It Is Not Time To Hand Over Venezuela To Chavismo

March 9, 2013


Yesterday, Miranda Governor and former opposition candidate Henrique Capriles gave a press conference in which he articulated very well some important positions about what is happening in Venezuela, among them:

-Nobody voted for Nicolas Maduro to be President. Nobody named Nicolas Maduro Vice-President for this term

-He asked Nicolas: “Do you need abuse of power and the power of the State to go to elections?…What are you afraid of?

-The Supreme Court is not the “people” and they took advantage of Chavez’ funeral yesterday to release their decision that Maduro can be interim President and run for President at the same time, contradicting their 2006 sentence in which they basically said the opposite.

-He noted that the opposition asked to go to Chavez’ funeral and was told in no uncertain terms “You better not”

-He called Maduro a liar, referring to the lies about Chavez’ health, something which should be noted in the campaign, as many Chavistas do feel that they were lied to.

-And in a very significant remark, he stated: “The Cuban Government will not rule in Venezuela”

Unfortunately, in the so called “democratic” Venezuela, this press conference was covered by only one TV station in Venezuela (And dozens abroad), as private stations were told not to cover it.

Now, if Capriles’ intent was to re-energize his candidacy and campaign, this was a great press conference, emotional, clear, in your face and making the important points. I think he only forgot to mention directly the intervention of Venezuela’s military in the campaign.

But if this was just a preamble to his withdrawal from the upcoming campaign, it was a terrible appearance.

I say this for a very simple reason: It was clear that this was going to happen. Chavismo has spent the last two months trying to find a way for Maduro to become the President as a way of having him be candidate and President at the same time. Even bringing Chávez back from Cuba was done only to try to find a way to have him be sworn in, so that Maduro could be ratified as Vice-President. And if this failed, it was clear that the Supreme Court would use its silly putty justice to make it so.

Nothing is a surprise. And there is no question that Maduro is the likely winner, but this is no excuse for the opposition to hand over the country to Chavismo. And Capriles would be doing that, because the person that could mount the best campaign against Nicolas Maduro at this time is Henrique Capriles. In some sense, he has been running for President all these months ever since Chávez went to Cuba. If he thought there were scenarios under which he would think of quitting, he should have done so and let someone else get the spotlight.

And yes, Maduro as Candidate and President is a formidable contender only because of Chávez’ legacy. It is unlikely that Capriles can beat him and I hope he does not, because Chavismo should deal with the economic mess they created.

However, let me start by noting that Nicolas Maduro, sympathy and endorsement included, ain’t Hugo Chávez. Far form it. Maduro has proven to be more light weight than I thought. He does not articulate well, he mispronounces, he loses track of ideas, he rambles on, he has no sense of humor, no charisma and he does not have the fervor of the people that Chávez had.

And yes, I think Maduro will win at this time. But you have to remember that Chávez’ passing means that politics is back in Venezuela. For the first time in fourteen years, one man will not dominate political discussion like Chávez did. This is a new political game and Maduro has to prove that he is good at it.

The first thing he needs, is to achieve a strong victory that will give him a mandate over other Chavistas, by saying I am almost as popular as Hugo

And that I don’t think he will get.

Chavismo wants to use all the stops, all the abuses, all of the Government’s power for the simple reason that they know Maduro is not adored (for that matter he is not even known) as much as Chávez was. Chavismo also understands that it is next to impossible to achieve the levels of low abstention seen on October 7th. Even with the effect of Chávez recent passing, it will be difficult to spend as much as last year and be as effective as last year. Shift abstention by a few percent and Maduro can score a narrow victory that would make his Presidency weak to start with.

Of course, Capriles has to re-energize his supporters. And that is why I say if that was the objective, that as a very good start.

Chavismo has a tough road ahead. They lost a charismatic leader who avoided at all costs allowing anyone to compete with him. They have an economy that is so distorted that it requires tough policies to improve things. And they have politicians not used to playing the game of politics among themselves.

Let’s not help them overcome this, but not being there to occupy the space that almost half of Venezuela rightfully occupies today.

72 Responses to “It Is Not Time To Hand Over Venezuela To Chavismo”

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  19. Ellis Says:

    Cuba and Venezuela, two economies totally dependent on the U.S.

    And the Americans are only harping about drugs and letting the DEA back in.

  20. m_astera Says:

    Cuba is the key, and has been for many years. Who exported communism and terrorism to Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and the rest of South America?

    The Cuban “doctors” didn’t come to Venezuela for free, millions or billions of $$ were paid to the Castros to finance them and their continuing oppression of the people of Cuba, while the “doctors” were paid a pittance. Billions in oil wealth was given away to Cuba, for what in return? So they could come to Venezuela and infiltrate the army and security services?

    The Cubans with their incompetence killed Chavez.

    The list could be much longer.

  21. Paul Says:

    As mentioned above, the puppet strings being pulled by Cuba need to be severed.Maduro, et al only care about power and money. The Cubans have a real vested interest in keeping their “island paradsise ” afloat. When food distribution collapses and economic calamity ensues, I’m sure they would be pleased to assist Maduro with a rationing card system to stop all the “speculators” and “hoarders”.And who is to stop them from making Venezuela another Cuba? As long as the handouts continue,there does not seem to be much incentive to change things with the majority of Venezuelan citizens.

  22. Charly Says:

    “….to occupy the space that almost half of Venezuela rightfully occupies today”. What are you talking about? You remind me of JVR who said 2 days ago that Chavismo represented a clear majority. Hogwash! Eight million voted for Chavez on 10-07 and there are supposedly 19 million on the voting roll.
    Eleven million were either anti Chavez or did not give a damn about who has has become our favorite mummy. Get your accounting right please.

    • Ronaldo Says:

      Some may not be old enough to vote. Others may have voted multiple times. Your number are good though.

      At some tables, if you went late in the day, someone may have already voter for you.

  23. Alberto Says:

    We need to show that half the country opposes the regime, the cubans, the comunists, the fascists that rule the country. The chavistas used to say that the bad things were to blame the others in the government, well the “others” are here now “legally” governing. The bad things, the ones that the people will suffer are at sight, and the truth will glimpse before their eyes.

  24. Pedrop Says:

    “Quieres ser Venezolano o quieres ser Cubano !!! ???

    That should do it, in the bag as they say.

  25. Noel Says:

    As you summarize his press conference Miguel, Capriles made some good points, but it seems to me that he missed the fact that, to win, the opposition needs to convince people who last voted to Chavez to vote for them.

    Promising to kick out the Cubans should resonate with all Venezuelans. Promising to improve the standards of living of the poor (and meaning it) is another, and he could point out that Chavez had the intent but a disastrous implementation which was the responsibility of the Chavista “elite” which wants to stay in power.

    Of course, it would help if Capriles were the candidate. Even if he loses, he can make Maduro sweat, look not so good and force him to make promises he won’t be able to keep.

  26. firepigette Says:

    When the economy collapses and people start suffering, they will not blame Maduro.Who will they blame ?

    The US, Israel, and some people in the opposition.

  27. Slledge77 Says:

    Can’t wait until the other despicable dictator, Fidel, DIES once and for all, after over 50 years of destroying the lives of millions in Cuba, killing people, forcing them do die by the thousands fleeing the island, drowned at sea,.. Chavez’s mentor and hero..

    Be thankful that the other new lying beast named Chavez just died. Now there are other less charismatic Chavistas who will always cheat, and kill to remain in power, but let’s pray it’s not for over 50 years as in Cuba. \

    But of course, when Fidel finally dies, after all the Atrocities of his deplorable regime, 50 world “leaders” will attend his putrid funeral at la Habana.. There’s also tons of $$$$$ to be made over there…

    • Ronaldo Says:

      So true. And maybe it will be soon.
      I wonder why the Castros are so interested in controlling Vzla when they have such little time left. Chavez gave Castro the greatest retirement gift of all times.

  28. firepigette Says:

    Roberto N,

    I will address your points:

    This is why you DO NOT participate

    Internationally, the opposition could be asked why they are complaining about the unfairness of the elections if they themselves supported them by participating. 🙂

    Running negative campaigns has been done before but once Chavismo wins the elections one way or the other, they will keep on overwhelming with their daily propaganda and everything will be forgotten.

  29. Slledge77 Says:

    And then, of course, you have the International Leaches, all the hypocrites that attended the catastrophic clown, the Dictator’s funeral, for dirty political reasons, despicable vultures flying around, as our “pueblo”, as our “military” as our political “leaders” most of them just looking por sus “biste”, or beef steak, as we say here on exile.

    Everyone wants a piece of the Venezuelan corrupted, uneducated oil pie, that’s all.

  30. Slledge77 Says:

    And of course the “Army” will endorese Maduro and Chavismo.

    Same basic reasons:

    – $$$$$$$$ to STEAL more.

    – Corruption

    – Greed for power

    – Pathetic, endemic lack of basic Education, look at “Diosdado”, what an embarrassing joke of a “militar”, dude can hardly speak .

    – The exodus: most people with some education and means left because Venezuela was just too dangerous for honest people with children.
    So what you have left, mostly, are BRIBED, Greased Chavista LEACHES.

    So the circus, the killings, the corruption, the cheating on “elections” will continue, and our country will continue to deteriorate even more, at all levels, economically and culturally.

  31. expat Says:

    Junta de condominios are notorious for the longwinded
    critics who pinpoint all real and imagined slights
    inflicted upon the propietarios by administradores.
    And that my friends, is what we have now in the
    political arena – longwinded politologists elbowing
    each other for their moment in the limelight 🙂

  32. Slledge77 Says:

    Whether or not Maduro is “weak”, it’s the whole Chavista Corrupted Machine you’re dealing with.

    It’s the abysmal lack of education of more than half of the population left in Venezuela, because the rest, we all just got the hell out of there a long time ago.

    It’s the $$$$$$$ interests, el cambur, the bribes, the easy “jobs”, the fringe benefits of oil..

    It’s the corruption, manipulating elections every time.

    Did I mention a pathetic lack of basic Education, which is why Indios like Maduro can “lead” the rest of the tribe?

  33. Zoraida Says:

    Talking about pointing to outside influences as the cause of all the problems in Venezuela, it is necessary to turn the focus directly to Cuba. As Capriles mentioned in his press conference…we do not want to be governed neither by the United States nor by Cuba. The focus should be placed on how the Cuba´s government has influenced negatively Chavez regime to the point that he was killed there. If they are so outstanding in medicine and health practices, ¿why did they not save Chavez, who was their benefactor? Probably, they considered that Maduro can be controlled easier than Chavez. So far, the Castros have eliminated all those who they thought could threaten their leadership in Cuba and Latin America, even Chez Guevara. We have to get rid of the Castros and the Cuban influence in Venezuelan political scene. If they have used Chavez sickness and death to their benefit, ¿Why not follow the same strategy?

  34. Jeffry house Says:

    Here’s what you say to the international media: ” The Venezuelan Army has announced that its goal is to insure Maduro’s election. We can’t overcome that in a ten day campaign, but we want it known that we oppose this violation of the Constitution and will vote against the Army’s candidate.” Maduro’s legitimacy internationally depends upon hiding fact that the Army is behind his campaign.

  35. Paul Says:

    Agreed that Chavismo should be viewed as needing to dig Venezuela out of the economic disaster that hey created. However, I am not convinced there is any desire to do so. Chaos in the country, created by Chavez, has for some time benefited the Chavismo political base by pointing to outside influences as the cause of all the problems in Venezuela thus uniting the poor masses against the Imperio, etc.What is the motivation to change the economic direction? I’m sure the Cubans are also quite happy with the current state of affairs.

  36. Kepler Says:

    My suggestion: let’s say we go for the elections with someone as candidate like Andrés Velázquez. Let’s say he and the MUD say “if you want, choose among 20 relatives or friends one who will go to vote in the farce”.
    Imagine we go indeed to vote and our candidate gets 1%.
    That would be the ideal thing.
    And meanwhile we focus our efforts on explaining a little bit of how the economy of Venezuela is working and who is becoming richer by the day.

  37. Abraham Gomez-Badell Says:

    Good article and well said, but it seems everybody is forgetting that Maduro will win not becuase the “Chavez effect” but because in ‘their” CNE that’s already been decided. So why go to an election where the results are a given, and furthermore, participating in this non-constitutional elections will be elevating this a “pat in the back” for the regime, Porque avalar lo que es ilegal? That is why Vlza is the the way it is; we continue playing by their rules. Do not participate, let Maduro and his coming goverment explain that internally and internacionally. The job of the MUD should be to bring attention to the ilegality of the coming elections.

    • Roberto N Says:

      Here’s why you DO Participate:

      1) Despite the trampa, you do not cede spaces. Cede the space, create a vacuum and lose the space.

      2) Internationally, oppo leaders look like losers by not participating. They are then asked why they are complaining if they do not participate.

      3) Even if we lose, we win. Capriles can run a negative campaign and when the economy tanks he can claim he warned us.

      4) Look at what not participating did for us in December.

      5) The MUD can continue to point out the inequality and unfairness, but participate anyways so they can claim that despite the cheating, they are still democrats and that voting is the only way to effect change.

      • Abraham Gomez-Badell Says:

        Point taken, but the reality is different, see below my answer to each of your points:
        1) We have no space(s) to cede to begin with, all spaces are “occupied” by the regime. Saying that we have any “space” is not wanting to see reality. Really, please tell us what “space” do we have? Remember who controls the CNE!, who controls everything!
        2) That’s exactly the question they’ll need to anwer, “We did not particpate beacuse it was simply an ilegal election according to the constitution. Go ask the Maduro goverment why he was so ilegally “made president”.
        3) Negative or positive the outcome of the elections is a given. We could make more noise by a “no campaign”, period. As Alek Boyd says ‘Let them deal with their mess”
        4) I might be one of the few ones out there that do not believe Chavez won that election fair and square; no, the CNE won it for him. The goverment wants, needs, and expects the opposition to run, remember they want, need and expect “the pat on the back” in order to justify Maduro’s winning the elections. Maduro ya salio a “darle casquillos” a la MUD, tha’st exactly what they want.
        5) The best way to show we are democrats is to show and ensure our constitution is strictly followed. and not by running a losing campaign. We need to show them that we, unlike them, totally adhered to the precepts laid in the Constitution.
        Anything beyond that is politically suicide, let them deal with their mess, they will fall “SOLITOS”, sooner or later.

        • HalfEmpty Says:

          The best way to show you are democrats is to show up and vote. Even if you lose. Voting is a statement in and of itself, it is an affirmation of principal, conviction and being. Absentation is voting present and hoping things get worse.

  38. Alek Boyd Says:

    “It is unlikely that Capriles can beat him and I hope he does not, because Chavismo should deal with the economic mess they created.”

    My thoughts precisely.

  39. Roy Says:

    I worry that unless Chavismo is completely discredited, an Opposition win would set up Venezuelans to blame them for all of the deprivations that will come from the measures needed to put Venezuela back on the right track. We could then be subject to an endless cycle of return to Chavism, just as Argentina has experienced with Peronism.

  40. deananash Says:

    You wrote: ” Maduro has proven to be more light weight than I thought. He does not articulate well, he mispronounces, he loses track of ideas, he rambles on, he has no sense of humor, no charisma and he does not have the fervor of the people that Chávez had.”

    Since when does the majority (the Chavistas) care about this?

    And then, this: “For the first time in fourteen years, one man will not dominate political discussion like Chávez did. This is a new political game and Maduro has to prove that he is good at it.”

    But earlier you pointed out that Capriles’ words were non-reported (“this press conference was covered by only one TV station in Venezuela”). That sure sounds like a lack of political discussion.

    I hate to be a wet blanket, but I don’t think anything is going to change politically. Economically, things also won’t change, they’ll continue on their 14 year slide to oblivion. (Miguel, I doubt that you’ll disagree with me, but if you do, please enlighten me.)

    • moctavio Says:

      I think Maduro is weak and has too many enemies within Chavismo. Capriels can weaken him further during the campaign, time and the economy will take care of the rest. While I dont think things will change immediately, I do think they will change. Anything can happen now, every aspiring Chavista will do so, every aspiring General will too, things are in flux, politics is back whether TV stations show it or not. For the people Maduro is not Chavez, few autocrats have been able to have their legacy survive. I dont think this will be any different, unless we cooperate. Chavez’ death does make a difference.

      • deananash Says:

        I agree wholeheartedly – if I’m reading you correctly – that the best chance to be rid of the virus is for it to self-destruct. And I agree that this is a high-probability scenario. (Hope I didn’t put words in your mouth.) Regardless, things are going to get MUCH WORSE before they get better.

  41. moctavio Says:

    I am sure the Maduro Government will protest tonight opening of Saturday Night Live where Justin Timberlake, as Elto John, sang Candle in the wind at Hugo Chavez´funeral.

  42. Roger Says:

    So far Maduro’s campaign without bedside chats with Chavez boils down to “….Please cry for Him Venezuela…..”!
    Except for the economic train wreck that will happen regardless of who is president, its hard to know how all this will work out. I have thought for a long time that not much will happen until the folks in the Ranchos come down from the hills and march on the government. You can’t eat ideology!

  43. Ronaldo Says:

    By: John Hayward
    3/6/2013 06:25 PM

    The world somehow managed to drag itself through its first official day without socialist kleptocrat dictator Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, although it sounded like some of his more energetic American fans might not make it to sunset. But disregard the obvious kooks like Sean Penn and cynical charlatans like Michael Moore, and you were still left with a disturbing undercurrent of… respectability for Chavez running through Western media accounts.

    They were all quite willing to play along with the notion that he was a towering figure of legitimate authority, compassion, and genius, even though he raped Venezuela into penury and died with two billion dollars stuffed in his pockets. Look at it this way: who would space aliens monitoring American television over the past two weeks conclude was better at the job he vacated, Hugo Chavez or Pope Benedict?

    More at

  44. Ronaldo Says:

    Here is a nice article describing Chavez. If only all Venezuelans would be willing to read it.

  45. Bruni Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you Miguel. I don’t know where this nonsense of not presenting a candidate is about. If we do not send a candidate, we hand over the country to Chavismo in a silver plate.

    BTW, for those that did not read it already, here’s my post on Chávez

  46. Hopefully, Capriles runs, and makes the country aware of Maduro’s many flaws, and the huge mistakes Maduro will make as president/dictator. When president, Maduro will not be able to long hide behind dead Chavez. He will own his catastrophes. The opposition can protest along with disenchanted Chavistas. There is hope!

  47. expat Says:

    A tall man in a black suit, sporting an armband
    reminiscent of the nazi era, will dictate airwaves
    for six weeks. Live with it. Memories fade quickly.
    Shortages will not. Lectric outages will be endemic.
    Cuban dominance is not a criollo thing. Capriles
    may get somewhere if he shows backbone, and
    even if he doesn’t, Chavi-cursileria won’t last.

    Make sure each vote counts.

    • expat Says:

      Signos patrios on windbreakers and caps
      were ok on hugo, but will become dated on
      this new usurper, who is in the pockets of
      his masters. Fourteen years of fracasos
      will dominate everyday chatter. Just you

  48. johnbarnardblog Says:

    Thanks, Miguel.

  49. Virginia Says:

    Nothing has changed..only Henrique Capriles MIGHT have the words, the
    uneducated masses MIGHT understand. If Venezuela is left to Nicolas Maduro…The worst is yet to come!! He is NOT a politician and does not know how to handle affairs of the country.

  50. jhana Says:

    If the opposition thinks in 6 yrs time it will be easier because of the economic difficulties they are making a huge mistake. Rather than project international influence, for instance, I think Maduro will focus resources on consolidating his power at home….with Chavez as a type of religious saint, and Maduro as his living embodiment on earth.

  51. island canuck Says:

    As expected the election will be on April 14:
    El CNE convoca a elecciones para el 14 de abril

    But… here’s the reason they broke the constitution & allowed Maduro to remain in office during the “campaign”.
    “Lucena dijo que las postulaciones de candidatos serán entre este domingo y el lunes, y que la campaña electoral comenzará el 3 de abril y durará 10 días”

    The candidates must register in the next 2 days & the campaign will only be allowed for 10 days – April 3 to 13.

    That will leave Maduro on TV every day until then in cadenas giving away the farm & Capriles totally restricted in what he can do..

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