About Vacuums And Announcements

December 16, 2014

About ten and even more years ago I met a group of very smart young people who embraced blogging in 2003-2006 and later many of them migrated to Twitter. They seemed very young, bright and energetic to me. Today most of these people have become opinion makers, reporters, professors, broadcasters and most are still very active. Now, rather than seeing them as young, I see them as wise beyond their years, hardened and weathered by the “revolution”. Among them Naky Soto and her husband Luis Carlos Díaz, do a periodic “hangout” in which they do political analysis which should put some experts to shame. Naky also still has a blog, called “El Zaperoco de Naky” (Naky’s Mess?). Yesterday she posted this and I liked her description of Maduro’s Sunday interview, combined with yesterday’s march and the bizarre Maduro oath so much, that I asked if I could translate it and post here. Enjoy!


My father in law complained to me that yesterday I did not do a summary of the economic announcements by Nicolas. I could not do it, because he said nothing. All the sumptuousness of the setting chosen in the Miraflores Palace for the interview conducted by José Vicente Rangel, made the poor performance less comprehensible. Imprecise and erratic as ever, Nicolas made an effort to maintain an idea over the polished floor: he knows and controls everything that happens in the country and just because of that he affirmed that people buy things because they have money (explaining scarcity), that there are errors to correct in Cencoex errors (the same as with CADIVI); and because he had no way of explaining our foreign exchange system exchange system, he opted to assure us that Sicad II will be adjusted.  He added that bureaucracy (as if it was a subject) is the clumsy one in the process, that increasing the price gasoline is not urgent, and to our relief, that we have no debt with China. Of course, with great conviction he said that he will come out victorious in the economic war in 2015. Despite lower oil prices, he repeated that the budget for 2015 has its  resources guaranteed.

Today’s march originally was to celebrate la bicha” that Constitution approved only by 30% of the voters 15 years ago; in the midst of the  Vargas tragedy. But the announcement by the US Congress on potential sanctions against Venezuelan officials who have violated human rights intervened. The anti-imperialist binder was a gift that he could not fail to open. This crossing of reasons facilitated the “arroz con mango”* of Nicolas’ speech, fiercely shouting for the sovereignty that nobody will threaten as long as he is alive, but happy because of the fifteen years of “la bicha”. The deceased one was frank to call it that, there’s no better motto for a Constitution that is humiliated daily by its editors.

With very tight shots, the official nationwide broadcast tried to conceal the failure of the summons, the vacuum in Avenida Bolívar. Nicolas began with a long story about the history of the deceased, that one we all know. Given the notable boredom of the audience, Nicolas was kindled by mixing it with his enemies: the monster of Ramo Verde (Leopoldo López), the pelucón (long haired) (Lorenzo Mendoza, president of Polar), the one nobody loves (Henrique Capriles), Aznar (who he called a murderer several times), the right, the bureaucracy, etc. This is a very tedious loop.

In response to the Yankee attack, he proposed creating a committee of Human Rights jurists to bring to justice those gringos for their war crimes. He mixed up the Grinch with Gremlins, and supported his ravings with the chants of the cheerleaders event: PSUV’s youth who contributed more slogans than people. He announced without any stupor that he would delegate his presidential responsibilities on Arreaza, Jaua and Hector Rodriguez, to devote himself exclusively to defeat the economic war.

But the closing was the saddest part. Not even Diosdado was able to hide his displeasure, looking at Nicholas as if he was a militant of Primero Justicia. Holding up a replica of the Bolivar’s sword, Nicholas began improvising this disastrous oath:

“I swear by the immortal spirit of the Indians, of Guaicapuro, by the immortal spirit of the indigenous resistance. I swear by the people of African descent, for Andresote, by José Leonardo Chirinos. I swear by Negro Primero. I swear by the  liberators, by José Félix Ribas, Urdaneta , Sucre, Ezequiel Zamora, by the martyrs, by Alberto Lovera, by Jorge Rodríguez, by Robert Serra I swear before the immortal sword of Simon Bolivar, who will not give peace to our souls, nor rest in our struggle to see emerge in Venezuela a homeland of peace. I swear by the example of “comandante eterno” that I will work for the unity of the people, for the military-civic union and that we will achieve with the greatest commitment that this oath is transformed into the great victory of 2015, 2019 . So I swear. “

The Constitution states in its Article 29 states: The State is obliged to investigate and legally punish offenses against human rights committed by its authorities Actions to punish crimes against humanity, serious violations of human rights and war crimes. are barred. The human rights violations and crimes against humanity are investigated and tried by ordinary courts. Such offenses are excluded from the benefits that may result from punishment, including pardons and amnesty. “

There are now 50 dead Uribana. In the 3 years of managing Iris Varela 1463 are dead prisoners. The minister has not faced any investigation.

And they dare claim that they honor the Constitution.

Rangel-grande*Arroz con Mango, literally “Rice with mango” means a strange mixture, something that does not go well with each other.

41 Responses to “About Vacuums And Announcements”

  1. syd Says:

    Miguel, while there are very few oddities, translation wise, I understood perfectly the gist of your message, and you conveyed beautifully the artful and complete reportage by Naky.

  2. Kepler Says:


    How long can Venezuela’s official GDP be kept as it is?
    I know you told me even a re-evaluation of currency rates would only partially affect it but the current figures are so unrealistic…can the regime keep sustaining them in international organisations?
    (see World Bank figures)

  3. Ira Says:

    Obama is fucked, and I voted for the guy twice:

    How in the world does he think he can change 50 years of U.S. policy towards Cuba, just because he wants to? By doing this, he also sabotaged Hillary’s chances.

    Talk about APPEASEMENT!!!

    Cuba is the enemy, and this fucking president doesn’t realize that?

    Forget about the poking Russia in the eye arguments. That’s irrelevant.

    • FrankPintor Says:

      Keep calm and carry on. You won’t be asked to vote for him a third time.

      The embargo hasn’t worked, the Castros are still there (and the embargo must have been at least a part of their raison d’être), and if a tiny offshore island goes for a Chinese solution of communist leadership and market economics, is that so bad? Millions of Cubans lifted out of poverty; soap, shampoo, perfume would no longer have a particular value there. Do you have a problem with that?

      Cuba is not the enemy. I don’t imagine Russia is really either. Read this, and tell me what you think: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30483873

    • Yuzhou Lin Says:

      You are a democrat?I thing Rubio is also not happy with this change.

      • Dean A Nash Says:

        Lin, I’m a Republican (only because the Libertarians can’t win), and I support changing the policy. Einstein famously said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The U.S. policies towards Cuba are like that.

        To me, the problem isn’t changing the policy, it’s what we’re changing it to. But it’s hard to see how any change could be worse than the status quo.

    • mick Says:

      The US has tried to force the Castros to relinquish power for over 50 years. It has been obvious this wasn’t going to happen. Only the people suffered, certainly not their masters.
      In 10 years, most Cubans will have smart phones, 20% of the cars will be 35 mpg Toyotas, property values will skyrocket as Miami exiles buy back their ancestral homes, new luxury high rise hotels will start to fill the coastlines, and medicine, although currently abundant, will move into the 21st century. Cuba claims a high literacy rate, now their people will have something to read besides state propaganda.
      China is a great example of what can happen when people look to their futures and let go of their pasts.
      On the US side, if this works, Obama takes the heat, the Republican nay sayers look like jerks, and Hillary has another “I told you so” feather in her cap. This is going to make the Republican midwest rice farmers very happy.

      • halfempty Says:

        Medicine is not at all abundant, I’ve muled in probably 500 lbs. of aspirin in seabags. Tooth paste too, female stuff, we carry it all during church trips.

        • Mick Says:

          Sorry, I meant labor not supply. Which, they pump out like China pumps out cheap products.

          Do you have a blog on your experiences in Cuba? How will Obama’s changes impact those you deal with?

    • Michael Astera Says:

      Einstien didn’t say that, look it up.

      • Valued Customer Says:

        As Simon Bolivar once said “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet . . . and vote for Maduro”.

  4. mick Says:

    If Cuba is looking to “normalize relations” with the US, the Castros must believe the situation in Venezuela is incredibly bleak. They almost went under the last time their sugar-daddy went belly up.

  5. I don’t find anything wrong with your English translations, there may be a couple of mistakes, but I get the message you are trying to convey. Keep it up!

  6. Carlos Says:

    I like this blog but I hate to watch snow falling on the letters I am reading. Don’t take it personal but things like that make you a good candidate for the worst blog design awards

  7. CarlosElio Says:

    Funny that Miguel’s beautiful message was so poorly translated in the bicameral mind of most commentators who, ironically, zeroed in on the nuances of language translation. Miguel’s message was a recognition to the creativity and resilience of Venezuelan bloggers who, despite dire surroundings, have the zest to artfully comment the travesties of the thugs in power. Miguel’s attempts have precedent. In the film “The dream of Sparrows” Hayder Mousa Daffar tells the story of Iraqis artists that try to create beauty in the midst of despair. Naky’s blog is a beautifully crafted dissection of the craziness that governs Venezuela today, and Miguel notes that. All that is lost in the majority of the comments his piece triggered.
    Why is it that reasonable and intelligent people lose sight of what is important and dive into their own comfort zone?
    I, for one, celebrate Naky’s blog and also celebrate Miguel’s effort to celebrate her creative writing.

  8. Roger Says:

    You can translate words but, translating culture is very hard to do with words. Unless you experience the culture the words have little meaning. Spanish and Crillio orations carry messages beyond the words. While in English this sounds like a rant, for Venezuelans its a warning. We the Junta still have you by the balls and don’t you forget it! I long ago stopped telling other Americans about my travels in the Philippines, Nigeria, UAE, Venezuela, and even Puerto Rico and Mexico. They thought I was making it up. I wish I was!

    • Roy Says:

      LOL. I know exactly what you mean. In my rare travels to the States, I seldom try to explain what really goes on in the world. They just don’t have any point of reference to understand it. But, as a good friend of mine is wont to say, “You just can’t make this shit up.”

    • Ira Says:

      Excellent point(s)!!!

      The actual words matter for 50% of the intended message, but the other 50% is divided between where the message is being given, who’s giving it, and exactly when it’s being given.

  9. Alexis Says:

    Great post, but there are many small errors in your English translation. It would be worth reading it over.

    • moctavio Says:

      Help me! It is not easy and takes a long time! Is not easy, once you translate it, it is hard to find errors.

      • FrankPintor Says:

        Miguel, Alexis is right. Why don’t you identify a couple of native English-speaking commenters and have them review what you write?

        In fairness, it doesn’t help when the original text uses terms like “el finado”. I suppose it’s a cheap attempt to sound dismissive, but it just sounds weird in English. Does it sound any better in Spanish?

        • moctavio Says:

          I have asked for help a few times. People are busy.

          • Ira Says:

            I offered a dozen times! And my professional career when companies actually wanted me before I hit 50, was as a copy editor. (Now that I’m 58, they don’t simply not want me. They vomit at my approach.)

            It would take me 5 minutes to proofread this stuff, and you can never proofread your own writing. However, since this was a translation from Spanish, that makes things different.

            Mi espanol chupa.

            And I KNOW that can’t be the correct idiomatic translation for “My Spanish sucks.”

            Plus, I don’t know how to type that weird squiggly thing over the “n.”

          • syd Says:

            Ira: set your keyboard to International English. Then hit the shift key + the “tilde” key before the ‘n’ to read ‘ñ’. Use the same system to create an ‘umlaut’ over certain vowels (shift + ” + desired vowel) and accents over certain vowels (without the need for the shift key).

    • Roy Says:

      In fairness to Miguel, the original text by Maduro was muddied and incoherent. It is difficult to translate speech riddled with grammatical errors logical inconsistencies. One has to recreate those errors in the translated text in a manner that is foreign to one who is well educated.

  10. moctavio Says:

    Looks good, I did not make up the combination. I think mango goes well with anything

  11. Miguel, find a good Thai restaurant and ask them to serve you arroz con mango Thai style. Or have a chef prepare this for you:


  12. Carlos Schuler Says:

    After many years of thinking of “arroz con mango” as “a strange mixture, something that does not go well with each other”, this year I tried Sweet Sticky Rice With Mango. Turns out “arroz con mango” is actually delicious!! Go figure …


    Now I need something else to describe things like Maduro’s speech …

    • CarlosElio Says:

      Maybe for hard core chavistas Maduro’s “arroz con mango” is also delicious. Chavez speeches were full of inconsistencies, side trips, contradictions and gobbledygook and his fans loved it. Hitler’s speeches, although more consistent, were full of hatred and threats and Germans went literally mad listening to him. When the aim is to steam up emotions, concern for logic is counterproductive.

    • Ira Says:

      I always wanted to try Thai food. Never had it when I lived in NYC, and now that I’m in South Florida, I don’t trust the authenticity of the restaurants.

  13. captainccs Says:

    Critics often forget to consider who the orator is addressing. Considering the long oath clearly it was not for foreign consumption but folderol for local loyal lackeys. It probably exhausted Maduro’s repertoire.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: