Saturday, 27 December 2014

My predictions for Venezuela in 2015

For starters:

  • The regime has named again some of its most loyal servants as directors of the National Electoral Council. We know they will yet again gerrymander as much as possible the electoral circuits for the December 2015 elections. Gerrymandering might be in principle legal in other countries but in Venezuela, at least on paper, they are completely against the constitution. Expect the CNE to announce as late as possible a new reshaping of the electoral circuits, probably around the end of November, in order to minimize as much as possible the loss of deputy seats. Even so: if worse comes to worse for Chavismo, the current majority will approve a set of laws to emasculate itself even further and transfer powers to the executive.
  • The economy will keep deteriorating and the government will keep blaming it on an "economic war", on a fictitious embargo, on anything but themselves. The Central Bank will keep the behaviour it has shown in the last year, putting off the publication of any meaningful statistical data. Except a GDP drop of more than 4%.
  • A trial against Chuo Torrealba, one of the opposition figures, will start somewhere after July. One of the aims will be to make him unable to run for president or for any other position.
  • The re-establishment of relations between Cuba and the US will play a role in the propaganda wars to come. This is a hard time for Chavismo's news agencies.
  • The developments in Russia and Belarus will, to some extent, also play a role in the perception Venezuelans in the cities have about when authoritarian regimes have to end. I don't see an end to  Putin's government any time soon and it is difficult to see Lukashenko go in 2015, but those two autocrats are going to be very busy in 2015 trying to calm down the mood and Venezuelans might - might - just notice it.
  • 2015 will be a year when the Chinese will need to take some decisions about the Venezuelan regime: do they keep supporting it and risk it further or would they try their luck with a democratic government that might make Venezuela more competitive but also create a slightly less self-destructive economy?

Who is going to defend Venezuelans against all the violations of their rights by the executive? Well: Tarek William Saab has been appointed as new "ombudsman of the people" by the same forces that control the government.

On this video you can watch the late caudillo Chávez reading out a poem Tarek William Saab wrote about the caudillo:

Somehow, a lot of foreign correspondents reporting on Venezuela won't be as shocked as if the Russian government did the same...because they feel autocracies in Latin America need to be measure by other criteria, as long as they call themselves socialist.

Yesterday, 7 men using AR-15 rifles, robbed about 300 tourists enjoying a day on a beach in Eastern Venezuela. There is nothing new here in Venezuela of the 21 Century Socialism and more of the same will come as long as Chavismo is in power.

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