More Than The Future Of Venezuela Is At Stake In The October Presidential Election

April 16, 2012

While Venezuelans assume it is the future of their country which is at stake in the October Presidential elections, much more is at stake than that. The presence of Hugo Chavez in the region not only supports dictatorial and quasi-dictatorial Governments like Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua, but allows other countries like Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador to pass as “moderates”, because in comparison they seem more democratic and respectful of human rights.

But the truth is that the region is hitting a new low in terms of human rights and democratic ideals. And the demise of the Bolivarian revolution will go a long way into helping the return of true human right and democratic values to the region.

It has become common to suggest that freedom of speech and freedom of choice are just some of the basic rights that people have and there is no preference for one over the other. Which is true. The problem is that the right to life or to health care or the right to an education are not only costly, but require a coordinated effort to provide them. And lots of hard work and long term planning, something lacking in many regional Governments. Meanwhile, the right to speak out, the right to choose politically have little cost, they just require the will of the Government in charge to be tolerant and understanding of what democratic principles and human rights  are all about.

Unfortunately, the region has gone backwards in the last ten years. When the leaders of the Americas restricted the participation in Summit’s to democratically elected countries in 2000, none of those leaders could have envisioned that we would have had the discussions of last week. Here are the Castro brothers, one a self-appointed Dictator, the other one endorsed by his brother, ruling a country for fifty years and we are supposed to ignore the atrocities and the human right violations, just because the Castro brothers are somehow supposed to be simpatico or spouse some idealistic goals, that they have miserably failed to deliver for more than five decades. When their participation i the Summit becomes a point of contention, you know something is trully rotten in the region.

But somehow, the rise of China and India has generated a commodity boom for Latin America that has given the people of the region some sense of prosperity such that their leaders can ignore not only what is going on in neighboring countries, but also what happens in their own.

And that is why it is so important for the Bolivarian revolution to end this Fall. What is at stake, is not simply the plight of 28 million Venezuelans, but the indirect impact of an amoral regime directly on Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and more indirectly on Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and others.

The Hugo Chavez autocracy has helped the Castro brothers extend their grip on power in Cuba, propped up Evo in Bolivia and Ortega in Nicaragua and provided billions to Argentina, Brazil an even Colombia in funds that should have stayed in Venezuela, financing our prosperity, not theirs, instead of going elsewhere to buy trinkets that give Venezuelans the illusion that things are well under the revolution.

Which is why Capriles and the unified opposition should understand that what is at stake is not only whether Venezuela will or not be turned around, but whether millions of Latin Americans will be able to enjoy in the future an open society and whether they will have choices and rights with no discrimination.

What is at stake in October is more transcendental than what the Venezuelan people seem to understand. Let us hope that Capriles, his supporters and Venezuela are up to the historic task at hand.

124 Responses to “More Than The Future Of Venezuela Is At Stake In The October Presidential Election”

  1. captainccs Says:

    Miguel, there is no such thing as right to healthcare or right to education. The only things to which we have rights are those that do not put a burden on others, for example, free speech and right to life. If something needs to be paid for there can be no right to such a thing.

    • moctavio Says:

      In the Venezuelan Constitution there is.

      • captainccs Says:

        >>>In the Venezuelan Constitution there is.

        Miguel, just because someone put some words on a piece of paper does not make it right. Besides, reconstituting a country five times is an absurdity. You can only constitute a country once. Later you can make changes according to the rules written into the original constitution itself. Democracy is a very weak institution and continuity (hilo constitucional) is highly desirable. The current constitution is just a piece of paper designed to empower Hugo for life with a lot of socialist garbage tacked on.

        I’m not about to give a discourse on human rights because people like Ayn Rand have done it much better than I can. But the core idea is this: Nothing that puts a burden on a second party can be considered the right of a first party. To do so would be the establishment of slavery, which I think we agree, is a very bad idea.

        There are private issues and public issues and we agree to put some money (taxes) into a kitty to deal with pubic issues. But by according every human want the stature of a human right, we have converted a minimal kitty into a nation-wide and even into a world-wide commons with all the problems that lack of clear ownership brings, a.k.a. “The Tragedy of the Commons.” It’s Utopia all over again and it does not work. Nation after nation that has tried it has failed and either broken up, defaulted or changed: The USSR broke up, Greece defaulted and Red China changed. Just because someone put it into the constitution does not make it valid or workable.

        I studied the previous constitution in some detail and with a single exception of latifundios – large land holdings, estates, found it sensible and practical. It was the constitution to which I swore allegiance. I never ratified the current monstrosity and refuse to accept it as valid. You can’t change constitutions like you change underwear, on a daily basis. The current monstrosity is nothing but a power grab by Hugo and his henchmen and his camp followers.

        • moctavio Says:

          Well, I am not going to argue about the Constitution, but yes, I do believe the State has to provide some form of education and medical support to those that need it and can’t afford it. People have to be given a chance and they should not die like dogs like they are dying in Venezuela, without possibly getting any medical acre, while Chavez troops around 200 people to Cuba back and forth to help him out. All at the expense of the people.

          Whether you like it or not, education is a right in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and so is the right to life, that is all that I am arguing, that those rights are there but are harder to be delivered, particularly in these countries with incompetent Governments. What they are doing is denying those that could endanger their power and positions and claiming to emphasize those that they do not comply with.

          • captainccs Says:

            >>>People have to be given a chance…

            Yes, but it is charity, not a right.

            • moctavio Says:

              I disagree, if you dont provide the opportunity for people to get educated or to receive medical care, they have no chance to improve or live. In all countries you have to provide some support to those that have less to get out of where they are. In the case of Venezuela they onw as much of the resources as others.

        • Kepler Says:

          Ayn Rand again…again the fiction writer deemed “philosopher” and economist in the USA…
          Where do you think the education US Americans had came from?

        • Javier Says:

          Just in case you care about the universal declaration of human rights:

          http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a25

          Anyway, people confuse a right of the people with a duty of the government. We have a right to education means nobody can deny my education. It does not mean someone has to provide it.

          • Kepler Says:

            No, but it makes sense for a government to do as every government that developed did at one time or other;

            I would like to know who from those who are against government-financed (yeah, tax-financed) education went to Venezuelan government schools or attended schools paid by their daddies and mummies

          • captainccs Says:

            >>>Anyway, people confuse a right of the people with a duty of the government. We have a right to education means nobody can deny my education. It does not mean someone has to provide it.

            Javier, you are stating a contradiction. If a government has a duty, executing the duty costs money and the citizens at large have to pay for it.

            Besides, it’s not that clear cut. Society has an interest in the literacy of all its citizens which justifies mandatory grade school and maybe high school but it does not justify free college education. The cutoff point is debatable.

            Same with healthcare. Society at large has an interest in the prevention of epidemics but not in the personal non-contagious illness of any one person. Again, the cutoff point is debatable.

            Government action should be restricted to the proper interests of society at large, and not extended to made up “rights.”

            • Javier Says:

              No contradiction. It is NOT the same to say that women in Afghanistan have a right to education and to say the government has to
              provide it.

              Sorry. Not the same. If you don’t believe it now just think about it.

              I do believe it is in the best interest to provide education though. But that is a practical matter that depends on the resources available

        • NET Says:

          I believe there is a difference between “rights” and “duties”. A right, as in a Constitution, is as if inalienable and “free” to all citizens within the law. and cannot be taken away, unless by Constitutional amendment. As such, it should be stated in the most general of terms, more metaphysical than physical, as in “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (not “property”, which is too physical–if your “happiness” is property, so be it). The trouble with being too specific/material in a Constitution, as in the Venezuelan one, is that citizens expect that their “right” to housing, for example, is a duty of Government, and free housing at that. And no Government can deliver this, much less a Venezuelan one. If citizens want free or subsidized education/health care/etc.,then vote for it and the way to pay for it (in most countries out of their own pockets). Finally, let’s remember that Venezuelan- type “Socialism” was voted down by its citizens in a Referendum, and is being implemented illegally by minority-elected (gerrymandered) Congressional fiat/decree Presidential powers supposedly given to solve a short-term national flooding/homeless emergency.

          • captainccs Says:

            NET: Very well said!

          • moctavio Says:

            Yeah, but in terms of health and education, the current Constitution is very clear about, Articles 83-86 and 102-104, you may disagree with it, but until it is changed , it is the law. But my point is that these guys say that these “rights” are more important, the problem is they cost money, while the others are free and just require the will of the Government.


            • This discussion illustrate the typical points of “positive” and “negative” freedom. The “positive” freedom is the freedom “to” and the “negative” freedom is the freedom “of”. Translated to the discussion is the right for vs the right of. The right “of” ensures that the individual is free to choose his education, where to live, etc without the interference of a third party (government) while the right “to” implicates that the individual is entitled to the be provided with education, home, etc.

              Whether you like it or not, captainccs clearly spotted a point. The right to education, health, etc implicates putting a burden on some parts of the society to transfer resources to another one. I believe that the society should be given the choice to transfer this resources or not (democracy and government plans presented to the people in elections would allow the to choose )
              However the right “to” should not be stated in the constitution only the right “of”. The constitution should create a level playing field for different ideologies to coexist in a society without violating the rights “of” or the negative freedom of its individuals
              .
              BTW I believe that governments should provide universal free education and health. From my point of view some redistribution is beneficial not only poor sectors of the society, but also to the wealthiest sectors. However I am completely opposed to stating such things deemed as the right “to” instead of right “of”. That provides room for governments (not to say politicians) to interpret those rights and spend crazy amounts of money to ensure the rights “to”. Just think about what a politician could do in oder to ensure the right to “housing” by stealing significant resources from some sectors of the society.

              Nice thread the one we have here. Finally a smart discussion about Venezuela.

  2. metodex Says:

    Miguel,

    I enjoy your philosphic posts more than the rest,whatever they may be.

    And i have noticed too,the stench of Latinamerica going back again, to places that should have been forgotten long ago.

    Is it desperation or just lack of education,of knowledge of history?
    Of course,other developed countries carry some blame too.(china,russia,america)

  3. Roy Says:

    Re: Right to healthcare, education, cheap gasoline, dog grooming, video games, etc…

    There is no such thing as a natural or “inalianable” right. Any right is that which an individual claims and is capable of defending, or which his/her society is capable of claiming and defending for such person. If the individual or society, on behalf of the individual, claims a “right” but is not capable of defending it, it isn’t a right. It is just a wish.

    Bottom line is that human concepts of justice, fairness, and rights are human constructs, and not something that exist in nature. As a society, we need to be careful about claiming or granting new “rights”, because by when we proclaim rights we are incapable of providing or defending, we overdraw the account and weaken our collective claim to all of our rights, including the more fundamental rights such as the right to life, liberty and property.

    • NET% Says:

      The U. S. Constitution guarantees the right to, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And that’s plenty, more than the Venezuelan government currently can guarantee or deliver. The ridiculousness of the current Venezuelan situation is, for example, that Venezuelans think they have a “right” to a house (without paying for it, of course), or that Capriles has to guarantee their “right” to the Misiones in order to be elected, or that if I buy a house on a cliff and it begins sliding into the abyss, then some government body should pay or rescue me, etc. etc….

      • HalfEmpty Says:

        That phrase (LL&POH) is from the Declaration of Independence if I remember correctly, a quasi-legal document.

        • NET Says:

          True, but it is a good summation of the basic principles/”rights” guaranteed by the Constitution, or, as A Lincoln said, through which the Constitution should be interpreted.

      • Roy Says:

        Thomas Jefferson originally wanted preamble to the Constitution to say “life, liberty, and property”. The change of “property” to “the pursuit of happiness” was a political compromise. I just happen to prefer his original. Which only serves to illustrate my point, that these “rights” are a human invention, and not a “natural” phenomenon.

        • captainccs Says:

          Roy, of course “rights” are a human invention. Before man there was no one around to articulate rights. But if you start with the sanctity of the human body (I use the term in a secular not in a religious context), you can derive the real human rights such as the right to life, to liberty and to properly acquired property — by the sweat of your brow. What needs to be excluded as a right is anything that a second party has to provide: food, shelter, medicine. That is not to say we cannot voluntarily offer these things to the less fortunate, but it is not their right to demand.

      • Carolina Says:

        Here is the Canadian Chart of Rights and Freedom:

        http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/charter/page-1.html

    • Pete Says:

      I agree that here is no such thing as human rights, as per the American constitution, etc. However, there are certain behavioural conventions that can help people to live under more tolerable conditions, without having to constantly fight for or defend everything one has or wants to have. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition these conventions have been known at various times as human dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity, or similar words. These are not meant to be religious values, but rather useful conventions consistent with the makeup of the human DNA. Practical rules aimed at the common good are:
      1. The needs of the poor take priority over the wants of the rich.
      2. The freedom of the dominated takes priority over the liberty of the powerful.
      3. The participation of marginalized groups takes priority over the preservation of a political order which excludes them.
      I think that by not following conventions like these we contributed to the triumph of the dark forces of Chavez and co, and all that followed.
      I like an aria from La Boheme where one of the characters says “Mai non curvasti il logoro dorso ai ricchi, ed ai potenti” Sure, the common good is worth fighting for.

      • Roy Says:

        Pete,

        You have just made all the arguments that Chavez used to justify his coup, and then get elected and then to destroy the rights of the Venezuelan population. I would not want to live in a country where you were the president. Your “good intentions” would lead you and your country inevitably to hell, just like in Venezuela, Cuba, the ex-USSR, etc…

  4. doris Says:

    Psychologist Abraham Maslow first introduced his concept of a hierarchy of needs in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”1 and his subsequent book Motivation and Personality.2 This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs.

    basic needs are for food, water, sleep, and warmth. Once these lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs, which are for safety and security.

    Personally & IMHO the needs for safety and for security are non-existent in the city of Caracas. I would postpone the needs for healthcare, and education for some unforeseen future when muggings and random killings in Caracas become distant memories.

  5. Leopoldo Says:

    Miguel, your comments are always first class. They have substance and originality. But who does the drawings for you? They are great and put thefinal accent on your blog.

    • moctavio Says:

      I collect drawings, but a large fraction (like the one above) come from Tal Cual. They have two or three a day, if I like it I save it and have a collection of them for all topics.

  6. syd Says:

    What is at stake in October is more transcendental than what the Venezuelan people seem to understand.

    Agree, totally. (Also with the quality of Miguel’s post.) That’s why motivating people to go out and vote on 7O, to assume responsibility for the future, is such a critical step.

    Venezuela’s gestalt in the Americas hangs in the balance.

  7. Bill S. Says:

    Brilliant, Miguel, as usual.

  8. andrew Says:

    Miguel – congratultion with your post, excellent; I live in Europe/France but have been living in Venezuela and I know how dramatic the situation is currently. You have framed the situation brillantly and I really wish a better future to all Latinos and Venezolanos after last terrible 12 years!


  9. Nothing much to add after the praise that has already been written! But on a related note as far as getting people to vote…are you going to write about the embassies around the world not letting people in to register?

    • moctavio Says:

      Manuel, that is one of the many tricks they use, whether I will write about it or not, I dont know, I may write about the many ways in which they cheat…


      • True, that would create an entire post in and of itself (and a long one too!). It would be fantastic though to see an article in a big news outlet denouncing these practices WITHOUT it having a caveat of “allegedly”. It just doesnt get any more blatant than that.

  10. Alek Boyd Says:

    “Let us hope that Capriles, his supporters and Venezuela are up to the historic task at hand.”

    They’re not, quite obviously.

    The only hope, which isn’t really for sooner or later it will happen, is that the caudillo dies soon enough. Maybe after the ensuing Reservoir Dogs-type of desenlace, Capriles, his supporters and Venezuela can have a go at, at least, establish some priorities and benefit first and foremost our country and its people.

    With Chavez alive Capriles ain’t winning a presidential election, and if for some fluke he does, his government -with Chavez in the opposition- is going to last about 13 days.

    • Johnny Walking Says:

      Quite obviously.

      But Capriles won’t win one way or the other. If Chavez dies, the military will take over. The Castros won’t loose that tit without a fight. That, we can be sure of.

      • megaescualidus Says:

        I agree with Johnny in that after HC there will be a period of instability (whether he kicks the bucket before or after the October elections is a different thing). The only “thing” keeping it all together is HC (rather his spectre, since he hasn’t been much in the country for the past few weeks, or is it months?). The few involved parties, I’m sure, are already making plans for after HC, but the problem is that those plans don’t necessarily include, let alone benefit, the other parties. Again, after HC we should expect instability for a while.

        • Johnny Walking Says:

          Instability is putting it very mildly. It does not really matter before or after the elections, because chavistas will not leave power peacefully even if Capriles manages to win them. What we will see is something much more serious. Mark my words.

  11. Alek Boyd Says:

    Oh, BTW Miguel, in addition to the things you mention are at stake, let us not forget the future viability of the multibillion dollar drug trade, el castillo de naipes de la izquierda, LatAm as one of the last frontiers of the wild west where every crook, thug and terrorist of this world gets to pretty much do whatever they want…

      • Alek Boyd Says:

        For the record, I think Noriega is just another ignoramus, and does not have the slightest clue about what’s going on. He doesn’t get it now, and he didn’t get it when he was in positions of power.

        • Johnny Walking Says:

          You probably know this guy much better than I do. Hence your take about him. But his piece in particular seems to hit home, at least regarding the fact that the narcogenerals will take power if Chavez dies, before or after the election. It would be interesting if we can have your analysis regarding this matters.

          • Alek Boyd Says:

            The problem with Venezuela nowadays, as far as analysis is concerned, is that it’s like belly buttons: everyone has got one. We have seen, and Miguel will agree on this, a proliferation of commentary about our country, from people that truly believe that reading a couple of books and keeping abreast with news for two months qualifies as expertise on the subject.

            Having said that and in our country’s case, more news does not mean better news, or better quality of information. On the contrary. Take Noriega for instance. This guy is so fucking clueless about our situation that he has had the temerity of doing presentations, about Uranium prospecting and exploitations in Venezuela’s paramos, without presenting a single shred of verifiable information. Noriega, I have been told, is the source of the harebrained and ridiculous argument about build up of a missile launch base in Paraguana with Iranian help. That stupidity was then picked up by another clueless journalist from Germany and printed in one of Germany’s most reputed media outlets, from where it spread. Fortunately, the US ridiculed the news, and the journalist, but this was after the damage was done.

            So Noriega’s opinion pieces are, in my opinion, entirely useless. As stated earlier, he didn’t get it when he had access to good intel, and he most certainly does not get it now, when his sources are a bunch of radical opposition nutters trading on unverifiable info.

            As per what will happen in Venezuela once Chavez dies -hopefully before 7O- that’s anyone’s guess. What is certain is that the opposition has no saying in what’s going to happen. None whatsoever: no political muscle, no financial or military muscle, no connections to armed urban guerrillas or indeed narcoterrorist organizations, no control of institutions… All the opposition can do at this stage, and when the death of the caudillo happens, is sit and watch what will probably be a Reservoir Dogs type of finale: different chavista factions at each others throats to gain a power that was never theirs. Chavez is, and has been, the sole power hoarder, the only able to exercise a power that was bestowed on him, but not on his corrupt, utterly amoral and inept comrades. Chavez is the only one that can keep order en la pea, he is, by definition, the only capable of agglutinating the hyenas around the spoils in which they have turned Venezuela into. Take him out, and it will be a free for all.

            Capriles then does not have the wherewithal, nor the brains to be a player in the ensuing drama. Ditto for all the oppo combined. So let’s hope Chavez dies very soon, let’s watch and enjoy chavista rats eliminating each other, let’s be very afraid about what the armed thugs, the Colombian narcoterrorist and the Cuban parasites happily bleeding our country could do, let’s be even more afraid about what the reaction of the “international community” will be, and wait for the whole chavista edifice to crash down.

            Only then will we be able to have meaningful discussions about what to do with our country and its future.

            • captainccs Says:

              Alek, good to hear from you! Non-existent weapons of mass destruction were a convenient cover for invading Iraq. What benefits might Noriega misinformation bring to someone?

            • Alek Boyd Says:

              What benefits? None, for I am not buying for one second the stupid chavista tale that US forces are about to disembark in Playa Pantaleta to take over our country’s oil, especially when Chavez happily sends all the oil he can get his hands on up north.

              So benefits, maybe for Noriega, you know to appear knowledgeable and maintain his profile, so that he can get more clients for his lobbying firm.

            • syd Says:

              Bravo, Alek. Well reasoned. And thanks.

            • Johnny Walking Says:

              Ok. Agreed. Noriega’s nonsense does not deserve any consideration whatsoever. I find your analysis spot on. I agree that Capriles and the opposition will be non-entities in the power struggle that will ensue once Chavez croaks. The chavista factions could surely plunge the country in an ever-increasing spiral or violence, but at the end of the day, it will be those with true firepower the ones who will retain power: the military. Not a pretty picture.

              In the past, I have had serious doubts about Capriles and the opposition, and their performance only confirms your analysis. Something very wrong affects the brains of these people, because they thought that Capriles was a worthy opponent for Chavez. Each day, I am convinced more and more that this is an absolutely ridiculous notion. It is clear that the primaries were a popularity contest among the least prepared to lead a transition government. Thus, the 7O elections will be a contest between thugs and morons. I have no doubt that ultimately the chavista edifice will come down. But, it will do so in a frenzy of violence and extraordinary destruction. I am not sure how much of the country will be left for us to have a meaningful discussion about what to do with it and its future.


  12. Miguel, do you think that we have a real oportunity to win on the next election? I think our best oportunity (sadly) is the cancer…


  13. Miguel, do you think it’s possible that a Chavez loss could lead to more pressure on Rousseff to adjust her policy toward Cuba? Here’s an a similar article from February: http://exovera.com/node/74

    • moctavio Says:

      Since I dont think Chavez will last until October, the answer is yes, I think the opposition will win in October. As for the impact on Rousseff, I think that Chavez’ demise will have a stronger impact on Cuba than in any other country and will be easy for Rousseff to change her stance.

  14. Rocky Jordon Says:

    and then there this story…..

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/17/us-argentina-ypf-idUSBRE83G06K20120417

    South America, but particularly Argentina is like a broken record or a bad Hollywood B film…. they make the same stupid mistakes over and over and over again. I recall that when I worked in Latin American in the oil field in the 70s and 80s, the Argentine state oil company was the only one in the world to LOSE money…. your continent is blessed with natural resources but at the end of the day it will still be occupied by beggars and thieves

    • Johnny Walking Says:

      Previous and currents events seem to confirm your take that LatAm, despite all its natural resources, seems to be populated by a people whose political DNA reflects a victimhood complex, hence, their choice is to be beggars or worse, thieves. What will it take to change this is anyone’s guess, but time is running out and the implosion of a subcontinent is getting near by the time.

  15. Ronaldo Says:

    Don’t leave out international arms sales; Chavez spends $billions on purchases of weapons. These weapons are more likely to suppress human rights than to protect them.

    If Vzla petroleum production can get back above 3.5 million barrels/day then oil prices may decline some leading to world economic growth.

    The Syrian people could be helped in improving their human rights if Chavez financial and moral support of Assad stopped.

    Lebanon could do without Chavez support of Hezbollah and their supression of human rights. Why is Chavez doing supporting Hezbollah in the first place?

    etc.

  16. CharlesC Says:

    “Yes, we will get rid of Mr. Chavez before he destroys the country and will replace him with a true democratic system. We will do it within his Constitution that he now disrespects. In fact, it is within the Constitution for him to resign and leave, we will take care of the rest.” Who made this prophetic statement?

    After being away for a day, I am glad to be back and read yet another wonderful article here.
    My words-You describe what I have been longing for with words I wish to find.
    You create a framework that is easily understood both explaining where we have been and where we should be going. You are a genius with understanding
    our needs and inspire us to higher motivations. You have this energy, even excitement and happiness, I feel and I say “I want this”!
    Your mother must be proud of you. Surely, you had a good mother.
    Oh, the quote above- you said it.

  17. firepigette Says:

    I agree somwhat , however, I think it there is more mutuality than that.

    Here in the US and in Europe as well, there are increasing dictatorial trends.Polical correctness seems to keep this trend in place as well.

    We have reached a point where Christians are mercilessly insulted, conservatives deemed moronic scumbags,and those who support anyone who is not leftist presented as an object of public shame.This is why it has been hard to get much International support against Chavez.In another climate Chavez might not have been allowed to flourish so easily.

    We are seeing the end to a true dialogue of plurality so essential for democracy.

    We allow insults, and groserias that intimidate and stifle the democratic impluse ; this is widespread in Europe, and now the creeping evil is alive and well in the US as well.

    For those European and Americans from the US and Canada who gloat, I invite all of you to take a good look.

    There is no freedom of speech where those who speak and have the power of popular’status’ do not refrain froman emotioanal loss of control and are even sancioned by our increasingly phony intellecuals.

    Chavez is not the leader of these unfortunate trends, he is a symptom.

    • syd Says:

      “no freedom of speech”?
      I give you exhibit A: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17710570

      As for your other contentions, FP, the world is not as black and white as you picture it, inasmuch as I was able to understand your generalizations.

      • Kepler Says:

        South Carolina? Hihi…where is it you live, FP? North or South Carolina?

      • firepigette Says:

        I never used the phrase black and white.Read Syd…I said trends…and the trends are getting stronger every day.

        • syd Says:

          sigh. you don’t or won’t get it, FP. When someone paints a gloom and doom scenario of the world, on a blog about Venezuelan politics, and that person is unable to see the shades of grey (or more or less keep to the topic), it is often said that that person is seeing the world in black and white. But you know that, surely.
          May tomorrow be a better day for you.
          In the meantime, know that your general dictum on there being no freedom of speech, without being specific as to location or time, is a stretch at best.

    • Ira Says:

      Are you actually contending that it’s conservative Republicans who have been the victims of abuse, when it’s you Republicans who gave us guys like Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity–and their cave of hate, Fox news?

      Now THAT’S hysterical!

      The criminal crying that he’s the victim!

    • NicaCat56 Says:

      FP, I take issue with your comment that “Christians are mercilessly insulted, conservatives deemed moronic scumbags, and those who support anyone who is not leftist presented as an object of public shame.” First of all, are you kidding me? Do you honestly believe that the “Christians” have not brought on their own misery? With such shining examples as Rick (the DICK) Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, etc., can you really blame “the left” for the fallout of such people’s ideologies AND idiotic statements? They are ALL candidates, not for any office, but for the loony bin! Second of all, how in the world do you connect this with the lack of international support against Chavez? Please connect the dots here, ’cause I ain’t seein’ it!

      • syd Says:

        Fear not, my friend. There are no dots to connect. It’s all about ruminations with no back-up, provided to call attention to oneself, to derail the thread, and to cry, along the lines of: “there’s no freedom of speech! no democracy! Christians are being pilloried”. Read: “no one loves me” on another blog. The reality is no one loves someone who pulls a “I know better than you”, “aren’t I special”, when the fantasies are not supported.

        This is one manipulative little so-and-so who finds in these blogs a relief from her day-to-day housebound boredom.

  18. Kepler Says:

    Yeah, Firepigette, it’s communism, socialism and Nazism all together creeping in from Europe…oh, my God! And poor Christians! It’s like when Stalin and Nero were alive!

    • firepigette Says:

      you don’t read Kepler.

      1. there is no such thing as communism
      2. there is no such thing as true open dialogue in Europe
      3. nor in Canada
      4, there is very little in the US.

      this has nothing to do with socialism being bad or good.it has to do with the tyranny of leftist media trends

      • syd Says:

        Instead of painting your doom and gloom miniatures, FP, how about being specific for a change. That way, no one will be able to misinterpret you.
        As for there being no true open dialogue in Europe or in Canada, could you be more specific?
        You sound like one of those folks that get on a soapbox in Hyde Park to pontificate, to preach — in vague terms, of course.

      • Ira Says:

        If Fox is by far the highest rated news channel in the U.S., and only conservative talk radio is successful (it’s a fact), where in the world are these leftist media trends you’re talking about–and what the hell do “trends” mean in relation to this discussion.

        I think you’re living in a delusional world, because you see sinister
        conspiracies behind any viewpoint opposed to yours.

        Kind of like Chavez does.

        • steven Says:

          Fox is the highest rated, but I don’t think it has the majority of viewers in its audience. The other news networks combined are bigger than Fox (or it’s close). But food for thought: Bill O’Reilly’s largest audience was about 3.5 million, and I think he’s down to 2.5 now on a regular basis, which is the largest of any show on a news network. But a bad NFL game or the average episode of “Dancing with the Stars” draws as much as 20 million. Most people in the USA are NOT news network junkies.

        • firepigette Says:

          hey wait, what is my viewpoint Ira?

          I am speaking of the lack of dialogue between differing views.

      • syd Says:

        Bingo, Ira. You and Quico have come closest to cracking the nut.

        Here’s how I see it. Someone with a strong need for attention gets called on for some bizarre little irony made on Quico’s blog. That person knows that Quico will pounce on the ploy of naïveté plus crocodile tears, on a topic completely unrelated to his post. Since this someone’s need for attention is so great, that person migrates to a related blog, whereupon the spinning begins with all manner of vagaries. THAT is how we get our attention diverted from the topic at hand.

        It’s pathological. And it won’t happen again without pouncing from others who can now see through the act.

    • Bruni Says:

      You guys know that I am far from being conservative, far from being a militant christian and yet I think that some of the things Firepigette is saying are true. So you should not make fun of her.

      Yes, there is politically correctness around and a lot of difficulty accepting an opinion that dissent from the mainstream way of thinking, everywhere.

      I think that it started with 9/11 attacks that shifted governments priorities from human rights to protection and safety. This was topped by the Iraq war: when the whole world was saying that there was no reason to go to Iraq and the US and its allies went on.

      That was the moment in which Chávez was the most popular around the world and among US liberals. And the moment in which public opinion was the most polarized: you either accept my view or you are my enemy.

      We are still feeling the impact of that time, topped with the economic crisis that came as a consequence of that era. So still, the ideological spectrum is very polarized.

      • syd Says:

        Bruni, any society at any time requires that opinions be properly reasoned and presented — if they are to be accepted by the mainstream, which is not stupid. The presentation of these opinions follows a certain protocol, rarely an overnight process. Sometimes it takes years.

        But this whole argument of FP’s, poorly reasoned and filled vagaries that can be interpreted any which way, is not REALLY about the lack of “true dialogue of plurality so essential for democracy” around the world, or about the lack of “freedom of speech” in Europe, Canada and the US.

        In the vague “indirectas” presented, largely off-topic, there is pseudo victimhood that comes across like the pouting of a child. THAT is what this deviation from the topic is all about.

      • firepigette Says:

        Thanks Bruni for understanding my points and expressing it instead of misunderstanding and insulting.That is the democratic way.

      • Kepler Says:

        Bruni, I don’t know about Canada, but you can hardly make that case for Europe. Debate in Europe? It is fine, thank you. FP hasn’t got the slightest clue.

  19. CharlesC Says:

    Maybe we will never get to live in Venezuela as a better place but through the
    writings of Miguel we get to visit for a moment even though we can’t stay…

  20. Stuart Says:

    Miguel, you are correct. So much more is at stake!

    When this false ideology collapses, President Humala will be less able to deviate from the successful path Peru is following.

  21. Jeffry House Says:

    I totally agree that Chavez’s government is a linchpin and provider for a number of quasi-dictatorial regimes. And I hope Capriles wins, so we can get rid of all of them. But, isn’t it too much to say “the region is hitting a new low in terms of human rights”? Do we need to talk about torture in Chile, stolen children and “disappeared” in Argentina and Uruguay, or the various Brazilian military dictatorships? Or what about Cuba in 1959 and 1960, when hudreds of people at a time were put on trial (for some unspecified “class crime”) in soccer stadiums?

    Things are better now.

    • moctavio Says:

      Totally, but we were much better off and had come a long way ten years ago and as more and more is now accepted, things will get even worse and those horrors you describe may be around the corner now with the new “commercial” left wing in power.

      • island canuck Says:

        Roger Noriega is now hinting that Aponte Aponte, who has now arrived in Washington on a DEA plane to appear before a Grand Jury, will name Chavez as the Capo de Capos of narco trafficking in Venezuela.

        Roger Noriega ‏ @RogerNoriega
        A quien señalo Aponte Aponte como Capo de todos los Capos del Narco-Imperio? Respuesta a las 6PM hora de La Habana

        What a shock that would be if it turns out to be true,
        In truth it would explain a lot of things that have happened in the last 13 years that you couldn’t put down to just ideology..

        • captainccs Says:

          Chavez and ideology in the same sentence is an oxymoron. He has no ideology besides ruling the country until the day he dies. He will use any expedient to achieve that one single aim.

    • noel Says:

      At the risk of sounding very politically incorrect, I would remind you that the Chilean military junta took over in circumstances that could be repeated in Venezuela today, and that the Argentine military took over with broad popular support when the then government proved incapable of insuring public peace. That said, the Argentine junta did more bad than good.

      • island canuck Says:

        We have a constitution to cover these things – all they have to do is follow it

      • Jeffry house Says:

        The Argentine junta threw dissidents out of airplanes, alive. The Chilean dictatorship tortured nuns with electric prods. So, yes, that is politically incorrect. We can’t complain about Chavez if we are soft on this sort of crap.

        • Noel Says:

          You miss my point. I don’t make the apology of military regimes, I just wanted to point out that Chavez has perverted the democratic process, and like some of his Latin American predecessors forty years ago, is making it extremely difficult for a democratic process to regain seemlessly its proper place. I hope Capriles wins as any other alternative would be carry a lot of hardship. If he can’t, it will be ugly. If you study recent Latin American history, you will find that military regimes have rarely taken power on their own initiative, rather they have usually been pushed by large segments of the population.

  22. Kepler Says:

    Trying to make a case of Chávez as a new Manuel Noriega would be fatal for opposition in Venezuela.

    • island canuck Says:

      Roger Noriega ‏ @RogerNoriega
      A quien señaló Aponte Aponte como Capo de todos los Capos del Narco-Imperio? DIOSDADO CABELLO RONDON CI 8370825

      Well that doesn’t surprise me in the least. I guess my earlier guess that it would be Chavez was wishful thinking although he would have to be deaf, dumb & blind not to know what was going on around him.

      • syd Says:

        But this information is interesting nonetheless. If it gains stronger and more credible legs, it could further minimize Godgiven’s potential for 7O’s candidacy.

  23. firepigette Says:

    Expressing disagreement is a basic must in a Democracy.Dialogue must contain different viewpoints in order to maintain a plurality.

    However insults , cursing, and otherwise disrespectful offending remarks are not.They only contribute to stifle the democratic impulse through intimidation.

    On these blogs many people violate this basic way of democratic dialogue.

    In Europe and Canada and the US as well.

    Freedom of speech is not just the right to publish or to appear on TV.It is the emotional climate in which we are open to freely discuss ideas.

    Everyday,more and more these rights are being stifledby peer pressure, jeering and put downs, and this is the major problem we have in politics today.

    Democracy cannot be imposed, or voted on…it is either an inherent way that people treat each other or it is not.

    The discussions on these boards have been overlooking some of these essential points.

    • firepigette Says:

      and I am afraid the future will show us this most unfortunate truth

    • captainccs Says:

      When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.
      — Winston Churchill, on formal declarations of war

      • CharlesC Says:

        There will one day spring from the brain of science a machine or force so fearful in its potentialities, so absolutely terrifying, that even man, the fighter, who will dare torture and death in order to inflict torture and death, will be appalled, and so abandon war forever.
        Thomas A. Edison

        Chavez never learned this truth about modern weapons. All the other
        ALBA minions are either missing large numbers of brain cells or never
        learned either..

      • Ira Says:

        There’s no reason to be, either.

    • syd Says:

      FP: if these blogs offend you so, if you need an environment of refined sensibilities to make you feel comfortable, you really should not subject yourself, at all, to reading them. I remind you that this is a blog about Venezuelan politics, a topic that gets heated. May you find a blog that will better suit your temperament so that you don’t have to be exposed to such vile behaviour on this one.

    • Kepler Says:

      “Freedom of speech is not just the right to publish or to appear on TV.It is the emotional climate in which we are open to freely discuss ideas.”

      That brought me to tears. I am devastated but what you said is so true…
      you have touched my heart…the intimidation by the liberal left against conservatives and Christians of every colour, specially because of the evil European-Islamic-Communist influence coming from Europe, Canada and Belgium, is horrible.

      And the sheer peer pressure exercised by the so-called “intellectuals” from lefty-dominated US campuses!

      What is the use of vote results if they, the liberals, don’t treat you as you want to be treated? It’s nothing but tyranny, as that great US American philosopher Ayn Rand (forget about Habermas or Kant) so intelligently showed.

      Debates in Europe? Of course there aren’t…or if they are, they are not democratic. I know it. I just so very much know!

      The US is more than ever under pressure to give up the principles the Founding Fathers brought about.

      Oh, Syd, look at the signs on the wall! It’s all over the wall!

      • syd Says:

        I’m cashing in my insurance policies, selling all assets. Not much time left. Bye, bye cruel world.

      • firepigette Says:

        Kepler,

        When you learn to debate instead of attempting to make fun of people you disagree with you might finally understand why there is no democracy in Venezuela and why (more than likely) that won’t be any for some time to come.

        • syd Says:

          No, FP, when you learn to define your airy-fairy motherhood statements and left-field ruminations without back-up, you will finally understand that you do so to underline youir victimhood on another blog.

          No free speech in Europe and Canada?

          Define it!

          Until then, know that your fantasist, attention-needy routines have no other purpose than to derail the thread towards you.

          But the gem for me will always be your statement that you have 1,000 family members in Venezuela, most living in barrios.

          Fantasy, anyone?

        • Kepler Says:

          Oh, my God, Firepigette…you use the same cheap strategy of some evangelical and Muslim fundamentalists: if you go on doing like that you are actually the culprit for X…only if you change and become like you want.

          Sure, Firepigette…and your attitude is what’s making the US have such a trade deficit and it’s Syd’s attitude why Canada’s First Nations have such a problem with alcoholism and there is such a high degree of homelessness there.

  24. Albionboy Says:

    The problem is the Venezuelan government has a population, not the population has a government.. Whenever a government doesn’t need the people to pay its bills (money coming out the ground) watch out.

  25. MasterBlog Says:

    Miguel,

    As always, excellent post. The extent of the comments section on your blog testifies to the fact that, the quality of the blog lies in the spirited discussions amongst its readers.

    Now let’s hope Venezuela finally wakes up in October!!!!

  26. doris Says:

    For what it’s worth ..
    La Bicha: “Se acortan los tiempos, ten los pasaportes en la mano”

    http://www.noticierodigital.com/2012/04/la-bicha-%E2%80%9Cse-acortan-los-tiempos-ten-los-pasaportes-en-la-mano%E2%80%9D/

    sounds like hysteria, but who knows?

  27. henry stone Says:

    All well and good, except October will never come, sorry to say.
    it was never to come anyway, but recent events make it even clearer, for those who hoped this government would let go of power, through free election. how native can we be?
    Time will tell …

    • syd Says:

      as chigüire’s dad told him once, “algún dia importará”. Meaning, the reason for voting. That’s my view.

      HCR may not be the perfect candidate, but he’s slogging away, regardless, and building his credibility, bit by bit, for that hoped-for transitional government.

      My hope is on the better factions of the military, and that they will prevail over the next 6 months. And yes, I will be greatly relieved by Hugo Chávez’ death.

      NaÏve? Probably. But that’s my dream, and I’m sticking to it.

  28. henry stone Says:

    correction: naive …

  29. Johnny Walking Says:

    Aponte Aponte denunció que, especialmente las decisiones de la Sala Penal del TSJ, son consultadas con el alto Gobierno. “No nos caigamos en dudas, en Venezuela no se da puntada si no lo aprueba el Presidente (de la República)”

    This guy just gave Thugo a brutal dose of radiotherapy. He confirmed to the world what we all know. Coma-Andante is now radioactive!

  30. CharlesC Says:

    Coma-Andante is now radioactive! – Great title. LOL


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