Irrelevant outcomes

“…digo yo…”

This post starts with a phrase that I have heard countless times when my Venezuelan friends voice their personal opinions without intending to offend anyone else.

An old friend/colleague this week said that he was trying to come up with definitions of victory and defeat in next Sunday’s National Assembly elections.

“The Chavez regime will claim victory if it retains two-thirds plus one of the seats in the new assembly,” he said, explaining that this “qualified majority” would give Chavez the majority he needs to approve organic laws, give the president special powers, appoint the attorney general and Supreme Court justices, etc.

As a result, my friend added, the political opposition can rightfully claim victory in Sunday’s elections if it manages to win one-third plus one of the seats up for grabs, thus denying Chavez the “qualified majority” he needs to continue trampling on the country’s democratic institutions and freedoms.

My response was, “So what? Who cares?”

Perhaps I’m a “Ni-Ni.”

I have no doubts that a new National Assembly controlled by the PSUV will continue to screw the people con sarna alevosia y premeditacion. But the political opposition doesn’t inspire any confidence either.

Let’s assume that the opposition does capture one-third plus one of the seats in the new assembly. Will this be enough to halt Chavez’s Bolivarian steamroller?

The Mesa Unitaria Democratica – whose acronym (somehow appropriately to this old Gringo) is MUD – mostly consists of the same tiresome, lackluster “dirigentes” who have been hanging around for years hoping to be elected.

Some of the MUD’s sad sacks remind me of the “indocumentados” that cluster outside a 7-11 at 6 a.m. at a certain Citgo station in Kendall, waiting for a passing contractor to offer them a temporary day job…digo yo.

Seriously, I know that MUD’s candidates have campaign platforms, agendas, proposals, programs.

For the past several months whenever I click on Noticias 24 the window opens on Primero Justicia’s campaign messages and proposals. I read them all but I won’t vote for anyone in a party led by Julio Borges, who reminds me too much of Rafael Caldera.

I also read all the material from Maria Corina’s campaign that I could find in print or online, after Grima Wormtongue (aka Jose Vicente Rangel) made a remark about her alleged presidential ambitions. I concluded that Grima is trying to set up a red herring for future reference.

I also looked at some of the stuff put out by other candidates. Practically all of the platforms, agendas and proposals that I have read recently sound good on paper, but I’m always left wondering how much of this stuff actually is reaching into the homes, hearts and minds of the “pueblo.”

I can’t shed the feeling that these National Assembly elections are much less about a new legislature than they are about Chavez. Perhaps that’s because Chavez has made these elections all about himself. There isn’t any real public debate or discussion between opposing candidates about issues that concern voters like jobs, security, health care, etc. Instead, the message I see with the greatest intensity out there is either you’re with Chavez or you’re against Chavez, and if you’re against Chavez you’re against the poor and against Venezuela. Go against Chavez and tomorrow holds greater misery and violence than anyone imagines.

Several of the last polls that I saw before the polling blackout went into effect indicate that this strategy was working for the PSUV/PCV’s candidates.

Why do I believe that the outcome of Sunday’s elections is irrelevant?

There are two possible outcomes: Chavez wins, oppo losses – or – Chavez loses, oppo wins.

If Chavez wins (i.e. retains at least a “qualified majority”), he continues doing whatever he wishes and has a legislative majority to rubberstamp his worst impulses. The regime hails the outcome as yet another reaffirmation of a popular mandate to continue shoving 21st Century Bolivarian socialism aka Communism up the Venezuelan people’s collective rectum.

Chavez already has announced that on 27 September the Bolivarian revolution will enter a new and more aggressive/expansive stage. Nelson Bocaranda warned this week that Chavez plans to nationalize the 15 largest companies in Venezuela immediately after the elections. Adios Polar, for starters. But more revolution Chavez-style only will make Venezuela poorer and less developed, but more unstable and violent.

If Chavez loses (i.e. the opposition wins 1/3 + 1 of the seats in play), he doesn’t have a qualified majority, which means that he can’t get Organic Laws and Special Powers approved whenever he has an impulse to scratch a revolutionary itch.

It also means that the regime’s ability to draft and approve dozens of laws without any public discussion or input could be (hypothetically, if the regime respects the law) curtailed significantly. But will the Chavez regime respect the constitution and the rule of law in Venezuela?

The National Assembly has passed a passel of communist laws over the past year that are designed expressly to give Chavez unfettered discretionary powers to ignore at will the Constitution, legislation and traditional institutions of public governance in Venezuela.

The new institutions directed from the top by the national federal council chaired by Chavez and run at the street level through the communal councils are already in place. These communal (aka communist) institutions will be used to reinforce elected traditional municipal, state and regional powers that are firmly pro-Chavez, and strangle/supplant elected powers that oppose Chavez.

This is the Ledezma model of Bolivaran governance. If Chavez loses, the winner is garroted fiscally and persecuted legally by a politicized judiciary where judges that dissent with the regime’s unlawful practices are jailed indefinitely.

This is why Sunday’s outcome is irrelevant.

Win or lose, we’re still screwed on 27 September and for a long time to come after that.


About Caracas Gringo

Representing less than 0.00000000001515152% of the world population as of 31 December 2011.
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5 Responses to Irrelevant outcomes

  1. Teresa Senior says:

    Yes, you are definitely a NI-NI, as shown by your ignorance about the pre Chavez politics and social dynamics. Somehow you repeat the cliché about the hideous AD COPEI administrations. It´s tiresome. Otherwise I like your opinionated style. Sorry you don’t want to be a little more fair towards our democratic past.

    CG reply: I have lived and/or worked in Venezuela since 1973. My time in Venezuela coincides with the first CAP administration through the current Chavez administration, excepting a decade-long stopover in Washington, DC that spanned Caldera 2 through the first years of Chavez in power, where I worked on, what else, Latin America-related matters. I left Caracas less than a week before Banco Latino imploded because I saw the financial collapse coming and wanted to save the ltitle savings I possessed, and returned shortly after Bush Jr. (who never served a day himself in actual combat) invaded Iraq and sent thousands of Americans to their deaths in that country for no good reason. During my years in Venezuela I have written about politics, energy, finance and the economy; started my own very successful business in Caracas which still survives today despite Chavez; worked and socialized with many “empresarios” who mostly owe their fortunes to “negocios” like millionaire loans from the now-defunct Corporacion Venezolana de Fomento and other government entities (meaning the people of Venezuela) that they never bothered to repay; got tossed in jail twice for writing about certain thieving bankers who got cleanly away with their ill-gotten gains (obtained at the expense of their depositors who got screwed); wrote some speeches in English for a couple of Venezuelan presidents; and did a variety of other things while I observed first-hand how CAP1-Herrera-Lusinchi-CAP2 and finally Caldera 2 utterly fucked Venezuela and created the conditions that allowed President Hugo Chavez to get elected in December 1998 with (if my memory has not failed completely) the largest percentage of the popular vote any democratic Venezuelan president had received up to that time. People generally like to forget parts of their past, or rewrite their past, to make it fit their current perceptions of “what was” so that they don’t have to take any responsibility for “what is.” The ugly reality is that Chavez is where he is today, surrounded by his gangsters which include many individuals (excuse me, “empresarios”) who happily whored at the banquet table of the aforementioned AD-Copei governments, thanks to those AD-Copei administrations that came before him. I’m always hearing how life in Venezuela was soooooo much better before Chavez, usually from people dining in some upscale restaurant in La Castellana or jetting business-class to Miami. But it’s funny how the poor Venezuelans that I meet do not appear to share these fond memories of the past. That said, go out Sunday and VOTE. (PS: Venezuelans who describe themselves politically as NI-NI – and who may number about 30-40% of the population – certainly are not ignorant as you appear to suggest in your comment. They dislike Chavez, but they also dislike the alternatives that they are offered. They want something better than what is being offered. O acaso el pueblo venezolano deberia seguir aceptando eternamente eso de cana nueva para un trapiche viejo?)


  2. Roberto N says:

    Not to butt in on your question to Ara, CCS Gringo, but to me a majority in the AN for all practical purposes is 2/3+1. Anything else is a pyhrric victory.

    Hell, even 2/3+1 is a pyhrric victory of a sort.

    Given that Chavez is going to floor it regardless of what happens on Sunday, the only way I can see to stop him involves bloodshed.

    FOr the longest time I have believed and advocated that things should not go that way, that it is better to oust him legally and peacefully.

    THis is no longer, IMHO, an option. I still pray though, that I am wrong, but I ain’t foolin’ myself either.


  3. Ara says:

    I enjoy reading your posts but… You are a defeatist.

    “Defeatism is a term commonly used in the context of war: a soldier can be a defeatist if he or she refuses to fight because he or she thinks that the fight will be lost for sure or that it is not worth fighting…”

    Winning a majority in the AN is a HUGE DEAL. It matters and it is very important for all of us to vote.

    CG reply: You are very mistaken. I am by nature and temperament an optimist, but I am also a realist who believes that one of Chavez’s greatest unwitting allies over the past 12-plus years (even before he was elected in 1998) is the species we call “la oposicion.” By the way, what do you define as a majority in the AN? One-third + 1, or 50% + 1? Just curious.


    • Ara says:

      Happy with One-third + 1, 50% + 1, I would wet myself.

      I do enjoy your writing but was worried that maybe people would not vote if we paint such a negative picture.


  4. wycards says:

    Well, I agree that the opposition “winning” will not translate into a major change, because honestly, there’s nothing that can actually bring about REAL, substantial change in Vzla at the moment, or in the near future. I however believe that we must start somewhere.

    The opposition’s lack of structure, plans and new visionaries hihgly contributes to maintaining this man in power. It seems to me that the change we need can only be achieved through a looooong process, because like you’ve said in previous posts, the government has been actively preparing the field for such outcome. Having established a legal framework for his wrong-doing is without a doubt one of Chávez major’s achievements.

    It’s frustrating (my instant word when discussing this subject) to see that the Vzlans currently living in the country are still miles away from understanding the situation. It’s probably due to media control (on both sides), lack of objective information and the unbearable life they have to live. They either believe this will bring change or they don’t. These believes translate into voting or simply not even bothering. Does Chávez win either way? I don’t believe so. Does anything change with either outcome? Well, nothing really changes. Not now, but something is achieved: we continue to battle.

    More than anything, I believe this war can only be won with battles, at least with the resources we have at the moment. So let’s hope we win this little battle even if it doesn’t mean much now. We need to be as relentless as Chávez’s supporters. There’s not much else we can do anyway, or is there?


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