Nicolas Loses His Cool Again

May 4, 2013


Ever since the CNE said that Nicolás had won the election, things have not been going very well for him. From widespread pot banging the first four days, to bickering within Chavismo, to Diosdado undermining him and his own party members criticizing him, it is tough to be Nicolás Maduro these days. But if one thought there was one area where Nicolás could handle things well, it was on the diplomatic front. After all, he was Chavez’ Foreign Minister for almost seven years, where following Hugo’s orders alone was probably a difficult thing to do. And except for trying to stage coups in Paraguay and Guatemala, Nicolás was mostly discreet, like a diplomat should be.

But his bad streak is prompting him to losing his cool and making outrageous statements. The first one was to accuse former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe of trying to assassinate him, throwing in Roger Noriega and Otto Reich into the pot. A laughable charge and a dangerous one, as Uribe is still respected in Colombia and Santos may get impatient with his new counterpart in Venezuela. But Nicolas likes to imitate Chávez, except that it doesn’t work very well with Nicolas.

But where Maduro really lost his cool was in his response to Peru’s Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo statements. Maduro called back Venezuela’s Ambassador to Peru and said: “You may be Peru’s Foreign Minister, but you can not give opinions about Venezuela. I do not accept that lack of respect towards the political process that Venezuela is living. I don’t accept it…But to involve yourself with Venezuela’s problems to give us advice, please, don’t. You made a mistake Peruvian Foreign Minister, you have made the mistake of your life”

By now you may be wondering what it is that Rocagliolo said that caused such outrage. Well that is the amazing part, not much. What he said was:

“Peru is promoting that Unasur pronounce itself in asking for dialogue and tolerance in Venezuela…the second element of the Unasur declaration consists in asking that there be in Venezuela a climate of dialogue and tolerance, request that we maintain, request that I reiterate. It seems fundamental to us for both Venezuelans and the region that such a climate of dialogue, tolerance and mutual respect can be established.”.

Imagine, calling for tolerance and dialogue!

But Maduro losing his cool has backfired, as Peruvian politicians from all sectors have backed their Foreign Minister. Not only that, but it has given relevance to the trip by Leopoldo Lopez and Deputy Eduardo Gomez Cigalas around the region, explaining the treatment of opposition Deputies in the Assembly, as well as the refusal by the Venezuelan Electoral Board to do a complete audit as promised to Unasur countries so that they would accept Maduro’s victory in the April 14th. election.And now in Argentina, a Deputy is requesting that Venezuela be suspended from Mercosur for the non-democratic actions of the Maduro Government, while in Peru, the Vice-President of Foreign Affairs of Congress said that in Venezuela there is no President and what there is a an orangutan, a reference to the military gorillas that ruled that country, as well as seeing little birds and talking to Chávez:

The curious thing about this whole affair is that Peru’s Foreign Minister Roncagliolo is currently the spokesman for Unasur on these affairs and by losing his cool, Maduro may be helping the opposition in promoting that Unasur pressure the Venezuelan Government for a full audit and recount of the recent Presidential election.

43 Responses to “Nicolas Loses His Cool Again”

  1. Gordo Says:

    A number of articles in refer to the violence in the NA on April 30th. In the comment sections of these articles, there are many comments claiming that Maria Corina Machado got what she deserved….. followed by “jajajajajajaja.” These remind me of the jovial and gleeful KKK during a lynching in the historical deep south. Is this represent a significant faction of Chavismo?

    • Roger Says:

      They can laugh but such things can start violence on both sides. Imagine that PSUV AN member Jose Bimbo Jr. has too much 20 year old Scotch at Hotel El Conde and on the way up to his room runs into several guys with masks who bash up his kneecaps with a Baseball Bat! To make it look like an accident, they then throw him down the stairwell! Caracas already has the highest murder rate in the world and their not even counting other violence like robbery, rape, extortion and such. It is scary to think what could happen if it becomes more politicaly motivated.

  2. jau Says:

    Charges Traders in Massive Kickback Scheme Involving Venezuelan Official FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Washington, D.C., May 6, 2013 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged four individuals with ties to a New York City brokerage firm in a scheme involving millions of dollars in illicit bribes paid to a high-ranking Venezuelan finance official to secure the bond trading business of a state-owned Venezuelan bank.


    Additional Materials
    SEC Complaint


    According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, the global markets group at broker-dealer Direct Access Partners (DAP) executed fixed income trades for customers in foreign sovereign debt. DAP Global generated more than $66 million in revenue for DAP from transaction fees – in the form of markups and markdowns – on riskless principal trade executions in Venezuelan sovereign or state-sponsored bonds for Banco de Desarrollo Económico y Social de Venezuela (BANDES). A portion of this revenue was illicitly paid to BANDES Vice President of Finance, María de los Ángeles González de Hernandez, who authorized the fraudulent trades.

    “These traders triggered a fraud that was staggering in audacity and scope,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “They thought they covered their tracks by using offshore accounts and a shadow accounting system to monitor their illicit profits and bribes, but they underestimated the SEC’s tenacity in piecing the scheme together.”

    The SEC’s complaint charges the following individuals for the roles in the kickback scheme:

    Tomas Alberto Clarke Bethancourt, who lives in Miami and is an executive vice president at DAP. Known as “Tomas Clarke,” he was responsible for executing the fraudulent trades and maintaining spreadsheets tracking the illicit markups and markdowns on those trades.
    Iuri Rodolfo Bethancourt, who lives in Panama and received more than $20 million in fraudulent proceeds from DAP via his Panamanian shell company, which then paid Gonzalez a portion of this amount.
    Jose Alejandro Hurtado, who lives in Miami and served as the intermediary between DAP and Gonzalez. Hurtado was paid more than $6 million in kickbacks disguised as salary payments from DAP, and he remitted some of that money to Gonzalez.
    Haydee Leticia Pabon, who is Hurtado’s wife and received approximately $8 million in markups or markdowns on BANDES trades that were funneled to her from DAP in the form of sham finders’ fees.

    In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced criminal charges against Gonzalez as well as Clarke and Hurtado.

    According to the SEC’s complaint, the scheme began in October 2008 and continued until at least June 2010. BANDES was a new customer to DAP brought in by DAP Global executives through their connections to Hurtado. As a result of the kickbacks to Gonzalez, DAP obtained BANDES’ lucrative trading business and provided Gonzalez with the incentive to enter into trades with DAP at considerable markups or markdowns without regard to the prices paid by BANDES. Gonzalez used her senior role at the Caracas-based bank to ensure that its bond trades would continue to be steered to DAP. As the scheme evolved over time, the traders deceived DAP’s clearing brokers, executed internal wash trades, inter-positioned another broker-dealer in the trades to conceal their role in the transactions, and engaged in massive roundtrip trades to pad their revenue.

    For example, the SEC alleges that in January 2010, the traders and Gonzalez arranged for two fraudulent roundtrip trades with BANDES as both buyer and seller. These trades – which lacked any legitimate business purpose – caused BANDES to pay DAP more than $10 million in fees, a portion of which was diverted to Gonzalez for authorizing the blatantly fraudulent trades.

    The SEC further alleges that, giving rise to the adage of no honor among thieves, Clarke and Hurtado frequently falsified the size of DAP’s fees in their reports to Gonzalez, which enabled the traders to retain a greater share of the fraudulent profits.

    The SEC’s complaint charges Clarke, Bethancourt, Hurtado, and Pabon with fraud and seeks final judgments that would require them to return ill-gotten gains with interest and pay financial penalties.

    The SEC’s investigation, which is continuing, was conducted by Wendy Tepperman, Amanda Straub, and Michael Osnato of the New York Regional Office. The SEC’s litigation will be led by Howard Fischer. An SEC examination of DAP that that led to the investigation was conducted by members of the New York office’s broker-dealer examination staff. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    • Dr. Faustus Says:

      Bethancourt. Bethancourt. Where have I heard that name before? Oh, yeah.

      Got it! Emcee Betancourt, the new Central Bank President.

      Gosh, I wonder if there’s a connection?

  3. RattInnaCage Says:

    What ever happened to the supposed Presidential recount/audit/whatever it’s called? Hasn’t been three weeks since the election? Has even that crumb thrown to democracy been trampled?

    How is this sitting with the rest of the left leaning countries of South America? I know how Cuba feels, but what about the other countries? Is the free/discounted oil that much of an incentive to keep quiet?

  4. Bobby Says:

    Maduro sure could use some advice from his commandante. Perhaps he can revive his talent as a bird whisperer.

  5. megaescualidus Says:

    La sra Alcorta se merece mi admiracion, por atreverse a hablar y llamar las cosas por su nombre. Esta sra si es cuatriboleada ya que no le da miedo decir las cosas como son y dejar las apariencias al hacerse solidaria con Venezuela. Simulatneament, es increible como mas ningun otro parlamentario internacional se atreve a decir ni comentar nada sobre la situacion politica en Veneszuela. La mal llamada “Carta Democratica” de la OEA es sencillamente una burla. Si alguna vez Venezuela llega a salir de este embrollo en el que se haya deberia aprovechar y salirse de la OEA. Para que ser miembro de una organizacion que se hace la vista gorda de una situacion dictatorial flagrante como la de Venezuela?

  6. Mick Says:

    Since most of the international news on Sunday about Venezuela is about Tim Tracy, I would think the fact that Obama publicly denied a government connection is a huge international embarrassment for Maduro. The US President is hugely accountable to the media and I think he would not afford the gaff, (especially with an issue that is pretty far down on his list of things to worry about today.)

  7. firepigette Says:

    I think AIO and Kepler are both right, because without tolerance and respect there can be no debates.

    We have to stop calling each other names, slandering,and creating hypothetical hominen attacks , before we can actually have an intellectual debate.We have to follow the rules set before us that are more important than the clout,or perceived status of the people involved, and this is also what can give us the basics for a society based on laws.

  8. AIO Says:

    I don’t think it’s the “tolerance and dialogue” that give them heartburn; they know how to spin those arguments. No, the problem lies in “mutual respect.” For Maduro and company (just like Chavez before him), respect should only go one way.

    • Kepler Says:

      Actually, I think the concept of “debate”, real debate, is feared by Chavistas like hell.

      It’s not only that they would reject any kind of real debate (where the public can see the ideas going back and forth in an intellectual fight instead of in parallel monologues). They would abhor that the average Venezuela could know the essence of debates and that they are part of the parliamentarian reality in democratic countries.

      Debate tradition in itself is very weak in Spanish speaking countries all over the world, but in Venezuela it is completely non-existent.

  9. Kepler Says:

    When Venezuela underwent the latest devaluation (or the one before the last, strictly speaking) in February I could see how several countries showed “their concern for their exports to Venezuela”.

    Just two examples:

    This shows how our country has become the sink hole of Spanish America, the country to be raped by all.

    Venezuela’s currency is still hugely overvalued and yet Latin American exporters to Venezuela like in Uruguay think they can’t barely make it with the current rate.Colombians are rather concerned with the fact overly subsidized products in Venezuela will spoil their internal market – even if probably some of those goods come from Colombia originally, so Colombia must have earned a bit already.

    As I said, as for Brazil there is NO ONE but perhaps a couple of politicians without much economic connections who could be for pressurizing Venezuela,
    not even among Lula’s (yeah, it’s Lula, not Dilma) foes in Brasilia or Sao Paulo.

    The “industrialists” in Brazil know well that a thriving Venezuela, even one that is just not el hazmerreír de Hispanoamérica, would be a much harder nut to crack than the Cubanized Republic of today. So: at most they do as if they cared.

    I am absolutely sure that if some right-winged politicians (or whatever political orientation) become too critical about the Chavista regime, some Brazilian businessmen will call them behind the scenes and tell them not to exaggerate as Brazil is profiting very nicely from Venezuela’s misery.

    • TV Says:

      This is a very cynical move by the regime: sell their country to foreign businessmen and political leaders, in order to secure their support for the regime, all under the banner of anti-imperialist struggle.

      The only difference between imperialism and what is going on in Venezuela today is that imperialists must make an effort – and sometimes give token concessions – to exploit a land, whereas this isn’t a requirement in Venezuela. The regime does it voluntarily and by itself, ruining the economy so it can stay in power. Imperialists typically raped undeveloped countries, who did receive some benefits in terms of development of infrastructure and such, but it’s the opposite in Venezuela. Venezuela gets the worst of both extremes: self-reliant isolationism and being a colony..

      I really don’t know what else to say. Horrible doesn’t quite cover it.

  10. Roger Says:

    Things are not going well, that’s for sure. What bothers me is that its hard to see that the Dark Hairy Hand has his hand around Nicky”s scrotum! Still it makes one wonder as to who’s driving the bus!

  11. The Cat Says:

    @Michel Garcia, that article was from last year.

  12. […] country’s elections, crisis (WaPo) La muerte lenta del chavismo (El Pais, By Mario Vargas Llosa) Nicolas Loses His Cool Again (The Devil’s Excrement) 70% avala peticiones de Capriles (El Universal, Venezuela) Maduro […]

  13. Alex Dalmady Says:

    Maduro now implicating Alvaro Uribe in the murder of Caracas sports journalist Jhonny Gonzalez.
    Dude has gone bananas

    • island canuck Says:

      Probable reality.
      They know who committed the murder & it’s probably someone connected with the PSUV.

      Surreal reality.
      Blame it on Uribe. Why not? Just another of the Alice in Wonderland lies that have been coming for months now.

      • glenn Says:

        And now for some good news- there is a group called “chavistas with capriles.”. Maduro shpuld be shitting his pants. His days are numbered but what is more hopeful is that with chavistas the transition has a chance for peace

  14. ivosan Says:

    By the way, Roncagliolo is a left wing, still proud of his active support of Velasco Alvarado.

  15. Bruni Says:

    I think Maduro is feeling too insecure, he felt in Diosdado Cabello game of repression and he did not know how to react. IMHO the beating at the AN is much more damageable for the government international image than the denial of the election results from the opposition. After all, the whole election issue is terribly technical, given the nature of the electronic system and does not resound too much in international public opinion. On the other hand, what happened in Parliament is not technical at all! The opposition deputies were beaten up.

    Of course, when one adds the beating with the uncertain electoral context, then international public opinion reacts as well…

    This is Diosdado doing and Maduro does not know how to handle it.

    For those that haven’t read it, here’s my post:

  16. Trader Says:

    Things are starting to go against Maduro internationally, and I believe the pressure will get so intense, He will have to call for a new election sooner than later.

  17. Noel Says:

    Why is it that the only politician in Latin America with the pants to speak strait about the situation in Venezuela is a woman?

    I hope her male counterparts feel some shame and show more courage and vision about the future of the continent and the values that should be upheld.

    • Kepler Says:

      There have been others. Remember the Panamanian diplomat sacked after he said what he said time after time when the Chavez government didn’t want to talk about Chávez’s prompt demise.

      What is disgusting is Brazil’s position. But we shouldn’t be surprised. Brazil is also an underdeveloped nation but its sheer size already indicates it will become stronger. It has taken away territory from Spanish America for centuries. It became rather quite in the XX century…and now the expansion is commercial. The weakness and division of our countries is excellent for Brazil. It is showing trade surplus with almost everyone in South America.

      It exports twice as much as it imports from Colombia. Argentine’s trade deficit is also huge and even if both countries are, pro forma, allies, Argentina is trying to use very protective measures against Brazil.

      Even Chile is having a negative trade with Brazil, although it is trying to revert that.

      Venezuela had a slight surplus with Brazil the year before Chávez was elected.

      Venezuela now imports 5 times more from Brazil than what it imports.

      I would say even Brazilian businessmen are not so worried about Venezuela and won’t compel the politicians they support (who are in the opposition now) to put the Dilma government under pressure…

      • Noel Says:

        Yes there was this Panamenian diplomat, but by and large, Latin politicians seem paralyzed by the fear of confronting vociferous leftist s and, in the case of Brazil, by a combination of leftist politics and a desire to dominate the continent. There again, there are exceptions, such as FH Cardoso, but leftist/authoritarian Brazilian foreign policies seem to be the price paid by that government to follow more moderate policies at home.

      • Ira Says:

        Why would Brazil want to see a stronger VZ, considering all its exports under Chavismo?

        If VZ was able to even just manage growing enough PLANTINOS for its people, that means reales out of Brazil’s pocket.

  18. Javier Says:

    Maduro did not mind president Correa opinión on Venezuelas matters.

  19. syd Says:

    Guillermo A. Cochez ‏@willycochez
    En diplomacia trato es d iguales: Presidente con Pte y Ministro con Mtro. Cómo es posible q se meta con Cancilleres d Perú y España.Y Jaua?

    porque, querido willy, maduro no es más q un ilegítimo, q no sabe actuar como presidente. por eso se desborda en aras sin protocolo. no tiene ni la más minima idea de lo q está haciendo.

  20. This is not the end of the affair in Peru. Most politicians, except for possibly members of President Humala’s party, Gana Peru, have formed an alliance called, Friend’s of Venezuela. They support democracy in Venezuela and are calling for a recount and/or new elections. We are now, all in this together!

    • syd Says:

      yes, I believe that Maduro’s whines and threats (towards Roncagoglio) have backfired and detonated – FINALLY — a sense of solidarity with what is now perceived to be a greater majority of Venezuelans, than prior to 14A.

      Good work, Capriles. I only hope that peaceful means will create the necessary pressure to remove Maduro-castristas from office.

  21. Glenn Says:

    And the Dominican Republic wants it’s oil. Venezuela is only sending half the promised amount promised by Petrocaribe:

    And Guyana wants to continue to be overpaid for rice in oil (quote: “Guyanese rice farmers produced more than 408,000 metric tons (450,000 tons) of rice last year, with Venezuela paying $640 per ton, higher than any buyer in Europe or the Caribbean.”

    And this. Venezuelan oil industry is in the crapper with little hope of getting out:

    • Glenn Says:

      So how will Maduro respond to the demands that he cash checks written by Hugo? Interesting days ahead.

  22. Pedro Says:

    It’s interesting that Nicolas Maduro insists upon not interfering in another country’s elections, given this video:

  23. Kepler Says:


    And there is this as well:

    I told my family months ago: this is the best case scenario for us, Maduro being declared president of Venezuela for such a margin and all this happening. It’s almost too good to be true.

    OT but not so OT: I am adding statements of Maduro in Wikipedia English and German. Feel free to add more there…we just need to add what he says, no analysis, with a reference, preferably from The Guardian, CNN, BBC, Spiegel, you know…

  24. Reblogged this on danmillerinpanama and commented:
    Venezuela’s El Presidente (?) Nicholas Maduro is losing his cool, of which he has a small and quickly shrinking reservoir.

    [T]he Vice-President of Foreign Affairs of Congress [of Peru] said that in Venezuela there is no President and what there is a an orangutan, a reference to the military gorillas that ruled that country, as well as seeing little birds and talking to  Chávez {video link included, insert “of Peru” added].

    There is a post at the same blog about one of the incidents which might have precipitated this statement, see also commentary here. The Chavista violence at the National Assembly was disgusting, and probably will not be the end of it.

    With Maduro’s recall of the Venezuelan ambassador to Peru (please read the English language text of Maduro’s statement on the matter in the re-blogged post), even UNASUR may become obstreperous.

    The curious thing about this whole affair is that Peru’s Foreign Minister Roncagliolo is currently the spokesman for Unasur on these affairs and by losing his cool, Maduro may be helping the opposition in promoting that Unasur pressure the Venezuelan Government for a full audit and recount of the recent Presidential election.

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  25. Dr. Faustus Says:

    This is simply fascinating to watch. Nicolas ‘the fighting orangutan’ Maduras was given prominent coverage over on the BBC today. He’s quickly gaining the reputation as an out-of-control nut job.

  26. TV Says:

    I’m starting to think that the election result was possibly the best opposition could wish for. A tainted victory that will force Venezuelan neighbors to reevaluate their position towards Chavizmo, weakening it internationally. It is already weakened domestically through weak economy, shortages, inflation and now this distaster of a ‘president’. Por ahora, I might add.

  27. Virginia Says:

    What an absolute buffoon Maduro is! At every turn, he’s putting his own foot in his mouth and actions. Bravo! The more he reacts as he does, the better off we all are in hopefully getting Henriques Capriles in to the office he undoubtably won in the April Presidential elections.. Let us not give up HOPE!

  28. Boludo Tejano Says:

    I can’t wait to see the response that Jaime Bayly will give to this. He will carve Maduro up into little pieces.

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