Monday, 7 January 2013

Venezuela: what people get wrong

Here I will write about a couple of items in which I tend to disagree with some analysts.

  1. The Cabello-Maduro rivalry might be a source of tension for Chavismo after Chávez has passed away: I think this rivalry does exist and conflicts between their interest groups are important but Realpolitik will prevail. Cabello is smart enough to recognise most people - not the most powerful but most people - simply distrust him and the powerful know this. The rumours about his kleptocratic  tendencies are too well-established for him to try to grab power, especially after the caudillo himself anointed Maduro as his successor. Cabello already has what he needs, which is access to power and financial resources. He doesn't need the presidency, at least not in the short or middle term.
  2. The international community will sooner than later become outraged at the increase in violations of democratic values in Venezuela and pressurize the regime: this won't happen. The government of virtually all Latin American countries, the only ones that could put some pressure without being considered "imperialistic",  are not interested in annoying the Chávez regime in the least: almost all of Venezuela's "fellow-countries" have now a nice trade surplus with Venezuela. That was not the case before Chávez came to power, when Venezuelan companies could compete at least in some areas.
  3. Chavismo will have to introduce drastic economic measures very soon: It should, but it won't as long as there are some elections in the horizon. The regime may even postpone any measures for much longer than many expect even if this means more damage to Venezuela's long term recovery. Power trumps everything else for Chavismo. Chávez officials simply cannot afford to lose power. They would be prosecuted for all kinds of crimes. So: the Venezuelan government is likely to sell anything to any other country just to gain some time with some extra cash.
Three tragic developments I see within the opposition:

  1. It keeps reacting to Chavismo; it has forgotten the need to be pro-active.
  2. It does not understand there is an urgent need to educate the general population on some basic issues, like the real amount of people's money that is being stolen, the forces that are stealing them, the way in which Venezuela is lagging behind accountability, level of debate, education and last but not least, sustainable development in general. The opposition thinks it can talk about these issues later on, that there is no time now...The problem is that there has never been time for this since 1999...there is never time if you only think of the next elections. Chavistas are seeing to it we have some travesty of elections every year.
  3. Not with Henry Ramos Allup
    Nor with a young Brachiosaurus
  4. Artists and scientists, intellectuals in general who oppose the regime do that only on their own account, they never sign a general petition or do something together. I think of such people as Gabriela Montero, Yordano, Zapata, many other artists and scientists who clearly dislike the current government. This is partly justified as many of them would be horrified - I would - if they signed something that later would also include the signature of such a creature as Allup or some other IV Republic dinosaur. We need to create a movement that clearly excludes dinosaurs, that is not in competition with the MUD but simply does the job that intellectuals in other countries did when it came to challenging autocracies. 

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