective on these matters is Moises Naim, who as CAP’s first Development Minister in 1989-1990 had a ringside view of some of the financial shenanigans perpetrated by Tinoco, Cisneros & gang. But Naim wisely left Venezuela to pursue a stellar career in Washington, D.C. Naim is one of the most talented and intelligent Venezuelans this blogger has met during almost four decades in-country. But we digress…

Jose Vicente Rangel (JVR), editorializing under his pseudonym “Marciano” in today’s edition of the communist rag Vea, writes that “something of dark origin…is floating in the environment…the sensation that factors are accumulating which could affect the public piece.”

JVR is a cunning old wolf who has spent his life in dark places. JVR accurately senses the coppery scent of blood in the breeze. JVR knows that a reckoning is coming, but he doesn’t know yet from which direction, so he blames the opposition.

Petkoff and JVR today published two provocative editorials. Both editorials hint at the approach of a lethal popular tsunami. Is this a coincidence? Perhaps yes, but possibly no.

Publicly, Petkoff and JVR pretend not to be longtime friends and radical communist allies. But the reality is that Petkoff and JVR have been joined at the hip for decades.

Teo and JVR are the evil old twins of Venezuela’s failed radical communist revolution of the 1960s. In their dotage – Petkoff is 78 and JVR is 81 – these evil twins have consolidated political careers as professional apologists and disinformation specialists for the Chavez regime’s worst excesses.

Petkoff and JVR launched their political careers as communist radicals inside the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV). Their first undying love always was radical communism.

At least Petkoff had the “cojones” in the 1960s to join Douglas Bravo in the hills as an armed revolutionary guerrilla supported by the Castro regime in Havana. But JVR, who always possessed a strong sense of self-preservation, decided that the life of an armed “Fidelista” guerrilla wasn’t for him.

Petkoff finally came in from the cold as a result of the pacification policies implemented during the first government of the late President Rafael Caldera. After rejoining the democratic fold, Petkoff became one of the founding fathers of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), which was created as a pro-Soviet organization slightly to the right of the PCV.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s, Petkoff and JVR ran for president of Venezuela five times altogether – Petkoff twice and JVR three times – but Venezuelan voters thrashed them soundly every time.

Petkoff reinvented his political persona in the 1990’s as a European-style “liberal”, served as Planning Minister in the second government of President Rafael Caldera. Subsequently, he resurfaced as editor-in-chief of Tal Cual, a tabloid which always has been mostly bare of advertisements but somehow survives.

Petkoff remains popular among some younger left-of-center Venezuelan intelligentsia, which only proves that you can fool some of the people all of the time.

But Caracas Gringo recalls that it was Petkoff, back in August 2004, who imposed his status as a leader of the democratic opposition to torpedo any possibility of challenging the miraculous outcome of the presidential recall referendum in which exit polls showing that Chavez had lost by a margin of 60-40 were transformed at the 11th hour into a 60-40 victory.

When then-Miranda Governor Enrique Mendoza and AD’s Henry Ramos Allup voiced the word “fraud,” Petkoff’s public put-downs quickly silenced everyone.

Almost six years later, in 2010, Petkoff routinely hammers Chacumbele in his editorials, yet the regime never persecutes him politically like it persecutes every other news media, reporter and columnist who dares to criticize Chavez.

After striking out three times as a presidential candidate for MAS, JVR developed a career as an investigative journalist in the 1990s with a newspaper column and television show in which his alter ego – “Ciceron” – constantly “exposed” alleged corruption inside the armed forces. JVR destroyed many military careers, though none of the officers he accused of corruption ever were found guilty of the accusations he aired on national television.

Of course, muckraking was just a cover for JVR’s other lucrative activities. For example, one of JVR’s real “negocios” was as a silent partner of the late Vinicio “El Principe” De Sola in the sale of military equipment to the armed forces (FAN) of Venezuela.

The pair’s “business model” worked like this: De Sola would offer the product to FAN procurement officers; if the offer was rebuffed, JVR soon would be making corruption allegations against the offending officer. The Defense Ministry immediately would open an administrative investigation, and even if the officer was cleared of any wrongdoing, the fact the officer was investigated at all would effectively end his career by torpedoing chances of promotion.

However, JVR always lusted for power. As a result, in the 1990s JVR hitched his wagon to the Bolivarian movement of Hugo Chavez, and went on to serve the “revolution” variously as Foreign Minister, Defense Minister and, finally, Vice President. But Chavez put out JVR to pasture a couple of years ago, and now he serves as the regime’s foremost “independent” disseminator of propaganda and disinformation.

Back to the present: Teo today publishes factually inaccurate claims about the Chavez regime’s policies resembling the CAP government’s policies which triggered the “Caracazo” in 1989, while JVR editorializes about sensing dark, violent moods floating in the background. Caracas Gringo doesn’t believe in coincidences when it comes to these evil old twins. Teo and JVR are up to no good.

About Caracas Gringo

Representing less than 0.00000000001515152% of the world population as of 31 December 2011.
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9 Responses to Evil Old Twins: Teo and JVR

  1. Kepler says:


    I know Petkoff was a 1000% guerrillero, that he was in Falcón with Douglas Bravo as a staunched communist, etc. He later wrote his mea culpa and integrated. He may have been bad for the opposition (or just as bad as the others), but: do you really think he is now, or in 2000, a conscious collaborator of the regime? Like a sleeper or something?

    I very much doubt it. You are looking at too many conspiracies as Paz says.

    I would take the middle ground between what Paz said and the others on the referendum. I think, like Paz, that Hugo really won back then. Still: it was not just the delay + misiones, but there was “optimization”. We will just never know for sure. The opposition keeps forgetting the rural areas. Actually, it even forgets those areas that are not rural for US or European definition, but are not part of the three or four largest cities. Guacara is a city, for instance. It is even very close to another city (Valencia). Maturin is far from the rest but hardly “rural” with half a million people.
    Over 2/3 of the population lives outside the three main cities and most vocal oppos keep forgetting those areas.


  2. L. Paz says:

    Sigh. Is that really your take on the 2004 recall referendum? Fraud? I guess you’re not quite the insider, nor savvy politico, that you present yourself to be.

    It’s true that Chavez was behind in the polling before the recall referendum — several months before. But then he introduced the misiones, and the political picture changed. He blasted away with a very effective message — if I lose the recall, you lose your misiones. And Enrique Mendoza, who led the Coordinadora, was speechless — no response, let alone an effective response.

    Chavez cheated by delaying the referendum and making the opposition collect signatures more times than necessary. But then he won that vote legitimately. The people on the inside didn’t protest after the vote because they knew he’d really won — internal polling showed an opposition loss for at least two months before the referendum was held.

    As for the exit polls — they were conducted by Sumate (not Penn/Schoen, who merely collected a consulting fee for doing nearly nothing), and they were not nationwide. In particular, they did not have sufficient coverage in the rural areas where Chavez support is so strong. And even the best exit polls can be wobbly — witness John Kerry’s 2004 “victory”…

    I know you are a big fan of conspiracy theories. But every once in a while you should consider, you know, something more basic, like an assessment of the economic and political conditions on the ground. Occam’s Razor.


  3. m_astera says:

    CG, your description of Petkoff brings to mind Noam Chomsky.

    OT, but I think you will find this interesting. I’d call it required reading: http://www.shtfplan.com/karl-denninger/denninger-lets-cut-the-crap-we-are-in-a-depression-right-now_02272010


  4. Juancho says:

    CG wrote: “JVR developed a career as an investigative journalist in the 1990s with a newspaper column and television show in which his alter ego – “Ciceron” – constantly “exposed” alleged corruption inside the armed forces. JVR destroyed many military careers, though none of the officers he accused of corruption ever were found guilty of the accusations he aired on national television.”

    At this point there’s no nobility or even much point in bashing Venezuela politicos or public figures, but El Gringo Caracano lays it out there in a manner that’s well nigh impossible for me to lay off.

    Take the former paragraph, for example. We’re talkingabout the former Vice President Rangel is credited with writing Expediente Negro (“Black File”), a “serious” journalistic look at human rights violations in Venezuela (especially the murders of campesinos). And yet the same man is purported to have torched – by way of outright and black- hearted fraud – the careers of military officials with his crooked arms scams.

    Will the real José Vicente Rangel please stand up? Can someone be both a noble patriot and a money-grubbing scoundral and arms pimp?

    Who are these me, really, the Petkoffs and Rangels of this country? And add the ever slippery Falcon into this mix.



    • revbob22 says:

      No effin way, Juancho. Jose Vicente (Grima Wormtongue)Rangel is the very definition of a Machiavellian piece of shit, with shit on top. And a cherry, too, made up of more shit.

      JVR torched military careers, businesses, and ordinary folk with two objectives in mind. Money and Power. And no question he got some corrupt folks too, but there were plenty of decent folk who suffered as well.

      I know, my family and I were on the receiving end of one of his “attempted exposes”. WE actually told him to fuck off and die in three languages, rather than submit to his attempted blackmail. In the end, we did the right thing, even though it meant that eventually we had to sell off the business before we wanted to.

      Unlike the other joyita, Petkoff, he didn’t have the balls to put his money where his mouth was. Rather than head for the hills and fight for his beliefs, he preferred to slink around and wallow in the muck and mire that made up most of the 4th Republic.

      The “real” JVR? With all due respect, Juancho, don’t make me laugh, pana.


  5. Alirio Escalona says:

    This time you really hit the nail. It’s refreshing to know that I am not alone in my appreciation about Petkoff. By the way I am translating some of the articles you post for the non English speaking community in my address book. I hope that’s OK with you. Let me know if it isn’t. Thanks.


  6. Jorge says:

    If I recall correctly, Petkoff does not blame CAP, but the governments before him, CAP policies were implemented by 1-week only before the Caracazo, as Petkoff says in his article.


  7. Knight says:

    In a tragic twist of fate, a young and brilliant attorney working for the law office of de Sola & Pate (another gringo by the way) was murdered by security forces when they confused him with General Gonzalez Gonzalez, shot dead in Plaza Venezuela in broad daylight. His shaved head did bear a striking resemblance to the fugitive General’s.

    His name was Antonio Lopez.


  8. Roberto N says:

    Rumors of a $100 million plus payoff to three people, Petkoff one them, around the time of the “Miracle on 34th St.” in ’04 have been floating around for a while now, but Teo is a slippery eel. Funding for Tal Cual?

    I recall another rumour back in the day, connecting him to the Aeropostal plane that was hijacked to Higuerote, in the process “liberating” some money that was on board.

    JVR, tremenda joya.


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