Peaceful Day, Violent Evening in Venezuela

February 22, 2014

After a very peaceful day, when Chavismo held its somewhat small march and the opposition, despite the limited media availability, held huge marches everywhere, including a massive one in Caracas as you can see by the overall view from that drone above, the evening has not been as quiet.

And it is hard to understand what is the Government’s strategy. What does it gain from sending the National Guard and “colectivos” at this time, on a Saturday night? After the march, students returned to Altamira and blocked their usual stretch, which is no more than around three sides of the square. They did this Thursday, nothing happened. Again last night, nothing happened. But tonight after a very peaceful day, the Guard went after them with the aggressive and armed colectivos, much like Wednesday. Really, what’s the point?

It would seem at this time, that it is to the Government’s advantage for things to quiet down. So, why repress the way they did in Altamira, where they have retaken the square after avoiding it for two days?

This is the square right now:

BhHd9BJCEAAZz0-

What have they gained? To send the students back to planning where they go now. To get them even more angry than ever after a day that was sooo nice for them.

Because at this point, Caracas is third in the ranking of the Government’s problems.

Number one, of course, is San Cristobal, where the Government has a huge problem in their hands. If they try to get the people out of the streets, there will be violence and repression and things will actually worse. Many are likely to be killed if the Government tries the violent approach. And the peaceful route seems to be a dead end, as the population is incensed at the violence an it seems as if even the National Guard does not want to fight its “pueblo” and there are very few avenues of negotiation available.

Then, there is Valencia. Repression there has been remarkable and today the girl who was shot in the eye with pellets died after three days in intensive care. This will only get people more incensed than ever. To give you an idea of the level of violence in Valencia by the National Guard and the police, this is a picture of the cartridges, bullets, shots, casings left at a single residential complex on Wednesday:

tulipan

Is this normal? Isn’t this a little bit overdone?

So, why would you want to increase unrest in Caracas?

And I repeat, the question is what is the Government after? Because I don’t see a pleasant end to all this repression. And it will have a huge political cost for the Government. Are Maduro’s buddies simply letting him run the show so that he screws up and they can remove him? At this time, this seems the most likely scenario in my mind.

The march was extremely peaceful and it was really massive. here are my pictures in no particular order:

photo(25) photo(23)

Looking back on the Los Ruices elevadophoto(22)

From the Los Ruices elevado

photo(20)

Heading back after two hours, people still arriving in droves.

photo(19)

Students jailed, criminals free, Made in Venezuela

The next to last picture above was taken two hours after the first picture after I started heading back. people were still arriving in droves and I could not go close to the stage, simply there were too many people to go forward. I don’t recall this ever happening again.

And despite all of the Government expenses, the Chavista march was puny in comparison. Last night, I went out late at night, bordering the La Carlota airport and found the military airport filled with buses with the people brought to the march in Caracas, the only one the Government held today. To say nothing of those held all over the world.

Maduro has made mistake, over mistake over mistake so far. Today just seems to be another one. Jailing Lopez was stupid, shutting down the Colombian TV station was another, massive repression over and over is another, kicking CNN out another one (even if the backtracked)

Internationally, Maduro has lost what little credibility of doubt some people may have had. Even his closest allies are likely wondering what is going through his head, even if their silence is shameful. Funny how these leftist idealists are more concerned about their mercantile interests at this time than about human rights and the violation of the Venezuelan Constitution.

What a pitiful bunch of so called leaders Latin American Presidents and politicians have become.

But a day of reckoning seems to be arriving for them. They should be concerned by now that a Government change, even within Chavismo, will lead to less preferential treatment for them.

And I will soon leave Caracas, with mixed emotions. On the one hand I have to go back, on the other it has been so much fun being here and covering events close to them. But there is also a feeling of wanting to be here to see the end of this. I don’t know when this will happen, but I want to be here no matter what. It’s been so long in coming…

Not that I know what is coming.  think Chavsimo will replace Maduro at some point, How and in which sequence of legality or not, I have no clue. Who comes after him is even more of a mystery. What is clear is that economically the days ahead are very tough and this instability has debilitated the Maduro Government even further. And it remains as indecisive as ever on economic matters, which will only exarcebate events even further.

Stay tuned, even if I will no longer will have a front seat, like I have tonight in Altamira.

67 Responses to “Peaceful Day, Violent Evening in Venezuela”

  1. Trader Says:

    Miguel, in baseball terms, Dont you feel it is 2004 all over again? The Red Sox were down 0-3 against the Yankees and somehow they came back and won four in a row. Now they are 2-3, and you know how it ends.

    • Ira Says:

      Bad example, because the Yankees kicked the Red Sox asses for 75 years.

      Hey, I’m a Yankees fan, and YOU brought it up.

      HAH!

  2. xp Says:

    I live on san juan bosco norte. I’ll keep a warm seat for you :-)

    • xp Says:

      Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau
      is urgently asked to come out of retirement.
      His skills and finesse are required
      by the vzlan president.

      There’s that pesky General
      who needs to be apprehended …

  3. moctavio Says:

    Not really. Chavez is not around and Maduro keeps making mistakes which are very difficult to understand. There are too many divisions within Chavismo. Even something simple like Sicad 2 they can’t get it done because they disagree over every detail. Imagine the differences on colectivos and repression. Shortages are going exponential and so is the mood of the people, exponentially pissed off.

  4. Andy Chelini Says:

    Anothwr jackass

    >


  5. Incredible sight, so many Venezuelan Patriots.

  6. xp Says:

    Re: …What does it gain from sending the National Guard and “colectivos” at this time, on a Saturday night?

    They are killing chickens, to scare monkeys.
    [Assuming there's strategy behind
    their senseless hysteria] .

  7. Noel Says:

    Miguel, I think you are right that Chavismo may consider dumping Maduro for somebody less clumsy, but even then, I am not so sure that it can change the dynamics of the situation which is very dire for them.

    I also wonder whether the events in Kiev have been followed in Venezuela and whether Venezuelans believe that what was achieved in Kiev can just as well be repeated in their country.

    Finally, while Latin governments continue their shameful silence, people start to feel they must do something; a friend of mine in Buenos Aires was telling she was going to a demonstration to show solidarity.

    As to the US government, it is losing an opportunity to regain the high ground and work towards greater democracy in LA. Sure it would be accused of interfering in domestic affairs, but so what, people would not be fooled and welcome help from a considerable party. If the US government is willing to antagonize China by meeting the Daila Lama to support communities half way around the globe, why can’t it risk antagonizing Argentina and Brazil to support a people on its own continent?

    • metodex Says:

      Because it’s not about the people, it’s about the devil’s excrement.

      • Noel Says:

        But with shale oil and gas we have plenty at home.

      • Rick Flowers Says:

        The US already gets all the Venezuelan oil it wants and has been doing so for decades-they BUY IT. Even If Venezuela ends up having to divert all its production to China because of the bad loans it took out, the US will simply buy elsewhere and Venezuela will not get the $$$ it needs to eat. PDVSA has lost its clout in OPEC due to its declining production and idiotic nationalization of foreign assets. In addition, the US is becoming an energy exporter rapidly. The hysteria about an imminent gringo invasion is an outdated myth used by paranoid propagandists to stoke hatred. The gringos are not coming-the Cubans are and they want your oil, too. They just have no money. The whole Chavista revolution boils down to the pardos (indios) trying to chase the mestizos and blancos back to Europe. This is Castro’s dream imposed on another nation.

    • geronl Says:

      Do they really want a more efficient oppressor?

  8. Morpheous Says:

    Miguel wrote: “What is clear is that economically the days ahead are very tough and this instability has debilitated the Maduro Government even further.”

    So tough that something like in December of 2001 in Argentina could happen in Venezuela. Argentina began December with Fernando de la Rua as president. Less than a month later, Eduardo Duhalde was in front of the Casa Rosada who had been defeated by the former president in the 1999 presidential elections. This was not the only anomaly that left looting, State of Siege and pot-banging. Between De la Rua and Duhalde there were three presidents, Ramon Puerta, Adolfo Rodriguez Saa and Eduardo Camano. Five presidents in less than one month!!!

    I think Maduro has not been removed because nobody wants to be responsible for dealing with the chaos left by Maduro.

  9. vanmonk Says:

    I, as well, hope you can be there when real change finally happens.

  10. Frank Says:

    “And I repeat, the question is what is the Government after? Because I don’t see a pleasant end to all this repression. And it will have a huge political cost for the Government. Are Maduro’s buddies simply letting him run the show so that he screws up and they can remove him? At this time, this seems the most likely scenario in my mind”.

    This is what I have been thinking as well, particularly with the reports of soldiers arriving in Caracas. I fully expected a coup this weekend, only not from the “fascists”, but from Diosdado Cabello. What’s the upside to leaving Maduro in power now? everything that can go wrong has gone wrong, he’s the perfect fall guy. And why was Diosado so anxious to accompany Leopoldo Lopez to prison? Other than to gloat over the moment, but really, why?

    As for having a front row seat, I hope you were able to get cotufas :-) I was planning to be there this weekend but with the instability we decided to wait and see what happened.

    And about this: “What a pitiful bunch of so called leaders Latin American Presidents and politicians have become”.

    I’m not so sure. This is a Venezuelan problem. Of course you have the oil-whores around the Caribbean and Maduro’s political allies swearing to defeat fascism like they were briefed to do, but about the other LatAm leaders? This kind of thing doesn’t happen overnight Miguel. I don’t think any government in say Colombia, Chile, or Brazil wants to find itself with a “partner” in Venezuela it can’t even talk to, let alone deal with. And for the moment the only “partner” in Venezuela is the regime you possibly elected. It really, really is your problem, and if the example of the Ukraine is anything to go by, if you can solve it the support will be there. Just don’t expect the solution to Venezuela’s problems to drop cargo-cult like from the skies. And is anyone is reading this, stay away from the US. The US is poisonous. If you value your credentials as a non-”fascist” in Venezuela, then don’t go there, not even on holidays to Miami. In case you haven’t noticed, most Venezuelans don’t. And the gulf between those who do, and those who can at most manage to go to, say, Los Totumos is huge. Don’t make it bigger.

    • metodex Says:

      I think the answer is that Maduro is the one that was annointed by the Castros, and i’m guessing any move to get Maduro out of the picture will have to face a counter-attack by the Cubans, wich includes(i presume) the paramilitary like Tupamaros and even the FARC, along with all the pro-cuban apatridas in the army.

      This includes oppo as well, when elections come and Capriles or whoever gets to sit in Miraflores win, he/she must man up and use an Iron Hand against all traitors who will no doubt plot and plot and plot and plot against anyone who isn’t in the “Red Circle of Trust”. I can already foresee a military coup,assasination attempts,and the siege of the Tupamaros and all criminal factions that are now comfortably operating in Venezuela, who is anything but sovereign right now.

      Military cooperation from Colombia is a must,sadly.

      • Morpheous Says:

        You are probably right, whoever wins must manage to control the whole FFAA (which I think is almost impossible). There must be a crack down against paramilitary and any armed militias. A civil war or worse, a genocide could unfold if this is not carried out swiftly. The problem is that, I don’t think there are enough military with guts on the opposition side; an there aren’t enough opposition civilians willing to join the FFAA either (and if so, training takes time). If that is the case, then Capriles’ strategy is probably the way to go. I found very difficult being optimistic; the reality always emerges. There are some that think the economic chaos will take care of every thing. Well, they should look closely at Zimbabwe, North Korea and Cuba. Unlike Ukraine, we don’t have a parliament to remove Maduro from presidency. I hope I’m wrong and the outcome is a happy end in a different manner.

  11. moses Says:

    Thanks for blogging from close by the events !!!

  12. m_astera Says:

    The old saying applies here: When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

    For 13 years Chavez had two tools, repression and bribery, the carrot and the stick. Now the carrot is gone, stolen and pissed away. There is no oil money to buy the people washing machines or even subsidize food. All that is left is the stick, violence and repression. Not that the Cubans know any other tool anyway. Cuba under Castro has not learned the carrot approach. Interesting times.

  13. Sean Says:

    Regarding who, or what, may come after Maduro it’s hard to think of anyone “moderate’ from their ranks. So in my humble opinion if anything it will go the other way, even more extreme than even Maduro. The ready candidate to fit the bill of Mr Evil would have to be that little piece of s**** Cabello; that would be a very bad dream

  14. geronl Says:

    I cannot believe you misspelled PEACEFUL in the title

  15. geronl Says:

    Do they like long, drawn-out telenovelas in Venezuela? This huge crowd should have rushed the government buildings and taken over. Get this over with. Look how long it too the Soviet Union to fall, or Cuba and North Korea. You cannot afford to let these people get total control.

    • Dean A Nash Says:

      I believe that geroni is correct. Or, stage a public sit-in. They can’t kill or imprison 100,000 or more souls. The situation isn’t going to change without some blood shed, that’s for sure. Because the Cuban leeches will never give up their golden goose without a fight.

      • Gregory Wilpert Says:

        how about first preparing for a fight? You may want to buy some guns and bullets while your’re at it. Where are you going to get that? Tio Sam?

    • Gregory Wilpert Says:

      the government is using arms to suppress unarmed civilian. The regime is running a counter-insurgency operation and you want the oppo to toughen up and act all macho a lo Ukraine?

  16. Coriolis Effect Says:

    I think Frank is dead on about Diosdado. Having Maduro as president was diosdado for Diosdado. Now Cabello just sits back and watches Maduro self-destruct and he will move in to the Presidency.

    • Alexis Says:

      Do you really expect the protests to calm down if Diosdado gets the presidency?

      I don’t! He’s even more hated than Maduro.

  17. Gregory Wilpert, president of TeleSur English channel Says:


    OT: estan activados los agentes en el imperio. The shills, professors, journalists, activists, PSFs, Joe Kennedy, etc. In this video published 5 hours ago (4am EST), Gregory Wilpert gives us his perception on Venezuela. He tells us that he’s moving to Ecuador to run newly formed Telesur English channel. He makes no bones about the biased line.

    • Glenn Says:

      How does this bonehead have a job at all? Lying about wages pegged to inflation, how well Venezuelanos eat, what crap. So wages and inflation: just print more money! Problem solved.

      • Disinformation War in Venezuela Says:

        What do Ecuador, Wilpert, Correa, Assange, Russia and Snowden have in common? Sometimes there’s a bigger picture. Other times it’s just a coincidence.

      • Disinformation War in Venezuela Says:

        look at me in the eye when you lie to me!

    • moctavio Says:

      I dont mind people using a fake name, but please dont use someone else’s name, even if you are quoting the person, some may think he left the comment, which would be misrepresentation.

    • Ira Says:

      He blamed capital flight on the attempt to remove Chavez?

      And Chavez’s expropriations on foreign investments have nothing to do with it?

  18. Gregory Wilpert, president of TeleSur English channel Says:


    Gregory Wilpert part 1. Sorry to ruin your Sunday breakfasts

  19. odette foster Says:

    hello Mo: re: your words …
    ” I don’t know when this will happen, but I want to be here no matter what. It’s been so long in coming…” Like many, the waiting for justice that never seems to get here .. or having it just within reach only to have it ripped away again ” Many feel the same … even if all that can be done that day is sit on the front steps of the apartment and cry and hug my friends and neighbors. Safe trip

  20. AEI Says:

    Kudos to Alek Boyd for sneaking in and out of Washington unnoticed by Cuban intelligence and taking a selfie with the Dalai Lama:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/dalai-lama-translates-true-happiness-during-visit-to-american-enterprise-institute/2014/02/20/37fa68e8-9a48-11e3-b88d-f36c07223d88_story.html


  21. Reblogged this on danmillerinpanama and commented:
    From the other side, here are words of wisdom, peace, love and freedom from el Presidente Maduro:

    Maduro said he won’t pull security forces off the streets until the opposition abandons violence and accepts his invitation for dialogue.

    This elected president, the son of Chávez, is going to keep protecting the people,” he said while holding up what he said was an improvised explosive device used by protesters to attack government buildings and security forces. “Nobody is going to blackmail me.” [Emphasis added.]

    . . . .

    Maduro for the first time Friday said that he’s investigating whether security forces opened fire at the Feb. 12 protests and said that as former member of Venezuela’s leftist underground, whose members were hunted down and tortured by state agents during the 1970s, his government has shown zero tolerance for human-rights abuses. [Emphasis added.]

    Humpty Dumpty deserves the last words:

    `When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    `The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    `The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’

    Remember what happened to the late lamented el Presidente. Dumpty?

  22. Disinformation War in Venezuela Says:


    Russia Today (RT en Espanol) Venezuela recap
    uploaded to YouTube 10:00 EST today

  23. Disinformation War in Venezuela Says:


    CNN update 9:00 am EST

  24. VJ Says:

    Next week agenda.-
    Thursday 27th/02: Day off to commemorate 25 yrs of “el caracazo”
    So it´s time to get ready for a whole week of fun, sun & beach holydays. Need my ice box, several cases of beer, music player, hawaiian tropic, beach sandals, tylenol, etc.
    Friday 28th/02: It is a working day but it´s a better day “para hacer puente”.
    Saturday 01st/03, sunday 2nd/03, monday 3rd/03,tuesday 4th/03: CARNIVAL
    Wednesday 5th/03: Day off to commemorate the 1st year of death of “el Comandante eterno y lider galactico de la revolucion” If you are chavista maybe you would like to go to el Cuartel de la Montaña. If you are opposition it´s time to pack and get back home.
    Meanwhile in Caracas, Valencia, Maracaibo, Puerto La Cruz, nothing happen, the cities, streets and plazas are empty. The protest are cooled off.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzNbhgPAhZk

  25. VJ Says:

    Sunday, afternoon retired General Angel Vivas barricades himself at his home in Prados del Este, after refusing a search warrant ordered by N icolas Maduro.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVSB8SZs5iA&list=UUGUjA7b90AFO5rOJMGla3Mg

  26. Ira Says:

    Oy vey:

    My wife is on the phone with her Chavista sister and she is screaming her guts out at her.

    This is exactly like the American Civil War, where one brother fought for the Union, and the other, the Confederacy.

  27. OldSouth Says:

    Sharing this link with you, which asserts that the Cuban regime has sent elite troops to help prop up Maduro. I can’t judge whether is it reliable information from here, but send along to see if it may be helpful.

    Sending good wishes your way. I’ve followed this blog for some time, and admire your courage in continuing to report.

  28. Rob Says:

    If troops have arrived to help Maduro and his cronies I see this no more than a confirmation that Venezuela has been formally colonised and technically an extension of Cuba.

  29. VJ Says:

    Jose Alejandro Marquez just passed away in Caracas.
    On last thursday night, he was badly beaten by the GNB.

  30. Rick Flowers Says:

    Can the chavista trolls who are ranting about US interference and subversion give us some specific details? Names, dates, places, what the CIA agents did to subvert the revolution? Are they kicking over garbage cans? Are they stealing toilet paper? Are they hoarding food? Are there millions of them? Are they wearing Obama masks and running naked through the streets? Is the rumor true that they are really disguised as Cuban soldiers who are sticking gun barrels up student’s asses?

  31. Basilio Rojo Says:

    Share with all your English-speaking friends interested in Venezuela:


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